Another Greenville 86′ Auto Parts Boxcar

I started to work on a second “bash” of a Greenville 86′ auto parts hi-cube boxcar.  I’ve changed my approach to as a result of the lessons I learned from the first go-round with one of these.

Once again, I used the Athearn junker hi-cube model as a starting point. As before, I carved off all of the cast-on detail at the ends.  However, this time I’m trying to get the sides one step closer to the prototype.  I decided that I would try to reproduce the large rectangular recessed panel at the far ends of the car by creating a trough, into which I fitted a rectangle of .010″ styrene.

IMG_0139Once the styrene was in place on each corner, I reshaped the part of the end that wraps around to the side so that it was just barely above being flush with the new piece styrene.

The photo above shows that I’m ready to start putting details back onto the car.  I’ll use some filler to smooth the transition of the upper and lower side sill beams to the piece of styrene, then I’ll put the rivet detail on the end wrap-around with Archer (or Micromart) rivet decals.

I’m also taking a slightly different approach with the floor/frame of the car, but I’ll post about that another time.

6 thoughts on “Another Greenville 86′ Auto Parts Boxcar

  1. I think these are really neat projects. I’ve seen these cars in HO and N from Athearn, Minitrix, etc. but never really thought about actually incorporating them into a layout fearing the operational demands of their size. It’s neat to follow along with the built and they must be quite impressive when finished.

    I noticed on the previous car, the trucks and couplers were painted the same colour as the car body. Nice touch and well in keeping with a time when it could be done. Not often something I’ve seen done.


    • Chris, thanks for the complements. I’m approaching these cars as something of an experiment. They’re turning out nice.

      The trucks and couplers turned out green only because I was too lazy to mask them before shooting the green onto the car. Those are metal trucks, and I use two coats of paint on them. I figured the green would serve as a primer for the top colour. I’ve painted them since.

      • It all sounds very prototypical. I thought I remembered reading somewhere, some time ago, about an FRA (or similar body) regulation that forbade the painting of couplers and wheels to make inspection for defects easier.

        I liked the whole “fresh from the shops” look the car had. Totally different effect from the “fresh from the hobby shop” more typical image.

        Either way, these are really neat cars. Looking forward to updates.

    • Colin, I think the car in the photo was built by Thrall. At first glance, it looks like it has double rows of rivets at the panel seams. It’s possible to build this car from the Athearn model, which is a kind of a random hybrid of features from both the Thrall and Greenville cars. The model is equally inaccurate for both, so there is an equal amount of work to build either car.

      If you want this specific car, I would suggest that the best option is to start with the Athearn model, but be forewarned that the model really is a basket case. The basic body shell serves as a reasonable starting point, but there are major mechanical problems with the model. Firstly, the coupler draft gear needs to be completely rebuilt because the Athearn system simply doesn’t work. Also, the model’s floor sits too high off the rails. To bring the car body down, the floor of the model can be sunk into the body shell. If you’re not after this particular car, seek out the Walthers model of a Pullman-Standard 86′ hi-cube. It’s an accurate representation of the prototype, and it runs properly.

      My project cars are in a holding pattern right now for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’ve been kicking around some ideas with the Penn Central RR Historical Society about a possible article or series of articles on the prototype cars and my models. My Hi-Cube model project consists of three cars. One car is ready for decals and weathering, another car is partly modified but not painted, and a third car is still untouched in factory paint. My first model has less fidelity than my second. I’m considering going the whole way with the third. However, the whole thing is held up by the fact that I’ve been collaborating with the PCRRHS and a decal manufacturer to get some decals made up.

      As my friend Jurgen likes to say, the mere fact that I’m working on these models means that someone will produce a correct RTR model of this car. Despite the fact that I’ve put many hours into my models, I hope that actually happens. 86′ Hi-cubes represent an excellent opportunity for model manufacturers because only the PS car has been done correctly. The Greenville and Thrall cars haven’t been done, and for those of us who model the 70s, those three builders cornered the market. The challenge for the manufacturers is that these models need large curves to work well on a layout. But I would guess that the market for these would be equal to the market for auto racks, and there has been success in bringing those models to market.

      In the meantime, I have no regrets in refining my skills with this project. For me, the hobby is about building as much as it is about operating, so while it will be nice to have RTR models of Greenville and Thrall hi-cubes, I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to make some nice models from the primitive Athearn model.

      • Thanks for your prompt reply!

        I think I’ll also start with an Athearn car as it looks more correct, superficially. I’ll try to replace the draft gear and raise the floor like you suggest. And replace the cast on grabs with Thrall-style ladders. I’m no way near as experienced a modeller as you are, so I think I’d be happy with that for a start.

        Thanks again — and looking forward to seeing what happens to your models.

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