TANKCARS Class Tk-G, Tk-H, Tk-J and MOW, plans supplied by Tom Madden

Tankcars Class Tk-G, Tk-H, Tk-I Tk-J and MOW                   

plans supplied by Tom Madden

scroll down and click on pictures to enlarge

Tk-G                                                    Tk-H                                                     Tk-I                                                         Tk-J

ETCHING                                                               FRAME  (upside and downside)                       TANK UPPER HALVE       4 VERSIONS          LOWER HALVE (upside/downside)        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ENDS, VENTS, DISCHARGE PIPES   


N-121 Tankcar Tk-G. complete kit: 4 cast resin tank parts, 1 3D printed frame, 1 brass etching, 1 3D printed discharge pipe, 1 3D printed tank vent (less trucks, couplers, decals)

N-122 Tankcar Tk-H. complete kit: 4 cast resin tank parts, 1 3D printed frame, 1 brass etching, 1 3D printed discharge pipe, 1 3D printed tank vent (less trucks, couplers, decals)

N-123 Tankcar Tk-I. complete kit: 4 cast resin tank parts, 1 3D printed frame, 1 brass etching, 1 3D printed discharge pipe, 1 3D printed tank vent (less trucks, couplers, decals)

N-124 Tankcar Tk-J. complete kit: 4 cast resin tank parts, 1 3D printed frame, 1 brass etching, 1 3D printed discharge pipe, 1 3D printed tank vent (less trucks, couplers, decals)

N-125 Tankcars Tk-G, H, I and J. 1 brass etching only (for all versions if you order the 3D printed body parts from Shapeways)




In 1906/1907 a total of 449 Tk-G class cars were built. Originally these cars came with Archbar trucks and diagonal steel tank bands.

Tk-G numbers 95053-96152.

Tk-G numbers 96153-96352

In 1910 498 cars of the Tk-H class arrived. These cars were indentical except for Andrews trucks and a larger dome.

Tk-H numbers 96603-96900.

Tk-H numbers 99293-99499.

In 1912 200 cars of the Tk-I class were ordered. The only difference with the Tk-H class was the absence of the steel diagonal bands.

Tk-I numbers 99098-99297.

In 1914/1915 a total of 600 cars of the Tk-J class were delivered. These were duplicates of the Tk-H class except for a higher dome.

Tk-J numbers 99700-99899.

Tk-J numbers 99900-100299.

In the 1920's the diagonal steel anchor bands of the first two classes were removed.

In the 1930's the first class got AAR trucks; many cars in the other classes also received AAR trucks later in life.

The Tk-G class lasted till the early 1950's. Most of the Tk-H and Tk-I classes remained in service until the early 1960's, declining to 150 cars in the early 1980's. The last Tk-H survived til 1985.

Many Tk-G through Tk-J class cars were permanently modified for, or assigned to maintenance-of-way services. Some lasted til the 1990's. These cars received MW numbers and MW paint, light gray till 1956, aluminum afterwards.

Pictures are absolutely necessary to determine the exact version of a specific car.

A lot of information and pictures can be found in the books "Santa Fe Tank Cars" and "Work Equipment Cars", both published by the Santa Fe Historical and Modelling Society. Also on various internet sites many pictures of specific cars can be found.


Building instructions.

Please read these instructions carefully before starting to build your tankcar(s).

Very good and useful reference text and pictures can be found in the book Santa Fe Tank Cars by Hendrickson and Pelouze, published by the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society and on various internet websites. 

A special thanks to Tom Madden of Colorado for graciously supplying his HO scale 3D drawings to convert to N scale.

The most important tools are a motor tool (brown 1,0 mm thick grinding disc, drills 0,4 mm, 0,5 mm, 1,0 mm and 1,5 mm, adjustible speed), a hobby knive or straight scalpel, X-acto knife chisel blade, various files, ACC glue (Zap-a-gap green), tweezers. Also a magnifier lamp comes in  very handy.

Start by checking the castings if all casting ridges have been removed and if there is a good fit between upper and lower tank halves.  The length of both tank halves should be equal. Cut, file or sand if necessary. Check if the 12 notches in the lower tank half are “clean”. If necessary use a scalpel or small hobby knife to make some extra room to accept the running board protrussions.

Carefully drill out all stirrup, handgrip and handrail pilot holes in the frame and all 4 tank castings using the 0,5 mm drill. Take care with the stirrup holes on the corner of the frame. Using the 0,4 mm drill first on these and applying a little force away from the corner will  avoid damage to the corner.     

