Don Winter 1:20.3 kits
Out of production Fn3 (1:20.3) rolling stock kits and detail parts
1:20.3 scale kits:
1:22.5 scale kits:
1:24 scale kits:
- # 202 Tank conversion kit (kit of a welded tank for a flat car load)
- # 403 Early logging disconnects kit - 1 pair
- # 800 ....
- # 801 ....
- # 802 Drovers Caboose kit with trucks
- # 803 Watermelon boxcar kit with trucks
- # 804 ....
- # 805 ....
- # 806 Rail and Tie car kit with trucks
- # 807 Bulk Materials car kit with trucks
- # ??? D&RGW 700 Series drop bottom gondola ( click here for further info's on this model )
1:22.5 scale kits:
- # 12 Outfit car kit with trucks
- # ... .....
1:24 scale kits:
- # ... Boxcar kit with trucks
.... still looking for further documents & photos ....
Quote by ...:
This page is dedicated to the memory of my friend Don Winter. While my methods of kit production do not match those of Don's or other manufacturers, I think one can get the idea of what's involved with bringing an idea to the table and packaging it for sale. Don produced a dozen or more kits in 1:20.3 scale over a 4 year period from 2001 through 2004. 25 years ago, he was a pioneer in the 1:24 kit production and before that, On3 kits. Those kits still pop up on e-bay from time to time.
My first customer "dollar" came from Don. He needed formed brass wire grab irons for his OV project and I was his supplier. That was in October, 2001. In May of 03, I flew to Orlando for a week to visit several laser shops. At the time, Don was living in Maitland, just north of Orlando. We spent several days visiting shops and discussing "technology" changes we both needed to continue our manufacturing businesses. By the end of the week our long distance telephone friendship had cemented into a more personal relationship.
There was no competition in our relationship. Neither one of us had a dog that was bigger than the other's. Just a deep understanding of the long hours spent cutting parts and developing affordable rolling stock kits. While my design is far different from Don's, I have preserved the "yoke" system we worked out late one March of 03 evening.
Update 1, 10-05-2007
Hopefully, these 3 pictures are plenty to grab your interest. This will be a month long or longer input from me. Don Winter introduced this kit in the summer of 2003. This was one of his "budget" kits as he liked to refer to them. Let me also point out the handles and retainer on this model are not from Don's kit but from PNG casting of my making. More on that later.
Don and I frequently shared the joy and misery of kit developing. When one was "stuck" on a problem, he would pick up the phone and call the other. Of course once the problem was resolved, we'd chat about everything else for an hour or two before hanging up. One evening in the spring of 03, Don called me with a show stopper for his DB kit (drop bottom). He needed a part that would hold the floor boards and provide the side post to glue the side boards on. It would also have to hold the center sills spaced to the proper width. He had tried several methods and all didn't work. Once I had a grasp of what he needed, I drew up a part Don coined as a "yoke". On the left is the actual drawing I e-mailed him. I slammed this together while we were talking. As you can see, it is a rough drawing and not symmetrical. On the right are the yokes as supplied in Don's kit. The bottom set of yokes build up the center hump car. I have one of these kits. Not sure how many of this version he made.
Besides the "yoke", Don asked me to make up longer versions of my strap steps which I gladly did. I supplied Don with grab irons, strap steps and nut bolts for this and other kits.
So....................... on with the show. The first step for me was to build up one of Don's kits. I do own a 3-Foot Classic DB and plenty of reference books. The best book in my library for this car is the 700 Series Drop Bottom Gondola Quick Pic Book by Rick Blanchard. I assemble all the wood parts, first distressing them with a Dremel tool and ganged up cut-off blades and dousing each piece with a 50/50 mix of India ink and alcohol.
At this point, I was ready to add the white metal hardware to the sides and ends. I looked over Don's lasered plastic handles and knew this was a part that would to be updated. The following pictures are of the brass masters for the new handles. All manufactures have their own "madness" in the casting process and I'm sure my madness is different than others. I have found that the best cast parts come from cavities in the mold that were made by "original" masters. Not secondary castings or anything else. I also like to cast enough parts of a particular piece for 2 cars in each mold if possible. On the drop bottom, they're 2 left handle / lock pawl and 2 right handle / lock pawl. That meant cutting 4 sets of left hand handles and 4 sets of right hand handles. Very time consuming but also very rewarding when the parts come out of the spin casting mold. Here's the masters as I cut them. These are thumbnail pictures you can click on to blow up. Size does count!! Click your back button to return. A couple shots have Don's plastic handle next to my brass masters.
