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

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Two reefers with non-standard parts

These two cars were recent purchases and make an interesting case study. Reefers were colorful and popular items in OO, there are a lot of them around, and most makers produced quite a variety of lettering schemes. Especially the printed side cars, it would take ages and a lot of luck to pull together a complete set.

The first car is an early Scale-Craft reefer. The paint and decals exactly match that of the car that is behind, which has the original sand-cast hatches. So while both have the original S-C decals, a prior owner started changing out the hatches with die cast parts by another maker, maybe HO. I believe the paint scheme is actually wrong, the roof and ends should be black instead of boxcar red, but I have three ATSF reefers painted the same way. Someday I will work on this pair of cars more.

The second car is a URTX reefer. On first glance I would think it to be an Eastern car with late Scale-Craft doors. But on comparing it with the other car in the photo which is a stock version of the Eastern car, the sides and ends are Eastern as are the roof ribs but the hatches are undersized and match Varney HO hatches I found in the parts supply.

The bottom view compounds the mystery; the car has a Scale-Craft frame instead of the Eastern frame on the stock version. My conclusion is it actually a late Scale-Craft body to which mostly Eastern parts have been added. It can be touched up a bit and still be a nice vintage piece, but it will always be a bit of mutt.

Also the bottom view shows the jackpot item of the lot this was purchased in; the URTX car has Schorr trucks. Click on the photo for a better view. You don’t always win on odd lots but sometimes you do come up with something like this pair of trucks, very desirable items.

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