Friday, May 19, 2023

Tribute - Harry Brunk 3


The other day I was reviewing old emails from Harry and realized a few corrections were in order. There was also more information about some of the subjects that I discussed previously. 

First, the dates the four of us visited Harry were a little earlier than I had remembered. Casual references in email conversation indicates our first visit was in early summer 2006. Our second visit was probably in early summer 2007. Harry and Bob Axsom were old friends and Bob spent his time during visits taking many photos of the Union Central & Northern. After both visits he had accumulated a large number of views that he used to develop the slide program from which most of the layout photos shown came from. The program on the disk he gave to each of us was dated 16 Jan. 2008.

Harry's Cinder car 0105 was scratch built for the 1930s

Harry sent the following email on 1 Sept. 2007 (a few months after Bob Axsom, Daryl Leedy, Mike Pine and I visited the second time). Harry wrote;

  "FINALLY... the Rio Grande Ltd. C&S cinder car that Eric Bracher sent me has been finished. As you know, he (like I did with my scratchbuilt car,) used your plans from that slick MR article you did some years ago.(Aug. 1991 MR). Also, as per your recommendation, did some reviewing of how C&S re-lettered cars over the years, and made some changes on the scheme I had on my scratchbuilt version of the same cinder type.
"...You may or may not remember I'd lettered my car (UC&N 0105,) in block lettering to sorta go along with the correctly done type two model I'd scratchbuilt of 0206. You thought the first cinder cars had probably never been re-lettered in block style, and I just recently realized you were seeing a thing or two there that I'd missed... They only lettered or re-lettered in the newer styles they went to when or if, a car series was weathered badly enough to desperately need it. The first 0100 series wouldn't have needed it by block lettering adoption, but much later... mid '20s maybe, they possibly did. So both 0107 (Eric's kit car,) and 0105 got one of those quickie lettering jobs the C&S did in the '30s.. Both these cars do however have the up to date stirrups and hand grabs, as fits an early '30s version of the C&S. So, the block lettering came off my 0105, and both 0105 and 0107 got the UC&N and numbers in Roman on the upper left hand side of the cars. No other stenciling shows, except for end initials and numbers, since the C&S had let all that go on 0206 by that time...
  "Also, instead of just being window dressing on the siding at Forks Creek, my three cinder cars are now in operation. This whole thing was kicked in gear after I rebuilt my cinder pit at Silver Plume, a month or two after you guys paid a visit to the UC&N..."

Berlyn Locomotive Works import

I believe our discussion on the cinder cars began during our last visit when I notice the cars on his layout.

I had long forgotten that Eric produced an HOn3 kit of the cinder car for his Rio Grande Models line. I never solicited anyone to make kits of the cars I researched, however, when it happened  - and it has  many times - it is very satisfying to know others have gotten enjoyment out of  the work such research takes. Theo Berlyn imported an O scale model of the cinder cars as well.

The U.C&N herald had an extra figure and Harry neatly put the "C&" on his coal cars where the "&" in "C&S" was. That would have split nicely in the center of the car sides had he chosen to do so.


C&S 0107 was originally U.P.D&G. coal 3999

UC&N Block scheme on a C&S coal car

"... Regarding my cinder car fleet, I have now taken and filed some photos, and will now attempt to send two of them to you, attached to this email.
 "0105 is my scratchbuilt version that for years incorrectly sported block lettering. 0107 is the built up version of one of Rio Grande
(Models) Ltd's kits. Eric Bracher sent it assembled to help me make exploded drawings for his instruction sheet to be included in the kits. Note the side sill is considerably too deep, but to correct it on the assembled car would have required major surgery, and the car is too well done otherwise, I think. Anyway, the lettering, and the detailing, has been rendered as we think the were in the early 1930s. Right? Hope so".

This email came to me (with the photos of his 3 models) on 3 Oct. 2007. I can't speak to the HO version of the car by RGM since Eric never consulted me on that project. The side sills are not called out in the drawing that appears on pages 86 / 87 of the noted MR issue above. The sills were probably the same size as the Type I (1902 built ) coal cars. The measurement of 4319's sills were 11 7/8" as I recall - having actually measured them one New Years Day. (Cold!!)

