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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Two kitbashed OO gondolas with kitbashed HO trucks that can be made easily today

With limited options for new models, modern OO gaugers are always looking for models that can be modified for OO. Below is a pair of converted gondolas.

The THB car was built by Pierre Bourassa and the ATSF car is a quick conversion I made. My car is an older AHM HO model, one from the late 1970s. I am uncertain of the car Pierre used, but it is similar. Pierre split the car to make it full width for OO, adding new ends and a load to cover the floor. Mine is narrow but looks OK from the side; the only change is the trucks actually. Pierre’s came to me on different trucks, I think Schorr trucks that I put under a truckless Schorr car. Now it rides on trucks converted from Tyco/Mantua/Model Power HO trucks, as are the trucks on the ATSF car.

I described how to convert these trucks in the August, 2000 issue of The OO Road, illustrated in the photo with from the left, before, a wheel set, and after. The conversion works on these trucks because the side frames are very heavy, which leaves room for OO gauge wheel sets. The required parts are the HO side frame/bolster and Athearn 36” wheel sets. All one needs to do is widen the wheel sets to OO and to take enough off the side frames to clear them. The axle holes have to also be drilled out slightly deeper so the wheels will roll freely. I have these trucks in service on a number of cars on the layout. They roll better than the average Scale-Craft truck and arguably look better as well.

UPDATE (2011). This article comes up in searches and made it up to the top ten list recently, so an update is in order.

First, about the trucks: I have a good number of these HO conversion trucks in service on the layout. For a couple categories of cars (HO conversions and flat cars especially--all of my S-C flat cars in operation use these trucks) they are a great alternative to vintage S-C trucks (visually they "fit" even if somewhat under scale), they track great and have freed up good vintage trucks for use on other cars.

With an influx of more OO cars to use on the layout however I actually converted the black ATSF gon back to HO! But later I spotted (on eBay--post Morlok auction and I suspect from his collection) and was able to purchase a second, closely matching (but unlettered) green gon that must have also been built by Pierre. It has cast metal sides, was widened in the same general way, and has a matching load. I reworked it to also ride on the conversion trucks and put decals on it to match as close as I could the other gon. They look great on the layout as a pair of cars and are operated frequently.

1 comment:

C. R. Chinoy said...

Pierre's gondolas are made using Ulrich 50' composite gondola sides. I have a spare undecorated pair of them and am tempted to copy this build...