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Athearn Passenger Car Restoration

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  • Member since
    June 2023
  • 17 posts
Athearn Passenger Car Restoration
Posted by Edwins Trains on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 11:04 PM

Recently, I have been gathering some passenger cars to go behind a soon to be finished loco. I got an Athearn blue box car, and the shell/walls and roof were superglued to the chassis. Is there any way to disintegrate the glue or release the bond without damaging the shell or paint? The decals will be replaced anyway even if the process messes them up. Any recommendations?

Missing parts aren't a problem, they are an excuse to use fancy brass details!

-Edwin

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 1,165 posts
Posted by mvlandsw on Thursday, June 15, 2023 12:34 AM

Super glue can sometimes be made to become brittle or release by putting the model in a freezer for a few hours.

When you take it out twist the body gently and the floor may release.

Mark

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, June 15, 2023 12:48 AM

Edwins Trains
Is there any way to disintegrate the glue or release the bond without damaging the shell or paint?

Bob Smith Industries Super Glue Debonder has worked for me.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,375 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, June 15, 2023 1:20 AM

The Athearn body shells are one-piece...ends, sides and roof, while the underbody is a separate piece, to which the trucks are applied.  For passenger cars, the windows are clear plastic, which snap into place from the inside.
I can't imagine why anyone would cement the underbody to the body shell, as it's usually a snug fit, and if you decide to later add some interior details, such as seats and passengers, it's meant to be accessible.
I usually do add underbody details to my passenger cars, and sometimes use screws to keep the underbody attached to the car, keeping it accessable.

A couple of pictures...

...and some added interior details...

This one isn't an Athearn car, but a Rivarossi, which has a removable roof and window-"glass", along with a fair amount of added underbody details...

For your cemented-together underbody to the body shell, you might be able to use a saw-tooth blade in an X-Acto knife-handle to cut through the glue, in order to access the car's interior.  The blade will, of course, make the fit somewhat sloppy, so you may have to improvise a method to keep the underbody and superstructure together.

Wayne

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, June 16, 2023 11:52 PM

Athearn passenger cars ("used") are often available at train shows, for very reasonable prices, and it's likely that almost none of them will have the underbody cemented into the body shell.

Wayne

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,414 posts
Posted by dknelson on Sunday, June 18, 2023 9:08 AM

doctorwayne
I can't imagine why anyone would cement the underbody to the body shell, as it's usually a snug fit, and if you decide to later add some interior details, such as seats and passengers, it's meant to be accessible.

I have seen Athearn passenger and freight cars where the underbody has been cemented to the shell, and I have had to do it a few times myself with freight cars.  The problem I think is if you remove the underbody a few times -- reattaching a weight that gets loose, swapping out the coupler or truck situation, whatever -- after a while the little plastic nubs that hold things in place wear out and the press fit stops working.  So there can be reasons.  But in this case I suspect it was carrying over to assembly of Athearn a habit of mind formed from plastic kits of cars or airplanes where EVERYthing needs to get cemented.

Dave Nelson

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    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, June 18, 2023 11:52 AM

I think that you're right Dave, but anytime I have an underbody that likes to easily separate from the body shell, I cement some Evergreen .125"x.125" strip into the body (usually near the ends...and sometimes also near the middle), then drill and tap it to accept some suitably-sized screws.
This not only keeps things together, but also makes it easy to remove the car's underbody when you decide to add interior details to a passenger car.


Late last year, and well into 2023, I was re-working an Athearn coach and an Athearn postal car into a couple of "shorty" passenger cars for a friend's request, and I used lots of screws to make the cars' interiors accessible...a  few photos...

The Athearn coach, shortly before being shortened...

...and the re-worked version (the spacing of the roof panels turned out to be more of a challenge than I had expected...

...and the postal/baggage car shortened...

I didn't need to do much detail on the postal car's interior, other than the brass bars on the windows, but I did manage to get some seats (Rix) and passengers into the coach, along with some lead weights on the underside of the roof.

Wayne

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
  • 9,091 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, June 19, 2023 8:04 PM

My experience with super glue solvent is it is an excellent paint remover, which is not what the OP was hoping for.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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