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

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Improving the Scale-Craft Cast Boxcar

This handsome pair of pre-war Scale Craft OO scale boxcars were built by Bill Gilbert, builder of a number of cars in recent posts. When they arrived neither of these cars was operational due to truck problems. While getting those in shape (all four bolsters had to be replaced, and most of the wheelsets as well) I noted several key upgrades he had done to improve these cars.

This car was sold with two different under frames. These cars have the later style under frame with the trucks closer to the ends. To those he added brake wheels, big HO parts, and to one car he added HO AB brake details. (And I added similar brake details to the second car).

The really notable change though is to the roof walks, specifically the short walks at the end of each car. These are cast into the body casting and as produced are noticeably too narrow. What he did was grind them off and add new walks of wood that matched and were the correct width. That one change helps this model a great deal. The body casting is still a bit oddly scaled but this will become a standard change I make to this car as well, and I have several in progress.

The other thing that would help would be to shorten the casting slightly. This would be more involved but is what Lionel did back in 1938 in their catalog photos, where they used S-C freight cars instead of their own. It may be worth trying on one car at least.

Back to the Gilbert cars, they are nicely finished and lettered, and with freshly rebuilt trucks they are great cars on the layout.

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