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

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Converting TYCO 62’ hi-cube boxcars to OO

Not long ago (here) I featured a couple of modern cars converted from large TYCO reefers, conversions done by Bill Johann. In that article I mentioned another TYCO car that had caught my eye for conversion, their 62’ hi-cube boxcars.

These models are described further here in the TYCO brown box resource website, where they may be seen as they looked before conversion. This specific model was only produced from 1972-76, although there have been reissues later using the same moldings. The original TYCO models only came in two road names, decorated in reasonably prototypical schemes.

What is great for our purposes is that this model scales out at about 54 feet long in OO and they can be made into models that would be similar to the 53’ double plug door boxcars of the early 1970s.

I had for several years two of the UP models and one of the SOO models sitting on the shelf. As much as anything, besides them scaling out well, I also had trucks I could use on the cars (two pair being the Bill Johann roller bearing conversion trucks) and I felt sure they should be a quick and fairly easy conversion, especially using the modified stamped brass scale-craft ends to speed the build.

Of course, like most every other project I do it seems, they took 2-3 times longer than I thought they would. Photo three shows the models in progress; the bodies were split down the middle, new roof and ends worked out, frame widened. They came out well but certainly they are examples of “good enough” models rather than being accurate scale models of say an Evans double plug door boxcar.

I used the Johann conversions as a model overall of what I would do, and I imitated him in terms of the roof question in particular. They are simplified compared to the prototypes, but hopefully believable.

One change that I don’t think is obvious is I used light gray paint on the UP cars rather than the silver of the original model. The flash of my photo made it look almost white; on the layout though I think the color change works fine. A final painting note being I will hit the SOO car with some Dullcote soon and eventually would like to try some weathering.

Having finished the cars I am not planning to do more of these conversions. They look good enough, I am pleased, but I do have enough modern cars of this general type for what modern operations I do. But -- there is one more, similar car nearly done, based on an Athearn car, more on that when it is finished in likely a few months.

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