by George Riley/photos by the author
Now days no sooner than a new release has been delivered from one of the industries’ leading manufacturers thank a collection of add-on detailing kits are available to upgrade these latest offerings. This has happened with the delivery of Bachmann’s 18 foot Billmeyer and Small On30 freight cars that arrived in hobby shops shortly before Christmas of 2012. By the New Year, RS Laser was able to tool up and offer wood deck kits to those wishing to add laser cut and engraved wooden decking to their flat car and tank car models. Both kits include two custom fitted plywood decks with double sided tape applied to attach the deck to the host car as well as Grandt Line O scale brake wheels and ratchet and pawl castings for two cars to replace those removed when new decks are installed. The kit for the tank cars also includes Standard Oil Company decal sets to add to the tank of each car.
Adding the new decks is a quick conversion which should take less than a half hour for each flat car if one deducts the drying time for any finishes applied to each wood part. The tank cars will take a bit longer to convert.
For our cars each deck was pre-stained with MinWax Early American Stain n’ Seal and allowed to completely dry before installing. To prepare each car the existing deck was sanded down to yield a smooth flat surface and the molded on ratchet and pawl was scrapped off. Since the new stained deck was darker than the remaining edges of the cast deck they were painted with a dark brown to help them blend with the new parts. The backing of the double sided tape was pulled loose from the wood deck and the part aligned with the car base. A thin bead of ACC gel adhesive was run around each car’s edge and the assembly clamped and left for the glue and tape to set up. This was done to reinforce the joint between the wood deck and plastic car to help minimize any future warping or de-bonding.The Grandt Line ratchet and pawl along with the brake wheel and staff was added to complete each model’s conversion. A black wash and some dry brushed weathering helped tie the new deck to the car.
The tank car conversion required that the tank and strapping be removed prior to sanding down the deck surface and adding the wooden deck. While the tank was off the car the decals were applied to the tank sides and once dry sealed with a coat of Testors Dullcote. Once the deck was securely in place the tank and strapping were re-installed.
Either kit is an inexpensive way to quickly add a custom look to otherwise out of the box rolling stock and will provide a good base for further detailing and weathering. The addition to the flat car of even a simple load from left over scraps will make the car even more of a stand out as will adding some additional grime and spills to the tank cars.
5145 Gaffin Rd. SE.
Salem, OR 97301
Scales – O/On30
Item # 1600 – On30 Bachmann 18ft Flat Car Conversion Deck Kit
MSRP – $7.99
Item # 1601 – On30 Bachmann 18ft Tank Car Conversion Deck Kit
MSRP – $9.99