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 Post subject: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:09 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I just pulled the trigger with ordering one of the aluminum castings of the builder plate of an Army S160 2-8-0, cast off the real one in the collection at the Age Of Steam roundhouse, from their web store (which oddly, the website doesn't open now, so I deleted the link)

When I get it, I'll drill bolt holes and then paint it once I can confirm if the originals were cast in bronze in WW2. I just need to find a good color photo of an original plate as the real one might have been cast from iron instead.
Does anyone have a clue if these were bronze or iron, and if they were simply painted over on the locomotives in service? I can't find photos showing them in detail...

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Last edited by p51 on Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:55 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 408
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
The best I can do is give an educated guess. We have the BLW drawing index for the first BLW batch of S160s, the BLW index for the order that Alaska Railroad 557 was built under, and about 80% of the original drawings. However, I haven't been able to find anything about the builder's plate.

I have heard the builder's plate was cast iron and I tend to go along with that opinion, but can't document it.

The builder's plate for 557 disappeared at least 50 years ago. We had to recreate it in iron from photographs and by using the shadow of the original on the side of the smokebox to determine the diameter. At least one of the U.K. S160s has a brass/bronze plate, but it's a replica. If 612 has the original plate, I'd be surprised if they got it with the locomotive. That locomotive was pretty well stripped as it went through various owners.

I know that the U.S. Government plate on the right side of the smoke box was iron - we still have the original from 557 as well as a Lima drawing that says it is iron. It spent many years at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry and was donated to us to be returned to the locomotive.

The original bell was also iron.

Attached is an enlargement of the builder's plate and U.S. Government plate from the builder's photo of ARR 555. 555 was used for the builder's photo of the sub class of about 16 locomotives that were retained by the Army and Alaska Railroad and modified to ICC specs for use in the U.S. It looks like the lettering was highlighted in white paint.

Also attached are photos of the original U.S. Government plate for 557 that is currently hanging on our wall and 3D printed and investment cast replicas of the two plates at 1/8 scale (1-1/8" diameter)that I hope to someday apply to a live steam S160.


Attachments:
builder's plate 555.jpg
builder's plate 555.jpg [ 10.72 KiB | Viewed 1051 times ]
Govt plate 555.jpg
Govt plate 555.jpg [ 9.84 KiB | Viewed 1051 times ]
plate.jpg
plate.jpg [ 71.36 KiB | Viewed 1051 times ]
two plates.jpg
two plates.jpg [ 60.38 KiB | Viewed 1051 times ]


Last edited by Dick_Morris on Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:22 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:07 pm
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The last use of bronze for the 9.25" round BLW plates on diesels was in late 1941 or early 1942. From then on they were all cast iron. The tip off in appearance is the width of the raised rim. It was less than 1/4" on bronze plates and about 1/2" on cast iron.

Hope that helps a little.


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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:36 am 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Thank you very much for your replies. I guess when I get it, I'll look into painting the color the smokebox would have been painted in Army service.

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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
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Location: Ipswich, UK
p51 wrote:
Thank you very much for your replies. I guess when I get it, I'll look into painting the color the smokebox would have been painted in Army service.


The preserved ones here seem to have an almost satin black finish on the smokebox...
Attachment:
16-32a.JPG
16-32a.JPG [ 249.96 KiB | Viewed 888 times ]

Whether that was the case for the 1940's is another matter!

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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:58 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:08 am
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“I just pulled the trigger with ordering one of the aluminum castings of the builder plate of an Army S160 2-8-0, cast off the real one in the collection at the Age Of Steam roundhouse, from their web store (which oddly, the website doesn't open now, so I deleted the link).”

“When I get it, I'll drill bolt holes and then paint it once I can confirm if the originals were cast in bronze in WW2. I just need to find a good color photo of an original plate as the real one might have been cast from iron instead.”

“Does anyone have a clue if these were bronze or iron, and if they were simply painted over on the locomotives in service? I can't find photos showing them in detail...”

Lee Bishop


The original, rectangular Baldwin Locomotive Works builder’s plate from U.S. Army “G.I.” 2-8-0 #2630 (above) is made of cast iron, and was used to help make the aluminum replicas sold by the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum. During World War II, metals such as bronze, brass and copper were in short supply but high in demand, and beginning in 1942 most new builder’s plates were being made from cast iron.

John B. Corns
Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum


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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:33 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 408
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
The image is from the BLW specifications for road numbers 2379 through 2382 built for the Alaska Railroad.

In the Bill of Materials for the order ARR 557 was built under, the paint is called out as 22 gals Camouflage Lusterless Black Enamel.


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paint.jpg
paint.jpg [ 43.35 KiB | Viewed 605 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:40 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:14 pm
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One correction to this post. By mid-1944 Baldwin was again using bronze in their builder's plates. I have the builders plate off Southern Pacific's #4293 and it is bronze.

Martin


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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:31 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Dick, thank you very much for posting that color listing. Finally I have written confirmation from the era that supports what I've always known; that Army steam locomotives were not painted OD green.
I have no idea why this has been something that will never go away. Model train companies love making them OD green and so many people have assumed that they were painted the same OD green that wheeled vehicles were. But period photo clearly support they were painted black!
The biggest eye-rolling situation for me is the Davenport 600MM gauge 2-6-2T at Fort Benning's Infantry Museum. It's painted in a badly-faded postwar OD green paint, the same stuff they painted everything else out back of the museum (even though the signs with period photos of those engines, right next to the loco, all show they were painted black):
Image
But going back to this plate, I guess flat black it is. It won't be as 'cool' looking as bronze and black background, but it will be accurate and that's all that counts to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Baldwin army builder plate question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
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Location: Thomaston & White Plains
"...the same stuff they painted everything else out back of the museum..."

Could this be the Army version of:

"If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't, paint it gray."

Howard P.

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