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I took apart a very rough Marx caboose this morning.  I'm thinking work caboose.  I have a flat car that I don't like.  Maybe this will help.  Messing with the photos on the computer, I feel the caboose needs to be boobed just over one section width.  All design ideas are welcome.  This will be my first custom train car.  Any suggestions on how to get a clean cut?  Will Testors model glue put the shortened caboose back together?  I have same brand putty too.

 

go4 002run 005run 002run 003While making a pick up run to the Soggy Bottom Scrapyard, a new idea started.  Lionel Lines 6047 is my first caboose (about 1960).  I would like for it to roll well (see axles) and get interior lighting of some sort.  What about window glass?   Would it be easier to buy a good used fancy model and put my shell on it?  Again, input requested.

I summon forth the vast knowledge database that is the OGR Forum.

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Bill,  Glad you dove in.  You could place a 1/2" x 1/2" length of wood at the base of each wall.  That will strengthen the walls and provide larger surfaces for the adhesive which should make a much stronger model. May I suggest when you are ready to paint, apply a brown or black primer coat after assembling is completed?  That will give your paint a good base and if there is any bleed through(reverse weathering), the original colors will not be seen.  John in Lansing, Ill

Last edited by rattler21

Coffee stir sticks if it must be real wood. 

   Color washes can bring out any detail already there that is imperceptible most of the time; "pop". (blk, brwn, grey¿?)

  Cheap water based craft acrylics are a good place to start. If you dont like it, wash it off. Cure time has a direct relationship to how quickly each layer of color may wash off. So a mistake removed today doesn't always effect the one before it. But enough dawn & a stiff plastic brush and paint years old is comming off (more so with flats and satins, glosses hang on tighter).  

  I mostly just save my brushwater for washes, every color pigment within black, similar to real earth and weathering aroun here; milage may vary. Sometimes I brush it on, sometimes I pour it on, literally.  Too dark?; water it down. Too light?; add a drop of color. No hurry, no worry.

Windows: Frosted? Scotch tape.     Window panes? Carry out salad container, Q-tip box, etc. .  Just avoid super glue, the fumes cloud the clear plastics. (the clearest glue for models is "Canopy glue", but not really "needed" here)  I have some Scotch tape widows that I added in the early 70s. that still haven't lifted. (two layers stuck together on the pane so the tack layer doesn't collect dust..e.g., a short piece centered on a long one, so the ends can hold it up)

Lighting is always cool.  Wait till you run passenger cars in a dark room with some mood music, lol. 

 I almost hate the thought, but I had a single led lit by 1 D cell for near 4 months.  If it was dimmed, it might have been doubled that. If I shut it off on occasion, maybe a year or more. The weight of the battery was nice too. Not for every car, and I hate dead batterys with a passion, never remember to buy them either, but that timeframe is at the back of my mind a lot anyhow.

A pick up shoe can be made from a brass feeler gauge and some isolation. (automotive, etc) They are pretty reliable. So far they perform better on my problem turnouts than some rollers and manufactured shoes do. They also flicker less than rollers... but do have more drag.  On one or two cars, I find it very acceptible.  5 or 6 shoes adds up though. 

I've also made rollers from bushings, not great though. Pickup relies on a large diameter side thrust connection and it gets iffy. The side pressure makes contact, but also more thrust drag and without the benefit of spring weight for traction at roller, the sides drag can stop the roller from spinning. (normal set ups don't rely on side thrust contact, this uses the axle and an isolated plastic tube cover, within the bushing's center. The (heavy, ball shaped) bushing center just floats very loosely around the axle & tube with a 1/16" -1/8" overize diameter hole, the bushing weight is the only downforce. )

The axle tips shown may be blunt end types. Not a lot to do but change to a needle tip truck or going with cast rollerbearing trucks, etc.. Choosing a pair with rollers only prudent if you do change (& fyi, there are many slight changes in trucks, some more easily noticed than others; look VERY close at heights especially, despite similar appearing sideframes etc.. )

Over time, the stops or sqeezed part of the axles that limits side travel of wheels, can wear flat and drag. They may even let the wheel backs short on pw uncouplers and turnout rails. A small washer there can help with side thrust drag against the stop sometimes.  Brass and plastic tubes (stir straws to pen parts) for use as axle tubes is another option (applicable to pickup mounting too)

Polish the axle. Oil the wheel/axle (or use a dry lube like t-9, dries to a thin teflon wax coat). Graphite used sparingly works well, but is too messy for most folk.

