Saturday 19 March 2022

Scrap Metals Gondola

I regularly check Lance Mindheim's blog (a link to that is in the sidebar), as I admire his modeling talents, and also because I like that so much of his work is set in a modern urban-industrial environment, which is of course the general theme of my freelanced layout here.

On January 31, 2021, Lance posted a gondola that he had modeled and I really liked it.  Here's the link directly to that post so you can see what I'm talking about. 

The first thing I noticed about his gondola was that it was painted grey, which I thought was unusual, as I'm not sure I've ever seen one that colour.  I had an old Roundhouse models gondola in my storage cabinet that I had already bulged the sides on, and I'd already rusted/weathered the interior too, but it seems to hardly ever make it's way out of storage and onto the layout.

Here's the gondola as I had painted it previously. I decided to re-paint it in Primer Grey and re-letter it to ZVBX like Lance had done. When I re-numbered it, I decided that I would take a guess at a number that might be in the same number series as his model.

I looked up the ZVBX reporting mark on, and found it to be registered to "Ferrous Processing and Trading" who evidently have locations in Tennessee and Florida, but more importantly to me they are also in Windsor, Ontario as well as Ohio and Michigan. I've never assigned a name to the metals recycler on the layout, and I think of the JSSX as being loosely set in the Michigan / Ohio region, so this gondola idea might have turned out to be a nice little boost to the layout in more ways than one!

The only downside to this (so far) is that the number series I've used for the model is not listed in the data base.  Oh well, maybe I just won't tell anybody.

Here's a look at my gondola after re-paint:

The gondola on the workbench after re-painting with ModelFlex Primer Gray.  I also carved off the original molded-on steps and grab irons, replacing them with wire ones. The reporting marks decals are from a Microscale lettering set. That RBOX in the background just happened to be on the workbench for some touch-up work.

Some rusting has been done with burnt umber streaked down the ribs.  The dents are .005 thick styrene that I had laid down on our concrete driveway and ran a wallpaper roller over.  I then cut the styrene to fit between the gondola's ribs.

Since the gondola was looking so "well used", I thought I'd better add graffiti to at least one side as well.  Most of it is from graffiti decal sets (also Microscale), but I did scribble in a bit of it by hand using .3 mm ink pens.

The white graffiti decals appeared quite stark against the grey colour of the gondola, so I loaded up the trusty airbrush with "Rail Brown" and oversprayed the sides and ends which flattened down the appearance of the whole car quite nicely.  Oh, and there's the new GP38 #812 in the background.  Another post on that soon.

Barely visible here, I also added coupler lift bars to the gondola.  I've got another similar gondola around here somewhere too, so I may just rework that one too.  And my thanks go to Lance Mindheim for the idea.


  1. What a transformation, the 5 thou overlays are very effective! That handwheel is crying out for a Kadee replacement now though too, such is life.

  2. Thanks you very much James and Benjamin. You have a point about the brake wheel. I'll see what I can find. Maybe I've got something a little better here somewhere. I also just realized that I forgot to put on the reflective FRA stripes, so I might just do that today. It's always something...