No. 139: Freight Car Modeling, Feb, 2020, Part 2

In December I sold a few models to raise money to buy things for a new layout.  During that time I met online a fellow modeler named Eric Reinert.  Eric asked me if I could finish a few models for him, and sent me a box models all the way from Illinois for some work and weathering.  Here are three of the six cars Eric sent.

First is a completed Tichy NYC rebuilt box car.  Check out the real-life weathering!  The build is good but the model needs a little help.  I’m going to re-detail this car to a minor extent and then sandblast, paint, decal and weather it.

The biggest problem with this model is the builder probably used the plastic grab-iron template to drill the holes on the side of the car.  The template gets the job done fast, but it drills holes that don’t align with the grabs on the ends.  The builder also used the Tichy door, which has details that are a little “heavy”.  It needs a little TLC.


Below.  This model is a Branchline Yardmaster car.  I’ve already applied Dullcote and some basic weathering, and shop and reweigh decals.  I’m going to do salt weathering on the roof; the gray is the undercoat simulating galvanized steel.  Other than a new brakewheel and running board I don’t think I’ll add too many new details.


Below.  Eric also sent this Intermountain box car.  Like the SP car above, this car already has a shot of Dullcote and some additional decals and weathering applied.  I’m going to salt-weather this roof as well, but it’ll be a little more tricky since the roof is permanently attached.  I replaced a few of the grabs on the left side of the car already, and I’ll add a new running board per the prototype.  This car and the two above will get Tahoe Moel works trucks with semi-scale wheelsets.


Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that my friend Fenton Wells is recovering from heart surgery and is already back to modeling.  Fenton’s first “post-surgery” build is this B&O M-59.  Fenton used an Intermountain car as the core model; the doors, ends and lower side sill were resin-cast by Chad Boas.  Fenton did a great job on this model and he motivated me to get going on my own version.

Fenton Wells

Below.  Here’s my completed built prior to sandblasting.  The core kit is a Branchline Blueprint six-foot-door car kit.  I also used the Chad Boas doors and side sill, and used the kit-supplied ends.  The additions to the door track are Evergreen .020 x .030 strip.  The door stops are included in Chad’s casting set and are finely-cast.  Note that prototype photos indicate that there were no door stops used on the left side of the car—I assume because the door could be stopped by the grabs.  Trucks are again by Tahoe.


I used a Kadee Apex running board for my car.  I kept the tabs on the underside of the running board and drilled matching holes in the roof, and just fit the two parts together.  I fixed the running board from underneath, gluing the tabs in place using canopy cement.  The installation took about 15 minutes; the glue took a day to dry.


Here’s a closeup of the end of my M-59.  The air hose and bracket are Hi-Tech parts, the brake step is from Plano, and the stirrups are from Yarmouth.


Here’s another car under construction.  This is the Accurail car core kit included with the Resin Car Works Illinois Central single-sheather box car mini-kit.

I’d like to say that this is a GREAT kit.  It comes with all the parts needed, Tahoe truck sideframes, and a whole lot more.  Frank Hodina has produced a real winner here.  A lot of cutting and shaping is required, but that’s what prototype modelers are supposed to do, right?  Lester Breuer did a blog post for Resin Car Works on his build; that nice article can be found at


Below.  Construction is underway.  I’ve already cut the ends off the Accurail body and removed the cast-on ladders, and am ready to build up the underframe and apply the brake gear.  I worked on this model tonight and the brake gear, coupler pockets and replacement cross-members are installed.  No photos yet…


Below.  The model below is a Sunshine Models Rock Island 53′-6″ flat car.  This is Sunshine kit #45.9.  This models a series of CRI&P flat cars, series 90000-90249, that were spliced together by the railroad from two 40-foot cars.  The cars look unique because of the two large splice plates in the center of the car.


Here’s the prototype of the RI car above, photo courtesy Bob’s Photo.  This was taken at Ft. Bragg, No. Carolina, on 15 Sep 1951 by Col. Chet McCoid.


I’m excited about this build, shown below, which represents a series of Missouri Pacific 50-foot, double-door box cars.  There’s a nice photo in Ted Culotta’s The Postwar Freight Car Fleet book.  I’m using the old MDC model as the starting point.  It requires A LOT of carving and sanding.  The motivation for the build is the recent release of a Speedwitch decal set made specifically for the MoPac prototype.