Glue a 10 gram lead strip in the middle of the tank bottom half using contact cement if you want to bring the car to the NMRA recommended weight.  Please use enough glue as you will not be able to reglue them later if ever they come loose…… there is nothing more irritating than loose wheights inside a carbody.

Next are the stirrups and handgrips on the frame. To remove them from the fret use a chisel blade knife and the back of a steel ruler. Take care to place the fret with the half etchings touching the ruler. Slide the chisel blade over the half etch as close as possible to the part to be cut out. This way a clean vertical cut can be made without deforming the etchings. Put a drop of ACC glue on a scrap piece of styrene. Using the tweezers to hold the stirrups or handgrips dip the legs in the small puddle of glue and insert into the holes (testfitting them first without glue is good practice). The only objective at this moment should be that both/all legs are inserted the same length. Horizontal/vertical plane can be adjusted after the glue has set by gripping the handgrip lengthwise with long pointed tweezers and gently bending them in the right position. Be careful with the orientation of the stirrups: they go on the same side of the frame as the bolster holes and brake apparatus.

Now assemble the upper tank half and tank ends. Testfit the tank ends to the upper tank half (no glue yet) if they are seated properly. If not, scrape or file the seams carefully/gently. Holding one tank end and the upper tank half between your thumb and pointing finger align them. The upper holes of the handgrips on the tank end ridge should be in line with the underside of the upper tank half (equal on both sides). If you are satisfied that everything fits properly and is in alignment inset ACC glue FROM THE INSIDE into the seam using a toothpick/thick needle/steel scribing pen.The glue will easily flow into the seam. Do not use too much glue or it will clog the predrilled holes and you will have to drill out the holes again. Do not forget the 2 handgrips on top of the dome (method see above). 

The handrails are next. Carefully cut out both U shaped handrail halves from the fret. They are fragile now, but once glued in place they are surprisingly sturdy. Using long pointed tweezers gently make the two 90 degree bends at the half etchings near the corners in both “legs”. Be sure to keep the half etchings on the “outside” of the bend/curve. If things get a bit out of line do not worry or bother to correct at this moment. Brass will take quite a bit of bending before breaking but do not overdo it. Bend both legs a bit outward  and insert both stanchions on the curved middle part of the handrail into the holes in the tank ends (no glue yet). Insert the 3 stanchions in both legs into their holes working from the tank end towards the middle of the tank (no glue yet). Do the same to the other  handrail (no glue yet). Now position the 4 stanchions under the dome in the middle of the tank at equal distance from the tank (about handrail width). Do not bother about the horizontal plane or some warping in the handrail at this moment. Using the trusted toothpick/thick needle/steel scribing pen put some AAC glue FROM THE INSIDE of the tank on the 4 holes. The glue will flow inside easily. Repeat this process for the other 8 stanchions in the upper tank half. Glue only from the inside. Now check if the 4 90 degree bends are still 90 degree bends. If not, correct with the long pointed tweezers. The 4 stanchions in the tank ends should also stick out an equal distance at this moment. Glue some the inside. Now you are ready to gently correct the straightness and horizontal/vertical plane of the handrails with the long pointed tweezers. You should be able to correct about 99 %. Looking at prototype pictures you will notice that both handrails and running boards are never 100% straight on these cars.

Next you can assemble the frame and lower tank half. In the underside of the lower tank half is 1 hole for the discharge pipe (to be installed last). Use a 1,0 mm drill to bring this hole to correct size. There are 2 small protrusions next to this hole to align the lower tank half to the frame. In the tank frame are 2 small holes in the center beam. Drill these out for about 0,5 mm with a 1,5 mm drill. Now check the fit between lower tank half and frame. The tank half should be exactly in the middle of the frame lengthwise. The outside edge of the outmost ribs on the underside of the lower tank half should be in line with the outside edge of the bloster seats on the frame (equal on both sides). This is crucial to the horizontal/vertical plane of the tank/runningboards. Also keep in mind that the discharge pipe holes in both lower tank half and frame are OFF CENTER. Both holes should be above each other. Once you are satisfied with the fit you can glue both parts together. I prefer putting a bit of ACC glue only to the surface of the 4 bolster seats using the toothpick/big needle/steel scribing pen method. Carefully place the 2 parts together and check immediately if the alignment is OK; there is not much time to correct.

