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 …

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