Diamond in the rough - kitbasing/spare parts...

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Saskatoon railfan
Hello, being fairly new to modeling, I was wonderin what you guys do in such situations.

About a month ago I bought an "old" (1947) CN open ballast hopper with a load for $5. (along with 4 other somewhat similar hoppers of different Roads, loads, heritages...). The car appears to be Athearn and rode great until it was involved in a derailment as a result of which, the trucks snapped (although the wheels and couplers are ust fine).

Thankfully though its not a big deal, as I have trucks from an undec I'll be doing, that the hopper can now use. Also the wrecked trucks on it are still good for standing in a sliding, just not riding.

Anyways I was wondering, what do you do when you need common parts such as a set of standard trucks? I could buy them online, but that would cost probably around $7 after taxes, shipping, etc. (this is all in Canadian funds eh?) But that's paying more for the trucks then I did for the whole hopper!

So maybe instead at the next model show I should buy an obscrure 40' boxcar that nobody wants for $4 or something, take its trucks for my hopper, then repaint it in rust and put it trackside?

I guess my rambling is referring to becoming an actual modeler, starting to turn out good things out of not so ood things. What would you do?

I hope I can learn how to do this well, as to take full advantage to stuff that's available out there at decent prices. Just form a recent model show:
- A friend offered me a dumy C628 for free, but I didn't take it because it was falling apart, was missing most of its steps, some sidedoars, etc. He told me he used it for parts, and offered it to me for that purpose, but thankfully my powered C628, which I bought from him hasn't needed any parts yet. Then again maybe its already wearing parts from that dummy?
I guess I could of fixed her up, repainted her from an obscure livery to a CN (it was colored black already), the put her trailing behind the CN C628 I have.
- For $20 each, a powered CP Rail multimark red F unit with missing windshield (owner says those small parts and a few others missing, that was the only powered CP Multimark F unit I found there, the others had only one truck powered and I'm staying away form those!) and a CP GP30 multimark, numbered incorrectly, with something flying around detached inside. I'd need to remove the shell and everything just to remove it and maybe fixe it? So I stayed away form them for that reason.

Would you buy them, then spend time and effort buying/finding spare parts such as a windshield somewhere, then fixing it up? Is it worth your effort, assuming you were in such a situation.

I don't want this to tusn into a "Pimp my ride" style situation, where they take a $500 car and put $10,000 worth of eletronics and other goodies into it.

Just something I've been thinking about lately. Would anyone even read this long a rant?

Please tell me what you think.

PS. As you can see now that I have "enough" good rolling stock rolling around, I can focus on modefying it, bringing out the modelist builder in me.​


Coal Shoveler
I buy a fair amount of junk at Train Shows, especially if the price is less than, say $4. There is always some kind of use for it. I can't count the number of oddball cars, locos, buildings, etc., that I have thinking "I can do something with this". Have I done much with them? Not really. But the potential is there.

What usually happens is that I don't have enough parts to complete a project. For example, at the last show a month ago, I bought a handful of cheap buildings. They can't be combined together without buying some Modular pieces from Walthers or DPM. That would work, but then I'm spending more money than on the e-cheap-o used buildings that I got from the show.

BTW, the Walthers Modulars should be here any day now....




Saskatoon railfan
Sounds like you're in the same shoes as I'm. Still not sure if I made the right choices not buying those engines.


That FM guy
Russian, i say if you like fixing old stuff up, or kitbashing, GET THEM. i myself REALLY like kitbashing, so i'm always picking up odds and ends. my thinking is, even if i cant use this now, might come in handy down the road. and if its cheap, that just makes it better.;) :D


Diesel Detail Freak
I allways look at th used shelf in my LHS, Thats where I found my Kato SD45 & SD40-2 shells for the SD45 hood SD40-2 i'm building (which recently got damaged, hence no updates recently). I like grabbing chep stuff to take a part or to from, resourcefulnss, i learnt from my Lego days.


Registered Member
Staff member
- For $20 each
Roman In my honest opinion you did the right thing in leaving them there. That's what I'd have done.
a powered CP Rail multimark red F unit with missing windshield
If it was an Athearn, I'm not positive if there is a windshield with the kit, but in the case of rattling inside I'd ask someone to run it with power.
If someone offers you some junk for $0 why not take it?


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