CNR NSC-built boxcars | First Look

While attending a local train show yesterday, I was able to collect my order of S scale kits for CNR boxcars built by National Steel Car. (I’ve written previously about these new Yarmouth Model Works kits.)

Here’s a first look at what’s in each box:

NSC boxcars - first look.

There’s a really nicely-cast one-piece resin body, with separate roof. A plastic bag holds wire, photo-etched parts, eight-rung Canadian style ladders with integral stirrup steps, a laser cut wood running board, and more. A second bag includes a resin sheet with frame components such as cross-bearers, plus doors. A third bag holds a fine selection of Black Cat Publishing decals, including several variants of the CNR maple leaf logo. Instructions are included on several pages of 8.5×11″ paper, and include a number of black and white photographs to aid with construction and lettering.

The ends are unique on these cars – and offered for the first time in S scale:

NSC-2 end

Some minor filing/sanding will be required to clear away casting sprue material to allow the roof to be fitted in place, but that’s to be expected. The details are fine, and crisp. I have done nothing to clean up the resin yet – this is how the kit looks, straight out of the box. I think that’s pretty impressive.

Here’s a closer look at the roof detail, as well as the baggie of resin parts for the frame, tack boards, body bolsters and so on:

Resin baggie.

Providing these as separate pieces makes it easier to drill the frame cross-bearers to accept a train line, if one desires to model that detail. Like the body, these parts are crisply cast and well detailed. All the resin will have to be washed in soapy water before assembly.

Here’s a closer look at the baggie of miscellaneous parts, including photo-etch:

Photo etch and other parts.

I’m looking forward to building my kits – and I’m glad I got them yesterday: They’ve been on the market just a couple of days now and Pierre tells me more than half of the first run has been purchased already. (Thanks to my fellow S scalers for that!)

If you want one or more of these, don’t wait: Click on the boxcar, below, to visit the Yarmouth Model Works website and order yours…

Get your CNR NSC-built boxcars

They’re here!


Yarmouth Model Works has just released its first S scale freight car kits – for early and late variants of Canadian National Railways 1937 AAR 40-foot boxcars, as built by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario and featuring the manufacturer’s unique NSC-2 end.

These limited run kits feature a one-piece resin body casting, laser cut running boards, custom photo etchings for details such as brake appliance hangers, Des Plaines Hobbies eight-rung Canadian style ladders, and decals from Black Cat Publishing.

(Early version with flat panel roof and initial brake rigging arrangement)

(Later version with raised panel roof and revised brake rigging arrangement)

I have seen the finished production models of each kit (above) in person, and they are spectacular. With more than 5,700 of these cars roaming the rails across North America between the late 1930s and the 1980s, most of us working in 1:64 can justify one of each style on their layouts. (I’ve already placed an order for a few of each.) The unique NSC-2 end will add some welcome variation to our fleets.

You can order car(s) on the Kits – S Scale page at Yarmouth Model Works. (And if you’re going to this year’s RPM Conference in the Chicago area, I know Pierre plans to attend. Maybe you can order your kits now and pick them up at the show, to save on shipping.)

While I’m not part of Yarmouth Model Works, I was among those who encouraged Pierre Oliver and his team to test the waters in S scale. The company has released a number of kits and detail parts in HO, and has won much praise from the Railroad Prototype Modelers community for prototype fidelity, the quality of castings and parts, and ease of assembly. So I’m excited by the opportunity this represents for those of us in 1:64. If these do well, more kits are planned – including unique cars for some popular American roads.

If you have never built a resin kit, these models will be a great place to start.

New Resin News | CNR 1929 boxcar, painted

My friend David Clubine at Ridgehill Scale Models* is very close to releasing the company’s newest S scale kit – a resin model of the CNR 1929 40-foot single sheathed boxcar.

This kit is being produced for Ridgehill by Pierre Oliver and his colleagues at Yarmouth Model Works – and Pierre recently shared the first photo of his test-build subject in full paint and lettering:

CNR 1929 in full paint

I have no further details about availability or pricing – that’s up to David to announce – but I’ll be sure to share the information when I have it. Meantime, I know I’ll be adding a few of these to my layout when they’re released.

