Coal Loads for Gla hoppers


I just got my Bowser (yes, Sushbob, I said Bowser!) cabin cars and hoppers in today.

I'm pleased to report they're actually a nice brown color, about like these cars instead of the pinkish brown they look to be on this page

So, I'm happy about that. I'm not happy about the coal loads though. The photo on the Bowser site is all too accurate. They're a bit too toy like for my taste. They also seem to sit a bit too high in the car, usually you leave the coal a bit down from the top. The idea is that you don't want it falling out the sides on every curve. Here's an example:

They mention coal loads by Blue Mountain, are they any good?
Okay...shameless company plug...I make some :D

Or at least I'm in the process of doing so. I basically use the form that is provided by Bowser, with a few modifications to make it sit better, and then attach Real Coal (yes, real coal) and seal it. If you're interested, I can make some and put 'em on eBay (I'm working on some Stewart B units and other stuffs for eBay too).

Here's my little website... the navigation buttons at the top aren't working...our ISP moved everything to a new server and even after re-publishing there's still issues. I'll see what I can do about a picture...

Blue Mountain loads are basically painted ballast on a peice of foam. They look alright, but they don't have the gloss effect or the break pattern (technically called 'cleavage') that you get from real coal. They are better than the plastic loads though.
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Dah....I'm a bit disappointed at myself because I don't have the forms for the GLa that I though I did. I have lots of H-21 and H-43 loads, and N scale GLa's, but not the HO scale GLa's. I can get some...that's not a problem. I just don't have many on me. Anywho, here's a picture of one of my GLa loads that I did do. This was actually a (failed) experiment at a snow-covered load, so you might notice some dull white areas, but the rest of it gives you a pretty good idea at what my "Real Coal Loads" look like.
Couldn't you also use black ballast? THat's what I was thinking about doing, is using ballast as rock loads
Nate said:
Couldn't you also use black ballast? THat's what I was thinking about doing, is using ballast as rock loads
Ballast is good for rock/gravel loads, and can be used as coal loads, but it's generally dull in appearance, whereas coal is shiny and glossy. A coating of clear gloss sealer can help, as can gloss black paint (which is basically what the Blue Mountain loads are...ballast painted gloss black), but I still think the shapes of the crushed coal are more realistic than the generally rounded ballast gravel.
So your "real coal loads" are made from real coal (thus the name)?

Are they easily removable and replacable? Not to be a wise guy, but what's the advantage of buying them from you instead of simply making my own? That's what I did years ago the last time I wanted loaded coal cars. Got some foam, crushed up some coal, a little white glue and there you go... So, what's better about your system?

I saw some on the web that had a couple of small metal balls in them, so you could quickly and easily remove and replace 'em. I like that idea.
ine might be loose, so in a derailment, it'll be a realistic spill. Too bad they don't wreck prototypically
> Mine might be loose, so in a derailment, it'll be a realistic spill.

I did those when I was a kid. Tyco hoppers full of crushed coal were probably weighted about right for NMRA standards, they still weren't too heavy. Had a couple coal spills and in that "pre-shop vac" era it was a royal hassle.
As far as easily removable, you just have to slide a knife (dull blade if you're concerned about paint) along the edge of the load and 'pry' it out. The plastic form pops right out, unlike the Blue Mountain loads which are just foam on the bottom and tend to chip away hunks of ballast when removing them. The metal ball idea is interesting, and I considered something similar, but it also adds a lot of expense to the production, and from my judgement (or lack thereof), I don't think it will work very well. In order to pick the load out with a magnet it has to sit extremely loose in the car, which usually means having an unsightly gap between the load and the sidewall of the hopper. I've never tried these 'magnetic loads,' but I am skeptical about their functionality. I am also in a situation where I have four different plastic forms availible already, and modifying that tooling is not an option, so I just have to use what is availible.

There really isn't much difference between you gluing coal to the plastic loads you have right now and my product (I do seal them, which helps stop the coal from falling off and gives an authentic 'oily coal sheen'), but from the hobby shops I've been in, there aren't any "Real Coal Loads" on the market (or at least on the shelves), so I figured making this product availible could be a good opportunity for me. Coal is a lot harder to crush and sift than most people think (as I'm sure you know) least it is when you're a perfectionist like me and you want scale pieces without all the dust covering them up. :rolleyes: I'm doing some N scale real coal loads there's some crushing and sifting :eek:

Well that sure beats the stock plastic loads hands down. Is it removable and how do you make them? Do you simply fill them up with aquarium charcoal (it's light enough) or do you put in some kind of filler first.
I chop up the charcoal in an old food chopper to get the size down to a more HO kind of size. Beware the dust, it goes everywhere.

I've done both ways of filling the car completely and I've also stuck a cardboard shelf in the car and filled on top. I run slightly heavy cars and I've found that with the shelf, I still had to have a little weight in the car, so I tend to just fill them up with the charcoal now. That makes it about right on weight and saves playing with cardboard.
I make all mine unremovable. I just fill up the car most of the way and soak it down with a white glue/alcohol mix. The I use a spoon to slide the rest into 2 or 3 piles to simulate it being loaded from a chute or loader and soak it down again. Each load is different and makes a pretty neat looking train.

I also use parkeet grit for brown rock loads.