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

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

More modern covered hopper cars for OO

Back a few years ago I had a post on the modern hopper cars that Bill Johann put together from HO Tyco models (here). I’ve now constructed a couple more, with another coming in the shop.

The short version is this Tyco car is a pretty large (and cheap) HO hopper, with four bays, and the conversion is to remove a bay to give the visual impression in OO of a smallish 3-bay coverd hopper car. I followed the methods that Johann used, adding in styrene to build up the areas between the hoppers. I’m sure it is a bit undersized, but if it is all that you see on the layout the eye accepts the size as correct. They are both on the trucks that Bill Johann worked up from large HO roller bearing trucks (more here), I have a small supply of these for modern era cars.

And of course I repainted the models. The original paint was somewhat stubborn to strip, so it is slightly visible on the cars in real life (but not visible in the photos). I lettered one car for my MQS shortline and the other using part of a NOKL set, as they own similar cars. That set was HO and usually HO sets look OK on OO cars, but in this case the reporting marks and numbers look somewhat small, I may re-letter the car at some point.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Nason “All-Service Express” car

Not long ago I was able to acquire an example of a sand-cast aluminum model by Nason, one that they marketed as their “All-Service Express” car.

Of course, it is actually a type of baggage car, more specifically a PRR B60b Baggage Express car. These were rebuilt later with “porthole” windows and served many years in revenue service. For reference, this website has many drawings of PRR baggage cars, and the drawing of this specific car is here. 

The above linked drawing is a bit crude, but you can see how it matches the car as produced by Nason pretty closely. They introduced the series of sand cast passenger cars in 1934 (more here).

One curiosity of the model is that it was produced with an unusual version of a Commonwealth truck. These were used on the Erie, New Haven, and Boston & Maine – but not the PRR. Perhaps Nason selected this truck thinking it was a modern design (for 1934) and would see wider use that in actually did.

This model is complete and won’t need a lot of work to have ready for the layout. I’m still pondering it a bit, in particular deciding if I want to letter it for my Orient or the PRR. Sometimes it pays to just live with a model a while to see where inspiration leads. In any case though, this is certainly a model to keep your eyes peeled for.

In closing, I’d add that I have an extra frame, if you have other parts but are missing a frame do be in touch.