Canadian Pacific automobile box car

Here’s an HO scale resin freight car kit that took me longer than expected to complete. It’s a 40-foot, Canadian Pacific (CPR) automobile box car that was offered by Yarmouth Model Works.

I bought the kit because the prototypes were built in 1923 at the CPR Angus Shops. It’s an interesting tall car with 500 built. The single-sheathed appearance with the heavy fish belly side sill is distinctive. Several Canadian freight cars show up in prototype images taken along the B&O Allegheny Yard branch, which is inspiring my next layout. The most direct route to Pittsburgh is via Buffalo on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh line that shares part of the B&O branch terminal.

I started building the kit in March 2020. The carbody is one piece and the underframe details installed as per the directions. Pierre at Yarmouth produced a limited number of parts to build the original door configuration. I was lucky to get one before they were gone.

The door castings need work in order to sit properly on the door track. Resin behind the door rollers needs to be cleared for the casting to sit on the track. As I progressed with the door details, I wasn’t keen on sanding the door tracks from the resin sheet. I built them from strip styrene.

The carbody casting has a blank area for the door opening. I added strip styrene to support the door casting so it doesn’t bow inward. This is especially important as we often pick up a box car by the doors when handling.

Here’s a view of one side with the door casting and the door tracks installed.

The ladders were next. The Yarmouth etched metal parts build into fine details. After trimming a ladder stile to length, it needs to be folded into an L-shape. I use “The Bug” from The Small Shop for this work. It’s a photo etch bending tool that I also use to make or improve grab irons.

After clamping the ladder stile, a single edge razor blade is slid under and folded upward to start the bend. I use a small machinist square to push the bend into the final L-shape.

Here’s a ladder stile fresh out of “The Bug.”

I made an assembly jig from pieces of scrap sheet styrene to hold the ladder stiles. A clothes pin is used as a clamp. With the stiles at the proper distance, the grab iron rungs are easy to install using small applications of CA to hold them in place.

Each ladder has a sill step installed at the bottom of the stiles. Canadian cars had this step on the end ladders, too. In this image, some of the longer grab iron legs are visible. I use these to mount the ladders on the car body. The small styrene bits represent the prototype ladder attachments.

By the end of April 2020, the model build was complete and ready for the paint shop. I can’t recall when I painted the model. I know it sat painted and with a gloss coat ready for decals for about a year. The kit decals were very nice but they didn’t reflect all the lettering in a 1923 builder image.

I contacted Black Cat Publishing to create a set for the as-built lettering. They produced the original kit decals so they had the letter characters ready. A few messages and proofs were exchanged and the decals arrived in short order. They were quickly applied, followed by a gloss coat and a tinted flat coat as the first weathering step

After the car was weathered, I realized the air hose details were missing. Those parts were installed and touched up with a few colors.

With everything complete on this model, several photos were taken for presentation here on the blog. Sadly, the kit masters were damaged and Yarmouth has retired the kit.

Of course, after writing this post and reviewing the images I see something to fix. So before you post a comment, I will fix the lower door track to the right of the door seen in the last photo. It should be straight. A careful slice with a razor blade will remove that end from the attachment point. A reposition and a dab of CA should do it. Touch up with some burnt umber will finish things off.


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11 thoughts on “Canadian Pacific automobile box car”

  1. Beautiful work, I appreciate your tutorial on the ladders as well. I am searching for this kit as I love the door and a half look.

    1. Thanks, Brad! I really like the etched metal ladders. The first time you make one is the most difficult. But you learn from that and the next few come together easier. Good luck in your search for this kit. There must be one or two out there that can be pried out of a resin kit stash. – – Eric H.

    1. Thank you, Gary! I enjoy sharing the process. I hope the posts inspire modelers to build their kits. – – Eric H.

  2. A rarity. Not the kit, although it is one, i’m talking about the paint and weathering job. You managed to get each board to look like it’s one of the crowd, yet each one has a distinctive variation in shade or tone. Often attempted, but really not often as well done as you’ve done it on this car.

    1. Thank you, Schuyler! The castings are really well done, especially the boards. They similar to the board presentation on the Tichy USRA single-sheathed box car kit. These is the slightest variation in the plane from board to board. When I turn the model in the light, the reflection varies from board to board. As part of the weathering, I used Prismacolor pencils with a couple shades of grey and a slightly lighter shade of brown on a number of boards. PanPastel applications finished the weathering colors. – – Eric H.

    1. Thanks, Lester. Cleaning the extra flash from the door rollers wasn’t apparent until they needed to be mounted on the door track. It’s tedious work but worth it in the end. – – Eric H.

  3. Jim Sacco, owner of City Classics, died earlier this year. I built a modern day
    warehouse using 4 of his Small St. warehouse kits and some scrap box styrene.
    Jim was personable and I considered him to be a friend. He will be sorely missed.

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