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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two OO SFRD Reefers, one Picard and one Champion

Here is an interesting pair of reefers. They make a good case study, as on first impression I think both of these cars are difficult to ID correctly.

The lower car has Scale-Craft reefer doors of the later style they made (the early version used sand cast bronze doors) and S-C trucks, so it has much of the look of a late Scale-Craft reefer. But it is in fact a Picard body, the scribed version, with a variety of parts added and HO decals. Picard bodies, as noted in a prior post, included no metal parts and a simple wooden frame member, which was used on both of these models.

The upper car is another one that was a challenge to ID. The sides are Champion sides, also described in a prior post. I initially thought it might be a rare and complete Champion car, then thought it to be Picard (plain side version) with Champion sides, then finally (Updated: 2012) obtained a Champion kit for this model and realized it is in fact a complete Champion car. The wood parts are identical to Picard and were likely supplied by Picard, as they offered parts to other makers (see toward the end of this article).

Many OO cars are not that easy to ID. I hope to help that out with this site, as there are few other resources to refer to.

Back to the two reefers in this article, how many of you noted they are both in the wrong color scheme? The side color is a bit off, I think in the case of the Champion sides in part due to age and color shift of the printer’s ink, but both should also have black ends and roofs. One is green and the other boxcar red!

Looking online to try confirm the proper color scheme as I am thinking about rebuilding the pair (saving the sides but correcting the roof and ends) I found a most interesting resource in The Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society website, with this section containing in particular links to a lot of information about my home town of Emporia, KS and the Howard branch, along which I have been many, many times growing up as many close relatives lived within ten miles of this branch line. The last runs on this line were just before I got into model railroading; this resource is giving me much to think about for the layout.

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