Scale Test Cars are like peanuts

You can’t have just one!

 photo CNR-2ScaleTestCars-01_zpsz8cuzsmk.jpg
(CNR 52247 is painted and lettered. It will receive very light weathering – as shown on CNR 52274 – before entering service.)

Actually, you can – it’s your railway, after all.

But when I researched these prototypes so I could finish my first scale test car, I learned that they were often used in pairs to calibrate railway scales. Many prototype photos show them running in pairs, too – right in front of the van, as required because they are not equipped with air brakes.

So, as reported earlier on this blog, I acquired a second example of these South Wind Models brass imports. I had purchased extra decals when I did my first car so I had everything I needed to finish my second model. (To read more about my models, check out the Scale Test Cars category on this blog.)

I finished the second car like the first, although I changed up some of the lettering – especially on the ends:

 photo CNR-2ScaleTestCars-02_zpsf66llest.jpg
(CNR 52247 – on the left – includes a “DO NOT HUMP” warning)

I did run into two slight problems while lettering the second car:

First, I discovered I had run out of the “CANADIAN NATIONAL” lettering, which I pulled from a set of Black Cat Publishing decals for an HO scale CNR van (caboose). A trip to the local hobby shop – combined with other errands – solved this issue.

Second, the lettering set from Andy W. Scale Models only includes one road number – 52274 – and no number jumble. Since the cars would likely be in the same series – specifically, “522##” – my only choice was to letter this car 52247. An extra line of numbers on this otherwise excellent decal set would’ve been much appreciated – especially since these cars often ran in pairs.

This was a terrific little “kitchen table” project to work on while most of my tools and materials are packed away (and the renovation continues on schedule, so I should be able to unpack things soon). I’m looking forward to building a scale house – likely as a module for the S Scale Workshop – so I can put these neat little cars to good use.

8 thoughts on “Scale Test Cars are like peanuts

    • Thanks Andrew – and you’re right: They can occasionally show up at the rear of a train. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a work extra, either: Scale test cars were handled in regular freight trains to move them from place to place as they calibrated scales across a railway’s territory.

  1. Really nice project, Trevor.

    My guess is that these cars will make a few public appearances on the “S” scale workshop layout – they will be a terrific conversation starter – and perhaps even a little educational for those brought up in the “plug and play” era who might not realise that mechanical devices still exist, need maintenance, and calibration.


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