From Toy to Show Peice - Caboose built by commitee

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KB02

Well-Known Member
Okay, I have been looking for a project that I could do that is not in my cold basement (really got to install a heater down there...) and I think I have found it.
NP2626's Upgrading old Equipment thread (http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/...t-equipment&highlight=upgrading+old+equipment) got me to thinking about an crappy toy caboose I have. I know that a better caboose could just be bought, but why not use the modeling prowess that the people of this board possess to just make it better? Even a show piece when all is said and done?

And all at very little cost?

Worth a shot, right?

But here's the catch, I'll need your help. I love reading these boards and picking up techniques where I can, but having an actual analog to apply a technique to really makes a difference. Instead of someone saying, "Draw a line about 3/4 down the body," one could say, "Count about 4 rivets past the E in Santa Fe."

Anyone in?

Here is the starting point: A Life Like Santa Fe Caboose
Side:
977679C1-7080-421F-93FF-E0CA6AB7F871_zps0bhhky0d.jpg


End:
7855FA66-5B4A-4747-A048-A68CFAD45FF6_zpsqhovccpg.jpg


Bottom:
BDA564D5-520A-41A8-910F-3A087F2B8F01_zpsnnayjndj.jpg


Here are some plans right out of the gate: Ditch the trucks (or at least alter them) and install some body mounted knuckle couplers. That's kind of a given. But what were else should I start?

here's a prototype 'Boose:
 

jim81147

Member
Handrails and ladders could be remade out of scrap wire ( maybe some leftover feeders ) so that they are finer in appearance .
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I used to have one of those as well. I might still have it, I'll have to dig through some stuff. How extensive do you plan this project to be? Are you going to leave the cupola centered or move it to the end? Those are snap in trucks. It may be easiest cut off the Talgo couplers, replace the plastic wheels with metal ones, and give the trucks a paint job. Going to screw on trucks would be a chore. But, like I asked, how extensive do you plan for this renovation to be?
And a basement heater in northern Vermont would definitely be good investment!
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Flyboy, I think just end up cutting off the talgos and using the stock trucks like you said. I have a number of cars in my rolling stock fleet where I have done the same thing.

As for the copula, I hadn't thought about moving it. That would make sense, though, as in my research I couldn't find a Santa Fe Caboose with the copula centered without it being the style that extends out onto the sides. I've never done a kitbash like that before, so it would be interesting to try.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Now, I'm not married to keeping this a Santa Fe caboose. I could decorate it in my own fictional railroad livery, but for purposes of this project, I think I'll stick with Santa Fe. The question, though, is should I completely paint the thing or go with it as is? It really looks very plastic, so I am leaning very heavily on a complete re-paint. Especially if I move the copula.

Thought?
 
N

NP2626

Guest
If the Santa Fe caboose is what you want, as in the photo you provided, it would be far easier to start with an Athearn caboose kit. In fact I think the Athearn caboose was modeled after Santa Fe's Cabeeses. I would clean this one up, shave off the molded on grabs and stuff, replace with wire, discard the porch railings and ladders and rebuild this from wire and use Athearn ladders. The caboose you have is a North Eastern style caboose, danged hard to make into a Santa Fe type. What railroad do you model? I would do a good job on making the Life Like caboose into a good rendition of what it is and selling it on Ebay; or, a train show and using that as experience to turn another kit into what I want. I just don't see a Santa Fe caboose in the North Eastern Caboose you have.

Above all; yes, paint it! Using it for a free lanced road is certainly do able!
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Ah, so this would be a better analog to work with?


Thanks for that tip!!


The WhistleStop railroad is a fictional RR, so running anything works. I was thinking that just sticking with Santa Fe would be fine, but if they never ran that type of caboose, then it doesn't really make too much sense, does it?

------------------------------------------------------

Okay, today is a snow day for the kiddo, so I just might get a chance to work on this a bit (after shoveling, dishes, laundry, valentine cards for the ENTIRE first grade class, etc...). The first step is disassembly:
3A586985-1FA1-4E24-BE79-9EA53673F0CC_zpsc5bd5ij7.jpg


I am going to stick with the snap in trucks. They are certainly not the best, but it will make this part of the project just a little bit easier. The talgos will go and car mounted Kadee #5's will take they're place.
 
N

NP2626

Guest
I also had the exact same caboose, years ago, not being an Eastern roads modeler, it just didn't work for me. I also had a Mantua N.E. caboose that went the same direction as the Life Like copy, sold on Ebay.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Okay, got a little work on the 'Boose done yesterday.

Shaved off the truck, mounted metal wheels and weathered them a bit:
7C96DF58-87C8-478F-BB7F-B2074621CB8E_zpsmjlzlv7c.jpg

(they do look better in real life).

