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

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Varney Flat Car Converted from HO

This is a car I have had a long, long time and have never run. It came to me from Bill G. in the early 1980s. In the note with it (which I still have) he states that this was “One of my first OO cars made from HO Varney flat.” The instructions for this same type of Varney car are here in the HOSeeker site; the sides are stamped steel.

It is nicely proportioned for OO and was built up with a great deck. So why have I not run this car? There are two reasons. One was it was only decorated on one side, the one visible in this first photo. But the more significant one was the car height. Basically the floor stock was too thick, so if you set it up on trucks it was much too high.

But not long ago I purchased a drill press stand for my Dremel tool. This is really handy for drilling bolster screw holes but also with the right cutter head installed it works as a router of sorts. So what I did was rout out the truck area to allow the car to ride at an appropriate height. I set it up with the “Morlok method” trucks I like on flat cars and it operates very well.

The car was still only decorated on one side. Instead of working with small letters from an alphabet set to match sides I opted to decorate the other side differently, for my Orient. And I added a nice, lost wax brass brake wheel. It took towards 30 years to finish but I am pleased with the results.

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