PRR Box Car Weathered and Ready

I finished up work on the Westerfield PRR XG box car by weathering it. First, following a tip from Model Railroad Hobbyist, I brushed on a heavy dose of Doc O’Brien’s Grimy Black, then wiping it off with a Q-tip dipped in Micro Sol, forcing the black powder into the crevices. After that, I took some Pan Pastels and added a few highlights along the lower portion of the body, on the undercarriage and on the trucks.


I didn’t forget the top or the ends.


So now she’s ready for service on the Woodsboro MD diorama, servicing the Glade Valley Mill and N.Z. Cramer’s hardware.

One item of rolling stock down, one RPO and locomotive to go!

PRR XG 1898…Almost Done

I finished the Westerfield PRR Union Line XG box car, 1898 lettering — adding couplers, trucks and the decals.


And here’s a look at the other end.


As you can see (barely), I did manage to install turnbuckles on the truss lines. There is a full set of brake gear and lines on the undercarriage as well.

For the record, I used Tahoe 203 trucks with Kadee #158 couplers for a more prototypical look.

The decals did not fade as much as I had hoped despite repeated applications of Micro Sol before I sprayed the car with Dullcote.

Perhaps the gentle weathering I still want to add to the body (and the trucks) will help conceal the worst of it.

PRR Rolling Stock…And A D16 Loco!

Well, I’ve basically finished the assembly of the two Westerfield kits, the box car and the refrigerator car — at least as far that I could paint them (which means I haven’t added the trucks or couplers or decals yet.)

The box car, built to the 1896 XG class specs, received a dose of Scalecoat #2 Dark Tuscan Red.


(It’s just balanced on two loose plastic trucks to show it off.) Now it needs the decals and then a dose of Dullcote to take off that shine…and then some weathering.

But the PRR Reefer, built to 1896 RD specs, is posing some problems. I washed it, primed it with Tamiya gray primer, then sprayed it with Tamiya “Camel Yellow.” And it came out spoiled, muddled and puddled so badly that I had to strip paint off with alcohol.


I’m not quite sure what steps to take next. Maybe a gentle coat of acrylic Gesso? Another coat of spray primer? Maybe just loads of weathering with Pan Pastels to cover over the worst of the bare spots?

Suggestions welcome….please!

But on another positive note, I obtained via eBay a brass Westfield 4-4-0 PRR D-16 class loco which should fit just magnificently on the Woodsboro diorama as my history sources indicate it was used on the route down from Pennsylvania to Frederick MD via Woodsboro MD, centerpiece of my prototype model diorama.


It’s not running, but that’s not required on the little 2′ X 3′ diorama. All I think I really have to do to beef up its detail is to add some coal in the tender, maybe a teabag curtain in the cab and possibly an engineer or two.

Once we figure out how to deal with the reefer’s paint problems and finish it up along with the box car, add that coal to the loco, then I can turn to the task of building my LaBelle RPO. Gonna be busy times ahead!

PRR Boxcar & Reefer: Progress Report

I’ve made some good progress on finishing the Westerfield PRR boxcar XG (kit #11751)… and while I wait for some special Pennsy Tuscan Red paint, I started work on the second Westerfield kit, the PRR Union Line Reefer RD/RL (kit #11903).

First, a look at the status of the boxcar.


A closer look at one end.


And the undercarriage with its truss bars and intricate brake lines.


As you can see, I did not complete the coupler mounting nor did I screw on the trucks. The instructions and photos indicate the whole car, including the undercarriage, should all be Pennsy Tuscan Red. But I was thinking of painting the underside black (which I probably should have done before glueing the floor to the body.) Hmmm. Maybe not.

I won’t make that mistake on the refrigerator car.


I had some issues with this reefer build. The hand grabs all went in very easily after my experience with the boxcar. But to reveal the inner door, I had to cut away what was described as “the flash out of the doorway.” Which sounds simple — except the doorway on the body was not thin flash but the full thickness of the body plus there was a double thickness pillar right in the center. It took quite bit of work, he said in an understated manner. As a result, I decided not to “open” the door on the other side but to simply leave it closed.

Then there was the issue of mounting the so-called “lock” and “door pull” — which were two of the tiniest items I’ve ever tried to clean flash from. Ugh!