(*Ridgehill Scale Models has not produced a new kit in a number of years and as of this writing it does not have a website. There’s a listing on a friend’s website of past models. I’m hoping that once this car is made available I’ll be able to add a new website to my list of S scale suppliers that I frequently use. As always, check the “Links” section on this blog’s home page for the most up-to-date links.)

New Resin News | NSC-built “AAR 1937” CNR boxcars – now with lettering

My friend Pierre Oliver shared photos of the finished sample models for a new resin kit coming for S scale enthusiasts. Pierre and his colleagues at Yarmouth Model Works* are making their first foray into 1:64 by offering two versions of their first S scale kit, covering some 5,700 boxcars built for the Canadian National Railways by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario.

This is the early version of the car, with a flat roof and the brake reservoir located perpendicular to the sills:

CNR - NSC Boxcar - early - lettered

And here is the later version of the car, with raised panel roof and the brake reservoir located parallel to the sills:

CNR - NSC Boxcar - later - lettered

As I have noted in a previous post about these cars, the kits are coming soon – definitely before the end of the year. Ordering information, including pricing, will be posted on the Yarmouth Model Works website when they’re available. I know I’ll be buying a few of each for my layout!

(Note that unless stated, the kits on the Yarmouth Model Works website are in HO scale)

New resin news | NSC-built “AAR 1937” CNR boxcars

There’s more good news for S scale enthusiasts, in the form of forthcoming resin kits for the “1937 AAR” boxcars built for the Canadian National Railways by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario. And there’s even better news:

These kits come from a well-known manufacturer of high-quality HO scale resin freight car kits that is dipping its toe into the S scale waters for the first time.

Yarmouth Model Works* will actually offer two versions of this 40-foot, 10’0″ inside height all-steel car – featuring different roof styles and brake configurations.

The first version covers two series totalling more than 1,300 cars. These featured flat panel roofs and the brake system’s reservoir mounted perpendicular to the frame:

NSC - early series with flat panel roof

NSC - early series - underframe

The second version covers four series totalling more than 4,400 cars. These featured a Murphy raised panel roof and the brake system’s reservoir mounted parallel to the frame:

NSC - later series with raised panel roof

NSC - later series - underframe

The prototype cars feature the distinctive “NSC-2″ end. National Steel Car used this proprietary end on the 10’0″ and 10’6” inside height boxcars built between 1939 and 1950. The patterns for casting these models incorporated a 3D printed master for this unique end:

NSC-2 end - early series car

The prototype for these models could be found across North America and the Canadian Rail Car Pictorial – Volume 2 shows them running in revenue service into the 1980s.

Pierre Oliver of Yarmouth Model Works visited this week and let me photograph the in-progress models he is building to write the instructions and use as samples. They’re beautifully done, with crisp casting and fine detail, including many photo-etched parts.

As I mentioned off the top, this will be the first foray into S scale for Yarmouth Model Works. A successful sales run of these kits will definitely encourage Pierre and his colleagues to bring more top-quality resin kits to market – and he and I have already discussed possibilities.

Meantime, I know I’ll be adding several examples of both versions of these NSC steel boxcars to my layout when they’re released. The release date has not yet been announced but it’s highly likely to be before the end of the year.

NSC car - early version

NSC car - later version

(*Check the “Links” section on this blog’s home page for the most up-to-date links)

New resin news | The CNR “1929” Boxcar

A few days ago, I posted a teaser about some new S scale resin freight car kits that will hit the market soon.

One of these is the CNR “1929” boxcar – a 40-foot, single sheathed model:

CNR 1929 - test build - 01

According to Canadian Rail Car Pictorial – Volume 2, the Canadian National Railways rostered more than 9,600 of these. The CNR contracted three major builders – Canadian Car & Foundry, Eastern Car Company, and National Steel Car to produce these, and all were built in the 1929-1931 time frame. Prototype photos show them with either wood or steel doors.

