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This past October at York I picked up several 332/339/341 cars at a really great price, that I want to convert to a Christmas Train for the upcoming season.

As I look over the project to plan it the only obstacle I see is how can you bend back the tabs under the bench seats in the passenger and observation cars? A flat head screw driver through the opposite window doesn’t allow much leverage. The paint can opener that I had, its shaft isn’t quite long enough to reach across the car and the end is kind of thick. I can grind the tip down and possible look for a longer one, once my wife will allow me to go into a store. Is there some type of pick that you may use? I see several sets at HF.

I’m sure with the number of great restoration’s I’ve seen here there must be some trick of the trade that can be shared, and I’m willing to listen. Again, thanks in advance for your input!!!!!






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Last edited by Rich Wiemann
Original Post

Hi Rich: The best way to loosen those tabs is to heat them either with a soldering iron or a small tip torch. This will help prevent them from breaking off. Also, I would recommend extra heat after disassembly (and before painting of course) to anneal the metal to allow you to re-bend the tabs without breaking during assembly. I use a small Bernz-O-Matic torch for such work, and have been successful.

Hi Rich,

After stripping I filled in any small dents with "red lead" type auto body filler from a tube, sanded and primed. As I was painting these cars a grey color, I left the inside of the roof primer grey. Did not cover the screw hole.

After the paint is dry to the touch I placed the parts in a 200 degree oven for 2 minutes or so. Seems to me that this settles the paint down nice and smooth, and enhances the shine. If it was summer, I would have just put them in the hot sun outside

By the way, the paint used was rattle can from Home Depot and Lowes. The grey is Valspar 84201 Rugged Suede, the Redish color is Rust-Oleum 7768 Burgundy


I use a long small screwdriver through the window and twist it back and forth under the tab. That starts the bending of the tab without needing to pry straight up. Once you get it bent a little, you can turn the screwdriver with the head perpendicular to the tab and then push gently. I recommend heating and annealing the tabs too, if you can reach them. I broke a few tabs on old STD gauge before I learned this.

For painting, it's best to hang the parts and paint both sides at once. Otherwise, the overspray ruins the finish. I have a very large box that I use for a paint booth. Drop a hanger through the top, then you can turn it to get both sides. I prefer drying in a lightbulb oven for an hour then let the parts dry another two days before assembly. (That's with Rustoleum paint which takes forever to dry.) Also, wear a mask or scarf while painting. I failed to do that a few times and was wiping paint out of my nose for a few days. That can't be good for you!


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