Friday, August 28, 2020

Restoring a Devore kit, Part 2

Only the older readers of this blog will have personal memory of the kit line from Devore, which were cast metal kits of various kinds. I showed an example of their distinctive kit box in my prior pjost about a Devore model of a depressed-center flat car that I have been working on ( here’s a link: ). Dating as they do to the early 1950s, these models certainly qualify as classics.
     When I last reported, I had cleaned up the car body, replaced the grab irons, and added sill steps. Next I needed to figure out how to install couplers. The Devore body has small molded holes as might suit escutcheon pins, and aside from the undesirability of such an attachment, they are not located so that they would attach a Kadee coupler box.
     To install a Kadee box, I simply used canopy glue to attach Evergreen scale 6 x 10-inch styrene strip to serve as an attachment pads between the center sills, then drilled the pads. Finally, I used a bottoming tap (sometimes called a “gun tap”) to tap the blind holes for 2-56 screws. Here you can see the white pads at each end.

I next added the Kadee boxes but not the couplers, so that the boxes would be painted along with the rest of the body. I also added a Tichy brake wheel on a brass wire staff. Then I applied Tamiya “Fine Surface Primer,” to serve both as a witness coat and an undercoat for the final color.

Note here that the model is resting on what I have called “Interim Truck Support Blocks,” for painting and other work prior to adding the final trucks that the car will have in service. I have shown what these look like in a prior post: .
     For the final color, I chose Tamiya “Red Brown,” TS-1, which although more brown than most boxcar red shades, will not be very noticeable after weathering. Once that paint was dry, I added Kadee no. 158 couplers, pretty much my standard for new coupler installations. In fact, I buy them in the 25-pair “bulk packs” because I also use them steadily for replacing off-brand Kadee copies on RTR models as well as sometimes replacing Kadee no. 5 couplers on a car in the shop for other work.
     I should mention that I feel no particular need to replace no. 5s in my fleet, because in my experience at least, they play perfectly well with no. 58s. But I do prefer the smaller heads of the no. 58 style, and gradually that type is coming to dominate my fleet.
     One of the railroads that owned a 40-foot depressed-center flat car like this was Milwaukee Road. By the time I model, most Milwaukee heavy-duty cars had been renumbered with six-digit numbers, but I will use the original number on this car, MILW 67025 (later 601025). I used a mixture of old Champ sets for the lettering, then added paint patches for reweigh and repack stencils.
     Lastly, I chose a pair of Tahoe Model Works trucks, 70-ton capacity (TMW-110) for the car, since I know from the Equipment Register that it was a 70-ton car. After attaching the trucks, the model was then weathered, using my usual combinations of acrylic washes (for more on that technique, see the “Reference Pages” at the top right of this blog post). Note that the car decks at each end are wood planked, and accordingly are weathered differently.

     Although I don’t want to address it in the present post, I bought a load for this car back when I first owned it (never mind exactly when that was!). It is a transformer load by Cliff Line, and it has suffered a little wear and tear over the years, so it too will need some restoration. More on that later.
     With these steps completed, the Devore flat car is ready for service. I had stored this model in a somewhat derelict condition, still with the Varney dummy couplers on it that I had used as a teenager, and have finally gotten to the restoration, It was fun to work on, and satisfying to complete.
Tony Thompson


  1. Fixing up an old model is an enjoyable part of the hobby for me too. I am currently repairing one of my very first SP models, a Silver Streak bay window caboose. During some move the ends of the caboose, which are made of a very soft metal, were broken. I found a never made kit at a train show a few years ago and am installing replacement ends. It will be very satisfying to see it back on the rails.

  2. Totally enjoy your blog. I too like the challenges of making an older car compatible with today's parts, You can often find these things reasonably priced at train shows as few people want to tackle the problems needed to get then running. Keep up the good work.

    1. Good point that both unbuilt kits and derelict models from the past can often be found at train shows, as sources of parts and kit directions. Sometimes I have had to pretty much fake it on repairs of old models, but having original parts is best.
      Tony Thompson