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)

Freight Car Friday #71 – CN 557417 Model

CN 557417 is a 52′ inside length combination plug + sliding door boxcar built in the mid 1970s for lumber and forest products service. It’s part of a large group of such cars (740 cars built in three orders between 1973-1974), but its paint job is one of a kind.

This car was one of 4 boxcars painted by CN in 1984 as a promotion for the upcoming 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver, BC, branded as “Expo86” by the event organizers. Each car was painted in a similar black and white scheme with 4 diagonal coloured stripes, although each of the 4 cars was in a different colour.

The four cars to be painted this way were:

CN 557417 – blue stripes (52′ combo-door boxcar)

CN 557420 – purple stripes (52′ combo-door boxcar)

CNIS 417093 – green stripes (52′ single-door boxcar)

CNIS 417225 – orange stripes (52′ single-door boxcar)

Also painted in the Expo86 scheme was SD40-2 5334 with multi-coloured stripes (yellow, green, blue and purple).

The model was built using a Kaslo Shops resin kit for a CN 52′ combo door boxcar which matches the prototype and painted and lettered using a decal set from Highball Graphics (this set appears to be now discontinued). This was a challenging paint job, requiring a lot of masking (including diagonal masking to paint the stripes) over the raised details of the car doors.

Since I’m modeling 1985, the car’s paint job is still pretty fresh so the car just received a clear coat and will remain un-weathered. Eventually the car will see service on my future layout hauling lumber, plywood and other forest products from mills on the CN beyond Hearst westbound via Oba or south to the United States via Sault Ste. Marie. It’ll be an eye-catching change from the regular CN brown boxcars hauling paper and lumber out of the north.

Freight Car Friday #70 – GBW 8077 Model

This car started out as an Athearn RTR boxcar factory decorated for the Providence & Worcester Railroad which I picked up “used”/new in box at a train show about a year ago specifically with this patch job in mind. It was weathered, patched and re-stencilled following a 1989 photo on rr-fallenflags.org. I have a certain fondness for shortline boxcars and patched out reporting marks of cars in second-hand ownership and I’ve been working on collecting a few appropriate cars from nearby US connections that can fit in to my area and era. These ex-PW cars, as well as other cars from the New Orleans Public Belt (NOPB), East Camden & Highland (EACH) and Wabash Valley (WVRC) Railroads, were acquired by the Green Bay & Western in the early 1980s.

Weathering was done in a few layers/stages. The body was given a general airbrush grime coat (with particular concentration along the lower edges and some vertical “wheel spray” patterns on the car ends) and the rust effects on the door were hand painted with acrylics and a fine-tipped brush. The original reporting marks were painted out with some SOO red I had on hand and new reporting marks and numbers added with Microscale stencil alphabet decals. A bit of work with pan pastels blended the rusty areas, added some streaking off the ends of the door tracks, and added light surface rust to the galvanized steel roof. A final coat of Flat Haze sealed the decals and pastel effects and slightly dulled and faded the body colour.

Painting/Weathering Modern Gondola Interiors

If you actually look at most modern gondolas out there today, you’ll find that most open top cars from the last 30 years or so actually don’t have any interior paint or coating, but instead the interior of the cars are raw, unpainted steel (other than perhaps some overspray from the painting of the exterior of the car).

Of course, with some exceptions, most model cars do not reflect this and instead of masking and painting the interior a rust or brown colour (which would really still need to be painted/weathered for a proper rusty steel look anyway) the whole car, interior and exterior, is painted the body colour.

I was having a bit of a painting and weathering weekend this weekend, and got out this sextet of Atlas Trainman SIECO gondolas to paint the interiors “rust”.

Six Atlas Trainman gondolas with the interiors painted to look like bare steel with rust. (Exterior weathering still to be done in this shot.)

To get a good steel colour, I start by giving the inside of the cars a good base coat of Gun Metal. This gives a nice dark metallic colour as a base to work on. Then the rust colouring is added with several very thin coats of Rail Brown, Roof Brown and Rust. These brown/rust coats should be very light and thin, not going for solid coverage and allowing the lower colours to show through. The layers of colours and natural variation created by the light, uneven coats of brown/rust provide a nice rusty steel look.

I may complete the weathering with additional application of rust-coloured powders and some bits of debris from former loads, but the basic painting of the interior to change it from the main body colour (bright blue for the two GTW cars) to something that looks like unpainted steel really gets the cars popping with minimal effort.

Freight Car Friday # 69 – ONT 6051

While today’s Freight Car Friday subject isn’t an AC car, nor taken anywhere near the ACR, it is definitely related.

This shot courtesy of an antique show find by Keith MacCauley shows an almost brand-new Ontario Northland triple hopper # 6051. 72 of these cars numbered ONT 6000-6071 were built by National Steel Car in 1971 for use carrying iron ore from Adams Mine near Dane, ON to steel mills in Pennsylvania. Canadian National, Ontario Northland, and New York Central/Penn Central provided cars into a pool for this service, with many of the PC’s portion coming from the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo and Canada Southern Railways (although that’s clearly an actual PC car coupled at left in this photo). Given the freshness of the ONT car, the date is almost certainly summer 1971. We haven’t identified the location, but it’s likely somewhere in the States.

In the late 1970s this service ended, and these cars were disposed of by the Ontario Northland, with the Algoma Central picking up thirty of these cars in 1978. They would run for several years in original numbers with just the reporting marks patched out, and then in the mid 1980s these cars were renumbered from their 6000 series numbers to the 8600-8629 series.