Thursday, December 26, 2019

Atchison, Topeka And Santa Fe Boxcar 274525

In 2013 I purchased an Atchison, Topeka And Santa Fe, ATSF, CB&T Shops kit with a box label reading, “1944 AAR Box Car Limited Edition Set #1 produced exclusively for Div. 6, MCR , NMRA, Columbus, Ohio.”  The kit was purchased from an estate dealer at a local train show because the steel AAR box car, numbered 274525, had 6 panel sides on each side of the door.  I knew the Great Northern had this type car; however, I did not know if the Santa Fe did.  Recently I decided it was time to build and upgrade the car if it had a prototype.  Not having much reference data on the Santa Fe I asked if the car had a prototype and information regarding the car on RealSTMFC website.  I quickly received informative  responses with photos and data on the car.

Pullman-Standard builder's photo courtesy of Tim O'Conner

The Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society 

The car had a prototype, Santa Fe class Bx-48, series 274000-274739, built by Pullman-Standard  in 1946 including the following features: 12 panel riveted steel sides, 4/4 corrugated rolling pin ends, Murphy panel roof, improved Youngstown doors with three panels, and American Steel Foundries ASF-A3 trucks.  The side panel near the ends on  the prototype car was larger than the other five panels whereas all the panels on the model were equal in size.  A discrepancy I could live with so the upgrade of the car began.

I began the kit build with the underbody which had molded brake components, levers, piping and brake rods.  I drilled and tapped the couplers pockets, pocket covers and bolster center plates for 2-56 screws.  Kit weights and electrical outlet box punch outs were used to weight the car to 3.8 ounces.  I installed Kadee #148 couplers with 3/16” Fastenal 2-56 screws and Kato, #31-601, ASF A-3 ride control trucks with Fastenal 2-56 1/4” screws.

I cut off the molded on brake components; however, I did not remove the brake levers, brake rods and chain (I do not have a underbody diagram to know if correct).  I used styrene round rod from the bits box to complete the missing portion of the molded on train line.  I drilled the removed air reservoir for piping and mounted it in a transverse position, common for the Santa Fe.  I replaced the brake cylinder, control valve and brackets with Tichy Train Group (Tichy), set #3013, parts drilled for piping prior to install.  I fabricated a Royal F slack adjuster as the car lettering next to the left side of the door reads the car has.

Brake components and missing train line portion installed.
(Click on this or any photo to enlarge)

I added piping, Tichy # 1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW), from the air reservoir to the control valve.  And, the pipe from the brake cylinder to the control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW.  A resin cast dirt collector using Tichy dirt collector as a master from set #3013 was installed.  Finally, brake lever hangers, plastic grab irons in the parts drawer saved from some plastic kit, were installed.

Underbody with piping installed.  Brake lever hangers not yet added.

I moved on with the build installing kit provided corrugated 3 panel 6 ft. doors.  Next, I installed the car ladders as I use them for positioning other added safety appliances on sides and ends.  I felt the ladder rungs were very oversize so I cut them off saving the stiles.  New ladder rungs bent from Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW were installed in holes drilled with a #79 drill.

Ladder stiles with wire rungs installed.

I installed Kadee bracket grab irons in the manufacture and my additional drilled holes.  The additional holes were marked for drilling using a Yarmouth Model Works Kadee bracket grab drill template designed to aid in layout of the holes for Kadee bracket grab irons.  I cut off the molded on door handles and bent and installed new ones from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  The kit provided sill steps were discarded as they are grossly oversize.  Before new sill steps were installed the sill tabs at the ends of the car were cut shorter to match the prototype.

Sill tabs near ends prior to modification.

With the end sill tabs shortened, A-Line #29002, style C, sill steps were installed.  On the sill corners, sill step hangers, cut from .004” resin kit flash,  were added and hanger fasteners created with MEK Goop.  Adding kit modified placard boards on the doors completed the work on the sides.

Sill tabs shortened to match prototype and sill steps installed.

Side view with all upgrade details added.

Time for the easy roof upgrade work.  The kit running boards were discarded.  I installed Kadee Morton #2005, running boards.  The mounting pins on the Kadee running boards were cut off as were the mounting pins on the longitudinal mounting brackets to allow install directly onto the molded roof saddles.  I installed Morton running boards after consulting Ed D. Hawkins, well known historian, author and Publisher/Managing Editor of the Railway Prototype Cyclopedia series, who stated there is photo proof of Morton installations; however, with 740 cars built it is possible other types were used.

