Monday, May 25, 2020

Freight car graffiti, Part 15: more cement cars

This series of posts about application of graffiti to post-1980 freight cars is partly an exploration of technique on my part, and also has a component of helping a fellow modeler improve his freight cars. That modeler in this case is Seth Neumann, whose Union Pacific layout models the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999, after the UP takeover of SP. To find prior posts in this series, the easiest approach is to use “freight car graffiti” as the search term in the search box at right.
     Many of the earlier posts were about cement cars, and in the present post I want to describe what was done to some additional representatives of this group. I will begin with a model of the Pullman-Standard PS-2 type design of covered hopper, though considerably enlarged from early models of the PS-2, having over 2900 cubic feet capacity and nominally 100 tons weight capacity.

This model carries the large BN emblem of the 1980s. Shown below is the left side of this model, with graffiti applied, one red piece from T2 Decals and the other from Microscale set 87-1534. You can also see here that some modest weathering was applied, along with tags alongside and on top of the graffiti.

The right side has a graffiti piece from Microscale set 87-1534, and as shown here is also weathered and tagged.

     A second car in this group is an AC&F “Center Flow” design. This is also a 100-ton design and dates back to the 1970s.

Here the relatively smooth sides permitted some freedom in choosing size and type of graffiti to apply. Shown below is the left side, with a blue piece from T2 Decals. At the right of the car side is a large “NESTA” graphic, a paper overlay taken from a photograph made here in the Bay Area (for those who don’t know, this is the middle name of musician Bob Marley and a popular theme for graffiti). A brief summary of the paper overlay method was included in an earlier blog post; you can find it at the following link: .

The right side of the car received two Microscale decals, from sets 87-1533 and -1534. Both of the car sides shown had been weathered and tagged when photographed. As with any of these photos, you can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.

    Finally, there was one more Calaveras Cement car to do. I have already written about this company and its cars in a previous post about graffiti application (see it at: ), so here I will just show the final results on the weathered car. First, the left side, with decals from T2 Decals and Blair Line set 2257 (I really like the “Rail Heads” one; you can click to enlarge):

The right side also has two graffiti decals, one of them from Microscale set 87-1523, the other one (the word “bonus”) from Blair Line set 2262. You can see in both these Calaveras photos that there is some cement spillage suggested.

     This completes this set of additional cement cars. They have been an interesting challenge and taken as a group, have called for several different techniques on my part.
Tony Thompson


  1. Some of the graffiti graphics that you have added to the covered hoppers appear to extend more than 8 scale feet above ground. Is that very commonly observed in real life? I would think that would require the artist to carry along a ladder.

    Interesting concepts here. I met a fellow last year at an LA prototype modeling meet who built exact replicas of graffiti he observed on sidings. He refused to sell any of his models, saying that since he had not contacted the original artist, he did not have copyright clearance to sell his replications.


  2. You are right, Hakk, that these taller graphics require some kind of help, and yes, some writers do bring ladders. There are also photos of guys standing on other guys' shoulders. But it doesn't matter how they do it; you can see plenty of prototype pieces taller than 8 feet, and luckily the decal sheets have them too. There are even photos in books of entire car sides covered, top to bottom.
    Tony Thompson