Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Auto rebuilt boxcar 11502

I pulled Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (DL&W) rebuilt auto boxcar, Yarmouth Model Works, kit 115, from the cabinet holding cars to be built .  After review of the decal sheet and car prototype data I chose number 11502 for the car number.

The prototype all-steel auto cars, class XAR, were rebuilt USRA, 40 ton, double-sheet boxcars, rebuilt in the Keyser Valley Pennsylvania Car Shops from April to September 1936 and assigned to series 11350 to 11599.  The cars were equipped with Youngstown sides, corrugated Youngstown steel doors, 5-5-5 Murphy ends, Hutchins Dry Lading roofs, wood running boards and Ajax type power hand brakes.  Additional data and photos can be found in Railway Prototype Cyclopedia, RP CYC 24 (RP CYC Publishing, 2012).

When rebuilt in 1936, the cars retained the KC brakes and Andrews trucks.  The 1952 freight car diagram shows 245 cars in service and  “AB brakes being applied.” Another feature of the cars found on the diagram are the chain wells (tubes) and their location on the under body of the car.  The Erie 1952 Freight Equipment Diagram Book is available for purchase from the Erie Lackawanna Railroad Historical Society.

Pierre Oliver Collection
(Click or tap on this or any photo to enlarge.)

I began the build by the fitting the under body to the one piece body.  Once the under body was fitted I drilled and tapped the coupler pocket pads and bolster center plates for 2-56 screws.  I mounted Kadee #262 coupler boxes (not in the kit) with Kadee #148 couplers installed with Fastenal 2-56 x 3/16” screws.  Andrew trucks provided in the kit with InterMountain metal 33” wheels (not in kit) were installed with Fastenal 2-56 X 1/4” screws. Cross bearers , cross ties, and bolster covers were installed.   Car was weighted to 3.8 ounces using electrical outlet box punch outs attached to the floor with Permatex adhesive Clear RTV Silicone and CA to hold the weights in place until the Permatex dried.  The underbody was set aside to dry overnight.

Cross bearers, cross ties, and bolster covers installed.

Car weighted to 3..8 ounces.

Now I turned back to work on the car body.  Before starting the exterior details, I cut two baffles from Evergreen .060” sheet styrene  and installed them in the interior.  The baffles assure no bowing in of the car sides at some future date after assembly. 

Baffles cut from .060" sheet stryrene installed.

The first task on this car body exterior, as on all builds I do, was to install the ladders.  The ladders on the sides on this car consist of drop grab irons installed in #76 drilled holes.  The ends ladders also consist of drop grab irons; however, they are installed in stiles due to the corrugated ends.  The stiles are flat photo etched parts that require bending.   I used an UMM USA bender to make the right angle bend to form the stile.  I used a styrene jig I made to hold the stiles while I inserted the drop grab iron rungs to assemble the ladders.  Once the ladders were complete they were installed followed by the drop grab irons on the ends and sides.  I also installed the two straight  grab irons on the end sills on both ends.

Ladders and grab irons installed.

At the end of a modeling session the laser cut wood longitudinal running board was installed using Formula 560 canopy glue with weight added to it while the glue set overnight.

Wood longitudinal running board installed.

Next I added the “B” end details, all Tichy Train Group (Tichy) parts provided in the kit, except where noted. The brake step (platform) was installed with Evergreen #8102, 1 x 2 inch, strip styrene (not in kit) for brackets rather than the kit provided photo etched brake step brackets.  Brake housing with a scrap styrene support and chain installed followed by the bell crank on the sill making sure it lined up with the chain.  A brake rod, Tichy #1102, .015” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) installed with a clevis made from MEK Goop ( plastic melted in MEK not in kit) to attach it to the bell crank. And, chain to brake rod connector was also made with MEK Goop.  A retainer valve followed by a retainer line, Tichy .008” diameter PBW, were installed.  Brake housing received a Kadee Adjax #2020, brake wheel (not in kit).  Placard board with mounting brackets, Evergreen #8012, 1 x 2” strip styrene, mounted here and on “A” end.  Again, fasteners made with MEK Goop.  No uncoupling levers yet, as I like to mount them as one of the final steps prior to painting the model.

"B" end details installed.

To finish the longitudinal running board install,  I now bent the photo etched end brackets and mounted them on the “B” end and “A”end.  MEK Goop was used to make fasteners.  Next the photo etched brackets for the latitudinal running boards installed followed by the wood lateral running boards.  The roof grab irons with photo etched corner legs were installed.

Photo etched longitudinal wood running
bracket installed.

Running board install completed.

Back to finish the work on the sides.  I replaced the photo etched sill steps in the kit with A-Line #29000, style A, bent to the shape of the prototype and installed.  On the doors the cast on door handles carved off and replaced with Tichy #1101, .010” PBW.  Placard boards were installed and doors set aside for install as one of the final steps of the build to allow an area to hold the car during remaining assembly.

Sill steps installed.

Doors almost prepared for later install. Lower
placard board not yet installed.

