Lehigh & New England box car kitbash

Fenton Wells displayed an interesting HO scale box car kitbash at the RPM Conference in Naperville. He shared this summary from his Southern Piedmont Shops.

One of the fun things about this hobby is the inspirational people you meet and one of them prompted this kitbash. Clark Propst got me involved with this model. He sent me a prototype photo and some in-progress photos of his modeling. I knew that I must build this interesting car.

I believe Clark sent this prototype information. He can’t recall the source.

With that inspiration, I started with an Accurail 7000 40-foot, six-panel box car with wood doors and ends. I cut off the roof and the cast on grabs and ladders and got the body prepped for reconstruction.

As an aside cutting the roof off of the Accurail model is time consuming so take your time. The corners are especially thick apparently from the way the car is molded. Take your time, you will get there.

I had purchased a radial roof from Westerfield Models (Mr. Andrew Dahm has been very helpful on many of my Kitbashing projects) and when fitting the roof, noticed it had to be cut lengthwise down the middle to narrow it for a better fit on the Accurail body.

I patched my mistakes with Bondo auto putty. When it was dry, I sanded the patches. Much of this will be covered by the running boards. I added strip styrene for the running board supports.

Then my attention moved to the car ends. I modified these by adding a piece of 0.040 x 0.040 inch thick styrene for the diagonal braces and using a 0.010 x 0.060 inch thick piece as an overlay on the vertical braces that are cast on to the car. These pieces make a proper channel-beam effect.

I made a template of the curved roof end so I could cut 0.010 inch thick styrene for the roof fascia and added similar pieces under it to match the prototype photos.

I shifted attention to complete the car sides. The fascinating thing to me about this car was the cross bracing that was added when the cars were rebuilt from gondolas. There were additional support plates at the bolsters and near the car doors. I used 0.050 inch thick styrene for these details, then added Archer rivets.

Once those were complete, I added the ladders, door straps, grab irons, and Nut-Bolt-Washer castings. With all the details in place, I primed the car body. I find I can see my errors easier after the primer coat.

I completed the underframe before the car body.

Next up were the painting and decaling steps. I used a Scale Coat II Box Car Red No2. Dan Hicks provided the decals for this car. Another great thing that happens with freight car projects is finding people who make interesting things, like these very nice LNE decals.

Here’s my finished model. Many thanks to Clark for the inspiration/kick-in-the-pants.

Thank you, Fenton Wells, for sharing your work on a cool kitbash that follows an interesting prototype! We hope this inspires modelers to try kitbashes that follow prototypes.

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12 thoughts on “Lehigh & New England box car kitbash

    1. David, Resin Car Works does not plan to issue to the Wabash mini-kits at this time. – Eric H.

  1. Fenton’s workmanship always produces a fine model and pretty close to the prototype at that, considering the difficulty in finding clear photographs to use as a modeling guide.

  2. The earlier reference, that can’t be recalled, is an image from, “Only Yesterday on the Lehigh and New England”, by Robert Fischer. A few of these gondolas are still surviving, as there are a pair on the Wanamaker, Kempton, and Southern, located in Kempton PA. I was there this summer for their anniversary and took a series of pictures of the steel frame that this particular car was built from. Again, another great kitbash of an off the beaten path Anthracite road.

    1. Thank you for the reference, William! It’s amazing that a couple of the original gondolas survive. – Eric H.

  3. Nice kitbash of a very interesting car. While I would really like to have one on my layout, I am not keen on having to chisel off the ladders. Sure would be nice is someone did a resin kit (hint, hint).

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