A FrankenBoxcar Kit Build

I have written about my small (relative to some people’s) supply of freight car kits to build. It currently, including the one in the pictures/discussion below at 8 boxcar kits. Seven of these I have all the parts I need to build. One I need to source the accurate doors and decals for. For this summer after two years of all the worlds craziness, my in-laws have rented a giant cottage for a weeks get away with the extended family. I am planning on having the seven box cars I can have built and painted to take with me to the cottage so I can sit looking out over the lake and decal the cars while I am away. I have a portable work bench I built a few years ago that I can take which is perfect for this kind of get away work. It does two things, gives me something to do at the cottage to unwind (yes, I find working on models relaxing), and two, gives me motivation to keep on keeping on with building the kits to have them ready to go to the cottage in July!

Two views of a ready for painting boxcar project. A National Scale Car mini-kit of the doors, and a Yarmouth Model Works blank core with ends from a messed up Intermountain Kit.

This car is a model of a 1937 AAR (American Association of Railroads) standard box car, but with “Superior” doors. You can see in the pictures the etched lower door rail, recreating the Union Duplex door fixtures. Even unpainted the car looks quite different from a standard box car with this rail. This is Kit 102.1 with decals for Southern Pacific and Texas & New Orleans (an SP subsidiary). These have been an adventure thanks to the main source of undecorated kits, Intermountain Model Railroad basically seemingly having stopped producing undecorated kits. I thought I had found some a few months ago, but when they arrived, they had 10′-6″ bodies and 10″ ends. I needed the 10′ body and ends to do these cars! Suffice to say, one can’t install a 10′ tall door or car end on a 10’6″ body, it leaves a nasty gap!! Fortunately, another source in Yarmouth Model Works has recently stepped in to fill the void by selling “Boxcar Body” kits that come with a roof and doors, but no ends in the 10′ and 10′-6″ height of 40′ long AAR standard designs. With one of these, the mini kit doors, and the Intermountain Kit ends, I have been able to cobble together a complete car! The car has been finished with Yarmouth’s etched ladders & roof walk, Tichy AB Brakes, leftover etched bits from other kits, and a variety of grabs from Tichy & Kadee. I’ve started a second frankencar kit build using the same broad range of parts for a second version of the NSC mini kit featuring Youngstown Doors and Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) decals.

The bonus of this is, I have two Intermountain 10′-6″ kits without ends, so I was able to order a couple more of the National Scale Car CN and CP mini kits with Canadian ends, not the worst outcome from a failed kit purchase where Intermountain packed and sold 10′ height cars with 10′-6″ bodies in them! I’ve turned two mispacked kits into 4 cars, I’ll take that anyday!

Note: At the time of writing (March 4/2022), all the National Scale Car mini kits mentioned are out of stock, but you can subscribe to the NSC website to get notified of them being restocked in the future.

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