Painting A Four Pack of Freight Cars

Building freight car kits, seems like a never-ending string of them in my life. There isn’t actually, but I had wanted to try and finish the four I am now nearing the finish line on before the end of 2021 but some health issues got in the way. With those seemingly (knock on wood) in the rear-view mirror. I have gotten the four Yarmouth Model Works kits to the finish line of the paint shop, which means decals to come, then “done” pending weathering.

Four built kits ready to go for paint! Wabash, Norfolk & Western and Canadian National 40′ Boxcars, and a Semet-Solvay Tank Car. All are Yarmouth Model Works kits, the Wabash and Semet-Solvay are out of production and not available anymore.

While I can paint anytime I want (within reason as my paint booth gets set up in my wife’s office!), I like to do things in batches so the process of setting up, painting and cleaning doesn’t feel like its overwhelming the work.

But before that, the box car kits are all pretty standard, some variations on brake components and where things are, but effectively, box cars are box cars. The tank car kit, is a bit of a different beast. Strangely enough, the first resin freight car kit I ever built was a tank car, one widely regarded as one of the hardest resin kits to build, the Sunshine Vinegar Tank, which I followed up with a BGR Group Canadian Pacific J-Series Sleeper kit. Why start with easy things right? Truth be told, building the boxcar kits is reasonably easy now, its the motivation to do the things that I find fiddly and frustrating, like the under-body brake rigging on the B-End details of the brake wheel and piping. I can do them all, but every time I start a bunch of box cars, I bog down at the same spot. So of course, the antidote for that, something completely different, a tank car. Everything is a bit different on a tank car as you also have to build up the frame which is hanging in space instead of being beneath the floor.

Scenes from building a resin tank car kit. I even included a shot where I was super proud of my handrails before I realized I had installed all the hangers upside down so it was too high… sigh. The rails are fixed in the last shot with the platform being fitted.

The Semet-Solvay tank car kit is a joy to build. The couple of things that are off kilter (I noticed my tank isn’t quite mounted square despite all the efforts to avoid this, its skewed) are builder error not kit error. The tank is gorgeous, and the etchings, especially the loading platform frame are the nicest I’ve ever folded. The platform support is so smartly designed, the etch has 5 sides, two half etches, one on each end combine to form the fourth side when folded so that every side is the same width. Its a shame this car was a super limited run, as I feel guilty saying how good it is knowing no one reading this will likely ever but one unless you get real lucky and find one that was in someones kit stash.

Painting Yarmouth Model Works resin Boxcars. YMW-120 CNR 1937 10’6″ with 8′ Door, and a YMW-121.2 Norfolk and Western B-5 with interior carline roof in primer and painted. I think I made my attempt at the brown too taupe.

Along with some other projects both train and non-train, I’ve put in about 6 hours in the paint booth between Thursday and Saturday this week. Two hours mostly priming on Thursday, two more hours doing a mix of priming and painting Friday, and two hours painting on Saturday. Its really nice to see these cars starting to look like cars that could be on the layout operating. For the Norfolk & Western car, from pictures and my mental image I felt this car is more brown than red. I am not sure the custom mix paint I used captures the look the way I want. I need to get it under the layout lighting and see how lit looks. In the picture above, it feels too taupe and not reddish brown enough. It may be OK. I may be able to spray a darker tint, or maybe just through weathering I can pull it back, but it will challenge me. I do like that the colour is definitely different than every other red/brown boxcar on the layout, I’m just not sure its close enough to the real colour for me to live with it long term.

Painting the Yarmouth Model Works YM-108 Semet-Solvay Tank Car. The pre-cut styrene mask to paint the tank dome is really handy.

Next up, some gloss if needed to provide a good surface for the decals to settle on, then the decals. After that, only 8 box car kits in the stash…which I’m not starting to build untill all these cars have decals and dullcoat to leave them ready to weather!

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