New Jersey Transit Comet Passenger Cars

For this project I purchased Comet II passenger car shells from Island Model Works.  My intention was to use these cars and paint them in a more updated livery which was on the Comet IIM cars.  Below are a couple of shots of how the looked when they arrived.  As you can see there's a lot of flash and left over molding that had to be cut out from the windows and along the bottom of the cars.  It took a lot of patience, but it wasn't too hard to do.

45a9f66c4dedd6872cab4421f8d2c8af.jpg
4def02cac1ff80fc42e7693b63158f9b.jpg

The NJ Transit cars have inside bearing wheels which means the outside of the wheels aren't attached to anything.  I purchased several sets of Kato wheels that are used on their Amfleet cars.  These trucks have a coupler mounted on them which would hit the steps molded onto the Comet II chasis so I had to cut off the coupler.  While I was at it I trimmed the electrical leads since I have no plans on lighting my cars and they would only present a challenge later

cd0f10651a579514ab75bb763ffe8d03.jpg
e72160852c9a3405a8fb40ed7ee200b0.jpg

Here you can see how I used an NMRA coupler gauge to ensure that the couplers are at the right height.  I also had to check the clearance of the coupler to make sure that the coupler wouldn't hit against the floor of the car next to it.

3a5083e84c8b82d56d6a7752b42880b5.jpg
cc7a5bd820e76e0afa4ced4d136308d4.jpg

The next step was to check to see if the coupler will clear the platform on the end of the car.  The picture on the right shows the platforms as they came.  I later rounded the edges so they'd work better in push mode.

77f02ec845c3ff0700d3c76d8dd800bb.jpg
55f5058761001a4d5abefa1c49bd66ca.jpg
94cad2b76ce6b3c1d8d4e2f287ee50a6.jpg

Here you can see the fully assembled cars.  There are still minor tweaks to me made, but otherwise they're ready for testing.

9f08a94602b376b50f8dfe573a651d67.jpg

Testing

690d14abded247fd5a332cffcb5bcf20.jpg

Testing is crucial and must be vigorous when trying to operate in a push/pull fashion.  Since every can has a little ledge at each end of the floor (so passengers can safely walk from car to car) I had to make sure that the cars could navigate turns without catching on each other.  I had to carefully cut and file each one so that they would push the car in front of in push mode without pushing it off of the rail and they needed to be able to navigate tighter turns (12 inch radius) both forwards and backwards.  They were tested in all types of situations including switch tracks and tight S curves.

Final Tests Before Painting

Push Mode

Pull Mode

Time to Paint

Unfortunately many of my painting pictures were lost.  I experimented with over 15 combinations of various silver and white paints until I found the perfect combination to match the NJ Transit aluminum silver color.

 

In this picture you can see that the car was already airbrushed with what I call NJT silver and is now masked for the black stripe.  Below that is a picture after the black is airbrushed and the tape is removed.  Some of the molded on features unfortunately prevented me from getting a perfect stripe on the ends.

1a58bb7d6d3ac1670eda15c6777bbc9f.jpg
5b0010f9e838ba9e84f1719a7b6dd488.jpg

Here are some pictures and video of the final product.  I am extremely pleased with the way they came out.

95751ee3f2763fd8970e2c07945e009f.jpg
44d550928f2f6dac2a9981be684ff771.jpg
23c5a369ec054a6ba58be0b40bf08a2f.jpg
4208e53682a05bd0cb7ee18bff3d8b6d.jpg
15dfff5efd4f3d78d32299d424bce166.jpg

These videos shows just how close the cars are to each other on a 19 1/4" radius in push mode and in pull mode

Pull Mode

Push Mode