CP 290856 Double Door Boxcar

Above: CP 290856 all complete and ready to haul some lumber.

CP and CN were both rebuilding groups of boxcar on in the 1960’s and 1970’s to handle increase in demand for lumber during the housing boom around that time. It involved either rebuilding old double-door 40′ boxcars (many of which were used for transporting automobiles prior to the widescale introduction of the autorack), or converting old obsolete single-door cars into double door cars for easier lumber loading. This car was part of a group of the latter: an early 1950’s single-door 40′ boxcar (with 10’6″ inside height, often referred to as the 1944 AAR design) with single 6′ doors rebuilt with a 6′ and 8′ door combo in 1973, part of the series of cars in the CP 290000-290724 and 290725-291024 groups (see roster info here). Other groups of single door cars CP rebuilt had been done with double 6′ doors in the 298000-series.

This HO-scale model was built very much the same way as CP 298008 was, the main difference being the different door combo, longer door tracks because of it, and the later more common paint scheme variation (the initial/early CP Action Red/Yellow/Green livery applied on boxcars had a black sill, which was dropped by CP for repaints) .

As always, it’s always best to start out with a few good photographs of the prototype for modeling reference. Some photos of cars from this series can be found on the Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery.

Sourcing A Model

The ideal starting point for one of these builds is Intermountain’s undecorated kit 41899 (10’6″ IH 40′ Modified AAR (1944) boxcar, with 4/4 ends and 8-rug ladders) or stripping a decorated 46800-series model (this one started off as a factory-painted Erie
Lackawanna car). One could also use a Branchline Blueprint 40′ boxcar. A new diagonal-panel Intermountain roof was sourced from the parts box to replace the kit’s raised-panel roof (roofs, ends, and doors could vary depending on what the prototype was rebuilt from). The stock Improved Dreadnaught Ends (IDE) from the car were kept.

Above: When undecorated models are out of stock or hard to find, an decorated model for an unpopular railway is a good option for a “core” to rebuild. The disadvantage is having to strip the paint and risking damage to details during their removal, but an advantage is you get metal wheelsets and couplers included (IMRC leaves them out of their undecorated kits).

Since a decorated car was being used, most of the main details were removed and the paint stripped by letting the model soak in 99% isopropyl alcohol (fresh alcohol works better than old/stale) and some scrubbing with an old toothbrush. With an undecorated car, you can just skip this step and start the build.

Body Modifications

Starting off, the old lower door tracks and details along the sill were shaved off with an X-acto #17 chisel blade, and new sills were cut from 0.010″ sheet styrene (roughly 11.9cm x 4mm) and glued on. Bits of 0.020″ styrene were glued behind to re-enforce the sills so they wouldn’t flex or distort when handling. New lower door tracks were cut from 0.020″ styrene and upper door track extensions from 0.010″ styrene and glued in place (some putty and sanded was required to get the new upper tracks to blend in with the existing ones).

The doors were then installed, using one Intermountain 6′ Youngstown door and one modified Accurail 8′ Youngstown door that’s not an exact match, but close to the prototype with the later style door hardware at the bottom (the thick center ribs were trimmed thinner, and cast-on tack boards chiseled off in favour of separate parts). Details added to the doors were the large and small tack boards, styrene bits for the lifting tabs at the top and door track tabs, that were added at the upper and lower edges of the doors. A center door latch between the two doors was scratchbuilt, and finally a piece of styrene added on the top door track to replicate the tab over where the doors meet.

For the re-enforcement gussets around the door edges added during rebuilding, 0.010″ styrene was cut into triangular shapes to match prototype photos, sanded a bit thinner, and glued in place. Since the gussets extended under the bottoms of the lower
door tracks, additional rectangular pieces were added below, with and etched with a sharp pointed pin to create the holes in the prototype gussets. The door stops had been carefully shaved off earlier, and were re-added at the ends of the new door tracks.

IMG_6072bexs-CP_290856_boxcar_unpaintedAbove: this photo shows most of the main detailing work complete. Note gussets added around the door openings (by the door corners) during rebuild to re-enforce the car. The new deeper sill running the length of the car was added for similar reasons.

IMG_6077bexsmall-CP290856-boxcarAbove: a quick look at the other side of the car with most of the detailing complete. The trucks and couplers have been removed in preparation for to washing and priming.

