VGN H-14 redux

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Tue May 10 12:35:40 EDT 2016

When the MDC triple 70-ton hopper was first produced in a VGN version it had the familiar packed lettering of the 55-ton VGN hoppers. While this lettering would have been correct for the early H5 VGN 70-ton hoppers in their later life it was not correct for the H14 at any time.  I went out into the then N&W south yard (former VGN) in Roanoke and measured the lettering on the H-14s there and sent a drawing of the lettering and some photos to MDC. It was from this information that the MDC VGN H14's were produced. Yes, I knew at the time that the MDC cars were not correct for the H14s but they were as close as you could get at the time, i.e. 1970s.  Harold Davenport      

      From: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at>
 To: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at> 
 Sent: Monday, May 9, 2016 8:36 PM
 Subject: VGN H-14 redux
Almost 10 years ago I tried to answer a newbie's question on Virginian hoppers.  With some justification my answer got ripped.  So I started digging.  One of the results was a spreadsheet on the VGN hoppers (with a lot of help from others, especially Ben Hom)that's in the files of the Virginian Yahoo group.  I solicited and received a lot of feedback.  Since I already got some responses to my earlier posting, herewith is the entire "Notes" section on the H-14.  Hope its useful.  Disclaimer: I put out this information.  For all of us, we each have to determine how far we want to go. Frank Bongiovanni--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Note F: As I said, I waskind of content with the MDC three bay as an H-14(in the one letter per panelpaint scheme; MDC also did it in a scrunched lettering scheme); this poor cargenerated just about as much discussion as the rest of the rostercombined.   From: Ilike the MDC version - had as many as 80 at one time, and unless you have amagnifying glass, little difference can be found - except that dreadful little1963 N&W repack stencil. To:  On the other hand, I think models that are clearly not accurate or even closeshould be so identified. So, at the risk of incurring your wrath in my view the MDC triple bears no relation to any VGN car and should be so identified. If someone then wants to use it as an acceptable, to them, substitute, that is great. But we should not mislead folks into thinking that it in any way is historically accurate. Those are the extreme comments that I’mkeeping anonymous on purpose.   John Munson’s comments on the MDC70T triple as a start on an H-14:  The MDC Triple isavailable in VGN, painted black, and is almost correct for VGN H-14. You need to recess the frame/weight into thecarbody by about 6". This allows the lower 6" of the end sill to be removedalong with that portion of the side sill that sticks out past the car body. You canthen go on to replace grabs, etc as you desire. Ben Hom’s response:  I stronglydisagree. The H-14 has a signature feature of later VGN hoppers - the carbodydeepened between the outer two side stakes.
Unlike the familiar "fishbelly" twins represented by the Stewart HO
model, these cars featured a straight side sill. (Photo from the
pay side of the RPI website.)

These photos are of cars built anddelivered after the N&W takeover,
N&W Class H-34 (add 20 to the VGN class for the post-merger N&W

With the Atlas Trainman triple now on the market, I really can't
recommend the MDC triple - the hoppers on all of the MDC triples are
the worst feature of the models as they are so shallow they just
look wrong. Kitbashing is a bit of a challenge - one approach would
be to start with the Atlas triple, remove all of the side stakes
except the outer two, and make an overlay from styrene for the
deeper car side. Add new side stakes from styrene strip. The most
tedious part of this kitbash is adding rivets to the new side
stakes. (If there's a resin manufacturer out there that you can
talk into doing overlays such as the Sunshine AARalternate standard
offset hopper conversion kits, that would save a lot of time
kitbashing these cars.)

John Teichmoller’s suggested fix: While John[Munson] suggests fairlymajor surgery to recess the underframe/weight by 6", I note that withoutmodifications the frame already sits about 1/32" up from the bottomof the lower chord of the sides. If you simply shave and file that1/32" off (the clunky cast on sill steps will have to go too, but youprobalby would be replacing those anyway) from the end side stake to the end ofthe car, you will get that "drop" effect. Maybe only about halfas much as should be there, but enough to be noticeable. 
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