Sunday, May 30, 2021

Milwaukee Road Stock Car 104581

had not built a a resin kit or stock car for some time.  After review of the to build resin kits, Westerfield Milwaukee Road (MILW) Stock Car, kit 8202, a single deck 36 foot stock car was my choice.  And, after reading and studying the car history provided in the kit and other sources and looking at the decals in the kit I decided number 104581 was the easiest car number to use to decal the car.

The prototype stock car was built by Ryan Car Company in 1927 for the MILW that assigned the car to series 104507 to 105006, Class SM.  Class SM stock cars had a solid tight floor, that is, no drop doors as Class SD.  The kit provided history of the cars tells us no photo of this design exists.  However, MILW car diagrams provide the following data:  general dimensions are the same as the Bettendorf design also built in 1927, slat openings on the sides were uniform, sides and ends were stiffened by Z braces with tapered ends and ends were further strengthened by a steel plate attached over the lower sheathing like the Bettendorf design cars.  However, unlike the Bettendorf cars the Ryan built cars had the modern X-braced door design and probably jacking pads.  A Konker hand brake, an early form of power hand brake that retained the horizontal brake wheel above the roof.  As other classes the SM class had AB brakes applied in 1945 to 1947.  The cars rode on cast side frame trucks their entire service life.

Since no photos of this design exist I used the photo of 104007 ( kit instructions incorrectly state 104507), a Bettendorf design car, that appeared in the 1928 edition of The Car Builders’ Cyclopedia, Simmons-Boardman.  And, the photo of MILW 104440, that appeared in the “Milwaukee 36’ Stock Cars” in the February 1993 issue of Mainline Modeler.  In addition to these photos I used the MILW stock car diagram of car series 104507 to 105006 in the “Official Employees’ Shop Diagrams for In-Service Freight Cars & Cabooses”, Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, 1937 (The Milwaukee road Freight Cars).

Photo from "Milwaukee 36 ft. Stock Car"
February 1993 Mainline Modeler

1928 edition of
The Car Builders’ Cyclopedia, Simmons-Boardman

Like any stock car kit the back of the sides were sanded to remove flash.  Once flash was removed I built the car body by gluing together two “L’s” consisting of a side glued to and end which makes the end of the car 9’ 6” wide. Unlike the kit instructions, I did not file or sand a 45 degree angle on the sides and ends to assemble the car body as that gives a 9’ wide end verses the 9’ 6” wide end I found on the plan in the Car Builders’ Cyclopedia.

Basic "L" assembly.

Basic box assembled.

With the car body “L’s” assembled I installed the floor/underbody.  With the underbody in place, I used sanding sticks to do final cleanup between slats on car sides.  The sanding sticks have a pointed end like a sharpened pencil on one end and a slant on the other allowing them to easily get between the car side slats.

Floor installed.

Final cleanup of slats with sanding sticks.

The roof was assembled next; however, not glued to the car body yet.   The kit had the older style roof that requires a roof truss with ridge pole and contour boards be assembled to which the roof sides attach.  I had to add an Evergreen #153, .060” x .060” strip to the ridge pole to which the roof sides are attached to allow the roof to extend correctly over the sides of the car body due to the increased 6” width.  The addition to the ridge pole requires the resin cast roof saddles be shortened 3” on each side.  

Roof  truss assembly with ridge pole and
contour boards

Styrene strip added to ridge pole between roof sides.

Roof  with styrene strip added to roof
ridge pole to properly extend over sides.

After I shortened the roof saddles, I installed the kit provided running board.  The kit running board is too thick as cast so I later removed it, milled to proper thickness and reinstalled it.

Running board installed.

Next some underbody work.  Bolster cover plates, in kit,  were installed.  Coupler pads and truck center plates were drilled for 2-56 screws.  Kadee #262 draft gear boxes with Kadee #148 coupler with Fastenal 3/16” 2-56 screws were installed.  Accurail trucks,  ARA cast steel with spring plank, with InterMountain 33” metal wheels were installed with Fastenal 1/4” 2-56 screws.  The car was weighted to 3.6 ounces with punch-outs from electrical outlet boxes. 

Couplers, trucks and car weight installed.

Now I went back to add details to the car body.  I installed the side and end ladders.  I did not use the kit resin cast ladders.   I built the side and end ladders using Evergreen #8203 2” x 3” strip styrene for the stiles and Plastruct #90850 .010” diameter styrene round rod for the rungs.  With the ladders installed, I installed the brake step (platform) Tichy Train Group (Tichy) set # 3013 and brake shaft step (kit) on the “B” end.  On the sides the door stops (kit) were installed.  Next, all the grab irons on sides and ends, bent from Tichy #1101, .010” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW), were installed.

Ladders, door stop and grab irons installed.

Ladders, brake step and brake shaft step installed.

Once all side and end grab irons were installed I used a side cutter to cut off any grab iron wires extending into the inside of the car body.  Next I hand painted the interior with dirty paint thinner.

Inside brushed with dirty paint thinner.