Left is the RGM Kit (0107) - 0206 is a Type II car

The following discussion may shed a little light on the topic of reverting the U.C&N to C&S (which it absolutely was except in name). Again this was a discussion that came up during our visit in 2007. The email is dated 28 April 2008. It doesn't actually take into account that part of the discussion I have already related in an earlier post but it does add dimension to the topic (see "Tribute - Harry Brunk 2").

" ... I remember your philosophy about limited grab irons, and how that made me feel better after  suffering through all my boxcars with the full array for the '30s. The same reason you like fewer of them is kin to the reason I hang on to my Union Central & Northern lettering and numbering scheme. Whole lot simpler to only have to decal three car numbers, and I don't have to worry whether a given number for my steel frame boxcar series has to go on a car with narrow or wide ribbed roof, or one of the rare wood covered roofs. Oh, them thar folks are out there that LOVE to point out such things if they can prove it, and catch you with a wrongly numbered car with the roof you modeled. 'Course, you're very familiar with such minor problems like that...
 "...Havin' fun can take so many tracks in this hobby, its too bad more folks don't get the message. Workin' on it."

Harry was one of the nicest guys you could meet - I've always sorta taken his comment; " 'Course, you're very familiar with such minor problems like that" as a polite little jab back at me because I had upon occasion pointed out things concerning C&S-esque model freight cars that were contrary to the prototypes. Not about roofs, as I recall, but more fundamental issues such as, when cars were built and the frame technology that dictated the car building activity of this railroad.
He references my long standing penchant for modeling the pre ICC regulations that more than doubled the number of grab irons on freight cars after 1911. That isn't the only reason I like the earlier periods. I do loath the tedious task of installing grab irons. Harry is relating my impatience with grab irons to his
impatience (I gather) of applying decals - one digit at a time - characteristic of lettering sets for freight cars. Fewer numerals, fewer grab irons - yeah. I get that. But imagine the task of re lettering every model to match the prototype should one try to change a layout as advanced as Harry's.

In the following post, dated 30 May 2008. Harry responded to a few of the thoughts I shared with him about the world of Fine Art and its treatment of artists. His remarks reveal a little bit of insight into his own experiences as a working artist.
 " ...Too many years spent learning the hard way that even supposedly sure fire ways of doing it, weren't a sure thing at all. One truth stands out, and it works for Vegas gamblers and artists, and any salesmen... the more money you have already... the less you NEED the next move to succeed... the more likely you WILL succeed, and win big. A relatively well off bank president, who was a good friend was a case in point. He ALWAYS won big in our poker sessions. 'Course they weren't serious money games, but you get the drift. Saw the same thing amoung the artists that I showed with. One of the more successful was asked by a friend and fellow artist, just how you went about getting into one of the major big league art shows, as he had. Not being smartass about it, he said he noticed they actually came to him, after his own personal sales were doing so well he no longer really needed help.
   "In my case, supposedly having your art on magazine covers was a fast track item. Yeah, well with 11 Quarter Horse Journal covers, one Western Horseman cover, and a good western history book cover along with some lesser publications, I admit in some circles it helped the sales of my paintings. But getting in front or into those circles with any regularity wasn't a done deal. Made some big shows, and good sales, but the economy beat me up in between. Never got the war chest built up to the point that the next one didn't matter too much. I got close, but the bottom for the up and comers fell out just as things seemed to be coming together. Close, but no cigar...

I'll not burden you with much of what I said to Harry. What I will say is that the artist - who does all the work - gets very little return compared to the industrializers of art. Unless, of course the artist is an industrializer himself - like Thomas Kinkade. True art is contrary to commercialism because it is a language not a product. Anyway, I have sold a few pieces - and never saw them again! They are like children you send off to school; and never come home again. My walls are filled with some of them. I get more enjoyment out of them than what ever I might do with the money.
There is an excellent article on the Union Central & Northern in the May 1989 Model Railroader that includes a layout plan before it moved into "Little Colorado". That issue has a beautiful cover photo of U.C&N no. 65 at Idaho Springs. If you can obtain or have a copy, it is well worth reviewing for more of an overview of the layout and philosophy the went into creating the Union Central & Northern.
Next time we will talk about the Sn3 box car Harry lettered U.C&N for me. .

No comments:

Post a Comment