Freight Car Friday #72 – CP 80967 Model

CP 80967 is a simple study in very minor paint and decal tweaks to update the appearance of a (basically) RTR car.

The subject is a factory decorated model originally produced by Life Like under the Proto1000 brand label. (This tooling is now owned by Walthers.) It’s basically Ready to Run, other than the ladders and door rods being modeler-applied parts although they don’t really take any special skill to install.

One thing about the model is the colour of the roof. The roof is factory painted a pale grey colour to represent a bare galvanized steel roof, but just being a flat grey fails to really “pop” properly. So to improve the car (actually a trio of cars I have in these colours) I masked off the roof and re-sprayed it with Model Master “Steel”. The overall colour is almost the same shade except the Steel actually gives it a proper metallic finish. Next, as the 80967-81216 (yep, this car is actually the “class unit” for the series) were delivered in 1967 and actually originally painted in script, the Action Green MultiMark represents a repaint of these cars, and a little bit of Action Green overspray was added around the edges.

Standard decal additions of COTS and U-1 stencils in varying locations on the different cars and updated weigh dates completes the standard lettering updates before weathering.

One really neat feature of this model also needs to be addressed here. Life Like tooled two body version with different styles of plug doors – an inside-post (flush appearance) as shown on this car, and an exterior-post (recessed appearance). The interior post doors were on cars built up to 1968, and cars built 1969 or after had the exterior post doors. Another key difference between the earlier and later cars was the wheelbase, with cars built up to 1967 having a shorter 38’10” length between truck centres, and cars built 1968 and later have a longer 40’8″ truck centre distance. The model does something super clever here that a lot of people may not even be aware of – the truck bolsters are actually separate pieces that can be removed, rotated 180 degrees and reinstalled to shorten the wheelbase. (The truck centres should be narrowed on this car, but I took the photo before addressing the trucks.)

A roster of prototype cars that match the models, with door and wheelbase information (via Jim Eager on the MFCL list):

Series Date Door Wheelbase Notes
CN 401483-401882 12/66-1/67 YPD 38’10”
CN 400600-400999 1-3/67 YPD 38’10”
CP 80967-81216 4/67 YPD 38’10”
PGE 4601-4642 5/67 YPD 38’10” re# BCOL 4601-4642 /72. Non-cushioned.
CN 400350-400599 6-7/68 YPD 40’8″ re# CNIS 400350-400599 /70
DWC 403000-403149 1-2/69 YPDX 40’8″
CVC 402000-402499 2-4/69 YPDX 40’8″
PGE 4651-4750 4/69 YPDX 40’8″ re# BCOL 4651-4750 /72. Non-cushioned.
CPI 85000-85499 5-7/69 YPDX 40’8″ re# CP 85000-85499
MDW 7001-7099 7/69 YPDX 40’8″ re# CPAA 86000-86099 /88

(Door code: YPD = regular interior post Youngstown plug door, YPDX = exterior post Youngstown plug door)

Steam Generators: One step back, one step forward

Sometimes a project takes a step back before going forward. It can be easy and natural to only share successes, but mistakes are also a source of learning.

The Algoma Central’s quartet of home built steam generator cars were built in 1951-52 using the frames of old 40’ steel braced wood boxcars. These wood boxcars were a pretty good match for the Accurail car and I have a trio of these decorated for the AC using CDS transfers. In building these scratchbuilt heater cars, I built them to fit the same Accurail 40’ boxcar underframe, since the real cars were built on the same boxcar frames.


With the .040” styrene walls of the scratchbuilt body married to the Accurail frame the overall width of the new body was only equal to the width of the wooden sheathing of the original box and did not take the width of the car bracing which would have been attached to the outside of this. The original scratchbuild was FAR TOO NARROW and at least a foot or more narrower than the other passenger cars they will run with.

This major error has really bothered me, as while otherwise the cars built up quite nicely so far, the too thin bodies can’t be unnoticed. So being unhappy with its current state, the project was shoved off to the side for a while.

Teardown and disassembly of assembled car to salvage the sides.

This past week I pulled the cars from the back of the workbench and resolved to correct the mistake and move forward on the project again. The sides turned out well and I didn’t want to throw the entire project out and re do that effort, so the ends and roof were cut away and the corner trimwork removed with a razor blade. A few minor pieces such as the doors and aftermarket detail parts for the electrical plugs were removed from the original ends and salvaged for reuse. New, wider versions of the ends were fabricated and reassembly of the cars is now well on its way.

Old (left) and replacement (right) car ends.

New underframes will have to be scratchbuilt next, and then hopefully I can continue with fabricating the roof vents and other details for the generator, which I had started but put aside when it became obvious I didn’t want to continue with the original bodies.

Scrapped steam generator components.

More to come hopefully, now that this project is rolling again…