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Friday, September 26, 2008

The Nason “EZ Built” boxcar

Another car not often seen today is the Nason box car.

This one I rebuilt recently, actually from a junker Nason reefer with new Nason sides and Selley ends and doors. I went to a lot of effort to try to match the paint closely! It was not easy.

The photo also shows most of the parts for an early, unbuilt box car kit. This kit is a bit of a mystery to me, actually. Note that the body is a solid block of wood with the roof painted. I have six Nason boxcars and reefers but none of them have this body, other Nason cars I have are on a body built up from a number of wood parts. [UPDATE: This was the body that was shipped by Page Model Company.] The sides are clearly Nason sides. The kit has printed doors [UPDATE: that are printed on a card with the maker name "Page Model Company," which I did not previously note] and also die cast Nason doors in the box.

These "Eazy-Bilt" (easy-built in early advertising) kits with printed card sides/ends and sand and die cast details became available in late 1935. They are mentioned in the Nason advertisement in the December, 1935 issue of Model Craftsman. I do not have a Nason catalog from before 1937 and what magazine advertisements I see are somewhat vague on this point.

The sixth edition (1940) Nason catalog shows these models clearly sold either as a "construction kit" for $1 or as a complete kit for $2.90. This leads to actually much variation in these cars when seen today depending on if the builder added the Nason details or used other detail parts. Their "hardware kit" also sold for $1.90 and included trucks, die cast ice hatches and end beams, a sand cast underframe, and stamped ladders ("where used on the prototype")or grab irons, brake wheel, and steps.

This car was also available right after WW II. Two or Three rail versions of Dalman, Vulcan, or Andrews trucks were standard. Here is the list for this model:

4 Box car, 40', PRR
9 Box car, 40', B&O
10 Box car, 40', NYC
16 Box car, 40', SP
17 Box car, 40', UP
20 Box car, 40', Erie
21 Box car, 40', CP
23 Box car, 40', Southern

They made other types of box cars, including a wood sheathed 40 footer and also a double door PRR automobile boxcar with a round roof, but the really unique model was a sand cast aluminum 40’ box car that was later produced in limited quantities by Myron P. Davis. I have never seen one of these models but am very intrigued. [UPDATE: See also this post.]

All of these seem to be seen very little on eBay. You are a bit more likely to find their reefers which almost inevitably are not in good shape. If any of you have photos of any very sharp looking Nason reefers I will be happy to follow up further on them.

UPDATE: The car kit in the photo I believe to be a version of the Nason EZ-Bilt car but marketed by Page. A closer examination shows the original box label is for Page Model Company, but it is pasted over. Check the later post on Page for more.

Also, the earliest kits according to the 1936 catalog had sand cast aluminum doors listed in the hardware kit, which means if the kit in the photo is early Nason the doors are later production, added to the box by a later individual.

At the end of the article is found an instruction sheet, I believe late Nason era, for the boxcars and reefer. A number of other details may be gleaned from this, including that there are two different versions of the frame of these cars. Click on the photo for a better view, and see this article for a photo of the late reefer kit that it came to me with.

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