Since this model was “modernized” by removal of the roofwalk (as CP and CN did to many boxcars in the late 60’s and beyond), no roofwalk was added and the A-end ladders were both cut down to half-height, with extra mounting holes on the body filled. The B-end ladders were always left full-height to access the high brake wheel (CP and CN didn’t bother to relocate them lower) and some thin strips of 0.010″ styrene were added on the roof for the B-end corner grab mounts. The grab itself was made from 0.012″ wire with an eyebolt.

Continuing the detailing process, the Intermountain 8-rug ladders that came with the car were added back to the model (the side ladders had attached stirrup steps at the bottom, but the end ladders typically had the attached stirrups removed when rebuilt). End and corner grab irons were added to the ends and side corners where required, and side stirrup steps added under them (the sill tab in the Intermountain body here was cut off, holes were drilled, and new stirrups made of wire were glued into the bottom of the car).

The B-end brakewheel rigging and platform details (minus the retainer valve details) were added in the usual position. New end railings on both ends (another “modernized” feature CP and CN added) built using thin styrene 0.010″ bits for the mounting brackets spanning the ribs (3 on the A-end, 2 on the B-end), and 0.0125″ wire for the railings. Tack boards were also mounted to both ends in the lower postion according to photos. NBW bits can be added near the tops of the ends to represent where the end roofwalk support brackets were removed.

Above: the A-end and B-ends showing some of the detailing added. Note the lower ladders on the A-end, and different end railings depending on each end of the car.

Tiny bits of styrene were cut and drilled for the cut lever brackets, and glued to the lower parts of the end ladders. Eyebolts were drilled and installed near the bottom rib above the coupler for the cut levers (bent out of 0.0125″ wire, but installed later after painting).

Underframe Details

The stock coupler boxes were glued on, drilled and tapped for 2-56 screws. The lids had a hole countersunk into them for using flush-fitting flat-head screws. Some may wish to replace the Intermountain coupler boxes/draft gear with scale or semi-scale parts from Kadee or Details West (note, most of CP’s 40′ boxcars had standard non-cushioned draft gear, except for some specially equipped cars).

As this car has deeper sills that tend to hide the underframe, the stock Intermountain underframe detailing set was installed. The train air lines (or “glad hands”) by the couplers at each end were glued to the sides of the coupler boxes inset near the sill, allowing the lines to flex a bit instead of breaking off if a mis-couple happens or a coupler comes into contact with them. At this point, Intermountain 33″ smooth-back wheels with Accurail Bettendorf trucks (stock on most recent Intermountain offerings) and Kadee #58 couplers were “allocated” to the model (to be installed after painting). The couplers were painted with Rapido Old Rust paint, the wheel faces with Tamiya Flat Black, and the axles and rear wheel surfaces with Rapido Grimy Black.

Painting and Decalling

After a wash to remove any hand-oils or fingerprints, the car was given a few light coats of Tamiya Fine Surface Primer grey and left to dry for a few days.

IMG_6206bexs-CP_290856_boxcar_paintedAbove: Primed and ready to go. Note the loose roof: it’s easier to handle while painting without the roof, and it’s best to glue it on at the end after weighting and adding any extra weight.

After that, any small imperfections were corrected with putty and sanding as-needed. The car was then given a few light coats of (discontinued) True Line Trains Action Red (TruColor Paint makes a very close CP Action Red of their own), and the TLT stencil white and warm black of the multimark sprayed on according to the handy multimark painting how-to.  The car was then given a coat or two of thinned TLT Gloss Glaze (same basic thing as Testors Model Master Gloss acrylic).

An old set of out of production CDS decals were used for all the main detailing including numbers, lettering and data, with various Black Cat, Highball and Microscale water-slide decals used any extra bits. Final touch-ups were made as needed (including the addition of cut levers), and the model was then sealed with clear again. The aforementioned couplers and trucks were then added, the car weighted, and the roof glued on.

IMG_6738bs-CP290856-sideAbove: CP 290856 completed, showing the left-hand side near the B-end.

IMG_6742bexs-CP290856-AendAbove: CP 290856 completed, giving a better look at the A-end detailing.

IMG_6741bexs-CP_290856Above: CP 290856 completed, showing off the right-hand side of the car.

IMG_6746bs-CP298008-290856Above: CP 290856 completed, with previously-built double door boxcar 298008. Note the differences in paint scheme and door sizes.

About mrdan8530

The power of a thousand monkeys on typewriters is all for naught without the knowledge to pen.
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