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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Recent Projects: Boxcars of Yellow and Silver

I try to paint models in groups and these four boxcars are among recent projects completed.

First up is this pair of MKT 37’ boxcars. They came to me as an unfinished project and I think I deduced correctly where the original builder was heading. The bodies are Picard 36’ bodies and they were mounted on the cast frame visible in the second photo. I do not know the maker of the frames. They seem almost purpose made for this body and project (they look quite correct from the side of the car) but may actually be HO parts. Also with the bodies as they came to me was two sets of vintage Champion HO-OO (!, old sets) MKT decals, highly suited to this model.

Luckily, when I first was planning these out there was information online on these cars (related to an Ultra Scale O scale kit) that I printed out, as now that information is not there! The MKT had a large number of these cars in the number series from 74105 to 75597, dating to the early years of the 20th century. They were it seems still in fairly wide use still until the end of WWII but all were out of service by the early 1950s.

Using the photos I had printed out (mostly no longer online, but one may be found here, scroll down) I used Eastern/Famoco ends on both cars and came fairly close to the actual prototype cars in a number of dimensions (including length) and details. The ladders are Eastern parts as is the brake cylinder.

The cars are both on trucks made using the side frames of PBL Sn3 Andrews trucks, as described further in this article. Super free rolling and the right design for these cars! I could wish a few details were sharper/better (and I forgot to add hand grabs on the left ends), but they came out as nice vintage looking models. Periodically I run trains from more of a 1930s era and these will fit right in those sessions, looking freshly shopped as they do. The “Sloan Yellow” Scheme dates to the era of the MKT presidency of Matthew S. Sloan, 1934–1945. Prior to that, these cars would have been boxcar red.

However, mostly I run trains representing a late 1950s era. The silver cars are a little less exotic; they are both pre-war die-cast Scale-Craft cars but decorated to imitate post-war prototypes.

The Rock Island car was inspired by finding the decals in the parts supply (and I like the Rock Island). The Orient car was my solution of how to paint another silver car using decals on hand. It came out pretty well really and would also fit in with my more 1960s-70s operating sessions (if I overlook the shortcomings of the S-C body casting). Both cars are on reproduction Lionel trucks, which has become a de-facto standard for these S-C cars on my layout, I just think they look better on the longer/lower trucks than on the original, stock trucks.

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