No. 115: Completing the Yarmouth Models ACL O-16B Auto Car

I was fortunate to have an article posted on the Resin Car Works blog recently.  I completed a C&IM USRA-type gondola and wrote about it at


Frank Hodina supplied most of the information and photos and a few parts for the project, and Eric Hansmann did the editing.  Our St. Louis RPM friend and C&IM expert Ryan Crawford also helped with editing and prototype information.  My thanks to them for all the help.

I started this project in January 2018.  I finished the build in a few weeks but the project stalled while I was rebuilding my sandblaster.  It took me a few months to get it rebuilt, then running, but once it was back in operation—around September—I was able to finish the model pretty quickly. 

I didn’t mention it but my then-11-year-old daughter Kirsten did some of the work.  She’s “crafty” but not a model builder.  From time-to-time if she sees me doing an interesting project she’ll want to take over.  Of all things she thought installing the floor in the C&IM car looked interesting, so she cut the floor and installed it.  How could I say no?

Photo 5 - Kirsten Installing the Floor

ACL 55439

I posted construction comments on this model in New Builds, May, 2018 (Post #97/05-18), found at  The model is of course the relatively new Yarmouth Model Works kit, which can be purchased from at


I have a little bit of love for the old Coast Line.  My father grew up in Ludowici, Georgia alongside the busy, double-track ACL, and—much later, when I was in high school—I railfanned all over the old ACL lines in Savannah.  The old ACL (then SCL) Liberty Street Yards downtown was a favorite place to go.  Liberty Street was an old-style downtown stub-end yard with lots of warehouses everywhere, an old roundhouse, and lots of activity 24/7.

A long branch connected the big ACL main line outside of Savannah to Liberty Street.  Along the branch there were strange warning signs, like the one seen below, on nearly every street crossing.  It was all part of the allure of the old yards.  The signal below was photographed by fellow Savannian Tom Alderman around 1980.  This one guarded Bull Street and Victory Drive.

ACL Bull & Victory July79

Back to the O-16-B model.  Here’s the car, at center, after painting with my ACL color of choice–Scalecoat 2 PRR Freight Car Color.  Also on the drying rack is a roof for a Milwaukee Road car and an O scale PRR hopper.


The photo below shows off some of the cool characteristics of the prototype that are expertly captured by the kit.  The O-16-B is differentiated by different-size panels on each side of the doors.  The ladder-and-grabs combination is a standout feature, along with the inset lower side sill and the stand-out bottom door track. 


The decals included with the kit were a little disappointing.  The unique ACL lettering style and round monogram have rarely been rendered accurately.  I studied drawings and the decals I had on-hand and ended up using parts from three different decal sets to finish my model.  Above, the monogram and the lettering below the monogram are from an old Jerry Glow ACL O-25 decal set.  The monogram is as close as they get, but the lettering style is off.  The smaller lettering is from the YMW kit, but they got the built dates wrong and didn’t include the “Rebuilt” lettering.  See the prototype photo further below.  

Below, I created paint code information (top left) from a C&O hopper set, and used the reporting marks and numbers from a Microscale ACL wood rack set and, again, the Jerry Glow set.  The Automobile lettering is from the YMW set.  I think the combination of the three sets yielded good results.


Here’s the decaled car ready for dullcote.  I used Scalecoat 2 PRR Freight Car Color for the primary coat.  I think it is the best match for late-40s ACL paint.


Here’s the model after a few shots of dullcoat and a “softcoat”.  I seal the decals with a mix of 40% Testors dullcote, 40% Testors glosscoat and 20% thinner applied with an airbrush.  The I add a few drops of the original car color to the dullcoat mix–in this case the Scalecoat PRR FCC, and apply another coat.  This softens and blends all the colors together and tends to provide a little aging effect to the decals.


Above.  I repaired the running board by applying a little canopy sement to the running board supports and turning the car upside down on a flat surface. 

Here’s a prototype O-16-A circa early 1950s.  Note the paint and lettering variations for the model.  Also note the different details—the ladders and panel spacing in particular.  The Prismo stripes were authorized around 1950.

ACL 55439 Apr. 11, 1951

The photo above is dated April 11, 1951 but I don’t have a photographer reference.  When I find it I’ll annotate appropriately.

And just for kicks here’s a couple more view of the old Coast Line in Savannah, this out at Southover Yards on the main line next to Hunter Army Air Field.  These photos are circa 1946.  Love all those old cars in the yard!  I’ll bet there’s an O-16-B hiding in that consist just up a ways…

Southover Yard and Switch Tender.jpg

Southover Yard 2, 1946

Back at Ackley…

Meanwhile, construction on the layout continues.  Over the month I’ve been slowly working on the Sherman Avenue crossing nearby Marshal Canning.  There’s a lot to be done to this scene but the road is looking pretty good.  I used a 1950 Iowa highway department guide to mark the roads. 

I intend on writing a whole post on this area soon.  That crossbuck model needs a lot of help—it looks a little askew.


I have also cut and installed new masonite fascia on about two-thirds of the layout.  I needed fascia for the new bump out and while I was at it I replaced most of the fascia on the rest of the layout.  Below, here’s a view of the new fascia installed but not yet painted.


At the moment of this posting I’m in Austria with the family on one last ski trip for the season.  The fascia is removed for painting and I’m going to get that finished when I get back.  I only have one U.S.-style paint roller, so I’ve gotta get the whole job done at once.  I just need a two-hour block of time with no work, kids, or other things to get in the way…   – John G





One thought on “No. 115: Completing the Yarmouth Models ACL O-16B Auto Car

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s