“S” is for “Someday Spreader”

While out and about this week, I stopped into a local hobby shop and came out poorer – yet richer – because of this little gem:

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I’m a fan of non-revenue equipment and have acquired a few pieces for my layout. For example, I’ve built a CNR wooden snow plough from a much-modified, vintage Ambroid craftsman kit, and kit bashed a (static) model of an MoW gang’s speeder. I’ve painted and finished a Burro crane, including DCC, and painted and finished a scale test car.

These are all fine examples of non-revenue equipment, but none of them is as versatile as a Jordan Spreader. Sadly, nobody makes one in 1:64 – the Model A Jordan Spreader pictured above is an HO scale model imported by Overland.

I’ve actually been collecting data and photos of the Model A Jordan Spreader since seeing photos of one in an article in Issue 60 of CN Lines, the magazine published by the Canadian National Railways Historical Association. The article features the HO scale models of CNR non-revenue equipment built by the late Ron Keith and included both prototype and model photos of a Model A Jordan Spreader in CNR livery. (Coincidentally, this was the same issue in which I introduced my layout to the magazine’s readers.) When I saw that tiny, cab-less Spreader, I knew I’d have to build one.

This HO scale example will make an excellent study model as I tackle that project. The HO model is tiny – less than five inches long – but my digital photos are revealing many details not readily visible to the naked eye:

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I’m not yet ready to start this project because scratch-building any piece of equipment is a huge undertaking and I have other, more pressing things on my to-do list right now. But the lack of a good reference from which to work was a major stumbling block to getting started – and now that I have one, that barrier has been removed. Between the model, the data, and the photos I’ve collected, I’m confident I can proceed. And when I’m finished the S scale model, I can either sell off the HO version (it won’t be harmed in its role as a study model), or paint it up for the CNR and display it on a shelf.

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