Three new CNR boxcars (461000-463999)

A while ago, I wrote about the possibility of using S Helper Service single sheathed boxcars as stand-in models for CNR cars in the 461000-463999 series:
CNR 461000 series - model and prototype photo CNR-461000-01_zps98abb6e4.jpg
(Click on the image to read that post, which includes more background on the project)

Well, over the past week or so, I did minor modifications to three such models in my possession, followed by a quick paint and lettering job. The result is three new home-road house cars for my layout:
CNR-461000-Fleet photo CNR-461000-02_zps221177b3.jpg

The modifications were straightforward. I stared by adding styrene ribs to the centre of each panel to create the Hutchins Dry Lading Roof:
CNR-461000-0 photo CNR-461000-03_zps8eb52a6a.jpg

This is the most visible of the modifications, since roofs are what we see when we’re operating on a layout.

But I also recognized that a key feature of these cars is the fish-belly frame sills. The models, as purchased, did not have these. I fixed that with some styrene strip, measuring off another S scale car that does have a fish belly. The great thing is, the new sills would be painted black and be, well, underneath the cars – so I was more concerned with getting the silhouette right than with counting the rivets. I used a nibbling tool to cut notches to fit around the existing brake rigging, glued the new sills in place, and after a coat of paint, they provide the correct profile when viewing the cars at track level:
CNR-461000-Sills photo CNR-461000-04_zpsbfeb3ea6.jpg

(While working on the frames, I also cut away the cast-on stirrup steps and replaced them with brass bar, which I bent using a Grab-Handler from Mission Models – a great tool, by the way!)

I’m pleased with how this project turned out. The three cars were quick to modify and I was able to obtain appropriate lettering from the Black Cat Decals line. While some discrepancies remain between model and prototype, they’re minor and I can live with them – especially since I now have three more CNR cars on the layout. Already, they’ve made operating sessions more challenging since I cannot simply remember that “the Maine Central boxcar goes to the mill” – I have to pay more attention to the reporting marks.

These cars are a compromise – but a reasonable one. That’s S for you…

9 thoughts on “Three new CNR boxcars (461000-463999)

  1. These are great stand-in cars. They’re far closer than some of the models commonly used as stand-ins for Canadian freight cars in HO (Proto 2000 52′ mill gondolas come to mind). They certainly fit with the layout’s high degree of credibility by upping the home-road freight car population. Nicely done!


    • Thanks Hunter – the irony being that there are so many great, accurate cars available in HO. If there had been resin kits for these cars, I would’ve done them in S instead of modifying these stand-in cars, but this is what I had to work with. I’m pleased with how they turned out.

  2. Very nice Trevor,
    You have captured the look of the CN cars very well. They look great on the layout.

  3. Those look very good Trevor and I know I am just repeating what others have said, but your work is fantastic.


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