Does this look familiar? Back at Milepost 1187, I told you about cutting some door openings into the side of that old MDC/Roundhouse outside braced caboose body. Well, over the past few days, I’ve been busy and finished it up… almost. All that remains are the decals for the markings. The markings on the car above are added “electronically.”
To review a little, I got the car body from a “3-in-1” set that MDC/Roundhouse offered about 30 years ago. They gave you car parts, some extra parts and an idea sheet and from there, you were on your own. I don’t think the idea caught on because there weren’t apparently that many “modelers” back then either. But I’ve always been a cutter & a hacker so this was right down my alley.
After finishing up the door openings, the next thing I worked on was the roof. I used the holes that were cast in the original roof to locate the running boards and installed those first. Next, I grabbed an extra tank casting from the additional parts that came with the kit and drilled some holes to accommodate that as well. Finally, a hole for a smoke jack that was added later completed the roof part of the project.
Next came some additional body details. I figured that with two doors on one side, there wouldn’t be much on the back side so the only thing I added there was the ladder pictured above. But the side with the doors needed steps to get to the doors and safety railings for those steps. The steps were provided with the kit but I needed to mount them to the edge of the car side so that, if necessary, the car’s floor & underframe could be removed for maintenance. I accomplished this by gluing a very small piece of strip stock that was the thickness of the car’s side to the top back of the step casting. From there, I carefully glued that assembly in place. To make sure that the piece didn’t interfere with the underframe, I used a small piece of 1/4″ steel keystock to properly space the part. It worked pretty well ad the floor still fit w/o any difficulties.
For the railings, I used some fine florist wire that I had here from an old tree project. I cut two pieces way too big, shaped them then painted them safety yellow. After the paint dried, the steps were dry as well so I could decide where and how I was going to mount them. Once I figured out what looked “right,” I drilled a small hole for the top of the railing. Not knowing exactly what size the wire was, I snipped a very short piece of it, chucked it into my handdrill and used the jagged end of the wire as a drillbit to create the perfect sized mounting hole. Between the keystock for a spacer and using the wire as a drillbit, I felt like this project was quite the learning experience.
To mount the other end of the railing, I simply used a triangular vile to cut a very small V into the edge of the bottom step and used some CA to mount that end of the railing. After the CA set, I used some flush cutting nippers to cut the railing off even with the bottom of the step. The last modification was to put a couple of bars across the door opening on each end of the car. At one time, this was a caboose so instead of closing off the door, I chose to leave the doors in place thinking that on a warm day/night, they might be left open for some ventilation. But in the meantime, we couldn’t have a careless crewmember walking out the door so we had to put a stop bar in place. This was done by simply bending a piece or railing wire to the right shape and installing it using the existing mounting holes originally intended for handrails.
I still have a few other cars in mind for my MofW train but this one was certainly a lot of fun and an interesting project to complete. Stand by for more MofW mash-ups!