Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Pennsylvania X26c Box Car 104822

To add another eastern road car to my freight car roster, I chose a Funaro & Camerlengo, kit 8010, one piece body Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) box car, number 104822, series 104260-107759.  The box car is a  USRA single-sheathed box car rebuilt in Pennsylvania Car Shops in 1945 to 1949  and placed in  PRR class X26c.  The rebuilt cars received steel sides, doors, running boards, power hand brakes, roofs and AB brakes.  The early rebuilt cars received a Murphy rectangular panel roof which this car has.  And, the car has a Youngstown steel door, one of the door types used.  The kit instructions have photos of cars numbered 104260  and 105969 in this series.   Sharper photos of 104260 showing side and 3/4 view are in Railway Prototype Cyclopedia, RP CYC 17, (RPC CYC Publishing Company, 2008), on page 44.  An internet search of this PRR car class produces black and white and color images for modeling use including a sharp photo of 104260 on Steam Era Freight Cars.

Steam Era Freight Cars, Prototype Photo Gallery
Box car class X26c : rebuilt 1945, Hagley Museum and Library,
Negative No. 88, Box 2

Since the car body was a one piece body I began the build removing flash from the car body and fitting the under body.   Before installing the under body, I installed Kadee #262 coupler pockets with Kadee #148 “whisker” couplers inserted and modified Accurail #166, Andrews trucks with 33” InterMountain wheels.  I used the Andrews truck since many of the rebuilds retained their original Andrews trucks.  Other data sources list the trucks for this car as 2D-F3 with coil springs only and in parenthesis is Andrews.  Next the car body and under body with couplers and trucks were put on a postal scale to determine how much weight I needed to add to bring the car weight to 3.8 ounces.  I added weight needed using electrical outlet box punch outs.  A photo of the weights added to a car can be viewed in “resin car body assembly” on sidebar under “Labels”.

Under body installed after weight added.
(Click or tap on any photo to enlarge)

Once the under body was installed into the car body I decided to work on the side and end ladders.  I could not find any commercial ladders to match the prototype so I decided to scratch built them.  I used the Thales theorem, dividing  a line segment  into equal parts ( for these ladders the line is the distance between the top and bottom rung) to determine the placement of rungs for the seven rung ladders.  If you are not familiar with this method you can type, “divide straight line into equal parts” into Google to find videos describing and showing how to use this theorem.  Once I determined the rung spacing I made a pattern and I scratch built the ladders from with Evergreen #120, .020 x .020” strip styrene stiles and Plastruct #90850, .010” styrene round rod.  I have described the build of these ladders with photos in “ladders” on the sidebar under “Labels”.

Scratch built ladders installed

With the ladders installed, I added the side and end grab irons next.   The straight wire grab irons in the kit could only be used for the two sill grab irons on each end.   The other side and end grab irons on the prototype are a bracket type (not in the kit, only called “special” in the kit instructions).  I made the bracket grab irons with Tichy Train Group (Tichy) #1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) and MEK Goop (plastic melted in MEK).  Of course, you could use commercial bracket grab irons if choose; however, none that I am aware of will match the type on this car (see prototype photo above).  I continued work on the sides by bending A-Line #29000, style “A” sill steps ("strap" or "stirrup steps") into the shape on the prototype and installing them.  And, after installing the kit provided doors, I removed the molded on door handles and added door handles bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  The kit placard boards for the doors were also installed.

Side with details added.

Next I turned my attention to the roof.   I replaced the kit running boards cast from resin and wire roof grab irons with Kadee #2000, Apex running boards.  Since the Kadee longitudinal running board brackets did not reach the molded on fastener portion on the car body, I cut them off and used Evergreen #8102, 1 x 2 “ strip styrene cut to proper length to replace them.

Roof with Kadee Apex running board added.

The “B” end details were added next.  I installed an etched Plano Model Products  #11322 Apex brake step (platform) which has brackets attached. I installed a Tichy brake housing and chain, and bell crank from set #3013.  The brake rod installed between chain and bell crank  is cut from Tichy #1102, .015” PBW.   A Precision Scale # 31796, retainer valve was installed followed by a retainer line and brackets, Tichy # 1101, .008” diameter PBW.  A Kadee #2041, Equipco, brake wheel was installed.  In other photos I looked at, the car had an Adjax brake wheel.  Uncoupling levers bent from Tichy #1106, .0125" diameter PBW  ( see "uncoupling levers" under "Labels" on sidebar) were installed in brackets made from Evergreen #291, .060" angle and shaped with PBL #803 nipper.   Finally, placard boards were installed on the “B” and “A” end.

"B" with added details. Note the running board brackets.

Note uncoupling lever and bracket.  

Next I installed the under body details which I normally do first; however, on this car last.  I used the resin cast brake components provided in the kit after drilling #79 holes in them to accept piping and making an additional change to the brake cylinder.  On the brake cylinder I drilled a hole into the front to accept a brake cylinder piston with clevis from Tichy set #3013.  Brake components were installed on mounting brackets provided in the kit.  Brake lever hangers, kit grab irons, were installed in #79 drilled holes whose spacing was determined using a divider, set to the width of the grab iron rung.  Brake levers were made with Evergreen strip styrene: #8108, 1 x 8” for the brake cylinder lever and Evergreen #8106, 1 x 6” for the floating lever.  The slack adjuster (floating lever fulcrum) was cut from the discarded resin floating kit brake lever and installed on the new styrene floating lever. 

Next the piping and brake rods were installed.  Piping from the air reservoir to the control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  The pipe from the back of the brake cylinder to the control valve Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW.  Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW with clevises, Tichy #8021 turnbuckles, used to attach them to brake levers.  The chain  between the brake rod and brake cylinder lever is A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch.  A train line, .019” diameter flora wire, was installed to which the dirt collector, Tichy set #3013, pipe was attached with a tee made with MEK Goop.

Under body with detail parts installed.

Once I had the under body finished, the car was moved to the paint shop. The car body was wiped with a makeup cotton swab dipped in 91% isopropyl alcohol to remove any grime collected during the build.  After it was dry, the car body and under body were sprayed using an airbrush with Vallejo Model Color Red Leather #70.818.  After drying overnight the car body was sprayed with Polly Scale Clear Gloss Finish, F404100,  for a decal base and again let dry overnight.  Trucks were hand painted with Vallejo Model Color Red Leather and wheel sets Vallejo Model Color 70.682 Black Grey.

Car body sprayed with Vallejo Model Color Red Leather.

Lettering was done with kit provided decals applied with Microscale Set and Sol using photo sources mentioned above.  I chose number 104822 from the decal set as it was the closest to 104260.  After drying, the car body was sprayed with Vallejo Matt Varnish 70.520 to protect decals during handling.

Car body is lettered and clear coated.

After the car came out of the paint shop the car was weathered with a makeup brush and Pan Pastels: Burnt Sienna 740.3 brushed on car body and roof, Black 800.5 brushed over the the Burnt Sienna on roof , and Paynes Grey Ex. Dark 840.1 brushed on the under body.  I find you get a different weathering appearance using a brush rather than the Pan Pastel sponges.  After weathering and car card made, PRR 104822 rebuilt USRA box car was placed into service on my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.

PRR 104822 waiting delivery in Minneapolis Chestnut Street Yard.

"B" end of  PRR 104822 in Minneapolis Chestnut Street Yard.

Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.
Lester Breuer


  1. What adhesive do you use to attach the Kadee running boards?

  2. On a resin car I was using CA; however, I started using Formula 560 Canopy Glue last year.