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Old 10-03-2016, 02:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Building the John Wilkes

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
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Grew up in Easton PA and always been a fan of the Lehigh Valley, the John Wilkes is one of my favorites will be following your build with great interest.

Steve
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I always have had an artistic interest in steam locomotives and their trains. Particularly, streamlined units (Hiawatha, Dreyfus, Royal Blue, T1, many British locos, list goes on) with many tie-ins to art deco period.

Otto Kuhler (also with Lowery and others) set the stage for revival of passenger service. Otto was an artist-engineer and was enthralled by grandeur, drama and beauty of the steam age. He applied his skills as an artist to his design-engineering profession with a broad sense of interpretation and dramatic application to trains.

His involvement with Lehigh Valley was among many of the railroads looking to keep ridership in the era of planes and cars. He found the LV to be like family from the President to the laborer. His design work was not restricted to the locomotive but was innovated in the matching exteriors of the coaches with beauty and style in the interiors.

A good read of his art/design and career: My Iron Journey, a life with steam and steel.

The John Wilkes along with the Black Diamond were to two crack passenger trains for the Lehigh Valley. The John Wilkes routes from Lehigh Valley PA to Newark NJ/NYC with a lot of time schedules to Cornell University events (a note to color choice on the train: Cornell Red defined as Carnelia). The new and improved motive power improved ridership up 3% during the years of 1938-41.
PHOTO LINK (CLICK BELOW):
John Wilkes Photos
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Last edited by Charles; 10-03-2016 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Very interested in following this.

Larry
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's a fine locomotive. With all the ridge lines at the front of the locomotive, both above and below the bullet nose, it has always had my vote for "Most Likely Choice for a Klingon Streamlined Steamer." Even the black and red livery seems to shout "Klingon!"

Will be watching the build with interest.

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Old 10-03-2016, 04:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Dave
For me more Buck Rogers (or Duck Dogers and the 24 1/2 Century)
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Very cool project! I will also be watching it with interest..
a few small historical corrections:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bille1906 View Post
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.
The Black Diamond Express started in 1896.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post

The John Wilkes along with the Black Diamond were to two crack passenger trains for the Lehigh Valley. The John Wilkes routes from Lehigh Valley PA to Newark NJ/NYC with a lot of time schedules to Cornell University events (a note to color choice on the train: Cornell Red defined as Carnelia).
The John Wilkes didnt run to Cornell University, but the Black Diamond did. (not always, some years it bypassed Ithaca, but it did serve Cornell for many years)

The LV had five streamlined Pacifics..Two for the John Wilkes, introduced in 1939, then three for the Black Diamond in 1940. The two John Wilkes engines had slightly different styling from the three Black Diamond engines. All five were pre-existing locomotives, the shrouds were designed by Kuhler and built and applied at the LV's home shops in Sayre PA. They ran in their shrouds until Spring 1948, when they were replaced in passenger service by the new Alco PA diesels, then they had their shrouds removed, and they carried on for another two or three years in freight service.

Scot
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Scot
Thanks for the addition information. Given your expertise on the LV any thing else you would like to offer is welcomed.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Beautiful locomotive!
Tom
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Old 10-04-2016, 02:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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
Bill,
Take a look at the "54mm" models, which are 2.25" and purport to be 1/32nd scale. I bumped into them while looking for 7/8ths figures. They are mostly military, but some could be waiters or chefs.
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/54mm-figures
http://northstarmodels.com/product-c...res/1-32-54mm/
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