The Pictorial notes that the majority of this fleet lasted until 1983, moving grain from western Canada. In earlier decades, though, they would’ve been seen all over North America – and the fleet is large enough that any modeller of the steam era in the United States can justify one or two for their layout. Modellers of the CNR working in 1:64 will want considerably more, of course.

The kit is being manufactured by Yarmouth Model Works* on behalf of David Clubine at Ridgehill Scale Models*. This project started life with Ridgehill, working with another manufacturer, but then stalled until Yarmouth Model Works was brought on board. Ridgehill will handle all sales for this one.

CNR 1929 - underframe

Pierre Oliver of Yarmouth Model Works visited this week and let me photograph the in-progress model he is building to write the instructions and provide a sample to Ridgehill. It’s beautifully done, with crisp casting and fine detail, including many photo-etched parts.

I know I’ll be adding several examples of this kit to my layout when it’s released. The release date has not yet been announced but it’s highly likely to be before the end of the year.

CNR 1929 boxcar

(*Check the “Links” section on this blog’s home page for the most up-to-date links)

CNR 470000 series boxcars: finished?

Well, almost…

 photo CNR470000-13_zpsrhwk48gu.jpg

On Friday, I gave my five CNR 470000 series boxcars a first pass of weathering. I used acrylics from Vallejo (a pale grey, medium brown and my favourite colour – grey-black) to build up effects of dust, mud, grime and soot.

I say “almost finished” because while two cars shown above look good on their own, when I put them in a string with other CNR boxcars I realize I have not weathered them enough:

 photo CNR-Boxcars-4styles_zpsphekcwqr.jpg
(25 percent more variety in my boxcar fleet. From left: a 36-foot “Fowler”, a 470000 series rebuilt USRA, a 40-foot single sheathed, and a 1937 ARA steel car)

In particular, the roof needs more soot. I think it’s important to have a consistent look for all equipment. That’s not to say that all cars will weather the same way, but this rebuilt car really stands out fro the others. It almost looks like it’s from a different railway.

I’ll take care of these cars next time I’m in a weathering mood. Meantime, I’m on to generating waybills so my new boxcars can bring all the essentials and luxuries in life to the 1:64 citizens of St. Williams and Port Rowan…

CNR 470000 series boxcars: lettered

 photo CNR470000-09_zpstvyk6b4h.jpg

Last week, I snuck some time between work assignments and finished lettering my fleet of CNR 470000 series boxcars. These took a lot longer than I expected: I finished the first side of each car earlier this month, but then various other commitments got in the way.

I’ve given the cars a spray with Alclad’s matte finish. I’ve used it for a few projects now and it has become my hands-down favourite flat coat. Just look at that cloud of flatty goodness in the bottom of the bottle:

 photo CNR470000-10_zpstrnjsve6.jpg

It does a great job of hiding decal edges and will even kill some silvering.

 photo CNR470000-08_zpstzxlgpox.jpg

 photo CNR470000-12_zpskm7hmnbc.jpg

With the lettering done and the flat finish applied, it’s time to replace the wheel sets. As the photo above suggests, I use the supplied wheels while working on cars and don’t mind getting them covered in paint. That’s because I swap in Northwest Short Line wheels before cars hit the layout. This gives me a consistent wheel profile across all of my rolling stock, which I’ve found is important for reliable running.

I’ll also swap out the tongue depressors for Kadee couplers. Prepping wheels and couplers is a good job for a winter afternoon in the kitchen, with a mug of tea close to hand and something stewy simmering on the stove…

 photo CNR470000-11_zpsoren7b39.jpg

A lot of one car?

 photo CNR470000-05_zpsiebb87c9.jpg
(“Why so many?” Here’s why…)

In response to my previous posting on the CNR 470000 series boxcar project, René Gourley commented:

Gosh, isn’t that an awful lot of one class of car for your little pike, Trevor?

It’s a terrific question and I decided it deserved its own post in response.

Yes, five models of one class of car is a lot for a layout as modest as mine. I could get away with a dozen pieces of rolling stock, for the entire layout. But I’m modelling a large number of this class of car to help address some shortcomings on my layout:

1 – I model in S scale. There’s not much equipment available in S scale, compared to other scales. I can model a few classes of CNR boxcar, but not as many as I could in HO for example.