  "Is it worth it?" is a matter of opinion. Some folk need a store bought fit and finish to be happy, some don't. Know thyself     

 Personally I have enough fun building, that the outcome is nearly redundant. Nearly each one becomes a new favorite. The non-favs get used, but might become something else when I'm ready again.

On the cut, I use exacto saws for close cuts, or if I can spare material, dremel wheels (carefully, they can get grabby in plastic) or my bandsaw ; cutting close, but not on my lines (if possible).

  Then I use a big flat file, or sandpaper on glass or plate metal, etc. to remove material till I like the mating seams . Gluing the paper really helps. If the paper isnt secured, it just isn't as flat when sanded (glass is best too) (3m spray glue is ideal for sandpaper imo, lightly so its easily peeled off later) 

Backing any seams with plastic scrap adds strength, along with the suggestion for blocks to reinforce 90° joints at the body to car, it will make it a survivor.

It was a modern one, but I looked for a motor and shot for the moon.IMG_20180109_004235

  Does the scout motor still run? Whats wrong with it? It's your railroad; build a yard critter. 

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If you run command only, Then maybe make an outdoor stationary flywheel engine(running or static)? Gasses, petrols?, steam? There were a lot of cool "stationary tractor motors". Use the rod reaching indoors to "power an industry". Maybe a leather belt drive instead?  Remove a wheelset or just cover one set and frame with flat, riveted panels; i.e., an "big iron box" with dual flywheels(drivers), a few levers, dials, valves, and crooked stovepipe stack with dunce cap rain guard.

Sometimes smoke can be fitted up to non-smokers. 

  A tiny fan (they get real small; under 1"square)and it might serve as a structure's smoke. Or even static smoke if it drafts well without help. 

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It has been slow.  Here we are today.  The second coat of filler is on.  I sprayed a light coat of primer to eyeball the progress.  The replaced rear awning is welcome and lines up well with the ladder.  I cut a little off the bottom.  I'm thinking about a safety yellow body on a black flatcar.  I hope I remember to paint the inside first.DSC03014

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In the background is my freshly painted Plasticville water tower.

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Bill, I think your project is looking good for a first time.

The smaller and less costly 027 cars can be made to look much more detailed than they actually are, and also look better on a small layout. Here's a few of mine.

First is a former Rail Blazer set gondola (originally unpainted red plastic) that I bought from a forum member here.... El Classico I believe. The cover I made from the roof of a otherwise damaged box car. The real railroads don't waste anything either. So even 027 trains can be absolutely prototypical, at least in principle.

Next, the Procor Tank Car. Just because I'm an 027 guy doesn't mean I don't like current trains, even if the body style is just suggested. Wanting a more modern tank car, I built a frame to mimic the unibody tank car, with an 027 single dome tank body mounted on it.

Lastly a MARX flat car, with a crane from some kid's toy. Some other found items from my junk drawer and it works for me. It's more "decoration" than functional" The boom can be moved up or down, the cab turns, but the crane hook is fixed to the boom.

 

Lehgh Valley Covered Gondola

Procor Tank CarConrail Flat - Crane MOW

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When taking on a project like this, What kind of decals are used and what do you do to keep them from flaking over time?

I used other brands such as Herald King, but my preference has always been Microscale. I have to mix scales, using HO locomotive sets and larger freight cars. I've used Microscale S scale sets but haven't seen those in years. A company called Rail Graphics used to make Capacity Data sets and I ordered a whole load of them in O and S scale. Unfortunately those are no longer made. I'm looking to try some O and S scale decals from Tichy.

Never had a problem with decals flaking. My earliest projects are now almost 30 years old and just fine. I've always used spray cans and have experimented to see what brands are safe. After decaling, I flat coat the entire car with several sprays. I used to use Testors DullCote but have found out the hard way, it yellows slightly over time. You notice that more on a item painted white. I've since switched to Krylon for gloss and flat coat sprays.

This topic has been covered quite a bit over the years. There are some here who use some kind of furniture or floor polish... Future, I believe, instead of dull cote.

The hardest thing today is not repainting technique, but rather finding the right decals. Fortunately for me, since I'm doing mostly smaller 027 cars, I've been able to utilize HO scale decals, which are still readily available in the greatest variety of roads.

Having a knee that wanted a little vacation, I got busy on my car today.  Another fill & sand & fill.  Reminds me of working on real cars.  I have tested mounting methods.  I have a great lighting plan.  I have discovered very pricy accessories for details.

