Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Finishing a resin kit

There is nothing remarkable about the construction process of resin kits in general, because for years now they have been well designed and well made, and have come with good directions. Moreover, the model magazines have published a number of good and thorough articles about how to build these kits. But I tried a new technique for one aspect of the construction of a resin car recently, and thought it might be of interest.
     The car is a Westerfield kit, a single-sheathed, door-and-a-half box car with reverse corrugated ends, a Missouri Pacific prototype, kit 1901. The one I have is molded in the old, metal-filled resin, justly notorious for rapidly dulling small drills. (it’s so old, its box has the Elk Grove Village, Illinois address.) You can see an earlier stage of this kit in my post about a working car cradle (at: ). And yes, this is the feared “dark gray resin” material.
     Having gotten to the point of having the body box together, brake gear basically complete, and the grab iron holes drilled, I could hardly face the task of drilling holes for the sill steps. Then enlightenment dawned. I didn’t have to drill holes!
     I remembered a stash of the old Tuttle Industries style “R” steps, and had the idea to try bending them so they could be glued with CA to the underbody, without any holes at all. This worked fine, and here is how it looked at this point. Kadee coupler boxes have been installed, along with as much brake rigging as I plan to add, preparatory to painting the underbody.

Note here that the upper door hangers have been fabricated from styrene strip. The car at this point lacked only ladders, vertical-staff brake wheel, and running boards, along with corner running boards.
     I airbrushed the entire underbody with Weathered Black, since I had it in the airbrush for another project. These cars, according to Westerfield’s instructions, were painted entirely boxcar red, so when the rest of the car is painted, I will make sure to get overspray of that color onto the underbody. But this dark gray undercoat ensures that everything is painted and that it will look dirty.
     At this point, I installed a pair of my “spraybooth trucks” (roller bearing, arch bar, or other expendable types) so the car could stand upright during painting.

     Then I added decal lettering and weathering, in the same way I would do for most any freight car. The decals were pretty old, and I will spare you the struggle to repair the decal sheet well enough to use (I prefer Microscale’s Liquid Decal Film for this job). I also added the usual reweigh and repack details. If you wish, you can click to enlarge the image.

Weathering was via my usual acrylic-wash method. You can read more about it at: .
     Aside from the method of installing sill steps, this is a straightforward resin kit assembly. But it happens to be a welcome addition to the fleet, because it adds another single-sheathed box car, and one with a radial roof as well, both features which need more representation among my cars. So for me this car represents an improvement to the overall character of the freight cars on my layout.
Tony Thompson


  1. Tony,
    Great job on the car and nice tip on the stirrup steps.
    Seeing this kit brought back some memories. This was the first Westerfield house car I built back in my Navy shipboard days. I enjoyed the process, though I went through almost an entire pack of 78 and 80 drill bits!
    Wish I still had the car, but the model didn't fair very well after the ship took a sharp roll to port, and snapped back to starboard. Let's just say the steel bulkhead and deck "broke" its fall, and I returned from watch to lots of little shards of resin all over my stateroom!
    I picked up one of these cars at a swap meet not long ago, and am looking forward to seeing if building it on dry land produces better results!

  2. Tony,
    Except for the half-door, this car looks like the USRA single sheathed car.Am I correct. If so, can this car be reproduced using the Tichy USRA model with the added half door from Standard ??