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Kitbashing a BevBel B&M caboose

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  • Member since
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  • From: Franconia, NH
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Kitbashing a BevBel B&M caboose
Posted by dstarr on Monday, October 21, 2019 11:08 AM

This came to me from Charles Ro.  I finally got around to fixing it up.  Here it is at project start.

So I added weight to bring it up to NMRA recommendations, added wire grabs on the ends and on the cupola roof, painted hand rails yellow, put on Kadee couplers and glazed the windows.

And here we are done. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, October 21, 2019 9:07 PM

Nice work, David.  Those upgrades have made that caboose into a nicer model.

Wayne

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Posted by E-L man tom on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 8:46 AM

Nice work David!. Not to nit pick, but does the smoke jack look like that on the prototype? I've done similar "bashes" and upgraded the smoke jack to look like the prototype.

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by dstarr on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 10:24 AM

Dunno.  I'd have to check my picture books to know.  Thinking about it, I'd want the top cross pipe to go from side to side of the car, so the outlets get wind passing across them which will help the draft from the stove.  If you face the crosspipe fore and aft, you get a strong breeze into one outlet, which will try to force the smoke back down the stovepipe and into the stove. 

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Posted by Eilif on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 10:52 AM

Nice work! Those roof grabs really elevate it.

Those particular Bev-Bel's are LifeLike models (formerly Varney).  They were the uber-cheap starter set cabooses for Life-Like sets (including my first trainset).  And yet, I'm always impressed by how much they can improve with a bit of paint and/or details. 

Here's one I did a while back. 

No custom fabrication except for the sprue stack, but the dark brown roof, white accents and silver window frames were my addition.  I think I traded this one away before adding glazing or KD's, but you've got me wanting  to see if it's still around and upgrade it a bit.

 

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 11:40 AM

Eilif
Those particular Bev-Bel's are LifeLike models (formerly Varney). They were the uber-cheap starter set cabooses for Life-Like sets (including my first trainset). And yet, I'm always impressed by how much they can improve with a bit of paint and/or details.

I think early in its history Bev-Bel did have original models but eventually it became sort of a "mass-produced custom" paint and lettering company, using Athearn but also, as here, Life-Like (former Varney, although several outfits had tooling for "Eastern" style cabooses)) for raw materials and even the packaging here looks like old Life-Like.  Just the fact that the models were painted (rather than relying on colored plastic) helped bring out the detail.

It is unfortunately gone now but an outfit called Eastern Car Works used to offer a caboose detail kit that had finer and more delicate platform railings, ladders, and brake stands for caboose models of this kind, as well as plastic curved grab irons as I recall, and a variety of other parts that could greatly improve a typical caboose model without entailing excessive or difficult work.  I think it was actually just a separately marketed parts sprue for their own caboose kit model.  Eastern Car Works models had their own issues with fit and accuracy of parts, which may be why they are gone, but that after-market caboose detail set had many virtues and I'm sorry someone one did not pick it up (or do it over only better).

Dave Nelson

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 11:50 AM

Here's one of four Athearn bay window cabooses that I painted for one of my freelanced home roads.  Other than the stovepipe, markers, and modified end handrails, it's pretty-much "stock"....

I did change-out the stock trucks for the ones shown, though. All four were later sold.

This one, another Athearn, got pretty-much the same changes, and is still around...

I've not yet decided if I'll upgrade it with free-standing grabirons and better ladders, or simply sell it as-is.  I do plan on scratchbuilding 10 or 12 wooden cabooses, in various styles, for the two roadnames shown above, and another one for a prototype road which interchanges with my layout.

This one, also from Athearn, got a few more modifications than the ones shown above....

All of the windows, except those in the bays, were replaced with modified ones from Tichy...

...and re-did all of the grabirons with free-standing metal ones....

The underbody got a more fully-modelled brake system...

The ladders and end railings were all scratchbuilt...

...and I added screened doors to the ends...

While it's not all that apparent, I also removed the diagonal panels from the roof (too modern for my layout's era), and re-did it with straight panels.  The unsprung trucks are from Tangent.

Wayne

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 12:14 PM

Nice work David on that Caboose. It really is amazing how hard it can be to differentiate between freestanding trap irons and those that have been nicely painted a different color.

Nice Cabeese Big Smile too Wayne! Really nice paint applications. I epecially like the third one!

I must comment that there is one disadvantage to using a common caboose as a starting piont for a kitbash, you have to really modify it or else everyone will be like “hey, that’s an Athearn Blue Box bay window caboose!” That is of course unless the prototype really is seriously similar to the original...

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by E-L man tom on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 11:47 PM

that too is very nice Eiliff! I have long since given up on trying to post pictures on this forum, but I did a bash on an old Tyco caboose, a non-prototypical version of a Pennsy class N8 cabin car. I had to cut the cupola off and put it in the center of the roof from the original offset position, plus upgrade the handrails and grabs as well as an upgraded smoke jack. New trucks with metal wheelsets, window glazing and Kadee couplers rounded out the model. I painted and lettered it for my freelanced short line railroad, as a hand-me-down from the Pennsylvania RR. 

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by E-L man tom on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9:02 AM

Very nice renditions of the Athearn BB cabooses, Wayne! I always enjoy seeing the great work that you do.

I have a question, however:  how did you do the frames of the windows in the bays on the 356? I often see that metal framing on prototype cabooses, but, short of using a very small brush and a very steady hand, I don't know how to achieve that look.

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:22 PM

Thanks for your kind words, Tom.

E-L man tom
I have a question, however: how did you do the frames of the windows in the bays on the 356? I often see that metal framing on prototype cabooses, but, short of using a very small brush and a very steady hand, I don't know how to achieve that look.

You've got it right, Tom, although the brush shouldn't be too small, as you want enough paint on it to complete the face area of at least one edge of the window's frame - a quick swipe in one direction, then another from the opposite end.

If I recall correctly, I used a lacquer-based silver paint from Humbrol, so too much diddling with the brush will quickly create a lumpy mess.

It's also a good idea to clean the brush often - even after doing only one edge of the opening, in some cases.  If you happen to get a little paint onto the area around the window frame, let it dry to the touch, then use your X-Acto to gently scrape it off.  In most cases, that shouldn't damage the underlying paint, but if it does, a little touch-up might be needed.

My hands are usually quite steady, although brush-painting shortly after guzzling a couple coffees doesn't yield good results.  For doing fine brushwork, it often helps to rest your brush-hand on something about the same height as the item you're painting - for an Athearn caboose, the box in which it came is a good choice.

SPSOT fan
I must comment that there is one disadvantage to using a common caboose as a starting piont for a kitbash, you have to really modify it or else everyone will be like “hey, that’s an Athearn Blue Box bay window caboose!” That is of course unless the prototype really is seriously similar to the original...

You're certainly right about some models being readily recognisable, but I've always liked Athearn's bay window cabooses - a style seldom seen up here in Canada.
Since mine's lettered for a free-lanced railroad, I'm not overly concerned that most folks will immediately realise its origins.  Hopefully, though, they'll look a little closer and notice what's been changed.

Most of my freelanced stuff (freight and MoW equipment, along with about half of the passenger cars) is lettered for the EG&E, the so-called "parent" road of three smaller subsidiaries.  Those roads retain their roadnames only on their locomotives, cabooses, and passenger cars, all of which are either modified readily-available models or, in the case of cabooses, mostly scratchbuilt (if I ever get around to building them). 
There'll be only one EG&E steam locomotive and that one EG&E caboose on the layout...a nod to my first freelanced roadname, dreamt up many years ago.

Wayne

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