T-Section Bettendorf trucks


I bought ten pair of the Walthers Proto T-Section Bettendorf trucks (TSB) awhile back. I thought I should prep them so they are ready for the new Accurail box cars. You can see the before and after view in the lead image. Let’s go through the steps to make these trucks a little better.

These are sprung trucks, which I dislike. I don’t think the equalization of a sprung truck translates into better operating qualities for HO scale models. Additionally, the springs don’t reflect the prototype appearance. The open space behind the springs makes the springs look worse. Here’s what i do to fill that space and eliminate the sprung action of the trucks.


Small sections of 1×8 and 1×10 strip styrene were test fit into the space to fill and fix the bolster but the open dimension was just between those two widths. A wide strip of grey plastic is on hand. A strip about 0.11-inches wide was carefully cut from the larger piece. A little work with a nail board narrowed the width perfectly. Cut several more strips to the same width using the original piece as a template.


The strips were cut into 3/16th lengths to fit the width of the opening. These small plastic parts nearly fit the opening, but the bottom of the truck bolster is not flat. A couple of reinforcing ribs kept the plastic rectangles from snapping into place. Two corners were cut away to clear portions of the bolster and the parts snapped right into place.


After the plastic spaces were snapped into place, some gel CA was smeared across the back of the parts, especially at the joints. After drying overnight, the trucks were washed and lightly scrubbed with a soft toothbrush. Only one spring came out and it was easily reinstalled. After they were dry, I used my usual techniques to paint the side frames.

When the paint was dry, a fine brush was used to add thinned burnt umber to some areas for a grimy look. A light Pan Pastel application and an orange color pencil across the springs wrapped up the work. Here is a pair installed on a Roundhouse reefer.


Several pair are now upgraded and painted a weathered red shade. A few more pair of the trucks will be painted brown and black for use with other cars.

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