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

Saturday, May 2, 2020

2 Vintage boxcars, before (and after) painting

With the nice weather and working from home, I’ve set up my shop in the garage for working on a group of vintage freight cars that came to me in various states at various times.

The truth of why a number of the projects were stalled, sometimes for years, is I just don’t like gluing on roof ribs. Step one was organizing my supply of mostly Eastern/Famoco ribs, I had a lot of them but loose, some not being very usable. Step two was bending, cutting, and gluing them on the cars. Still I think four more cars to go! Will keep pushing, hope to get them all done.

One pair that is done is this pair of boxcars. These, I’m almost ashamed to say how long I’ve owned these bodies but it is something like 25 years. They were part of a group of unfinished projects in a lot I purchased. Someone had a big idea to take Picard bodies and cut in the lines like a steel boxcar, and they had roof details, ends, and doors. Also the builder had done a nice job with sanding sealer, which would help them to look more like steel boxcars.

By the time they got to me, the roofs were falling off and everything needed help. I stripped them down to just bodies, sanded, sealed, and got to work. Besides the Eastern roof ribs you see on the cars Scale-Craft doors, Selley ends, and reproduction Nason frames. They have quite the retro look!

Part of what stalls a project – or moves it forward – is the availability of decals. In one of my recent Tichy decal purchases (more here) I got two pair of nice “Frisco Fast Freight” boxcar decals that will go really well on the flat sides of these models.

I built one more of these cars up a few years ago with GN decals, it came out better than expected and led me to do these. I can’t find the article on that model on blog (if there is one), and I actually have two more of these very cars to still do from that original batch. A project for a year or two down the road.

UPDATE. And the finished cars. One thing not yet mentioned and you would notice seeing the actual cars, they look visually a bit underscale. The issue is that Picard bodies were sized so that you glue sides on them, and these were built with no sides so they are visually narrow. For all I know, this may be why the original builder abandoned the project and did not complete the cars.

On the plus side, I have several engines that are somewhat underscale too, and these look good with them, so they will get use! They are on Nason trucks with Ultimate wheelsets and operate very well.

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