A reader asked for some more details about the upgrades I do to boxcar kits from Pacific Rail Shops to make them more accurate for CNR prototypes. I am not an expert on freight car detailing so all mistakes are my own – and I may offend those who are when I say I can live with the mistakes / omissions / etc.
An excellent source for information about accurately modelling equipment is Steam Era Freight Cars. If you look at only one thing on that site, I recommend the feature by Ted Culotta that shows out to properly model AB brake systems. It’s available as a PDF and every serious modeller should download it and keep it near the workbench. In addition to the web site, there’s the wonderful Steam Era Freight Cars Yahoo Group – full of smart people who can answer serious questions and point members to sources.
So with that out of the way, here’s what I do on my CNR boxcars. Whether you do the same is up to you…
I start with the Pacific Rail Shops kit for the 1937 AAR 40 Foot Boxcar. The ones I have are all factory-painted for the CNR, but the colour is too brown and I’ll have to repaint after adding all the details anyway, so pretty much any prototype would do. I don’t bother stripping the paint and lettering, since the paint I use – CN Red #11 (Mineral Brown) from the CNR Historical Association – covers really well and sticks to just about anything. In any case, I’ll be lettering over top of the original lettering.
The 8 Rung Ladders are by S Scale America (Part SSA400) from Des Plaines Hobbies. Each kit includes four ladders – two for ends, two for sides. They’re designed to fit in the same holes as the ladders in the kit.
The running board supports, brass brake platform, L-shaped grab iron with eyebolt and cut lever with mounting bracket are part of the Boxcar Detail Set (BC01) from Andy Malette at MLW Services. Andy’s kit includes brass wire to form cut levers and grab irons, plus a thorough set of instructions for installation of these parts.
I provide my own wood for running boards. I have found that HO scale 2″ x 8″ strips work really well – they add up to the correct width on the long running boards, and seven pieces on the lateral running boards work out about right too. The kits include plastic running boards which are easy to measure from when upgrading with real wood.
There’s a grab on the door that I like to carve off and replace with a piece of wire. This photo also shows the cut lever bracket, which is part of Andy’s BC01 kit and mounts to the ladder.
Andy provides a couple of spare eyebolts in his kit. I use one of these, and a spare cut lever bracket, to mount the release rod for the air brake system. (The release rod is detailed in the Ted Culotta article referenced above.)
This is another look at the release rod for the air brake system.
Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing offers several S scale decal sets for CN equipment. Al does not have a web site but here’s a full list of Black Cat decals – scroll down for the S scale offerings. For these cars, the 10′-0″ inside height sets are appropriate.