But I finished both ends along with all the hand grabs — minus adding the brake wheel and chain on the right photo and the brake wheel on the staff (which still needs to be trimmed) on the left.

This car will be mainly yellow with some red trim and black undercarriage. But that’s some time off. I still have to do the brake installation and truss bars and turnbuckles on the bottom. It should go faster after my experience with those parts on the boxcar. But you never know. Something always pops up, doesn’t it?

Happy modeling!






More Progress on the PRR Box Car

I’m doing a lot of detail work on the Westerfield PRR box car XG/XH (kit 11751) — much more than I have ever done before… like installing a complete brake system on the undercarriage. Wow! What a challenge. But patience and persistence do work, especially when it’s actually fun.


Fortunately I did read the instructions and installed the various levers and wires and hangars before stringing the truss wires (monofilament line). And then I had a devilish time adding the turnbuckles (which appear as little brown dots on the photo above.) I only lost one to “tweezer sprongggggggg.”

When finished, I set that aside and started on the car body to add the brake wheel and chain on one end and coupler cut levers on both ends.


I’m still waiting on some help about how to add the brake platform, brake staff support, brake staff and wheel. I’ve emailed Westerfield (Andrew) for more details as I didn’t find the instructions clear enough and there were no helpful photos. I also added the full train line on the underside, running the full length from end to end. But I’m not clear whether I just cut the wire or whether I need to simulate some connection on the end bolsters.

Since I had a lot of tools and parts out, I decided to add a tiny detail to my Bitter Creek 25′ CP box car. Since I had elected to model the earliest version of this car (pre-air brakes), I checked with the owner (Jeff) and asked. He told me about chain braking and how a chain ran from the bottom of the brake staff to the undercarriage where it activated a friction clutch that slowed  the rotation of the wheels.

I decided to simulate that by adding a short piece of chain on my model (visible next to the coupler).


It’s unlikely that anyone will notice this detail. But as Jeff at Bitter Creek pointed out, I’ll know it’s there and that’s what counts.

Happy modeling!

PRR Box Car XG

I started work on the Westerfield kit for my diorama. This will be a PRR “Union Line” box car like the ones seen in the archival photos I’m using to make my c. 1900 diorama around the old Woodsboro, MD depot.

This is real tricky work, filled with lots of little parts. Part one of my work, after familiarizing myself with the extremely technical instructions, was to fit the base so it would fit snugly inside the box car body.

After realizing I had to cut away some of the resin mold, it worked.


Then it was on to preparing the base to fit the bolsters, queen posts and needle beams — and drilling some holes for the monofilament line that will be strung over the queen posts.


While that was setting, I started drilling the microscopic holes in the body to receive hand grabs. Whew! Those tiny drill bits (#79 etc.) are very fragile and I had to take care to drill slowly (manual spiral hand drill with spring) and to set the bit so that only a small portion stuck out. Even so, I broke two. Yechhh.

Next up: finishing the A and B end brake fixtures on the body and installing the brake detail on the undercarriage. Should be a challenge as the instructions sometimes leave me wondering.

Ultimately, it should look something like this plan.


The kit offers several options for finishing, depending on the age and model of the box car. You can see some of the options on the sheet that came with the kit.


Time for a break now. A lot of strain on the eyes. On a positive note, I only lost one hand grab in my continuing struggle to manage tiny parts! Progress!

Woodsboro: Back to Work

After a lengthy holiday period with (too) many commitments, I was finally able to find a few hours today (in between overseeing some work by my plumber) to do more on the Woodsboro Prototype Model Diorama.

That work was installing new Evans Designs 3V LED lighting in the Glade Valley Mill, a gooseneck light over the trackside loading dock and two interior warm LEDs, and a single warm LED inside one of the two houses on the diorama.


The mill is in the upper center-left and the house lower right. Woodsboro Station already had multiple lights inside and out and the N.Z. Kramer hardware store (upper right) had two warm LEDs inside.

(That backdrop shows the original photos of the structures back around 1900, the time frame for the diorama. The other side is simple sky blue with sprayed clouds and will be used for photographing.)

Here’s another view from a lower angle close to track level.


The goosenecks really light up things!  Using a flash did not help. In fact, using it caused the lighting to basically disappear.

So now I’ll get to work on the rolling stock.