"Rattler21" - You convinced me.  The flatcar will be gray.  Also, I found a stash of sticks in my freezer to experiment with wood detailing.

"Adriatic" - The scout motor came to life.  I'm thinking...…  Y'all watch out.

"Steamer" - You are welcome to the MARX trucks Dave.  1st hobothinking

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A fellow Fink!   No wonder you are a natural basher 

 (That first emoji isn't used lightly here. It took some thought first; I think it would have been OK with her; it fits here in a different context too... R.I.P.- NQDY Nichole... still hoping we are wrong)

  Floral putty has been suggested elsewhere for figures. "Someone" also makes a similar product just for figures. I think it is clear... Woodland Scenic? Was it Walther's? 

IMO the fudgesicle stick is superior 😲

It was a good day.  I once again used automotive tools to refine a tiny plastic toy.  I removed  a little from the flatcar with a 6" grinder (carefully).  I drilled holes to mount the caboose chassis to the deck.  I shot primer.  And I had a "card stock" idea for the deck.  I will screw it together and run it until the light parts come in.DSC03036

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And along the same vein ….. 

I bought 5 pre-1951 cabooses on the bay.  They will donate all they are to make my original #6047 caboose wonderful.  I will add all the features found on a #2357 and more.  I created a logo I like for my railroad.  I have not figured out how to put it on my profile or on my caboose.  How do I create scale decals?

 

Progress on my custom has involved experimenting on other caboose bodies.  First, I painted the interior black to stop light bleeding through.  Better but not enough.  Second, once dry, I applied a heavy coat of white.  That stopped the light bleed and dispersed the light in the car.  Third, I applied aluminum foil to the floor.  Another improvement.  Number four lasted all day including paint drying time.  I tried a number of methods  to color and control the light .  I liked the amber color from placing a cut down medicine bottle over the Lionel bulb.  The plastic didn't like the heat.  I may try painting a bulb.  To even the light I tried plastic and paper inside the clear window plastic.  Here are the "experiment" photos.

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..and a 24v bulb should near double in lifespan at 12v, 50% longer at 18v., etc..

You need to vent the medicine bottle too. A hole on top & bottom. Down low you can block off white light easy with a flat...tab? etc. away from but in front of the hole. On top, another bottle's trimmed bottom only; like a smokestack/vent cap; catching and yellowing the "white light beam" from the vent hole(s) (vs blocking and in turn reflecting the light some, is going to change the look too. I'd play with both to see.

They also make slip on color gels for most bulbs. red, amber, yellow, blue, green. Silicon doesn't melt . A covered, hot bulb's expected cooling rate off the glass can be comprimised though, shortening life and cutting fingers on removal if the bulb glass gets shocked along a hot/cold line on the glass at the rubbers edge. Great on cool burning bulbs though. Some are very translucent, others more opaque.

   A third day playing with a caboose.  How nice.  I let the robot vacuum cleaner score me some husband points.  The test caboose,X1, got another interior coat of black followed by a heavy coat of white.  While the paint dried, and the vacuum worked, I received inspiration on yesterday's medicine bottle failure.   I found a large bottle and cut it to fit horizontally.  More air gap everywhere.  No more color bleed, check.  Amber interior light, check.  Heat tested, check.  At this point I have $1.10 invested.  I will make the financial leap now.  I will order the parts to install LED lights in the work caboose.  X1 looks pretty good on the rails.  Here are today's pictures and a video showing the efforts and failures.  

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Odenville Bill posted:

I took apart a very rough Marx caboose this morning.  I'm thinking work caboose.  I have a flat car that I don't like.  Maybe this will help.  Messing with the photos on the computer, I feel the caboose needs to be boobed just over one section width.  All design ideas are welcome.  This will be my first custom train car.  Any suggestions on how to get a clean cut?  Will Testors model glue put the shortened caboose back together?  I have same brand putty too.

 

go4 002run 005run 002run 003While making a pick up run to the Soggy Bottom Scrapyard, a new idea started.  Lionel Lines 6047 is my first caboose (about 1960).  I would like for it to roll well (see axles) and get interior lighting of some sort.  What about window glass?   Would it be easier to buy a good used fancy model and put my shell on it?  Again, input requested.

I summon forth the vast knowledge database that is the OGR Forum.

if you spread the side frames you can pull the wheel sets and pull the wheels off the axles and hit the axles and wheels with wire wheel on a bench grinder.

after reasymble, oil axles on both sides of wheels and everything should roll smoothly after that

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