As I began to paint and update the plain cream colored interiors of my K-Line Union Pacific Passenger cars, I found the non-updated interiors of my "City of Los Angeles" fleet matched less and less. Especially the K4690-31575 Sun Valley Observation Lounge car at the end of the train. This Sun Valley upgrade was going to be a challenge because K-Line picked an Observation Lounge car that was made in 1937 (and replace in UP service by the 9000 series Flat End Observation dome cars in 1955). As a result, I couldn't find any color interior photos of the Sun Valley 1575 (aka LA-901) or its sister car Nob Hill from the "City of San Francisco" car number 1576 (aka SF-901).
So, to research the furniture, details and colors inside this car I turned to the 592 page book "The Union Pacific Streamliners". Even though the all the photos in the book were in black and white. It gives many build details, plan views and includes some manufacturing images of the cars when delivered in new condition to the Union Pacific.
In the Streamliner book I found out this K-Line semi-scale reproduction interior didn't match the actual Pullman built interior of the Union Pacific's 1575 Sun Valley car. It looked like the K-Line interior with the half-round bar in the center is a much closer match to Southern Pacific’s Daylight Lounge car called "Cascade Club".
I started by removing the existing K-line interior from the shell and separating the benches and tables from the plastic base. Although the K-Line bench seats and tables were in the wrong locations; they were perfect size and will be reinstalled as close as I can to the real UP floor plans.
To make the new floor I used a thin sheet of 1/16” x 3” x 24” basswood. Then cut it to the same size as metal K-Line base with the rounded curve on one side. The barbershop end of the basswood floor was cut slightly shorter due to the clearance for cars power wires and end cap. I elevated the basswood floor on wooden strips to gain clearance above the existing power and ground wires from the trucks. The new floor then got mounted on top of the metal K-line base using the same exact screw locations that held the plastic interior. The trick is to line up your wooden strips with the factory screw hole locations. In 1999 K-line made this 18" long semi-scale compressed version of the real 83 ft Union Pacific 1575 Observation car. As with my other builds this meant the 83 ft UP plans did not line up with the semi-scale K-Line windows. The most important part of this build is to position the tables, benches and chairs so the passengers can see out the windows like in real life. Start with marking your exact window locations with a pencil on your new basswood floor (using the shell as reference). Then starting at the back of the car arrange and glue your lounge chairs, benches and tables to match your window spacing. You can then you can figure out how much space you have left to start putting up the soda fountain/bar and barbershop walls based on the UP plans.
In the black and white photo below you can see the soda fountain/bar end of the Sun Valley car in 1937. The car had very dark carpet (brown weave according to Streamliner book), art Deco Lamps, bench seats and two different color lounge chairs. Apparently riding in a new lightweight aluminum car was all the rage back in the late 1930’s and Union Pacific made sure to put shiny aluminum trim on all the walls, benches, lamps and furniture inside this car.
In the next 1937 photo they turned the camera to show the Observation end of the car with lots of comfortable lounge chairs (same bench seats and tables as shown above) and ashtrays.
If you have never done a passenger car interior upgrade before I would recommend this to be your first. The reason is almost everything can be store bought. Sure, the bench seats and tables were reused but the lounge chairs, ashtrays, barbers chair, chairs for writing desks, soda bottles and 1930 art deco style lamps were all from www.ScaleCityDesigns.com.
Even though I never found an interior color photo of the Sun Valley in books or online, www.Streamlinermemories.info posted this Union Pacific advertisement that gave me a description of the colors I needed to make my Observation car replica come at close as possible to the real thing. Below this image it says "City of Los Angeles" Steamliner Observation-Lounge. This car resembles a finely appointed living room. Walls are light blue. Draperies are effective in tan, blue and rust. Venetian blinds match tan seat coverage and carpets.
Score! With this information I was able to paint my lounge chairs, benches, tables and full interior to match the original colors of the Union Pacific Observation car from 1937. In the photo below you can see the Sun Valley shell next to the UP plans (printed on 11x17 paper) and my new full color interior.
To help with the mid century look some figures were from a Preiser pack (part# 65602). Other figures were Arttista from the Train Shack in Burbank and the rest were the K-Line figures that originally came with this car. Since most the Preiser and Arttista figures are about 1/45th scale and the floors are higher than normal, you will need to trim the feet off. Also, you may need to trim the bottoms on your figures to make them fit in the seats better. If you don't feel like creating the Soda Fountain/Bar area from scratch I would suggest the complete 1/48 scale Soda Fountain Kit with all freezers and countertops (part DM-505) from www.DeltaModelsUSA.com . If I ever get back into my Observation Lounge again I may upgrade to this detailed Soda Fountain Set from Delta Models.
The final touches before I reassembled the car was wiring in a 3mm cool white LED for the Union Pacific Overland Drum Head, 2x 3mm red LED's for the side marker lights and another white bulb for the rear backup light. I was able to grab power for the new LED's from the existing wires in the ceiling.
I will attach the original UP plans for this car at the end of the post. I hope this write-up with plans helps others who want to upgrade there UP 1575 Observation Lounge car.
To look at all the interior upgrades in this series click on the links below: