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Afternoon, all-

I have a couple of Intermountain AAR boxcar kits and was wondering about replacing some of the fiddly plastic bits (like step irons and other pieces) which tend to be delicate, with metal versions. A previous posting in here from several years ago mentioned using Tichy parts, but I was wondering if anyone knows whether they’re a direct replacement for the Intermountain parts, or if some adjustments would have to be made.

If Tichy parts aren’t the optimum option, are there any better options for metal replacement parts?

Kyle Evans

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Tichy makes nice formed Phos-Bronze wire grab irons for O scale.  But they're not at all visually direct replacements for the IM molded plastic grabs.  Admittedly, the IM grabs...the thin plastic bar between the two end the weakest part.  But removing that bar completely, leaving the brackets remaining (as on the 1:1), would not be a project for the faint-of-heart.

Re the corner steps...  Scale City Designs has some die cast white metal ones.  Precision Scale has corner steps.  Tichy and Grandt Line are typically molded plastic, as are the IM ones.  OTOH, there are purveyors of small x-section flat brass stock (e.g., Detail Associates) which can be formed appropriately and inserted into drilled holes w/drop of CA into the car floor...then painted to match.

I feel your pain...common to the hobby...'Where do you grab to handle?  How do you safely store?'

Maintenance.  Gotta love it.


Last edited by dkdkrd

I bought a small army of the Rock Island kits.  It became clear, very quickly, that they were beyond my patience and intelligence level.  So I started buying the assembled ones.  I also bought the high side hopper kits.  I calculated there is roughly 105 individual steps needed to assemble them.  They're still in the box too.

Des Plaines Hobbies has had the grab irons in brass in the past.  They should be part number OSA1001 if I recall correctly.  I do not currently see them listed on the DPH website, which normally means they are out of stock. 

Also, P&D in Detroit used to stock them along with most of the OSA lineup.  On the P&D website, they would be listed under Custom Finishing detail parts, with part number CUF1001.  Custom Finishing is the original manufacturer, and Des Plaines bought the O scale part of their lineup back in the day.  At any rate, they are also currently not listed on the P&D site, which typically indicates that they are not currently in stock. 

A phone call to either store might shed light on any plans to run new parts. 

Hope that helps,

Gentlemen -

My apologies for the delay in response to your postings. Thank you one and all for your thoughts. It appears that it’s a good thing I only have two of these kits instead of a whole roster to tackle. They ARE very nice and the quality seems good. They do seem to be rather tedious to do, but I figure to take it slow and easy. The only point of contention would be that the instructions seem to assume that you can identify all of the parts by description only; an exploded parts diagram would be helpful. Looks like a fair amount of guesswork could be involved.  

Oh Santa Ana said at the Alamo, “Sin lagrimas, sin sangre...esta no gloria.” (Without tears, without blood, there is no glory.) Hopefully it won’t take either one to finish these.😉

Thanks again to you all.


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