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A Few Scratchbuilt Freight Cars

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  • A Few Scratchbuilt Freight Cars

    Not too long ago, I was working on an article series on building cars... unfortunately, the articles never quite panned out, so I thought I'd post a few pics here. All of the cars in these pics are scratchbuilt-



    The tanker was built using a piece of PVC pipe with styrene caps, and wrapped in embossed paper. I traced the lettering straight off a prototype photo. Details are from Tichy, and the trucks and couplers are from Kadee.



    I don't know why, but reefers are my favorite kind of car. Guess it's because they're easier to build and are pretty colorful. Both of these were built with paper and cardboard sides and ends (even the dreadnaught ends on the larger car). The graphics are by yours truly, including the heralds. They ride on wooden frames with paper and cardboard structural members, Kadee trucks and couplers, and Tichy brakes.

    I'm starting off with these two for now, since I already got them hosted on my blog (hence the watermarks, so I apologize for that). I'll put up some color shots later.

  • #2
    At this size, I can't even locate the watermark. Nice.
    James

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    • #3
      Very nice, C.H. I especially like the tank car.

      George
      The sky is not my limit, it's my playground.

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      • #4
        Thanks fellas!

        Here's another one culled from the blog:



        My builders photo of an SP stock car. Also made in cardboard, with paper bracing, and the same assortment of Kadee and Tichy parts. I only wish I had a couple of steers to put inside at the time I built it. Forgot to mention, these are HO scale.

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        • #5
          Nice work! I'd love to see some how-to's on your techniques.
          -- KP --

          Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

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          • #6
            Excellent work. I have a hard time scratch building freight cars in any material. And these are like professional looking built models. I'm impressed.



            Tony
            Tony Burgess

            Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.~ Brian Greene

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            • #7
              Thanks folks!

              Here's one currently in the works, an ACL ventilated boxcar-



              The underframe is a piece of styrene with a printed pattern. I scribed the planking with a needle and built up the frame using cardboard and paper, with styrene crossbears.



              The sides are printed and pasted on thick cardboard. All the lettering was traced from a prototype photo and using an ARA lettering diagram as a guide. I still haven't quite figured how I'll do the screen doors though.

              And here's a shot of another finished model-



              I've been a Pacific Electric fan for a long time, but not having room for any traction on my layout, I thought I'd build one of their boxcars - note the external brake rigging for tight trolley curves. Only commercial components used are trucks, couplers and brakes. Everything else is basically paper.

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              • #8
                I thought the first two photos were of prototype cars! Great pix! And made from paper? Could you give us some more info on how you use paper to build such terrific models?

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                • #9
                  What a coincidence I've been experimenting with 110lb cardstock the last two weeks for buildings and was thinking about using paper for cars. I would love to hear about your techniques.
                  Bill

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                  • #10
                    Do you know what size the screen's mesh is? I found a fancy present-wrapping ribbon which looks like about a 2" mesh in HO; I used it for window screens on my BEST Clam Box build. It looks OK in photos smaller than life-size.
                    James

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                    • #11
                      That's really some impressive work. I too thought the first shots depicted the prototype...

                      I add my voices to the inquiring crowd who wants to know more.

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                      • #12
                        I concur with Frederic on both items.
                        -- KP --

                        Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the comments folks! Much appreciated.

                          jbvb: That's a good idea, I probably have some already.

                          Now here's a rundown on how I built the PFE Super Giant reefer in the second photo -




                          I start off with a printed frame pasted on 1/8" mdf. I normally use cardboard for the center beam, but because of the length, I used styrene on this one. The bolster centers are also styrene.



                          On top of that I add crossbears and bolsters, made from either thin cereal box cardboard or, as in this case, balsa wood. The flanges on the I beams are paper, and the riveted plates on the bolsters are paper with embossed rivets. I use a needle on a dowel for this.



                          Underframe detailing includes brake cylinder, rods, levers and air line. When painting these, I use thick acrylics to give it a nice, dirty look. I've always felt that a completely smooth even finish doesn't look quite right.



                          Sides are pasted on illustration board and scribed with a needle or a sharp knife. This is the part that takes the longest, especially if it's a car I've never done before. I prepare all the graphics from scratch, including the fonts and the heralds. And if I have data on one specific car, all the better. I have fun doing research for these things.



                          This particular reefer had steel Dreadnaught ends, and that stopped me for a while as I couldn't figure out how to build them. I ended up experimenting with applying cardboard ribs and I was surprised with the results. Grab irons are made from either staples or -thanks to my mother- electric guitar strings.



                          The car is braced using balsa wood - note that the bottoms of the sides are thinned where they touch the frame.



                          The roof is cereal box cardboard, covered with a printed roof pattern. The panels and ribs are all made from paper, and the hatch platform supports are balsa wood.



                          Just like the rest of the car, the ice hatch platforms are all paper and card, with staple wire grab irons. I made an exception for this particular car, as the prototype had steel hatch doors, so I used ones from an Accurail kit.



                          Details on the side are all paper and wire - including the ladders. The door hinges are embossed with a needle, then cut and glued in place. Also note the separately applied herald - these cars were the last to receive enameled heralds before PFE switched to painted ones. You wouldn't want to be near when one of those flew off a rolling train!



                          And I finish off with some paint and that's about it!

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                          • #14
                            Still amazing. Enjoying your posts.

                            Tony
                            Tony Burgess

                            Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.~ Brian Greene

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                            • #15
                              Let me get this straight. You print the sides out, then you scribe the individual boards? After you scribe the lines, do you go back with something (paint, pen, chalk) to fill in the scribe marks or is the ink from the printing process deep enough that this is not necessary?
                              Bill

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