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Saturday, February 10, 2024

The 2022 Shake ’n’ Take Seaboard box car

The late Greg Martin originated the idea of what he named “Shake ’n’ Take” model projects, meaning relatively straightforward kitbashing or kit modifying projects, which were presented at the Cocoa Beach, Florida “Prototype Rails” meetings. Richard Hendrickson and a number of others have pitched in over the years to help choose prototypes and build the models for these projects. 

You had to sign up for the project and attend a clinic about it at Cocoa Beach. With the cooperation of a number of manufacturers and other producers of model railroad parts, participants at the clinic were given a car body and associated parts, ranging from underframes and major parts, to very minor parts like side-sill tabs or brake steps, and often custom decals.

The first of these projects was presented at the 2006 Prototype Rails meeting, and it was a rebuilt Kansas City Southern box car. I built that project and reported on it in blog posts (see the conclusion of the series at: ). For those interested, I show below a list of all the projects, taken from a PDF by Ben Hom on the site for these projects: ).

I have signed up for most of these projects, though I skipped a few. They involved cars that were too late for me (the PRR Class X45 in 2008), too early for me (the 2024 project), or cars I didn’t need because I already had them (the 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2020 projects. But I have built most of the rest. 

Among those that I have reported on were the Kahn’s reefer (see: ), the DT&I gondola, one that I really enjoyed doing (described at: ), and more recently, the Hormel reefer (conclusion at: ).

Greg’s original idea was that these would be a “weekend project,” and for most of us, the projects have grown well beyond that! But they have been interesting cars for the most part, and some of the kit modification ideas quite ingenious. We have been having quite a bit of rain where I live, so it seemed like a good time to look at one of these projects in my stash: the 2022 Seaboard box car. Here’s a builder view (Pullman-Standard photo, Illinois Digital Library):

These cars were built by Pullman-Standard at their Bessemer, Alabama plant in 1940, 700 cars numbered 11000–11699. Their round roof is reminiscent of the Pennsylvania “wagon-top” cars of the X31 subclasses, built in 1936. But the Seaboard cars were distinctive in having a proprietary end stamping that was different from the PRR cars (builder photo below, same credit). Accordingly, this Shake ’n’ Take project is to use the Bowser round-roof body, and to replace ends and some other details.

Before describing the modeling, I should credit the various donors of parts for this project. Bowser contributed the car bodies and doors; Accurail, the underframe, brake parts, and trucks; Southbound Model Works, the resin replacement ends; Kadee, running boards, brake wheel and step, grab irons; Des Plaines Hobbies, ladders; National Scale Car, resin side sill tabs, tack boards, and decals. The generosity of them all is appreciated. Steve Hile designed the project, gave the Cocoa Beach clinic on it, and wrote the directions.

To begin the model work, I removed the molded-on side ladders and grab irons. They are of very low relief, and are removed so that better parts can be substituted. For removing details like these, I take a brand-new #17 X-Acto blade to carefully slice away whatever isn’t wanted. Finally, the Bowser body has double rivet rows at some side panel boundaries, so the extra rows were removed.

The more substantial modification began with removing the Bowser ends, conventional Dreadnaught configuration, which are to be replaced. I used a razor saw to slice inside the side walls, along both sides of the end, then a knife groove was made across the top of the end, so it could be snapped off. Here’s a view before sanding the end completely flat.

I then followed the project directions and added an end bulkhead of 0.040-inch thickness styrene. I reinforced the inside corners with 1/8 x 1/4-inch styrene strip. This stabilizes the body as well as providing a gluing surface for the replacement ends.

With these bulkheads in place, and with the new resin ends carefully cleaned up to fit, I glued the new ends in place with canopy glue. Here is the car at this point, just needing addition of all the smaller details before painting.

I will continue with descriptions of the work on this interesting project in a future post.

Tony Thompson

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