The new Accurail HO scale 36-foot box cars kits are being released. I recently picked up two undecorated car kits with the fishbelly center sills and corrugated metal ends. It’s exciting to open the box on a new model for the first time, especially a model that fits into my modeling focus. Let’s take a look at this new kit.
The car shell has very nice detail. Bolster ends, brake staff stirrup, doors, and grab irons are cast into the one piece body. The running board, running board latitudinals, and brake step platform are separate castings that are snapped into place on the body casting. A touch of styrene cement on the mounting pins inside of the car secures these parts in place.
The underframe has a few parts to assemble, but these are engineered for an easy fit. Here are a few images of the underframe parts and assembly
The brake rods and levers are a one piece casting. This needs to be threaded through one fishbelly center sill then the other center sill needs to be carefully positioned to thread the brake rods. These images show the first car I built. For the second car, I installed the K brake component on the center sill before getting the brake rods into place.
There are five separate cross members to install across the centersill. These are keyed for an easy fit. A spot of styrene cement on the joints holds things in place.
After the cross members are in place, the centersill and cross member assembly can be installed on the underframe. Tabs key the correct placement and styrene cement can be applied to these once they are in place on the underframe casting.
I use Accurail Proto:HO scale couplers. The underframe has holes to make these easy to install. The lid of the coupler gearbox does not need to be used on these models. There is the usual hole to mount the Accumate couplers that come with the kit, or to install Kadee couplers.
The car shell can be snapped into place and the double rung sill steps fit into their locations. The sill steps are cast in engineering plastic and are designed for a press fit into their locations.
Tahoe Model Works AC&F arch bar trucks were substituted and the model was ready for service!
The second car had extra details installed to the car body shell. No extras were needed for the underframe. Supports for the brake platform and the running board ends were made by fitting 1×3 styrene strip to the support area then cutting the piece in half lengthwise to present a finer detail. A retainer valve and retainer line were added using a Tichy Train Group casting (found on the K brake parts sprue) and 0.008-inch brass wire. Uncoupling levers were bent from 0.0125-inch brass wire and installed with eyebolts at the pivot points.
The extra details did not take long to install. Like many things, the work is more tedious than difficult. A pair of modified Walthers T-section Bettendorf trucks were installed. This car will be painted and lettered for the Nickel Plate Road.
There are many possibilities for these models. Replacing the grabs with ladders to reflect a specific prototype would be an update to make these distinctive. Sanding the Murphy roof castings and installing scribed styrene for a wood roof is another possible update. Adding a half door and door track to the left of the main door would push these closer to Michigan Central prototypes. Ray Breyer has four prototype summaries available here on the blog . These mainly follow the initial roadnames Accurail announced for these models but you can find lots of inspiration in those files. I know a few modelers are already modifying their kits to reflect cars that were moved to maintenance service in the post-WW2 years.
I look forward to adding several of these to my 1926 fleet. I guess I need to fire up the paint booth again.
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