Oriental Limited Ajin CB&Q NE-1 Waycar
A year or so ago, I jumped on one of these at an auction. I had been eyeing Sunset's NE-4s for a while but was never impressed. The giant holes next to the marker lights to accommodate the wires always bothered me, and the ends look a bit crude if you ask me. So, for a couple hundred less, the body-only offering of these Ajin pieces sure are a great opportunity for fine scale modeling. To my surprise, I still haven't seen anyone do this import proper justice. It seems to me that people just threw some paint and decals without much consideration. Maybe I'm wrong?
CB&Q waycar #14240 sitting between assignments
The underbody was scratch-built using both plastic and brass pieces from Wiseman Model Services and PSC. At one end, I built a housing for a 1.5v battery that powers the two Miniatronics 1.5v bulbs inside the marker lights. A simple on/off switch operates the lights, no need for pickups on this one! The marker lights are brass castings that had to be soldered to the body. They came courtesy of Wiseman Model Services. The trucks came from a Sunset UP CA1 brass import and had to be upgraded to better reflect the Qs wood waycar trucks. Let me know if you are interested in the UP CA1 caboose, it's just missing the trucks!
This project turned out to be a bit of a challenge. The body details required lots of straighten and tinkering. Some noteworthy changes include: replacing the chains, closing the side windows that came modeled open from the builder, added coupler cut levers, added air line, added marker lights with bulbs, trim the cupola wires under the end roof, added roof ribs to simulate roof skeleton, and finally lots of filling in between parts to prevent dust from going into the car. The interior parts came from both Wiseman Model Services, Grandt Line and a gutted Atlas plastic caboose. The interior plan may not be 100% NE-1, but it is scale and it follows the prototype to a great extent.
Masking wasn't easy, notice how the space between the roof walk planks are not covered to allow for the black paint to go between them. Also the cupola ends and roof ends have a black trim that is very thin but can be achieved with proper masking.
A few parts were most modelers fail to do the prototype justice is on the waycar cupola and roof ends. The cupola end windows have jail bars behind the glass panes. But, all models I have seen of this import have the clear sheet behind the bars. Nonetheless, if one looks closely, Ajin built the car correctly and provided a small step to accommodate a 0,10 sheet of polycarbonate. I added mine correctly using a bit of Micro Cristal Clear at the corners. Also, notice the black trim around the cupola. I've also seen models that divide the roof with the cupola, but this is not correct. Finally, the roof ends also have both a black and a brown trim. This can be done with careful masking, but it may test your patience.
The side cupola windows can be modeled flushed but it requires precision measuring so that the piece goes all the way next to the window frame. Notice that the jail bars are correctly modeled behind the window panes.
A few studio shots below:
I put a lot of effort into making sure the wood grain was still visible and not covered by the paint. This fine rendering is one of the highlights of the piece, but it can be easily erased with careless painting.