At the NSS, Charles Bednarik and I discussed building the Lehigh Valley John Wilkes. I wasn't familiar with it so he subsequently sent me information on it and I decided that it would be a fun project to do jointly.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad was incorporated in 1847 but it wasn't until the 1900's that it started doing heavy passenger service. It was in 1915 when the Black Diamond Express started. The John Wilkes went into service in the 30's and was a prominent part if the Art Deco movement.
We started with a drawing Charles did from photographs he got from the web. Dimensions were approximated from the various views taking the perspective into account. Dimensions were sketchy at best but finally we did get the basic wheelbase and wheel diameters along with a couple of overall dimensions. With these dimensions, I traced over his drawing and drew out my frame and boiler design. Charles' drawing is on top and mine on the bottom.
I gave my drawing to Dennis and he converted it to CAD and will machine out the frame from this.
We will be doing nine cars with interiors and people. I always look at a project to see what the most difficult part will be and then either make that part first or at least do a mock-up of it. The roofs of the cars are streamlined with a clerestory. The compound curves involved would be very difficult in metal. I could do a casting or 3D print of the ends but there would be an unsightly seam where they met. As some of the cars are 30" long a single casting or print was out of the question. Dennis came up with the simple solution of making the roof out of wood. I was afraid that even kiln dried hardwood that long could twist or warp so I decided that medium density fiberboard (MDF) would be the way to go. The mock-up here needs some revisions but I am confident that the job can be done right.
While we were on vacation for a month, My wife and I painted 210 people for the cars. 1/32 people are hard to find and the only seated ones I have found are these which have only seven different folks. I bought them unpainted so I could vary the clothes etc. Here are the first 100 with them lined up to show the various variations. The second 100 were done with different colors
I am still looking for some chefs and porters but have struck out so far. If anyone has a lead on some at 1/32 I would be thankful for the info