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Scratchbuild a freight car

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  • Member since
    August, 2006
  • 62 posts
Scratchbuild a freight car
Posted by charlieB on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7:57 PM

 I have scratchbuilt a few HO structures and I think I have the basic steps down.Next I would like to try a freight car in styrene possibly a flatcar so I can learn by doing.Can anyone suggest where I can find plans or a how to article?Thanks  

  • Member since
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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:01 PM

My personal experience is that it is easier to scratchbuild a housecar (boxcar or reefer) out of wood, and easiest of all is if you follow the basic principles of the old Silver Streak kits: floor, roof, sides, ends, with wood blocks at each end of the floor holding up the ends and roof.

However an excellent article on scratchbuilding a flatcar by John A Porter appeared in the October 1977 Model Railroader page 81.  John's prototype is a Pennsy car and the drawings are in the article.  His chosen material was not styrene but I would think it would be easy enough to follow his instructions and use styrene.  It is a very complete article.

Dave Nelson

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  • From: New Zealand
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Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 3:53 AM

Gidday, Back in the April 1953 Model Railroader was the first of the "Dollar Car" series, the first project being a HO Flat Car, complete with drawings and a how to, the commercial trucks and hardware costing a massive 75 cents. Laugh

The Series ran to October 1968 with a total of 25 different car projects, ( there was HO & O caboose projects).

Further to these there were plenty of other  scratch building / Kitbashing articles also available in this era.

The main reason I brought the Model Railroader, 75 year collection was for these sort of articles.

Cheers, the Bear.

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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  • From: northeast ohio
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Posted by 0-6-0 on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:04 AM

Hello try this one for buildings http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/habs_haer/

and this one has PRR equipment diagrams http://prr.railfan.net/freight/PRRdiagrams.html 

Hope this helps Frank

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    August, 2011
  • 678 posts
Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:24 AM

A lot will depend on how precise you wish the car to look.  If extreme precision is demanded, you are probably going to have to employ  "Grant Line" plastic bits and pieces to give the flat car that finished look.  (Stake pockets, air brake underside goodies, end sill stuff, etc.)

Based on costs, most folks scratch build to high detail only those cars that can't be had R-T-R or as kits.  Odd ball, custom length cars or custom purpose cars are often just kit bashed.

It is often advantageous, cost wise, to get a base level kit or R-T-R model of some flat car and repaint, redecal and super detail it.

Until recently, almost all narrow gauge cars  were only available as kits and in limited numbers, at that.  Thus, narrow gauge folks were always scratch builders and that trend remains today among the most committed narrow gaugers.

A total scratch built car usually heralds ultimate detailing and other special features just not to be had otherwise via any retail or kitbashing effort.  All the best of luck in your effort.

Richard

Richard

If I can't fix it, I can fix it so it can't be fixed

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Posted by chutton01 on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:56 AM

"JaBear"
Gidday, Back in the April 1953 Model Railroader was the first of the "Dollar Car" series, the first project being a HO Flat Car, complete with drawings and a how to, the commercial trucks and hardware costing a massive 75 cents.


Keep in mind with inflation that $6.45 nowadays - can you buy a set of cheap plastic HO trucks (plus brake system components) for that nowadays (you know they made the stirrup steps with bent wire - maybe staples)

BTW, go ahead and build that flatcar model.
If it turns out good (or great), then proudly add it to your rolling stock fleet.
If not so much...heavily weather it and place it at the end of a half-buried siding, surrounding it with model tall grass and weeds...

  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: South Carolina
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Posted by Train Modeler on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:57 AM

I built my first scratch built car out of necessity, ie couldn't find the model I wanted of a particularl DODX flat car.   Since I was passionate about modeling the prototype that helped me do the research to get it right.  So, I would recommend starting with something you want to do.   This flat car has tie down stays on the deck so, that makes it hard to model the topside.  Point being, that with any project there are easy and hard parts.   Also, one of the major points of scratch building is to match a particular prototype.   The NMRA has awards for doing so as well.    I found the research rewarding as well.

Richard

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    August, 2006
  • 62 posts
Posted by charlieB on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:07 AM

Thanks everyone.The main reason I want to build from scratch is I want to get better at it.I followed plans out of magazines for structures and the more I did the better I got(at least to me).But I do intend to buy ready made detail parts.

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