The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Scale-Rail Industries OO car sides

As a follow-up to the post on Champion, a firm that made great printed sides for a 40’ steel boxcar in the same timeframe was Scale-Rail Industries of Chicago, IL. These were produced in HO, OO, and O gauges. While reefer cars were also marketed in O and HO, I believe only the boxcars were produced in OO. According to their advertisement in the May, 1941 issue of Model Railroader, these sides were
Manufactured from fine grades of Bristol board coated with semi-gloss enamels.
Lettering and heralds correctly styled in full rich colors. Rivets … are sharply raised…. No inks, cuts or type of any kinds are used in the manufacture of these sides.
They were reviewed in the same issue of MR. There they note that "The rivet detail on the box cars is reproduced without distorting the surrounding material.... Hearlds and lettering look like the real thing.” They really are quite good sides, perhaps the best of their type ever made in OO.

This car is one I put together years ago with these sides and a variety of parts on a Picard body. The only problem with using these sides is matching the paint. It is not easy at all to do. I have plans to make another car with these sides soon, and in preparation for this have nearly a dozen different types of paint on hand to use to try to make a close match. With a close match these sides build up into great cars.

Their advertisement in the June, 1941 issue of MR lists OO boxcar sides for UP, NP, Santa Fe, NKP, and C&EI. They sold for 25 cents a pair. In my collection I have all of these (two different versions of ATSF—map or no map), plus CB&Q, PRR, and SSW (Blue Streak). This is I believe pretty nearly the complete line but, as with Champion, I really wish I had a catalog listing of some sort. Any additional information readers may have would be welcomed; contact info is in my profile.

UPDATE: I have added a second photo of a car with Scale-Rail sides, this one built by Howard Winther. He did work out the paint match better than me. It can be done and clearly these sides will build up into a sharp car. Also, the full run of these sides may be seen in this article, and the full run of sides is as follows:

ATSF 136297
ATSF “Scout” 139759
C&EI 64152
CB&Q 30590
NKP 15026
NP 15719
PRR 65400
SL-SF/FFF 128031
SSW 33676
UP “Streamliners” 183617

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