Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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End-Door Boxcar ~ Friday, May 09, 2008

I've built a couple of MDC boxcar and refer kits over the years. Here's the results of a standard, following-the-directions effort.

I decided to try a little variety. Years ago, I bought a B&O boxcar kit, and stripped it (mostly using 99% rubbing alcohol). I added an end-door; it's made with an extra ice hatch (you get these even in the boxcar kits) and some styrene. I also added coupler lift bars, a detail we don't model much in N (not hard though, just bend up some wire and glue it on).

I wanted to model an early-period SP car, with the large tracks-into-the-sunset logo. Republic Locomotive Works, manufacturer of N and Nn3 products, has appropriate decals (I suppose intended for SP's narrow gauge subsidiaries).

I arranged the logo and lettering following a few pictures from books and some of the 3' gauge cars restored by the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources, at Ardenwood Historic Farm, in Fremont, CA.

I weathered the car. It ended up being a fairly light weathering job, but even if the car still looks perhaps unrealistically clean, light weathering job still helps make models look a lot less like models.

There were several passes of weathering. First I sprayed on Dullcote. Then I applied artists charcoal and brown pastels, dry-brushed it in, and sprayed on more Dullcote. Then I brush painted on a wash of thinned flat black (water-based) paint.

In the past when I've tried washes like this, I've had trouble with surface tension making paint ball up into drops, which leave lines at their edges when they dry up. I tried a technique I've seen described for scenery painting: mix in a few drops of laundry detergent to help break down surface tension, and get the paint to flow more evenly. It seemed to help, and I was able to spread a thin wash of paint over entire sides of the model.

Someday this car will look nice bouncing along behind a steeplecab.

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