Express car mods via Photoshop

As noted in a previous post, I ordered a model of an SP baggage car with the intent of creating a stand-in for a CNR express car in the 8775-8799 number range. These CNR cars had a “turtle roof”, plus six-foot and eight-foot doors.

CNR baggage car - prototype photo
(Click on the image to read more about why I decided to model this series of cars)

The car arrived this week, and – for my purposes – it’s an excellent start. The discrepancies that are most immediately apparent are the vents on the roof and the baggage doors. There should be fewer vents, of a different style, and the doors should be larger and taller – almost touching the roof line.

I did a quick bit of Photoshop work to see if I could get the SP car to look more like the CNR series I’m trying to represent. I built each image out of several photographs so I could take close-up pictures of the car to capture the detail:

Stock Southern Pacific baggage car
(Stock SP car)

SP baggage car - modified in photoshop
(Photoshop modifications)

Based on this virtual kit bash, I think the modifications will be worth the effort.

Modifying the doors should be fairly easy: I can simply cut larger openings, square them with a file, add some strip to the interior if needed, and build new doors. They don’t even need to be built out of brass – I’m happy to use styrene for the doors. (The larger of the two openings should have two equal-sized doors with two lights each – not the 3+2 arrangement shown in the photo.)

The vents will be a little trickier – only in that I’ll have a lot to remove, and then a lot of holes to fill in a very visible part of the car. I will think about the vents issue some more before I start unsoldering castings.

10 thoughts on “Express car mods via Photoshop

  1. It looks like a worthy model and brings back the idea of kitbashing brass. Hope you work out the vents issue.

    • Thanks Philip:
      I’m less worried about installing new vents than I am about removing old ones and plugging holes in the roof…

  2. I see the different roof vents, doors, side steps and grabs. Is the underbody detail different? Can’t see the other side of the prototype. Looks like, with these changes, it’ll be an exact model of the prototype. I always loved that paint sceme. What a nice model that will be! An excellent choice for a Tsunami sound car module!

    • Hi Bart:
      There are a lot of differences. I don’t think it’ll end up being an accurate model by any stretch of the imagination. But it’ll be a lot closer to the prototype than info don’t make the changes – and, a lot closer than no baggage car model at all, which is my alternative at this point. S scale simply isn’t as well served as HO, so I’ll have to strive for close-enough until I decide I want to scratch-build a passenger car…

  3. I looked in the book and it’s hard to be 100% positive, but I believe they are Garland arch roof vents. I have them in S and there are likely other sources too:

    The “virtual kitbash” proves the concept… you will have a very effective model of these cars. If every rivet isn’t perfect, who cares! It sure captures the feel.



  4. Love these brass/styrene projects. Solder to fill vent holes or maybe some light weight auto body filler? Need to fix the drip rails too.
    Best wishes with this project.

    Joe Smith

    • Thanks Joe – and you’re right about the drip rails. Lots of smaller things to consider. But I figure if I can tackle the big things, the small ones will fall into place…
      Are you going to the NERPM? I can’t this year, but several friends will be there. Be sure to say hi to the Canadians!

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