Way back, for Project #2, in January, 2004, we started our R50B, express reefer project. At that time, I completed 3 cars, one Precision Scale brass car
and modifications to two Walthers cars. One of those Walthers cars was "all-out" with things like the steam line shut off handle modeled. I also started on 3 additional Walthers cars to be done to fleet standards. At that time, I replaced the sill steps with
A-line steps, the brake gear with Cal Scale and added steam lines and the signal and air lines. I started to drill the holes in the bodies for all the grab irons. At some point, these three cars were set aside to be finished... and then they just sat there,
in an open plastic container, staring back at me for the past 15+ years! Yeah... talk about UFOs!
In the spirit of the current and almost finished "project" after finishing the N4, I grabbed these from their place of ignominy and went to work finishing
them. First, I had to make some repairs, as they had collected a little damage from just laying around. Then, they needed grab irons. That is when I remember why I wandered away from these cars!
1) That era Walthers plastic is HARD! It breaks and dulls drill bits. The cars did have started dimples, so I started a #80 bit in these holes, but only
went a few twists deep and then used a #79 or #78. Not only is this a more robust bit, but by using the #80 first, it center the holes better. Oh yeah, there are also a LOT of holes to drill!
2) The grabs with the kit are steel wire, not brass - DO NOT try to cut these with your nice cutters! In several instances where I found I wanted shorter
"legs", I simply substituted brass. In addition, somehow, over the past 15 years, I misplaced one of the packets of grab irons. So one car basically got brass wire all around.
Once the grab irons were glued in place, they were painted black. Again, that's a lot of grab irons!
Two cars were versions with black underbodies with olive air tanks and trucks. On these, I painted the underbodies with Model Master flat black in a rattle
can. That caused some leaks onto the sides, but some thinner on a cotton swab made most of that go away. Once that was dry, the air tanks where painted Pullman green with a brush. The third car has a tuscan underbody. I airbrushed that with Poly scale light
oxide red and when that was dry, touched up the brake valve and levers with black.
The underbodies were weathered with railroad tie brown, and mud. The roofs were weathered with tarnished black. The door hinges and seams were highlighted
with tamiya black panel line accent on all cars. On the most recent paint scheme, the panel line accent was also used to highlight any panel seams and rivets. On the oldest scheme, the sides were covered in a tan brown wash, that was then wiped off with cotton
swabs. The third car received a dot filter of burnt sienna (artist oils) which was nearly wiped completely off with a brush that was wet with turpenoid. A little Model Master Steel on the buffer plates, followed by an oily black wash finished the weathering
and these are ready to haul mushrooms from the Octoraro Branch to Philadelphia and New York.