Then I turned my attention to the smoke stack. Figured I could make something a bit more prototypical looking. The plastic blob had to go:
B536CBB6-2B4B-46D2-BE58-67D1F88FF375_zpsozjq0xmd.jpg


So, I chopped off the top:
BCAE4068-6AB7-4769-8243-13A5986E7413_zpsuvyxvnwa.jpg


Then I took some small copper tubing I had and some thin craft wire to make a new one:
F0B6A1C2-4565-4363-B0BE-F46BD018B08A_zpsf1h8cuh6.jpg


I cut off a small bit to be the Tee at the top and then filed a V wedge into one end of the tube. I laid the craft wire into the V and then laid the cross piece in top and soldered them together. I measured it up and cut it to length and, as it turns out, the copper tube was the perfect size to slide right over the remainder of the original smoke stack.
A6E5ACF0-B7CD-45B5-B936-2001D54773BE_zpss5efp2o2.jpg


Craft wire cut to length and glued to the base of the stack to for the guide wires for the tall stack:
80273CF9-9843-4B27-8682-2CF7D315B2E4_zpsncwaigq0.jpg


And a quick shot of flat back and a little straightening of the wires and a new stack is ready:
80DE6AAB-B323-466E-9EB8-29391591309D_zps3slim0j7.jpg


Next step was the Knuckle couplers (easy and no need to document) and then I shaved off the fake railings on the side and on the roof, put in a few holes to prepare for real ones.
D9B9FA22-808D-4628-A976-6B50E956C562_zpsjga2ycpv.jpg


The holes ended up being a bit big, but that is a workable situation.
And then time for some paint. Here is the first thin coat of red.
0E043D1F-6D52-4F7B-B546-D45CBA652B6C_zpspbdy1ml5.jpg




Question:
What should I do for windows? I would like to have real windows vs. the empty holes that are there now. Any suggestions?
 
N

NP2626

Guest
Wouldn't the two guy wires run fore and aft from the smoke Jack? I think their purpose is to support the smoke jack from the winds created by the movement of the caboose through the air, not side to side forces created by the railroads turns.

I like what your doing! Taking a Sows Ear and turning it into a Silk Purse. These types of projects are right in my "Wheelhouse"! Watching your progress is great Entertainment!
 
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santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Wouldn't the two guy wires run fore and aft from the smoke Jack? I think their purpose is to support the smoke jack from the winds created by the movement of the caboose through the air, not side to side forces created by the railroads turns.

I like what your doing! Taking a Sows Ear and turning it into a Silk Purse. These types of projects are right in my "Wheelhouse"! Watching your progress is great Entertainment!
Interestingly enough, most Santa Fe cabooses except the "wide vision" had the two guy wires from side to side instead of fore and aft. Wide vision had two pieces of angle iron attached to the cupola in a triangular pattern.

Willie
 
N

NP2626

Guest
If anyone would know this about the Santa Fee, it would be you santafewillie! Maybe the Santa Fe had to run through territory with hellatious side winds?
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Well, I've got the painting done on the caboose. No pics to show, it's just red and doesn't look as much like cheap plastic as it did. More to come on that.

Next step will be the railings and ladders. Vs. the prototype they look really bulky, so dressing them up not might be the best option. What would you all suggest for their replacement? I know jim81147 suggested using scrap wire, but wouldn't that be a bit too flimsy? The craft wire I used for the stovepipe guides is wicked pliable, so the slightest bump will bend the heck out of the railing.

What kind/type of wire did the old Athearn kits use? that is much stronger.
 

Y3a

Stuck in the 1930's
If you are going to make it look like the N&W one, that roof should be flat black early in its career, and later they were just painted caboose red. I'd use brass wire for the handrails. Perhaps a set of marker lamps on one end?
 
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KB02

Well-Known Member
What size bras wire would you suggest? I have some 3/64", but it looks just as beefy as the plastic one. My local home supply shop, which has a dwindling supply of craft brass, only had down to 3/64". I'll be stopping by a hobby shop in another city today (hopefully) to see what they have.
 
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NP2626

Guest
I've found that .020 and .015 diameter brass wire is about right for my cabooses.
 

Y3a

Stuck in the 1930's
What NP2626 said. A 'good' model RR shop might have the detail parts, and perhaps that thin brass wire. Maybe some decals too.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Well, work has come to a slow down on the caboose due to my lack of being able to find the right type and size of wire. Neither of my normal sources have any and are not likely to get some any time soon. Any good online places you all could suggest?

Also, I have been having trouble finding clear styrene for the windows. The closest I've come is an empty bottom of woodland scenic's grass.
 
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Sources of wire and clear plastic

handrail wire sources - I go to ebay when my local hobby shop does not have the wire size. I ordered a 50 ft roll of 0.020 brass wire, there are other diameters. Search for "Brass Wire 24 AWG" under "model railroads & trains". That is plenty to make the hand rails and end-platform

clear plastic - Instead of styrene I use clear packaging material, those heat-sealed hard plastic packages that are almost impossible to open without cutting myself. CA glue works; it does not bond the material but it does hold it well enough for normal handling. A small pack of wire nails provides enough plastic for caboose windows.

realistic trucks - I practice weathering on the toy-looking trucks. They often turn out quite nice.

Really seeing the structure - the gentleman who makes the Funaro & Camerlingo models suggested I give their raw models a light coat of grey. That enables me to see all the surface details, especially the very tiny dimples marking handrail placement. For you, it would cover the read-and-yellow pattern that camouflages good and pad parts.
 
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