Open-top cars, especially gondolas with tight bottoms, inevitably get considerable dirt, rust, and dunnage remnants accumulating in their interior. Anyone who has viewed prototype gondolas from above knows what I am talking about. Yet often this is not modeled, even for cars that would be far past their construction date on a particular layout.
Awhile back I read an interesting comment in one of the modeler forums on the Model Railroad Hobbyist site. Here is a link to the particular node: https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/35193 . The person providing the images only identified himself as “Terry,” so I can’t give full credit. Here is one of the images, recently photographed, a Missouri Pacific car:
The accumulation of miscellaneous material, and the rusty floor, is evident. Another example was this GONX car. Here the rust is a little less evident, but the color, especially of the floor, is considerably different that the paint color.
I recently observed a whole fleet of superb gondola interiors on Bill Neale’s excellent layout depicting the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1939 (see my blog post about the layout, at: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2021/11/attending-prorail-2021.html ). With Bill’s permission, I will show a couple of examples that I photographed. First, some black NYC gondolas, with interiors quite different in color:
Another example, this one a Pennsylvania car, shows an even more dramatic interior, though certainly well within the range of what one sees on the prototype:
And I will show a couple of cars in my own fleet. First up is a model I inherited from Richard Hendrickson, a B&O USRA gondola (Westerfield resin, I think), Class O-27, with distressed sides, some interior color change, and considerable remnant dunnage:
Another is a fairly recent Tangent model of the Pennsylvania G31C class, which would be recently built in my 1953 modeling year, with mostly dunnage inside but some rust developing on the interior of the sides:
Lastly, I wanted to try and get some of the tan “dirt” colors seen in the Bill Neale models. I tried using a mix of three acrylic tube colors: Neutral Gray, Raw Sienna, and a little bit of Burnt Sienna. This seemed to give a good “dusty” or sandy look. Below is an Ulrich GS gondola that I’ve operated for some time, with added interior color. I intend to try more intense versions of this.
All these cars show some of what I want to achieve, including the dunnage remnants and soil colors that I want, but I want to move further toward having some of my gondolas with truly rusty or sandy interiors. I will show some further results in a future post.