Morton running boards installed.

Next I completed the install of the “B” end details.  A photo etched Morton brake step, Yarmouth Model Works, YMW #252, was installed with brackets cut from Evergreen # 8102, 1 x 2” strip styrene.  A Sunshine Models resin retainer valve from the parts box followed by a Tichy retainer line and brackets, Tichy #1100, .008” diameter PBW were installed. Tichy brake gear including chain and bell crank from set #3013 were installed.  A brake rod cut from Tichy #1102, .015” diameter PBW followed with the clevis connecting it to the bell crank made with MEK Goop. A Kadee #2020, Adjax brake wheel was installed.

Morton brake step and other "B" end added details.

Now I installed the grab irons: Kadee bracket grab iron on the left side and sill grab irons bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  Another detail item to be installed was a resin placard board from the parts box mounted on mounting strips cut from .004” resin kit flash with fasteners made with MEK Goop added.

Finally, the uncoupling levers bent from Tichy #1106, .0125” PBW with a custom made bracket were installed.  The bracket was cut from Plastruct #90501, 3/64” styrene angle glued to the sill corner and after glue was set shaped with a PBL #803 Gate Nipper for despruing small plastic parts. A hole was drilled in the shaped bracket with a #80 drill for the bent uncoupling lever.

Uncoupling levers are installed.

Uncoupling lever bracket.

Another view of uncoupling lever bracket and
sill step mounting bracket.

With the “B” end completed I moved the car to the paint shop.  The underbody and trucks were hand painted with Vallejo Model Color Black Grey, 70.862.  The car body details were hand painted with a Vallejo Model Color mix:   2/3 or 66%  Black Red, 70.859 ( 2 drops in a bottle cap) and 1/3 or 33% Saddle Brown, 70.940, (1 drop in a bottle cap).  Once the car body applied paint was dry the car body was sprayed with Vallejo Gloss Medium, 70.470, in preparation for decal application.

Vallejo Gloss Medium applied.

The CB&T Shops applied lettering on the car sides matched the prototype except for the missing "Royal F brake" next to the door.  I added it from an old Champ HB-20M Santa Fe "Super Chief" boxcar set.  All decals for the end lettering were needed.  Decals for ends, reporting marks and car number, were made with Clover House Railroad Roman Alphabet Condensed Bold White #9600-11 dry transfers applied to decal paper and coated with MicroScale Liquid Decal Film.  The type of "wheels" decal came from an old CNW Herald King decal set.  The decals were applied with MicroScale Micro Sol and Walthers Solvaset Decal Setting Solution.  When decals were dry, the car body was sprayed with Vallejo Matt Varnish 70.580 to protect new decals during handling and for weathering.

Decal applied left of door and car body sprayed to protect.

Decals applied and car body sprayed to protect.

Underbody hand painted.

After the protective finish was dry I weathered the car body with brown Artmatic eye shadow makeup applied with a makeup brush on the sides and ends and Pan Pastels.  Pan Pastels used were the following: Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1 on the roof, underbody and very lightly on the car body and Red Iron Oxide Shade 380.3 on the trucks.  With the Pan Pastels applied another build finished enabling it to be put into service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company "Serving today, shaping tomorrow."

ATSF 274525 sitting at IB Fine Woolen

Right side of ATSF 274525

Left side of ATSF 274525.

"B" end of ATSF 274525 at IB Fine Woolen

I want to say, "Thank You" to Ed Hawkins, Andy Carlson, Brian Carlson and Tim O'Conner for their help with information for this build.  I also want to say, "Thank You" to Tim O'Conner, Bob Chaparro and Santa Fe Historical and Modeling Society for photos to aid with this build.

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. Another great project Les, Do you use the PBW also if you are going to be soldering several detail wires together? I have not done much with small wires but I have used the brass wire I found at the hobby shop. I am interested in the differences you find in your model building.

  2. I solder PBW. The only difference is the brass wire such as Detail Associates is softer so maybe easier to bend. The only time I find brass wire a real advantage is to bend tiny eye bolts. Tichy PBW just a little stiffer; however, just as workable, cheaper and easy to order on line.