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I solder the doors shut on my boxcars. When we made the X29 all the door were made to not move. We never heard one complaint about it. There are plenty of plastic boxcars with opening doors to choose from. The boxcar is my favorite type of freight car.
The PRR X29 in S Scale
In 1996 I started Pennsy S Models with my friend Dan Mastrobuono to make the X29. It took almost 10 years to get cars made we were satisfied with but they still have lots of problems with leaning. For my cars I have given up on trying to get them to ride upright.
Railway Express Agency Version
The REA version was the car with the largest single production we made. They were also the cars that were completed first. Since researching the REA cars, I have become very interested in head end cars. I found that the versions of the REA car were almost as varied as the X29 freight cars. I simply had to model some of the variations. We allowed for many REA car numbers in the decal sets. I will even have Shadow Keystone REA cars when I am done. The prototype REA cars were usually very weathered and dirty. I tried to capture the weathering and still showcase all the details we worked so hard to get made.
Since I knew for many years Des Plaines Hobbies was making a plastic X29 which was released in August 2013, I ordered REA cars almost exclusively. Detailing a plastic kit for REA service is a significant amount of additional work. Even with as many REA X29 as I have that would only consist 1 second class mail and baggage train leaving the rest of the layout without them.
Many of the modifications involved changing the Ajax style power brake to the vertical brake shaft. I also had to change the poling pockets on this car to castings that did not have the under coupler cut lever bracket. I then added the Carmer Cut lever parts, which were made for us by Earl Tuson.
REA 2116 and 2130 are competed without modifications.
As a present to Dan and me, I wanted to get 10 Dreadnaught end REA cars made. They were not listed on the order form as a version to be sold. But since they were never listed on the production breakdown, they also did not get made either. That did not stop me though, as I took a Dreadnaught end freight version and made it into a REA car. I did have to rearrange the brake system somewhat, and run the steam and signal lines. I added trust plates, the REA brake platform, and all of the extra REA grab irons and steps.
This car was a painted production run car without many modifications. It has the 1928 style body with the patch panel, Ajax style brake and under coupler cut lever.
In case you have not noticed, some of the cars numbers picked are based on Ford V8 engines like 2351 and 2429. There are other Ford engine related numbers on the decal sheet that I have yet to use.
Modelers have mistakenly thought that the Merchandise Service cars were special or in express service. They were not. It was just a regular freight X29 with a fancy paint scheme used to promote LCL service. There were various versions of the Merchandise Service scheme on various cars. The X29b and X41b was much more colorful with red and silver in the scheme. This is the original with all white lettering and Merchandise Service in car color on the large white stripe.
This is the first PRR freight version car that I finished. It is pretty much right out of the box except I added trust plates. It is the 1924 style body with Patch Panels, under coupler cut lever and vertical brake shaft.
This is a very rare version as we made less than 20 of them. We had the B&O style ladder made from real B&O drawings. B&O freight car Guru Chris Barkan helped us out a LOT! I chose the mid-1950s scheme for my car.
River Raisin Models imported 3 versions of the PRR Round Roof boxcar in May 1996.
The 2 versions that were made were the single and double door X31a.
This is one of my first brass bashing projects in July 1997. I took the opening end doors off of a class X33a as shown below and replaced it with a plain end making the car into a much more common class X32a Round Roof boxcar. This car is shown after the modifications of adding the new plain end. I also scratchbuilt the 2 draft gear on this car before I started to make my own brass master patterns.
Like the X32a above this car was made as the X33a below. I did essentially the same brass conversion of changing the open door end to a plain end except this time I had brass draft gear castings that I did not have in 1997. I called it a X32b just to be different. They are very similar cars to the X33a including the same CUFT. It is Shadow Keystone scheme with minimal weathering. The decals were made for me by Jerry Glow. I might have enough parts (purchased new with the production of the cars in 1996!) to make one more conversion, but I don’t have a car to convert and no plans now to get one. But it would be painted for DT&I if I did!
Shown as built by River Raisin with the opening end doors.
B & O M53 Boxcars
The B&O Wagontop boxcars are my favorite right after the X29. I had the chance to photograph a real M53. I took LOTS of detail photos. These models were made by Overland in about 1985. I actually had them both painted but not decaled for a few years before I stripped them and started again. I modified some of my Draft Gear castings to closely match what the M53 had. I added draft gear, cut levers and cut lever brackets.
Reading BXmu Express Boxcar
Imported by Southwind Models in 1996
Railway Express Agency BX Boxcar
Imported by River Raisin Models in 2003
Milwaukee Road Ribbed Boxcar
River Raisin Models imported the Milwaukee Road Ribbed Boxcar in 40’ and 50’ versions in 1991.
The 50’ car is shown here. I added draft gear, cut levers and cut lever brackets.
Seaboard Express Boxcar
All cars are Jerry Glow Decals.
Starting with the above Seaboard Express Boxcar in the end of 2013 I got into a “finish it or sell it” mood where I had cars for a long time that was not getting completed. I had 3 assembled and painted 40’ cars for many years given to me by the late Russ Downs. That sort of started the frenzy but it also included 3 NASG brass tanks cars I have had for 15 years not completed. Brass and plastic hopper cars got added to the mix. It was essentially a short train getting painted.
These are plastic boxcars with no alterations other than a paint and decal job. I just wanted something different! Some have been commercially offered and some have not, at least how I painted them. Much of the inspiration for these schemes comes from O Scale cars I have painted. Seaboard B-5 14783 is an unlettered S Helper Service car.
These 4 cars are all a different shade of boxcar red but I cannot seem to get my camera prove it!
West India Fruit XM-2 204 St Louis Southwestern 33689
Seaboard B-5 14783 Seaboard B-8 19920
More boxcars are coming!
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