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Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Pair of Vintage Nason ATSF Reefers, and a Note on Gluing Paper Sides

Up today are two more cars in progress but nearly done and will be done soon!

These are Nason reefers. One thing I have noted over the years is it is rare to see the Nason EZ built freight cars built up really well and still in good shape. The underlying problem is (although Nason trucks can be set up to roll and track great) they were not great kits. One of my few Nason reefers that is operational may be seen in this article, and this article provides an overview of some of the variations of the woodwork supplied with these kits.

The story on these two cars is the one on the left came to me partially built and the one on the right I rebuilt using a body that was in very sad shape with new sides, noting that they have different car numbers than those on the other body. I think it is a Nason body variation but not 100% sure. It is narrower than the car on the left.

That second car I had to glue the new sides on. I have a routine for this and I was reminded that I need to not rush it and it is worth writing it out now so I remember! I use blocks of wood and Xacto clamps to clamp the sides on. The wood blocks (in this case spare floors from Eastern kits) I cover with plastic wrap.

Usually that is all I need to do and can do two sides at a time. These Nason sides, however, are really thin and not nearly as easy to glue on as my favorite, the Scale-Rail sides. The big notes being do them one at a time and it is a good idea to put a layer of wax paper between the block and the sides, white glue tends to stick to the plastic wrap and damage the sides.

Going back to Nason sides and this element, the surface of these sides is easily damaged (and probably also not real colorfast). The car on the left in the first photo had damage when I got it (maybe why the original builder gave up) and the car I did also got damaged in gluing. Doing two sides at one time was too much going on with them curling up and everything. Fortunately, Floquil Reefer Orange is a really close match on the color, so it won’t be really obvious in the end, especially with a coat of Dullcote.

The paint scheme, with orange panels on the ends, is probably not exactly authentic but is still attractive and it is nice to have two cars that match closely as an ATSF fan. From the parts supply I was able to come up with vintage Nason reefer frames, brake cylinders, and end beams, and I also made up ladders very similar to the ones seen on the instruction sheet. I will add Kadee couplers and some good Nason trucks to finish the cars out.

They will in the end look pretty sharp but would have been sharper with a bit better sides. But for being introduced way back in 1936 these are good cars and it is a pleasure to have these nice examples of Nason reefers on the road again.

UPDATE: And they are done now, rolling great and looking good.

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