While waiting for the interior to dry.  I hand painted the ladders and grab irons Polly Scale Milwaukee Road Gray, F414158.  With the interior dry, the roof was now glued to the car body.  Running board end bracket made with Evergreen #8102 1” x 2” strip styrene were installed.  Bracket fasteners made with MEK Goop were added.  Roof grab irons provided in the kit and a piece of wire used for the corner leg were installed.  Since I was already on the “B” end I added the retainer line and brackets, Tichy #1100 .008” diameter PBW.  The brake shaft, Detail Associates .015” brass wire, with Kadee #440 18” metal brake wheel and Tichy bracket, set #3013, followed.  I  also installed the kit sill steps to have the hanger portion remain on the car after step portion was cut off and replaced with A-Line # 29000 sill steps later.

Retainer line, brake shaft step and 
brake wheel installed.

Sill steps provided in kit installed to have
mounting portion remain on car after 
step portion cut off.

Back to the underbody to complete the details needed there.  AB brake components, Tichy set #3013, were installed.  Brake component mounting brackets used were a Sunshine Models resin bracket (parts box) for the brake cylinder, cutoff plastic grab irons for the air reservoir and a Tichy bracket from set #3013 for the AB valve.

Other underbody details installed are as follows:

  • Train line, .017” floral wire with MEK Goop made couplings
  • Brake cylinder lever (live lever), Evergreen #8108, 1” x 8” strip styrene
  • Floating brake lever (dead lever), Evergreen  #8106, 1” x 6” strip styrene
  • Slack adjuster from parts box
  • Brake lever hangers, kit provided wire grab irons
  • Pipping from air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101 .010” PBW
  • Piping from brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • Brake rods, .012” diameter brass wire in kit
  • Brake rod clevises, Tichy turnbuckles #8021
  • Chain, A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch
  • Dirt collector from Tichy set #3013 with tee to train line made with MEK Goop

Underbody details installed.

Now I added the final car body details.  The back of the doors were sanded to remove flash and installed.  The molded on door handles were carved off and replaced with door handles made with Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW.  The lower door guide was installed with .012” diameter brass wire provided in the kit.  Door hinges to attach door to wire door guide were made with MEK Goop.  On Kit sill steps installed earlier the lower sill step portion cut off and replaced with A-Line #29000 sill step.

Doors with wire door handles, door guides and
sill steps installed.

On the car ends, uncoupling levers bent from .012” diameter brass wire in the kit were installed with kit provided eye blot brackets.

Uncoupling levers installed.

The final assembly step was to add resin kit provided slat plugs cut to size and installed between slats to create the lettering boards needed for lettering to be applied to painted car.  It would have been easier to install the slat plugs prior to gluing the roof to the car body.  Once the slat plugs were installed all detail added parts not already painted with were hand painted with Polly Scale Milwaukee Road Gray, F414158.  My Milwaukee Road built stock car was now ready for final paint color and lettering.

Slat plugs to create lettering boards installed.

MILW Stock Car 104581 ready for final
paint color and lettering.


The underbody and car body were sprayed Vallejo/MicroMark Model Air Box Car Red X29015X2.  Once dry the car body was sprayed with a Vallejo Model Color mix of: 2 parts Mahogany Brown 70.846 and 1 part Calvary Brown 70.982.  Again when dry, the car body was sprayed with Model Master 4638 Gloss Clear Acryl to provide a gloss decal base.  Trucks were hand painted with both.

Underbody painted.

Car body painted.

After setting overnight, kit provided decals and repack decal from another MILW decal set were soaked off in distilled water and applied with Microscale Micro Set and Micro Sol and Walthers Solvaset.  Again after setting overnight, car body was sprayed with Model Master 4638 Gloss Clear Acryl to better hide the edges of decals.   Again after setting overnight, car body was sprayed with Model Master 4636 Flat Clear Acryl to provide a weathering base and protect the finished car during handling.

Car lettered and clear coats applied.

Car lettered and clear coats applied.

Once the flat clear coat was dry light weathering using Pan Pastels was applied with a small and medium makeup brush.  Pan Pastels used were as follows:  Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1 on the roof, sides and ends.  Neutral Grey 820.5 to aged boards.  In addition to Pan Pastels, Artmatic eye shadow makeup was applied on sides and ends with a makeup brush and micro brush applicators between ladder rungs.

MILW Stock Car 104581 weathered.

MILW Stock Car 104581 weathered.

Milwaukee Road stock car 104581 was now ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for Milwaukee Road stock car 104581,  the final step to put the cars in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.  Milwaukee Road stock car 104581 joins Milwaukee Road stock car 104392, class SD, I built from Westerfield kit #8201 and put in service in March 2010.

MILW Stock Cars 104581 and 104392 
waiting pickup on CNW Interchange.

MILW Stock Cars 104581 and 104392 
waiting pickup on CNW Interchange.

MILW Stock Cars 104581 and 104392 
waiting pickup on CNW Interchange.

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 sign your comment with your name if you choose to leave one.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer



  1. Thanks, Lester! The step by step descriptions are great for learning how to make better models. Very much appreciated!

    Greg Bueltmann
    Gary, Indiana

  2. Thank You. Glad I can help. Your kind words appreciated.