Friday, November 18, 2011

Upgrading old models, Part 4: an update

In a previous post, I described the first part of the work I did to upgrade an old Athearn metal box car in HO scale. The idea was not to claim any special significance to this particular model, but to show the kind of process needed with older models to sustain consistency with modern freight car models and, of course, modeling standards. Here’s a link to that previous post on the model work: .
     The Athearn model represents a 1937 AAR standard box car, but as shown in the previous post, was  numbered and lettered as an Illinois Central postwar car, which should have had different ends, among other things. So to make the car number consistent with the prewar model car body, it needed to be renumbered. I chose IC 18545 as its new number.
     I had used a decal set from Jerry Glow to renumber the car, and corrected its built date to 1940 (consistent with the car number). If you’d like to get one of these sets, it’s the 10'4" IH set for IC; scroll down on Jerry’s web page ( ). Then with all model work done, I weathered it. I used my usual acrylic weathering method, which is essentially a wash (see the joint clinic handout prepared by Richard Hendrickson and me for a clinic at the Lisle 2011 meeting, available at: ). Since the car is being modeled as a prewar car, it can be presented as pretty dirty.
     Upon completing the weathering coat, I covered the old capacity data and reweigh date with rectangles of boxcar-red decal sheet, included in the Sunshine decal sets for reweigh data, and added fresh capacity numbers, using the ones in the Jerry Glow set. This particular group of Illinois Central box cars had 80,000 pounds capacity, not the 100,000 pounds that is typical of most 1937 AAR box cars, so the Jerry Glow set is essential in providing those data. The set also includes a reweigh symbol of JSTN, for Johnston Yard in South Memphis, a busy place on the IC and a likely candidate for a reweigh symbol.
     Here is a snapshot of the completed car, including a few chalk marks made with a Prismacolor white pencil and both placard and route card on the door.

     This has been an interesting challenge of a project, and though there are no doubt easier ways to arrive at this final result, I have enjoyed solving the various problems associated with this upgrade. I’m pleased to have this veteran model now suitable for service on my layout.
Tony Thompson

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