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

Friday, May 15, 2020

2 wood freight cars that came out nicely

Some models I obtain mainly thinking it is cheap, I’ll do a quick rebuild and try to sell it. Then the project takes a good turn and comes out better than expected. That is the case with this gondola and boxcar.

To the gondola first, it is pre-war Hawk sulfur gondola (an overview of Hawk OO may be found here). It is not an old time car, it is contemporary to the pre-war era -- the wood construction of the prototype cars was due to the load type, and Hawk likely picked the design as it suited wood kit construction. I knew already that the AT&SF had examples of these, but looking around online I found similar cars for the T&NO, and I had decals that would suit the model. I actually did three of these cars as T&NO, the two others of this will likely make it to eBay before this one. It’s on Eastern/Famoco trucks which seemed to suit this particular model as built by the original builder. Each of the 3 of these just rebuilt required a different truck setup, the original Hawk frame being really too thick at the bolsters.

The boxcar has a scribed Picard body (an overview of Picard may be found here). I bought this one as it had an interesting cast frame, trucks, and also SC stamped brass boxcar doors, which I used on a different model – but also the 7’ steel door did not look right at all on this model, it really cried for a 6’ wood door. So I peeled off the remnant decals, made a door, did a quick touch up repaint (in real light it does not look as blotchy as it does with the flash). Again what really makes the car are the decals. This one is riding on trucks rebuilt from Sn3 parts, which visually suited the model I think – but also was a practical solution, as I needed trucks with very low bolsters to get the model to a correct height. Also I had to use the underset shank Kadees, so that the car was not too high. As originally built I don't think this car ever looked this good or operated as well as it does now.

I’m getting to the point I wish I had a bigger layout! But I do rotate my era and theme every month or so, it keeps things interesting.

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