Category Archives: Details

“Like Things at Like Times:” Building Two Kits at Once – Pt 1


Bill Welch returns with a double treat. Click on any image here to review a larger size.

For years now whenever I can, I try to build two models at the same time. There are many similar steps for each build, such as washing parts, removing flash, drilling holes, mounting brake systems, installing grab irons, and more. Adding work time to an extra model on the bench seems to reduce the overall build time for two models.

Resin kit building usually involves a lot of hole drilling. I like to use a sharp object to create a starting point for the drill bit so that it will not wander. Mine is different from the one pictured in that link. When drilling holes for sill steps, I like to make a starter hole with a smaller bit before I drill the final hole with a #75 bit. It is just as easy to do this on two cars at once as it is to do it on one. Body motions like changing bits require time, so doing two models at one time can actually save time. My modeling/railroad historian/general raconteur friend Dr. Frank Peacock, DDS, observes that in dentistry this approach is termed “like things at like times.” As my description with the two Funaro & Camerlengo gondola kits will demonstrate, the two models only need to be similar, not identical.

Continue reading “Like Things at Like Times:” Building Two Kits at Once – Pt 1

Rocket Express 40 and 50-foot Rock Island Automobile boxcars


Charlie Duckworth builds a pair of Rock Island automobile box cars. Click on any image here to view a larger size.

Ron Von Werder, owner of Rocket Express, offers two Rock Island (RI) automobile boxcars. Both HO scale kits are flat castings and assemble easily. I prefer using Westerfield’s RI decals for the reporting marks and numbers as his artwork looks closer to the Rock Island prototype lettering than what is supplied in the kits.

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Detail Tips


We have another guest post this week. Eric Hansmann illustrates a couple of techniques to ease installing details onto freight car models.

As prototype model railroaders, we often push our efforts to include many prototype detail elements on our freight cars. In reviewing the image above, there are several common elements that are typical of many kits. Let’s take a look at one of the smaller components and how to ease the installation process. Click on any image here to review a larger size.

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Model Upgrades – 1

A tank car model with components from Tichy and Athearn reflects a popular prototype.

Here are a couple more modified models that are in service on the railroad. The Warren tank car is a shortened Athearn chemical tank on a lengthened Tichy frame. The cuts in the Athearn tank are covered with 0.005-inch sheet styrene to represent the jacket over the insulation. The model has the rough overall dimensions of an AC&F Type 27 Class 105 propane 10.5K gallon tank car. The bonnet is a resin casting that I did maybe two decades ago and has been noted several times on Tony Thompson’s blog. The decals are from Sunshine Models but others are available.


This flat car is actually two Red Caboose flat car models spliced together just as the Rock Island had done. Take a flat car, cut it in half, add new steel in-between and “presto!,” a longer flat car. The splice plates were done with styrene with rivets harvested from an Athearn gondola. Today we would use Archer rivet decals.

The decal lettering were extra bits from other used sets. The deck was widened with styrene matching the existing deck thickness and then distressed. The stake pockets came with the Red Caboose kits.

The load is six Farmall 300 series tractors which were produced from 1954 to 1956, which falls right into my late August 1955 time period. These tractors are resin castings from a pattern done for Martin Lofton at Sunshine Models, but were never issued.

A recent discussion on the Steam Era Freight Car YahooGroup centered on an interesting Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern (WCF&N) flat car. Here’s one way to model a similar prototype.