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.

Photos Needed For New Decals – NYC 86′ Boxcars


One of the beautiful things about the times in which we live is the speed at which information can be shared.

Earlier today, I blogged about the NYC 86′ auto parts boxcar that I’m building.  Yesterday, I posted on the PCModeler yahoo group about the fact that there are no commercially available decals for this car.  A discussion ensued, and within a day, the various resourceful people on that group suggested that this represents a void in the market that someone might benefit from filling. Scott Pandorf (whom I’ve never met) posted on that group indicating that Hubert Mask of Mask Island Decals has expressed interest in producing these decals.

That was fast!

So, now Hubert needs lettering diagrams and/or quality photos of NYC 86′ boxcars.

I sent Hubert an email this evening, and he made a point of assuring me that the information he gets is used only for the purposes of creating decals. I’m going to dig through my slides, but I doubt that I have any such photos in my collection.  The readers of this blog have proven to be very resourceful in the past, so if you or anyone you know has photos or diagrams that could help with this project, please contact Hubert Mask directly at

NYC 86′ Hi Cube progress continues

Over the past week, I’ve made some progress on a number of projects that I currently have on the go.  My NYC 86′ auto parts boxcar is a step closer to completion.

IMG_0136I don’t have studio lights, so I posed the model in the afternoon sunbeam shining into my livingroom.  Don’t be fooled though, it’s -11 degrees Celcius outside.

Since my last post on this car, I’ve come up with a number for the car (NYC 67208) that falls within a block of cars that were equipped with Hydra Cushion draft gear. Here’s an outline of the work that was required to bring this $5 model up to its current condition:

  • carved off all of the molded-on details, which included reshaping the ribs in the ends
  • weighted the car to NMRA specifications
  • reconfigured the floor/frame/coupler mounting system
  • body-mounted Kadee couplers in Cal-Scale cushion draft gear
  • reshaped the body bolster
  • installed Kadee trucks
  • added Hydra-Cushion detail parts underneath (only what can be seen when the car is sitting on the rails)
  • reshaped the top and bottom side sill beams at either end of the car to more closely represent a Greenville car (see my previous post on this car for more details on this)
  • added grabs on sides and ends
  • added crossover platforms to each end (cut from Plano roofwalk etchings)
  • added brake details to b-end.
  • repainted the entire car with Polly Scale NYC Jade (Century) Green

Still to do: paint the trucks, couplers, draft gear, and the whole underbody in a grime/rust combination, shoot some gloss coat on the car and then decal-bash the lettering from a number of different Microscale sets.  Of course, it will have to be weathered like a ten year-old car to be appropriate for my layout.  I’ll post again when there’s more to report.

Here’s a shot of the A-end of the car, just to be thorough.


NYC 86′ Hi-Cube Project Update

Back on November 11, I posted about upgrading an Athearn 86′ hi-cube in order to bring it up to the quality of current ready-to-roll models.  I’m not a glutton for punishment.  I’m doing this because there is no model of Greenville 86′ hi-cube on the market.  Hopefully, now that I’ve started this project, someone like ExactRail will do this car the right way.

Since November, I’ve torn this dollar-bin model apart and started on the improvements.  The plan is to keep the factory paint and touch up the spots where I’ve shaved bits away.  With that in mind, I started by reworking the floor and frame in order to make everything fit more securely.  While I was doing that, I added weight to the inside of the floor to bring it up to NMRA specs.  I tossed the stock trucks and the pivoting coupler shank and reshaped the center beam.  After that, I glued the floor/frame to the body.

Moving to the exterior of the car, I shaved off all the molded-on grabs, brake gear, and tack boards.  I also reshaped the side panels at each end of both sides to bring the model a little closer to the prototype Greenville car.  With the carving part complete, I started adding parts back to the model.

So far, I’ve installed the wire side grabs and trucks.  Next up, I’ll make and install the end grab rails and walkover platform.  I have a variety of draft gear, lift bars, and brake equipment among my parts cache, but I want to match all of this to a specific car.  These details changed over time, so I’ll spend some time looking for more photos of NYC Greenville hi-cubes with Hyrda-Cushion draft gear.

I’m close to finishing this car, but I only go to it when other projects are stalled for one reason or another.  I’ll post more pics when I make more progress.  Until then, here’s a photo-summary of the project.

NYC Hi-cube progress

Lehigh Valley Automobile Boxcar – Weight Data

I’ve been doing a bit of leap-frog with the various projects that I have on the go right now.  I’ve been trying to get the wall of my layout space finished, and I’m waiting for parts for some of the various boxcar projects I’m working on.  Also, my SW1200RS models have been sent off to a friend to have the decoders and lighting installed.  I don’t like having so many projects moving between the workbench and their boxes, but that’s just how things have to be right now.

I sat down with the Lehigh Valley automobile boxcar while I was working on three other ancient shake-the-box kits.  These models (you’ll read about the others soon) are the last of the rolling stock that own from the time before my long break from the hobby.  At some point, you’ll read about how I brought them up to mechanical spec and, in some cases, improved a few pieces of detail in order to closer align them with the quality of newer ready to run rolling stock.  I’m using these old models to practice some weathering techniques that I plan to apply to more expensive pieces built by Kadee, ExactRail, and Tangent.

On this Lehigh Valley P2K kit, I had to add the tiny piece of the upper door track where the two doors meet.  The piece that came with the kit was at least twice the size it should be.  I had the airbrush set up to paint the underbodies of these older kits, so I masked off this new piece of styrene and the the weight data so that I could paint a clean patch over the factory numerals.    I found an old boxcar decal set and robbed it of its weight data.  I also applied newer lube plates and ACI labels.  Here’s how it turned out.