Looking at the prices on some of my old boxes, I can understand why I get flummoxed at the prices. I could use some “cheap” engines and cars – say old Roundhouse quality.

First of all, there ain’t no such thing no more … furthermore, ain’t no such thing as cheap no more neither.

But then, cheap is relative.

I need models as display elements, not contest entries (though there are some beauts in that category …). So poking around the trade magazines and wundernet, I found a set of 6 flat cars sold by Tichy Train Group for $85 – just over $14 each – including trucks. That’s cheap these days.

“Early” for these cars is 1917 – a few years beyond my time period of about 1880-1915. However, for the most part, pre-1920 will fit most of my scenes. This is a story about building these flat cars though.

Delrin trucks (with screws) are provided; couplers are not. Swapping out trucks would not be difficult but I’m not going to do it – at least not on this one.

These are standard gauge cars, Kadee #5s are the go-to couplers for standard gauge (running) cars.

Opening the box …

Bless the saints, the grab irons are pre-formed
This is a pretty straight-forward kit – no truss rods to string up and fewer “connecting” rods

Each car is bagged separately – this is the contents of one bag. Each pair of trucks is packed separately; metal parts – wire, grab irons,  and such – are packed together

The instructions can be boiled down to three parts: deck and outer frame, center beam and brake hardware, finer details.

Looks to be a quick build … let’s get to it.

 *  *  *  *  *

I didn’t record every step – this is a straight-forward fairly easy model.

The first thing is to prepare the undercarriage. The end sills and bolsters have been painted and added to the deck. Sandstone, Dark Rust, and Red Iron Oxide are the colors used here. The wheels are made of black Delrin – the wheels were painted Dark Rust, the treads Oily Steel. This car is not intended for layout use.

A few more assembly steps gets me to here. I had misplaced the stake pockets and brake gear; I snuck into one of the other 5 model packages and left an IOU for the parts I need for this assembly.

Then I found the parts intended for this model.

The stake pockets are in place. Not shown – the sides fit!

At this point, all that remains of assembly are the grab irons and brake wheel mechanism. I hold off on that until last – I can still place the car flat upside down.

Since I choose to use the metal grab irons rather than the plastic ones, I need to drill holes. The instructions recommend a #80 bit – I’ve had so much trouble fitting grab irons, I used a bit 2 sizes larger – #78

The holes on the sides penetrated the side rails OK but the end sills had the holes lined up with the edge of the deck. I needed to trim the length a bit on these; the grab irons on the sides went through and were glued from the inside.

 *  *  *  *  *

So a little more of this and that – adding the brake wheel and touch up work mostly – and I end up with the finished model. The sides are press-fit in place – The car will mostly be used as a flat but there may be occasions where sides are desired. The next Tichy build (5 more to go) will be “the other” configuration.

An enjoyable build; wish they built truss-rod versions (along with a wood boxcar).

Could be a future modification project …

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