Tichy Ore Cars

Although there no specific protype, this particular model is based on “turn-of-the-century” iron ore cars of the Lake Superior railroads. there’s no reason to believe these cars weren’t used for precious metal ores – the Virginia & Truckee used similar cars in the late 1860s.

I like these Tichy models; I wish their cars models included truss-rod era.

The kit includes these two cars; I have another set in the pipeline.


Athearn Stock Cars

Part of a grab bag at a garage sale. Although not “contest quality”, the quality of this model is suitable for the majority of model railroads and these dioramas.

The only changes were the couplers and some paint. The lower board on the door is white; the floor is white with weathering representing the condition of the floor of a stock car. It is assumed a lime wash is used to clean the cars. There should be additional lime staining on the lower sides of the car.

I had an “as-it-came” version for comparison. The differences are more noticeable “in-person”


Accucraft Fowler Boxcar

Just outside my main era but within my outer limits. First developed for Canadian railroads in 1908, they were built between 1909 and 1914 and some saw service into the 1970s. These would be new cars in my modeling world.

I didn’t modify this model other than a bit of paint on the roofwalk and trucks. I’m of Canadian descent (the “old country”) and the Grand Trunk ran through the town I grew up in.


LaBelle Flat

While my preference for rolling stock for dioramas is “RTR”, there is a better selection available as kits. I had built a number of LaBelle wood kits in the past; I went ahead and ordered the “2-in-1 Flat Car Kit”. The 2 cars are identical except for length

The provided road names … which I won’t apply. I’m building “generic” rather than follow a specific prototype

Two LaBelle cars from my near-scrap line. I forget how long I’ve been carrying these around … no later than 1992 and maybe 10 years earlier …

[The new version (HO-50-06) costs $30 (the flat cars cost $26)]

These two might be salvageable … later.


Anyway, back to the new kit.

Not too much here. I bought the trucks from LaBelle (could have bought direct from Kadee, but why not support the smaller business?)

Everything unpacked. I bought truck sets; I have a number of Kadee #5 couplers which will be used.

First page of instructions.

Can’t say I’m sure what Step 4 is telling me – but it’ll become obvious. [later note: No, it didn’t. I placed the queenposts where the plans indicated. No holes drilled … but I didn’t place underframe brake linkage]


Steps 1, 2, & 3 completed. Put Step 4 aside for the time.  I’m changing the construction order because I wish to do the tie rods differently than the instructions state. I need to get the under-frame configured before I work on the top side.
Here, the end sills are being placed.

Now the side sills

 *  *  *  *  *

I use a piece of 1/4″ plate glass as a build surface. Here I use 220 sandpaper with a 1-2-3 block to sand the sills flat and normal to the deck.


Before parts get attached a base color needs to be applied. These being wood cars, the base color is a light brown: “Fawn” in this instance. This is applied more as a stain than paint. 2 drops of Fawn diluted with 4 eyedroppers of water. This represents “new” wood – additional staining will be applied.

After the first wash set up, a brown/black alcohol mix was applied

A black wash was applied, then the queen post mounted – with epoxy; this should be a strong attachment.

I think another blackish wash or two, a touch-up of Dark Rust on the queenposts, then the truss rods need to be applied.

 *  *  *  *  *

Stringing rods …

I varied from the directions a bit. I drilled holes through the sub-floor in the proper locations but strung each rod individuly. Using the provided nylon line (I often use fishing line), I strung a turnbuckle then passed each end through theb proper hole. Clamped with hemostats, weights were applied to pull the strings tight. A hair dryer was use to soften the lines before glue applied. Superglue was used at first, then epoxy overlaid while still weighted down. Another shot with the hairdryer, then left alone for a while

Both cars trussed up

One might notice the air reservoirs were not placed. That could be appropriate given the supposed age (in my mind) of these cars, but it was an oversight and was corrected.

Before additional detail is added (and paint applied), the trucks should be mounted to protect the finer details.

 *  *  *  *  *

Now I recall a problem I’ve had with these kits – the bolsters are too low. Here I jury-rigged some scrap into shims. two of these cars are from the “RIP line” – they are at least 30 years old and have never had feet. It’s time to finish these two cars as well

and if I really get into car repair, I’m going to check my inventory of trucks and couplers. Later.

Couplers and trucks mounted and on their feet at last. Time for paint and details

What color  … ? Brownish-red (or reddish brown) is “typical” in the model world – possibly because of the remnants of the D&RGW?

I have one flat car in yellow …Gray brings to mind “maintenance”. Blue maybe, but a darker blue that what I have in “color” inventory.

So, a shade of reddish-brown it is. Within my last paint shipment was a “sample” color. No color defined, not able to find it on the company web site. I figure it was experimental out for beta testing. The color is a bit off from Flat Red and Red Iron Oxide, so I find it suitable for providing “variation in the same color”

The first coat of paint is applied. A bit thinned but more pigment than a stain. Details will be added: stirrups, brake wheel, maybe side pockets? Though not all prototype flats of my intended era had them and the Tichy models do. So these won’t.

I hadn’t paid attention to my limited color stock. I’ve been mostly working with chalks except for specific colors (not shown on my paint strip) like various rusts, blacks, and the like. I’d like a deeper, less bluish green and a darker blue. Maybe some darker yellows.

In the future …

Grandt Line Flat Car – Beginning Steps

Contents of the primary bag of parts

Drill holes, file down flash

The first steps are to clean out the semi-pre-drilled holes. #72 & #78 are recommended; I use one size larger: #71 and #77.

The two frames halves are glued together.

The bolsters are notched; this makes it easier to make sure everything lines up. once laid out, weights are used to hold everything in place and straight MEK is used to weld the styrene pieces

Notice the bolsters weren’t glued onto the frame just yet. The (presumed)wooden frame is painted “Mahogany Brown”; the deck – top and bottom – is painted “Fawn”. The bolsters – cast iron? – are black.

Once the paint dries, the bolsters are glued in place. The “trainline” is bent into shape – a bit of length needs to be cut off – and will be placed as directed after being painted “Dark Rust”

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