Sunday 5 November 2017

SP Exterior Post 86' Boxcar

I had this project in mind 2 years ago when I picked up a used Athearn blue box 86 footer model at the train show in Ancaster, Ontario. I've always liked these massive boxcars, particularly the 8 door versions.  Read on for the story of how I converted the original Athearn model to this exterior post version.

For years I've held on to the September 2000 issue of Model Railroad Journal, because it contains an article written by Mike Budde outlining how to convert an Athearn blue-box auto parts car into an exterior post model. I used that article for reference throughout this project. In his article, Mike listed the different sizes of styrene he used, so I just followed his lead.  I used ModelFlex SP Scarlet to paint the car, and Microscale decals for the stripes, lettering and markings.

Below is the model I found at Ancaster that I started out with.  This seemed to be the logical model to start with, even though I did end up re-painting and re-decaling the whole thing anyway.

Below is the boxcar after most of my modifications have been made, but before painting and decals. Shortly after this picture, I took the car outside to paint it with primer and dropped it onto our brick patio. You're not supposed to do that !  I lost all 4 stirrup steps, some of the ladder rungs, and chipped off one bottom corner of the car itself ! 

After making the necessary repairs, I actually removed ribs that I had already applied between the sets of doors before I painted it with ModelFlex SP Scarlet.  I did so because I realized that it would be easier to apply the big white SP ball decal over a flat surface.  Below is the boxcar in fresh scarlet paint and awaiting application of decals.  It sure doesn't look like much at this point.

As upsetting as dropping the model on the patio was, those big horizontal grey stripes were far and away the most frustrating part of this project. They're so predominant on the car, that I felt that they had to look just right.  I cut the stripes into small pieces and went piece by piece over the ribs and the raised areas of the doors.  Then I filled in the spaces in between.  It took me forever to get through that step. That large white SP ball decal in the middle actually went on surprisingly easily.   I hand painted the scarlet onto the ribs where they cross over the letters. 

Here is my finished 8 door autoparts car in service, on it's first trip to the parts plant.

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