The biggest problems with this model are the side sheathing (what’s up with those gaps between the boards?!), the poorly-represented door guides along the bottom sill, and all the cast-on parts of course.  Also, the kit-supplied doors are horrible so I’m cutting up doors from an Intermountain 40-foot box car to get something more fine-scale.  Thanks to Elden Gatwood for sending me a big bag full of the right doors so I can cut-and-splice doors that’ll fit.


And finally, here are a few O scale models still on the workbench.  The model below is a Rich Yoder C&O/Nickel Plate car that I bought for a song on eBay.  It had a lot of problems that took quite a while to repair.  I finally applied decals and dullcote in December.  The model still needs some air line work so it is still “in the shop”.  Trucks are Proto 48 fine scale by Protocraft and decals are by Microscale.  Chalk marks are hand-drawn.


Below.  This photo has been seen on the blog before.  The Speedwitch HO scale Wabash automobile box car is in front, and the Rails Unlimited O scale car is in the back.  Cool just got a whole lot bigger!


Below.  As of Valentine’s Day the O scale car now looks like this.  Decals are again by Protocraft.


Here’s one of a series of proto-photos I took back in 2004 in Atlanta, Illinois, that I used to guide the build:


This model had some problems, most notably that the pre-drilled grab iron holes didn’t line up on the sides and ends.  That’s a recurring problem in multiple scales.  I first applied the grabs on the car sides per the photo above and then built the end ladders using Evergreen plastic strip for the stiles.  The brake lever was extremely difficult to find; this was was provided by Jim Leners.


Next for the Wabash car is a shot of Dullcote and then a whole lot of weathering.

That’s it for now.  There are a few more builds on the workbench that I’ll cover next month.  Meanwhile here’s parting shot, courtesy Mike Gruber of Mainline Photos.  This is P&E Train #50, in Urbana, Illinois on April, 1949.  The photo was made by my friend Joe Collias.


On the subject of freight cars…check out the pipe load on that second car back.  Iowa Scaled Engineering now makes corrugated culvert pipe in HO, which can be found at  That is a must-do load!

Have a great week!  – John G




7 thoughts on “No. 139: Freight Car Modeling, Feb, 2020, Part 2

  1. Great Post. I may have missed it before but what is “salt weathering”? Could you describe your technique?
    Bill Michael


  2. John
    I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to share the post I put on FB both mine and our church and also sent to our church and some others.
    Be blessed.
    my email:
    The Coronavirus, COVID-19, has disrupted our normal way of life and has the potential to cause fear. Fear is usually caused when we face a situation that we are unfamiliar with and cannot control. However, we must remain calm and know the One that is in control.
    1 John 4:18 from The Passion says: “Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.” Another translation says that perfect love casts out fear. There is only one place where we find perfect love and that is in God through Christ.
    As we navigate these times we must remember that God is good, He is a loving heavenly Father. Jesus taught that the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy but that He came to give life and life abundantly.
    This is a time to draw close in relationship to The One that brings hope, peace and love. He is the all sufficient one and we must learn to lean on and trust Him. He will keep our hearts and minds in peace.
    Psalm 121 from The Passion:
    1–2 I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help.
    But then I realize that our true help and protection
    come only from the Lord,
    our Creator who made the heavens and the earth.
    3 He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall.
    God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me.
    4 He will never slumber nor sleep;
    he is the Guardian-God for his people, Israel.
    5 Jehovah himself will watch over you;
    he’s always at your side to shelter you safely in his presence.
    6 He’s protecting you from all danger both day and night.
    B7 He will keep you from every form of evil or calamity
    as he continually watches over you.
    8 You will be guarded by God himself.
    You will be safe when you leave your home
    and safely you will return.
    He will protect you now,
    and he’ll protect you forevermore!


    • Hi Bill! Merry Christmas! I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner but the blog has languished a little bit, mostly for all the right reasons. Anyway I wanted to let you know that I LOVE your reply and am inspired by it. I just read over John 1 in church last night and will do it again this week, and will keep these words close. Blessings to you and your family! John Golden


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