No. 176: Move-In and New Freight Car Work

Our major shipment of “household goods” arrived from Germany last Friday. My wife and I have spent most of our waking hours putting the house together. It has been A LOT of work.

Included in our household goods was my Hermitage Road layout, the traversing table, five metal cabinets and bookcases, and about 25 plastic tote boxes with model kits and supplies of all kinds. Almost everything arrived unscathed, thankfully. The Hermitage Road layout took a beating so I’ll have to assess whether to try and repair or start over. More to follow on that later.

Here is a photo of two of the cabinets. The packers in Germany simply wrapped up these two items with everything still in the cabinets, and didn’t put any packing material in there to keep the boxes in place. I was watching them but didn’t notice that detail. When we arrived in Illinois and the packing was removed, this is what happened.

The cabinet on the left is what I called “The $20,000 Cabinet” because there were over 200 finished resin models and locomotives in those white boxes. That cabinet also included about 8-10 cardboard parts boxes, several of which “blew up” in transit and spewed parts everywhere. The bookshelf on the right contained book binders and parts boxes, and everything on that arrived in a shambles. When the wrapping was removed parts and magazines and stuff were fell out all over the floor.

I took a lot of care to pack everything else except these couple of cabinets. I think I got really lucky. Obviously, these cabinets were turned upside down at some point. The real heroes here are those white car boxes–they’ve protected models for 30 years and 11 moves and they still soldier on.

A few days later the cabinets had been cleaned and rebuilt (see below). The cars on top are O Scale (Proto48).

My old workbench that I built at Travis AFB in 2002 got a new coat of paint and looks good as new:

We arrived back in Illinois on August 5th. We were able to move into our nice rental home the day we arrived, but we didn’t have any furniture and literally “camped” in it for nine weeks. Three weeks after we arrived we received a small, one-thousand pound shipment of “essential household items” which the military calls Unaccompanied Baggage. My Unaccompanied Baggage shipment also included five plastic totes filled with model kits, tools, and goodies. I told my wife the model boxes were essential for my mental health. Anyway, by August 20th I had everything I needed to set up a temporary workbench and start building models again. Here’s my temporary workbench:

I figured I had six to eight weeks to build up as many models as I could before our major shipment of household goods arrived, so I used what I had to my best advantage. I got a lot done, and I’ll do a short writeup on each car as it gets closer to completion. Here’s a run-down of the work completed.

Below. This is a new Rapido PRR Gla hopper model that I bought before leaving Germany. During the weathering process I really screwed up the finish, so I decided to sandblast it and complete it with Mount Vernon decals. I added new trucks, couplers, corner gussets, and a few wire details. Here it is awaiting paint and Mount Vernon decals.

Below. This is an Atlas 1932 ARA box car model I finished for an SCL Modeler article around 2009. I bought replacement doors from Speedwitch Media about five years ago and finally got around to installing them earlier this year. Along with the new doors I upgrade a bunch of details, but along the way I screwed up the original paint. I sandblasted the car and stored it for the move, and here it is, awaiting new paint and decals.

Below. This is an ancient Red Caboose CGW 1923 box car that I bought online as a decorated kit. My buddy Fenton Wells did one recently and motivated me to do one of my own. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the kit included the correct CGW reverse-Creco doors. Like, Wow! I used a huge number of aftermarket detail parts to upgrade the model, like A-Line stirrups, Cal Scale brake gear, Tahoe Model Works trucks, Hi-Tech brass hoses, and Kadee No. 178 couplers. I made my own running boards from Evergreen 2 x 6 strip styrene. All this car needs is paint touch up and weathering.

This car, below, is a CB&Q Flat Car by Jerry Hamsmith. Jerry sells these and other models independently; I think you can find them on the Resin Car Works site. It’s a nice resin kit with great castings and all the detail bits included, along with a nice decal set. I want to model this one with a lumber load to serve my Hermitage Road layout.

Below. This is an Intermountain 1937 Modified box car that will be finished as an Illinois Central 17000-17999 class car. which were delivered in 1939 from ACF. This model has a lot of after-market details applied, including Cal Scale AB brake gear, Yarmouth wood running boards with bronze support hardware, Yarmouth stirrups, Kadee grabs, Tahoe Double-truss trucks, Kadee scale couplers, and wire details all around. Looking at this picture I see I forgot to add the tow-hooks so I’ll have to go back and get that done.

Below. This resin car is one of the new Westerfield 1921 ARA C&NW box cars. It’s actually an old model, as Andrew Dahm used the original castings done by Frank Hodina for Sunshine Models 20 or more years ago. So it’s kind of a “Wester-shine” model. Andrew’s kit looks great and as a fun build. I finished this car with Cal Scale AB brakes, Yarmouth running board support, Tahoe Andrews trucks, Kadee scale couplers, Yarmouth stirrups and plenty of wire details all around. This is a cool car–very unique.

I bought this car from Bob Heninger just before I left Germany. This is an old Sunshine Missouri Pacific single-sheathed box car with Hutchins ends. It was a very straightforward build. It sure was nice to open up the box and see all that old Sunshine packing and everything. It made me a little nostalgic for the early 2000s. There are a lot of after-market parts on this car too–the same as the C&NW car above.

Here’s a practically one-of-a-kind model I bought from Tim O’Connor back in May, and I had time last month to build it up. Below, here’s a shot of my Sunshine Models Frisco 151000-series extended-height auto car. It’s a cool car but a little odd–a real “high-cube” of the 1940s. It looks like a square block. I’ll write more on this car in the coming months.

I have quite a few other models in progress, including:

Above. This is a B&O M-58 50-foot auto car. Fenton Wells and I had parts made for the car by Chad Boas this Spring. I had trouble getting the rest of the detail parts while I was still living in Germany, but here it is, 99% built up and almost ready for sandblasting. The car core is a Branchline 50-foot double-door car, with replacement roof, ends and doors from Chad, and aftermarket details all over. I did my best to approximate a Duryea underframe without having any reference photos of the actual prototype configuration. My model still needs a few more rivets.

And finally, below, here’s a model I’ve had for six years that’s finally seen the light of day. This is an O scale Intermountain R-40-10 steel refrigerator that I’m finishing as a PFE double-herald car. This is a beautiful kit. I’ve added a few aftermarket parts but only a few because the parts are so nice. I used a San Juan AB air brake set and that alone took two nights to install, but that’s what Proto48—O scale “fine scale”—is all about. The trucks are from Rich Yoder and are spectacular, but so is the price and that’s why I only have a few.

I’ve got a few more projects on the workbench but I’ll save those for the next post or two.

Moving is an outstanding way to renew oneself…to set new goals, explore new things, and learn, and let the change of pace and scenery work it’s magic. I’m happy to be back in a friendly place and I look forward to renewing friendships and enjoying some new modeling challenges. – John G

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