2 – I can’t justify a wide variety of car types on my layout. I have friends who model bridge lines, and almost anything goes. But I model a small terminal of a lightly-trafficked branch line. Only cars that are serving the few industries I have would show up on the layout. Most of those are boxcars.

3 – What’s more, it’s a branch of the CNR in the steam era, which means the lion’s share of the rolling stock has to be home road. I can enjoy the occasional car from an American railroad, but my trains would never look like the “alphabet soup” of reporting marks that one would’ve seen south of the border. So, most of the rolling stock that appears on my layout will be CNR boxcars.

That said, I want variety. I don’t want to see the same few cars in every operating session. Yet given the limits outlined above – both prototype and model – how do I achieve that?

On my prototype, over the course of a year, one might see the same class of cars showing up all the time. That makes sense, because the same customers would ship or receive the same types of products. But within a given class, it would be rare for the same car to show up again and again – especially if we’re talking about something as ubiquitous as a boxcar.

So, one way I can add variety to my operating sessions is to model several examples of each class of car that I can actually model in S scale. They might have minor detail differences – or lettering differences (like a different logo) – or even just variations in weathering patterns.

I’ve done this with other cars, too – my ARA 1937 steel boxcars are a good example. I have five of these on the layout already, and will build more of them.

 photo CNR-4811472-Finished_zps23cdabc2.jpg
(Click on the image to read more about the dominance of home road boxcars on a mid-century Canadian layout)

And of course while the cars are the same class, each car number is different. Operators will have to pay attention to the details: They can’t simply look at the train and say, “Oh, that’s the USRA rebuild car – it always goes to Leedham’s Mill in Port Rowan”.

From a practical side, if I’m set up to detail, paint and letter one car I might as well do a batch of five. I can use them all and I have space to store them as I rotate them on and off the layout – but if I decide at some point that I want to unload some, I’m sure I can sell them on to other members of the S Scale Workshop.

Thanks for asking the question, René!

CNR 470000 series boxcars : 2

 photo CNR470000-05_zpsiebb87c9.jpg
(With plenty of time for the paint to cure, these five cars are ready for lettering – a good “kitchen table” project)

Over the holidays I managed to make some progress on my CNR 470000 series boxcar project. As reported earlier, I’m working on five cars that are credible stand-ins for some USRA cars that were rebuilt in 1936.

Having finished all detail modifications (at least, those modifications I was willing to do), I ran these through the paint shop for a coat of CNR mineral red from the CNR Historical Association’s line of Scalecoat paints.

I decided – finally – to get smart about painting rolling stock, and crafted some tongues out of styrene to screw into the coupler boxes. These can be seen in the lead photo. I installed these at both ends of the cars.

The tongues help keep paint out of the coupler boxes. They also provide a handy handle for moving the cars in and out of the paint booth. Since S scale manufacturers have pretty much standardized on the Kadee S scale coupler (I use the brown Kadee 808 model), these tongues will come in handy for future painting projects, too.

(The manufacturer’s wheel sets will be swapped out for NWSL replacements before the cars go into service. For now, they keep paint out of the journals and give me something to stand the cars on.)

 photo CNR470000-06_zpsaxnmigkl.jpg
(Ready for lettering. The reading glasses are now an essential item when working with white decals)

I painted the cars in early December and then got busy with other commitments. On the plus side, the paint has had plenty of time to cure in preparation for lettering. Over the weekend, I set up on the kitchen table and got to work. The decal sets are number 524206S from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing.

Lettering rolling stock is an ideal project when one’s workshop is otherwise inaccessible (as mine is right now). It’s a “clean” project that doesn’t require a lot of tools, materials or space, so it can be done at the kitchen table. Over the course of an afternoon, I got the first sides done on all five cars. Having left the decals overnight to dry thoroughly, I’m now going over them with a sharp scalpel and the aggressive decal setting solution. The heralds, in particular, need some extra help to settle down over the panel rivets.

 photo CNR470000-07_zpspgmbq43c.jpg