No. 146: Freight Car Builds, Oct 2020

Over the long Columbus Day weekend I took my wife and daughters to Mykonos, Greece for a long Columbus Day weekend. We went with another family–a friend of mine’s who’s an Army colonel and pathologist–and we had a wonderful weekend together. Here’s the view from our rented house.

Even in October the weather was still 75 to 80 degrees, and calm, and we spent every day on the lovely, secluded northside beaches. Mykonos is known as a party island, but we stayed away from all that stuff and hung out mostly on the north end. Below is the famous Fokos Beach. Looks a little like Haunama Bay…

Like many other place in the Mediterranean, the people were very friendly and everyone spoke proper British. A number of people pulled me aside and told me how much they loved and appreciated Americans. The average guy here seems especially appreciative of American servicemen. That was encouraging.

Below. Here are our kids walking through the markets one evening.

We had a lot of wonderful dinners too. Lots of seafood! Every night was capped with a little drink. This one was an ice cold cinnamon liquor–very nice.

Over the last few months the blog has been slowed down considerably due to events mostly out of my control. First, I got a new job–my fourth since transferring to Germany–and I’ve been working longer hours than usual.

Second, my son left for college in the U.S. in August. It’s quite an undertaking sending a child to college on another continent. It was heartbreaking to send him away, but he’s doing wonderfully.

Third, with my son away, the family dynamic changed considerably, and my wife and I spent some time making some parenting adjustments. We have sort of updated our relationships with our growing daughters and that has taken a lot of time away from hobbies and rightfully so. A little bit of family travel over the summer—10 days in Slovenia, a short week in Austria and another short week in Greece—didn’t leave much time for modeling or blogging.

Another factor slowing down the blog was WordPress. They changed the functionality of my blog and website, and I haven’t taken the time to sit around and figure out how to use the new formats. Why tech companies make radical software changes overnight is beyond me.

Despite all the mayhem I actually did get some modeling done, and I wrote two articles for the Resin Car Works blog. The first article covered my build of RCW’s Illinois Central single-sheathed box car, which can be found at

The second article covered the Salt Weathering process, which has been seen on this blog twice. The article I wrote for Frank can be viewed at

I promised Frank an article on RCW’s Great Northern ARA box car kit, which I haven’t even started yet. As they say, so many models, so little time!

Meanwhile my buddy Fenton Wells has greatly outpaced me, building a spectacular ACL Auto-Box car (seen below). I don’t want to give away too many details on Fenton’s car in case he writes his own article sometime soon, but here are a few pictures of his good work.

Fenton e-mailed, writing My ACL O-24 started life as a P2K 50-foot, single door Southern Pacific boxcar kit. I cut the sides out and removed 6″ from the top of each end, bringing the car down to the correct height. I built new sides from Evergreen .030 plastic and scribed panel lines and added Archer rivets. I scratchbuilt the seven-panel Superior doors as I couldn’t find the right kind for a 10′-1″ IH car. I used K4 decals. I have had ‘silvering’ issues with these decals, so this time I tried a light overspray of gloss first, then Dullcote, and I don’t se any silvering so maybe that solved the problem. I didn’t weather the model too much although with a 1943 build date it would have ten years of dirt on my railroad.

Here’s where Fenton’s masterpiece began:

And here’s another view of the finished work. All I can say is WOW!

Fenton’s work is inspiring. I wrote like a madman in Greece, trying to put some finishing touches on six blog posts I’ve started but never capped off. One of them will explain this just-finished Missouri Pacific auto car build.

I’m proud of the MP car but it has some major flaws. “Rookie Mistakes” as I like to say around the office. I’m also just about finished with this car, below, which is an O scale–no, Proto48–Central of Georgia Auto-Box. It started out as an Intermountain 1937 ARA box car kit I got from Rob Adams in 2014. I’m weathering it this weekend.

To display the car above, I built a Proto48 display track, which I’ll show later as well…

Finally, and most importantly, I need to add that our Brother Mike Moore passed away last month. Clark Propst, the guy at center, sent the news. I last saw Mike in 2015 at Lisle RPM, when he and I and all the Iowa boys had a grand time, laughing and drinking beer and talking about trains and loving life. Mike was sick then and slowly faded away over the years.

It’s been a terrible year or two, with so many of our modeling friends passing away. Mike was special–he was a good man, friendly, hilarious, always encouraging, ever joyful even as his life slipped away. Here is Mike, at far left, at Cocoa Beach in 2009.

Ephesians 2:8 says For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

May you all have a blessed week, and be ever grateful for everything God has given us. – John G

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