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John Ripp Gallery 1

All images copyright Mr. John Ripp and may not be used elsewhere without his permission.

To see more of John's work visit http://www.picturetrail.com/enjineerbill

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John hails from Wisconsin. He has taken to modeling the American Freedom Train in HO scale and has graciously agreed to share with us images and notes of his progress. It is still very much a work in progress, so check back every month or so to see what's new. John is basing much of his model on the Lionel AFT cars from the 1970's. Click on any of the images to see a larger version!
 
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Update September 2008.

Johnny has come a long way in modeling the American Freedom Train in HO. These pages follow his progress chronologically from his beginnings in 2006. Just thought we'd start out with a single picture of his very lastest work -- the AFT wagons and flatcars. Enjoy the rest!

 
 

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IN THE BEGINNING (late 2006)

AFT Showcase Car #41, with considerable reworking.

It wasn't long after this that John decided to try to model the entire American Freedom Train. These pages chronicle his progress. Check here regularly for the latest!

 
 
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Another shot of AFT Showcase Car #41. Beyond the considerable reworking of the interior to rearrange and modify the showcase items, John lowered the car height to a more prototypical level.
 
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John's notes on lowering the Lionel cars: If you turn over the car and remove the trucks, you will see on the bolster that the outer ring is raised about 1/16th of an inch from the other level. I shave this higher ring down flush with the lower one and when the car is reassembled, it sits lower on the trucks. This of course requires some modifications to the trucks; looking at the Lionel trucks from the side, on the tops of the frame you will see little rounding areas above the frame where the wheels line up. Shave these down even with the truck frames. This will provide a truck that will clear the car body when swinging on tighter radius (less than 26") curves. And of course the wheelsets that come with it are discarded and replaced with the correct 36" metal wheels. I was surprised at how close Lionel came to the actual trucks with these. After this process, you will be able to body mount Kaydee No. 5's (or whatever you choose) easily with a few shims.
 
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AFT Display Car #101, flat panel side - with Accuen's stickers replacing the panel art.
 
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AFT Display Car #101, shadowbox side - with Accuen's stickers replacing the shadowbox art.
 
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BEFORE : The Freedom Bell from Lionel's AFT model.
 
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AFTER : The Freedom Bell. Ripp sanded, drilled and painted it.
 
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BEFORE : The Lunar Rover Test Article from Lionel's AFT model.
 
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IN PROGRESS: The Lunar Rover Test Article gets some paint and a mast for the antenna.
 
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COMPARISON : The Lunar Rover Test Article from Lionel's AFT model and Ripp's makeover, complete with communications dish/antenna.
 
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John is no big fan of the Lionel GS-4, but when he received a "basket case" Daylight in a batch of AFT cars he bought, he decided to see what he could do with it...
 
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John's notes 12/23/2006:

BEFORE: When I received one in a lot I bought for the cars, I thought I would throw it out. But being the frugal one, I decided to tackle the beast. The first picture is what the thing looked like when I opened the box; driving wheels all screwed-up, motor fried and frozen and parts broken off. It was also CAKED with dirt, mud and who knows what else.

 
  American Freedom Train 4449
AFTER: I tore the engine and tender completely down. Some things that were done: Re-quartered the drivers and removed the motor. The cast frame in this early production model does not lend itself well to remotoring, so I opted to make this a freewheeling, 'dummy' that would have the home-road helper cut in right behind it, thus supplying the power to move. I also cleaned and touched up the engine and tender shells, fixing the broken parts. The drivers got their rims painted white as did all the others as per the real girl. Metal wheels were added to the tender as well as a kaydee #5 coupler.
 
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Still to come: Repositioning of the boiler number boards. Correcting the position of the cab Numbers. Finding right sized stars for the drivers and adding pilot stripes and constant lighting w/mars light. And of course, blackening the side-rods.
 
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John Ripp's update February 2007:

This will be AFT car #202, the 'Pie Car" (circus slang for the meal car). The model is a commission for AFT fan/collector John Finnin. A few years ago Finnin modeled the AFT himself in O Scale using K-LINE's AFT model and adding the rest of the cars from his own handiwork. Several years ago John had modeled the whole train in HO. Now he has decided to update it, enlisting the help of Mr. Ripp.

 
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The combo car is a model made by Bethlehem Car Works. It's a near-perfect match for the real AFT #202, which started life as a Reading commuter car. The kit John is using is Bethlehem Car Works Steel Combine (suburban) Kit # 220.
 
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One end of the roof.
 
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The other end of the roof.
 
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AFT #202 before.
 
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AFT #202 after!
 
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Other side. Looking good!
 
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AFT #202 with lettering.
 
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AFT #202 with lettering, other side.
 
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AFT #202 ridin' the rails of Ripp's fictitious Madison Central of Wisconsin - also known as the 'MadCow'.
 
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AFT #202 headed through town.
 
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AFT #202 headed cross country.
 
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AFT #202 ready for its close-up.
 
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AFT #202 complete and ready to ship to Mr. Finnin!
 
 
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