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 What to do with a cheap undecorated bulkhead flat
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Author Previous Topic: NMRA AP Cars Certificate Support Thread Topic Next Topic: What to do when your coal load is too short 4 car!  

Crew Chief

Premium Member

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  01:15:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit tct855's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The backstory for this car is: This car started life on the Milwaukee road in early 80ís then sat for a while after Milwaukee was dissolved, then the car was used for a while in the next merger, then was showing itís age/rusting and poor treatment from poor forklift operators damaging some of the ratchet side brackets and sat once again waiting to be repaired and eventually sold to itís current owner CGTX and now I hear itís still waiting to be repaired properly and the rumor is, it might be sold soon again to a local lumber company.

1) Starting with a HO scale undecorated Walthers opera bulkhead flat car. I started by taking a deep breath and asked myself (why did I buy a one piece model)? Oh yeah!, because I have modelers diseaseÖ

2) All details (lack thereof really) provided (including the trash can fillers horn hook couplers and plastic wheels). Ok, enough *****iní!

3) Top view of center beam.

4) Side view of car. Humm??? First order of business is to give this car some character.

5) First I cut off every molded on flat cable spools and replaced with drilling holes in side of each bracket and installed a brass rod for the cable wires. Next I drilled every cable slot hole (two different drill sizes to achieve the tear drop design).

6) Drilled all holes on top as well knowing good-n-well I would never use any of them (this is where the disease can rule oneís modeling life).

7) I couldnít leave the molded on grab irons, so I cut them all off and drilled new holes and brass wire to the rescue. Also I took the time make from scratch to small quick end grate platforms. (this was mostly because I did away with the long long swing shank and installed a long shank metal kadee couplers w/draft gearbox.

8) I felt the underside needed some details as well (why not right) so I added air hoses, air lines, brake hangers & rods, brake piston chain, main butterfly bracket and piping. (for the rivet counters I knowingly didnít run air piping to where it goes properly). I just gave the flavor, I donít count rivets anymore (getting old I guess). I did however had to add a lot of weight (cerrabend) to bring this car up to NMRA standards.

9) Next I painted on the base rust color because I want this car heavily weathered. (sorry I forgot to take pictures of the added details before I painted the base color).

10) Next I decided to paint this car white (because I saw a prototype picture of a similar car). I decided to weather this car with the hairspray paint chipping technique.

11) Next I used oil paints for the next layer of weathering. Then I decaled the model and sealed.

12) Now for the fun part (of eye hand coordination), I threaded all the ratchet brackets and tie loops (yes one long piece of thread) I have a disease, Iím not a nut, remember I donít count rivets (cables but I did take the time to weather the cables differently as well).

13) Finally I gave the underframe a little weathering (basic, not counting rivets)

14) The following pics are simple detailed shots of the finished car.

Glad I only had one of these cars and not a fleet. Hope this pictorial gives inspiration on either some ideas of what to do or not to do.
Thanx Thom...

Country: USA | Posts: 567


Premium Member

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  08:07:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thom, thanks for sharing. I have 3 of these waiting for weathering. This gives me some ideas and nicely done


Country: USA | Posts: 4312 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  08:13:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very nice, Thom.


Country: USA | Posts: 33292 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 02/19/2021 :  08:24:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow, what a project. Car looks great. Nice job.


New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

Country: USA | Posts: 3951 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  08:27:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit BreizhSteamer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very impressive result, Thom!


Country: France | Posts: 126 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  09:03:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Excellent work, Thom. The rust is very convincing.


Country: USA | Posts: 7221 Go to Top of Page

George D

Premium Member

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  09:08:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Excellent work, Thom. I hope you don't get therapy, so you can continue with that fine modeling.


Fly Army

Country: USA | Posts: 16788 Go to Top of Page

Frank Palmer

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  09:17:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Really nice.


Country: USA | Posts: 6130 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 02/19/2021 :  10:14:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice work Thom and well illustrated in all your photos.

Mega Dittos

Karl Scribner
Manistique, Michigan

Country: USA | Posts: 11905 Go to Top of Page

Section Hand

Posted - 02/19/2021 :  3:20:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Being a rivet counter of a different kind: Any estimate of how long this 'small' project took?


The V & T lives in my garage (soon)

Country: USA | Posts: 93 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Premium Member

Posted - 02/20/2021 :  01:54:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit tct855's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hey Boyz,
I'm glad so many like this car, I almost didn't do this car because I didn't really want to sit and drill so many holes, but I just couldn't let it go.

I hate to build cars like the masses. I try to think outside the box to make each project reflect it's own story and when it's finished I hope it has standing.

I never quite know what I'm going to do to finish a project, but I live by the standard that if It's easy then it's not good enough.

This project start to finish was completed in 4 days. I think the total hours was somewhere in the 12-15 hour range. I didn't really keep track(?), because I was working on another project in between. A diesel.

Thanks again everyone, I hope I can keep up with the other great builders here on this forum.

I'm always so excited to see what others are doing. Thanx Thom...

Country: USA | Posts: 567 Go to Top of Page

john holt
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/21/2021 :  3:19:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A little too new for my modeling era. But my, my, my, what a little time and patience can do to make an average car now really be a stand out model. Very nice.


Country: USA | Posts: 390 Go to Top of Page

Tyson Rayles

Premium Member

Posted - 02/22/2021 :  07:45:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Country: USA | Posts: 13437 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 02/22/2021 :  12:06:18 PM  Show Profile  Send Guff an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Great job on the build...the rust is perfect!

David Guffey

Country: USA | Posts: 2095 Go to Top of Page
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