There are two types of rolling stock: those pieces which can handle moderate handling and those that shouldn’t even be touched during construction. Building dioramas requires some “junker” stock; engines and cars which may be handled a fair bit between scenes.

Problem is – the days of relatively high-quality, low cost cars such as those once produced by Roundhouse and others are long gone. Roundhouse went out of business, Athearn bought the model dies and a limited number of the Roundhouse “Old-Timer” line are still available … mostly boxcars. Geopolitical supply line issues? Limited demand? They cost about $35 each these days. Most of the available models are now geared to the “contest-quality” market. A good thing but the construction effort and fragility make them unsuitable for the projects I present here although I may use them as display props.

Such high-end models will not be sold along with dioramas unless special arrangements are made.

I was digging through some old boxes my brother had in storage and found the remnants of someone’s old HO set. Most of the stuff was damaged beyond repair effort, much was of little interest to me. I don’t know anyone who would be interested – so off to the (real) junk heap. After scavenging a few items.

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Like this wasted flatcar. I didn’t think to take a “before” picture; this is “almost before”. It wasn’t in this good a shape when I first saw it.

Stripped down to “parts” – not much here.

Tone down the “plastic yellow” with “Yellow Ochre”; give the deck a “wood” look, change the couplers, a bit of work on the trucks, and fix the brake wheel. Quite acceptable for the purpose intended … eventually to be mounted on a diorama of some sort I suspect, but a “fit-test” and photography model car for now.

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