Several of these pictures were taken on my mill. Besides the calipers, I hope you noticed the high powered reading glasses. We all kid around about the 3 foot rule for detail but when making masters, it's really the 3 inch rule. The older I get, the stronger those glasses get!! Another point for you to ponder. The above parts took 50 hours of work to produce. Don't know where the other manufactures keep their masters but mine are at Fort Knox!!
Once I had the masters, I vulcanized a mold and cast enough to finish Don's kit. The following shots are of the car with all the metal but before painting.
If you own or have built one of Don's DB kit's, you have also noted that the door chain brackets on this car are not the plastic parts but are lasered 1/16" birch plywood. Painting was next and those pictures are at the top of the page.
Well, that's it for now. The next step for me is to develop a frame jig and frame for the kit. Like all the rest of my kits, this one will have a pre-assembled frame to get you started with the construction. I will continue with side by side comparisons of Don's kit to the new PNG version.
Don did a marvelous job with this kit and it was very rewarding to see it come together. If I recall, he charged $65 for the kit less trucks and couplers. Not sure if he ever made a dime on this project but bringing a difficult car to market was far more important to Don than the bank statement at the end of the day. Pretty sure he told me that he made 140 DB kits to sell. If you own one, you own a very fine representation of a very unique car.
Send me any questions or comments and I'll add them to this page. Don wasn't just my friend and I know many of you have bits & pieces of information worth sharing.
See you next time.........................
Update 2, 10-23-2007
I've heard from a couple of you. I think the common thread was about Don's friendly nature and willingness to assist. The other common thread was whether I would make parts available separately from the kit to those wishing to upgrade parts on their Winter's kit. Yes, that is part of the plan. While Don left off some detail completely and used styrene parts as a quick fix on other parts, overall, it is really a nice addition to any railroad. My parts will fit Don's kit with a little fitting and increase the robustness and appearance of the overall model.
So, lets get on with planning and executing the kit. As a kit and scratch builder myself, I do not like to open a box full of uncut lumber and a set of difficult plans. I think this is one place PNG kits are very different from others. I prefer to have a basic frame built and square. I also like all the lumber cut to size. One or two pieces to be custom cut by the builder is acceptable but not the entire kit. Those that have built my kits know this to be a PNG standard. Decent instructions with plenty of pictures or illustrations is also a must.
The drop bottom doesn't really have much of a frame in the since of a boxcar or other type of "house" car. But there are the center beams and drop door stop beams of which 2 double as needle beams. The placement of these beams is critical so that the truss rods will install without any "magic" bends. The pictures that follow are of a "mock up" that will become the kit.
The 2 pictures are of the bottom and top of the frame that will be assembled in each kit. This will fulfil the following:
1. Place the body bolsters at the correct location.
2. Place the 4 drop door stop beams / needle beams at the correct locations.
3. Maintain proper spacing of the main center beams. These beams will be notched for sufficient rotation of the trucks to negotiate 8' to 10' diameter curves.
While this frame looks relatively simple (and it is), several hours were spent testing for proper size and placement. The kit is being designed to sit on Accucraft 3' 7" freight trucks. The use of any other truck will cause the car height and truck pivot to be unsatisfactory.
I still need to build the jig for mass producing this frame. I should have that by the next update.
Assembly of the kit is going to jump from assembling wood parts to metal parts and back several times. The complexity of the truss rod placement dictates this so here's a look at brake and truss rod placements.
For the purpose of "cobbing" together the "first cut" of the kit, I used boxcar hardware for the brake gear, queen post and turnbuckles. I had to grind down all the queen post for them to fit. New masters of these parts will be made. Unlike my other kits, the truss rods will extend all the way to the end beams of the car.
Pictures above is the frame with the "yokes" attached. On Don's kit, he used 7 yokes, 2 of which are located at the ends of the car. This is not correct but was a compromise he made to ease in the construction of the car. Don also notched the center beams for the placement of the yokes. On the PNG kit, I am using spacers glued to the tops of the center beams to correctly position the 5 yokes. The end beams are notched like the yokes to accept the floor boards. Like Don's kit, the doors will not open. I have also adjusted the height and width of the yokes to be per specifications of the prototype car.
Next update, we'll add the floor, walls and ends. We'll also start making masters for all the detail parts.
See you next time...................................
last update: 2016-06-26