Attaching the running boards is the following step. Cut the 2 running boards from the fret. Be careful to leave the 4 tank band extensions on one side and the 6 running board supports on the other side attached. Keeping the half etchings facing UPWARDS, fold the 4 tank band extensions (same side as the 6 short fixed extensions) a bit more than 90 degrees DOWNWARDS. Holding the running board with tweezers testfit to the notches in the lower tank half. The running board should almost touch the tank lengthwise and the topside of the running board etching should be even with the topside of lower tank half shell (ignore the notched inside support ridge). Clean out the notches in the lower tank half carefully a little at a time if necessarry. If you are satisfied with the fit, holding the running board with tweezers in the middle, put a bit of ACC glue on the underside of the 6 short fixed extensions and hold in place. With all the handling the extensions are probably a bit out of alignment, but not to worry. Using pointed tweezers this is easily corrected. First the 4 tank band extensions. The 2 outside (a little shorter) extensions can be bent back against the large bolster tank seats. I do not even glue these. The 2 middle extensions will fit exactly above  the “anchors” on the side frame. Put a little ACC glue (toothpick method) on the ends of these 2 tank band extensions before bending them back against the frame. Little trick: excess ACC glue on your model is easily removed with an old toothbrush (gentle strokes remove only the excess). Next the running board supports. I do not even glue these; using pointed tweezers simply bend them back against the underside of the running board (there are 2 half etchings to facilitate bending). Using the tweezers the supports can easily be positioned vertically and in the middle of the tank seats. The 4 ladders are last. Using tweezers the ladders are bent down against the frame. Using the toothpick/thick needle/steel scribing pen method a little ACC glue is placed from the underside on the end of the ladder and the frame. Check first if the ladders are vertical.

Now the upper and lower tank halfs are put together. First check for a good fit (no glue yet). If necessarry remove some  material on the inside. Make sure the orientation of the upper tank half is OK. If the brake regulator/reservoir/cylinder are on the left, the vents and brake wheel are on the right. In that case the hole in the dome for the vents should face to the right. The vents will be installed last, together with the discharge pipe. Check if the lead strips are firmly glued. Next apply ACC glue sparingly on the underside of the upper tank half (I use 6 points only). Drill the holes for the curved handgrips in the tank ends  a little deeper/all the way through. Holding the curved handgrips with tweezer, dip the ends in the small puddle of ACC glue. Insert into the holes as far as the small protrusions allow (test fitting first is good practice). After the glue has set bend the curved handgrips 90 degrees by pressing down with the flat chisel blade.

Install the brake gear on the underframe (see the pictures above, click on picture to enlarge). Insert the pivotting plates through the slots in the frame and apply a little ACC glue with a toothpick/needle. You have to bend the connecting rods a little out of the way but these can be repositioned when in place. The ends of the connecting rods near the trucks have to be bent a little upwards (very close to the end gluing tab, see left picture above) to allow free movement of the truck. The supplied brake wheel fits into a 0,5 mm hole, using a little ACC.

Trucks should be Andrews trucks  from MTL. Couplers are 1015 from MTL and are a drop in. Both are NOT supplied. No use hauling them across the Atlantic twice. The new scale couplers from MTL are even more perfect to create prototype distance between cars. Sacrifice in that case would be the magnetic uncoupling feature but the airhose comes in nicely.  Couplers can be glued in place with a tiny drop of ACC. The coupler pocket is a good fit. If you want to avoid glue oozing into the coupler, use a small screw. Put the coupler in place and using the coupler as a drilling jig drill a 1,0 mm hole into the frame. Screw the coupler in place without glue. Using the metal cutting disk carefully remove the part of the screw protruding above the frame. A little at a time to prevent too much heat. Also check the screw head  for interference with the axle. If necessary remove part of the screw head with the cutting disk. Again be careful and a little at a time to prevent too much heat.

When the model is finished clean the whole car in soapy water and let dry completely. PLEASE USE A GOOD LEVELING PRIMER. Mr Primer Surfacer 1000 diluted 30% with Mr Primer Leveling Thinner has given me excellent results. This primer (in a few thin layers) will hide al lot of the 3D printing irregularities.Paint glossy black afterwards for easy decalling and apply Dullcote after decalling. Microscale Decals 60-128 or 60-79 supply the  decals. Refer to the book or pictures on the internet how to letter a specific car. You will be astonished how many varieties there are. These cars were far from clean and heavy weathering can be applied. This will also help in conceiling the 3D print imperfections. Also do not worry if the handrails are not perfectly straight. Looking at prototype pictures you will agree......