Time to complete the under body details.  First, the chain wells (tubes) found on the car diagram sheet in the 1952 freight car diagram book.  The chain tubes size shown on the car diagram is a 10” diameter and 22” length.  The chain wells are not included in the kit or are they included in the instructions.  I used Evergreen #212, .080” styrene rod, smaller than 10”; however, the largest I had on hand, to make the tubes.  The tubes were positioned per the 1952 car diagram. The tube near the “B” end is 4” from the car center line (between ends) or the center cross bearer which is located 20 feet from either car end.  The next tube is located 11” to the “A” end from center line or the same cross bearer.  The final tube is located 25” from the previous tube center line toward the “A” end of the car.  The tubes on both sides of the center sill  per the 1952 car diagram should be 19” from the longitudinal center line of the car or the center sill placing them 38” apart.  I mounted the tubes 19” from the flange on the center sill making them 24” from the center line.

Chain wells ( tubes) installed.

I chose to mount the chain tubes this way to allow a space for mounting of the brake cylinder which was mounted next followed by the air reservoir and AB valve.  I was pleased to find that my location of the AB valve was very close to the location of the prototype showing in one of the kit instruction photos.  On the prototype chain tubes were also located in the area of trucks; however, not modeled as would interfere with truck operation.   The AB brake components, Tichy set #3013, are not in the kit, only “K” brakes are included.  Since the 1952 car diagram states “ AB brakes being applied in 1952 and the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company time period is spring 1955, I installed AB brakes.  The air reservoir mounting brackets are cut off plastic sill steps from some plastic freight car.

AB brake components installed.

The remaining under body details installed were the following:

- piping from air reservoir to AB valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW
- pipe from brake cylinder to AB valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
- brake levers, photo etched
- universal slack adjuster for floating lever (not in kit)
- brake rods, Tichy #1106, .125” diameter PBW
- brake rod clevises, Tichy turnbuckles
- chain, A-Line #29219, 40 links per inch (not in kit)
- train line, floral wire (not in kit)
- dirt collector
- fasteners MEK Goop (not in kit)

Under body detail completed.

With the under body details finished, top mounted uncoupling levers (not in kit) and eye bolt mounting brackets I bent , Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW, were installed on the cars ends .  Doors, set aside earlier and lower door tracks were glued to the sides.  The car was ready for paint and  lettering.

Uncoupling lever bent to shape and installed.

Doors now installed.

All details installed.   Car is ready for paint and lettering. Well,
almost as lower door placard board not installed.

The trucks and wheels were hand painted with Vallejo Model Color Black Grey, #70.862. The under body was also sprayed Vallejo Model Color Black Grey.  Car body was sprayed Vallejo/Micro-Mark Model Air Boxcar Red #29015, thinned 50% with a custom mix of distilled water, Vallejo air brush thinner #71.161 and Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver 71.562.  After paint dried overnight, car body was sprayed Vallejo Gloss Medium #70.470, for decal base.

Painted under body.

Side view of painted car ready for lettering.

3/4 view of painted car ready for lettering.

Thin film decals provided in the kit were applied using Microscale Micro-Set and Micro-Sol.  I apply the decal into Micro-Set brushed on the car.  If there is too much liquid after decal applied, I remove it with the torn edge of piece of paper towel.  Once the decal is adjusted into final location Micro-Sol is brushed around the edges.  I used the the slogan “ The Route of the Phoebe Show” since it was applied to these cars during by my time period.  Once all the decals applied were dry the car was sprayed with Vallejo Matt Varnish 70.580 to protect decals during handling and for weathering.

Decals applied.  Note the lower door placard board got installed.

A 3/4 view of applied decals.

A better view of "B" end decals.

Car weathering was applied when the Matt Varnish was dry.  I did help speed the drying process with a hair dryer.  I began weathering the car with Artmatic eye shadow makeup with a color like boxcar red. I applied boxcar red color with a makeup brush on roof and car body for a base for the other colors.  The other colors were Pan Pastels as follows:  Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1, on roof, ladders and grabs, door hardware, sill areas and lightly over the car body, Red Iron Oxide Extra Dark 380.1, to tone down lettering and Burnt Sienna Shade 740.3, on trucks and couplers.

Side view of weathered car.

A better view of  weathered roof.

DL&W 11502 is ready for service.

As with ever built freight car, rebuilt DL&W auto boxcar 11502 is now in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.

DL&W 11502 in Chestnut Street Yard in Minneapolis.

DL&W 11502 in Chestnut Street Yard in Minneapolis.

Just one more of  DL&W 11502 in Chestnut Street Yard in Minneapolis.

 A “Thank You” to Pierre Oliver for prototype photo help and of course for producing the kit, Schuyler Larrabee for help with chain tubes, Mike Schleigh for 1952 Car Diagram and paint help, and Ryan Mendel for patterns making this resin kit possible.

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 nice build Lester. Thanks for being so specific when discussing the tools and materials you use.

  2. Lester- just found your blog. Thank you for taking the time to document and publish this. I have this kit as well- really liked the look of it and picked it up a few months ago. Your outstanding write up will be very helpful when i build the kit!

    Rob Bennett

  3. Thank You Rob for the kind words. I am pleased to hear you will be able to use my blog information to help with your build.