Resin Freight Car kit builds; a few from Jim

End detail on one of Jim's recent resin kit builds.

My friend Jim has been busy building HO scale resin freight car kits in West Virginia. He recently sent several images and descriptions, so I’ll turn the blog over and share some of his work. Click on any image here to review a larger version.

Jim has a modeling focus set in 1952 and his freight car fleet is a bit different from my 1926 focus. I hope you enjoy this diversion.


Reading 13217 – XMp class double sheathed, 36-foot box car

A Reading XMp class box car.
A Reading XMp class box car.

Attached are a couple of photos I just took of the Funaro & Camerlengo kit. Other than issues with incomplete and unclear instructions, it went together rather easily. I painted it with Scalecoat Box Car Red #3 as I had the color on hand and it looks somewhat “Reading-ish” to me. I have not weathered the car as it does not belong to me but I will weather mine when I build it.

A rather strange car for an early ’50s roster.

Texas & New Orleans 39428 – single sheathed automobile box car

Another look at the end detail on the T&NO automobile box car kit.
Another look at the end detail on the T&NO automobile box car kit.

This is a Speedwitch/Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society kit I bought a few years back but just built a few weeks ago.

500 of these were built in 1921 by Standard Steel for the SP and T&NO (ML&T then) and placed into class A-50-4.
Some evidence has surfaced recently that some of these cars were fitted with AB brakes, but I followed Ted Culotta’s instructions and used the supplied K system. As such, the car just makes it into my era but will soon be retired.

T&NO automobile box car.
T&NO automobile box car.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the SP and single sheathed 40-foot auto cars and this one is a fine example. Ted has produced a beautiful kit of this car but there were some challenges in putting it together. The trucks are Kadee Vulcan, which are correct for this car and, although the 39428 still carries the “Automobile” stencil, the auto racks have been removed and the car has been released to the general box car pool.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas 96003 – single sheathed box car

This is another of Ted Culotta’s Speedwitch kits. I built two of these, one in the 1937 yellow scheme and the other in the final red scheme. This is another beautiful kit from Ted, and I had no problems in assembling my two. Each of them received Lindberg trucks.

The Katy received 1500 of these cars from ACF in 1923 and 1924 patterned after an earlier batch of automobile cars from Mt. Vernon. In 1925, they went back to Mt. Vernon for another 1,000 box cars and in 1926, Katy built another 500 in their own shops. These cars were the backbone of MKT’s house car fleet into the early ’50s. The earlier 1923 auto cars were converted into box cars in 1925. All batches of these cars, by then, were nearly identical in appearance. They had 7/8 Murphy ends, ARA center sills, 6′ doors and were rated at 40 tons. Many of these cars remand in service into the 1960’s.

Fruit Growers Express 38494 – steel sheathed refrigerator car


And now for something a little more modern! This is Sunshine kit #34.26. It is a typical Sunshine house car flat kit. I’ve built plenty of these over the years, but for some reason this one gave me fits. I had trouble getting parts aligned and fitting properly and I got the paint process fouled up several times. It seemed as though this kit was jinxed and I had to walk away from it numerous times, only to come back and make yet another mistake. As you can see I finally finished it, though, but it is not one of my best works. I’m just glad to be done with it and get it out of my system.

This is a post-WW2 steel reefer. Fruit Growers ordered 300 of these cars in 1946 and 175 went to WFEX, while 125 went to FGEX in the 38375-38499 series. Distinguishing characteristics include 4/4 “W” section Dreadnaught ends with end sill, hatch covers constructed of steel tread material and recessed side sills.

I painted the car to represent a fairly new car in my 1952 scheme of things.

Norfolk & Western 52466 – 50-foot, steel sheathed automobile box car

This is a Pocahontas Models kit of an N&W B-4 class automobile car. It is a one-piece body resin kit with a lot of nice etched detail parts, which made for an easy build.


The prototype is from a group of 200 cars built in 1941 by Greenville. There were three previous batches of B-4/B-4a built by Greenville. This last group, however, featured a ten-step side ladder. All of these cars also had the unusual semi-turtleback roof which I have found used elsewhere only on a single class of PRR boxcars. 52466 is lettered for N&W’s as-built scheme, which was modified in 1956.

Western Fruit Express (WHIX) 70162 – “high insulated” refrigerator car


This one is a Stan Rydarowicz semi-resin kit. It is an InterMountain plastic kit with resin sides. The kit came with the original sides removed, thus making painting and assembly a fairly simple process. Stan usually does not include decals with his kits and I’m not sure whose I used on this car – probably MicroScale. It certainly was less trouble to build than the Sunshine FGEX car and I don’t recall any difficulties with this one. I think it is a pretty nice looking modern car for the transition era.


This is another post-war steel reefer built for the FGEX Family. Western Fruit Express series 70000-70589 were “high insulation” cars, thus the WHIX reporting marks. Stan does not supply much historic information in his instruction sheets, so I cannot add much to the above. I think the heavily insulated cars were developed for frozen food service, which, at that time, was a new market for the railroads.


Many thanks to Jim for sharing some of his recent HO scale resin freight car kit builds. His work brings up a question that I’ve received from a few friends.

  • When will my models be painted and decaled?

Paint and decal are the next steps to push all of the builds to completion. I have a couple of airbrushes and a nice compressor with a tank, but I don’t have a spray booth yet. I could paint out on the patio, but a decent breeze could send models to the flagstone. And I don’t want to think of the trouble I would face if stray paint drops, or a bottle breaks on the nice flagstone.

There are additional hurdles on the decal side. Most of the F&C kits lack decals that represent 1926 era lettering. Each kit will need careful attention to piece data from generic Rail Graphics sets or from sets yet to be created.

My current focus is on the layout and wrapping up the development and installation of track switch controls. The layout is a step away from operational use. Once that happens, there will be demand for completed freight cars and that will push the paint booth project to the forefront.

Please post any questions or comments below. All comments are reviewed and approved before they appear.

4 thoughts on “Resin Freight Car kit builds; a few from Jim”

  1. A correction:
    The paragraph heading for WHIX 70162 states that it is an insulated box car. As stated in the following paragraph, it is, indeed, an ice bunker reefer. differing only in the use of a plug door, circulating fan and extra insulation. As such, it still carries the AAR designation “RS”.
    I apologize for the error.


  2. I’m probably equally to blame as I inferred the “high insulation” notation to mean an insulated box car. I must not have connected the dots well when I was compiling the details. My fault. – Eric

  3. Out of curiosity, which class of PRR boxcar shared the “semi-turtleback” roof with N&W Class B-4?

    1. Ben, I got in touch with Jim and received the following response.

      That would be the PRR X37 class. The car in question was Sunshine kit 44.1. The PRR X37 and the early N&W B-4’s both had recessed roof end panels, presumably for clearance purposes. I cannot presently locate the history sheets on either of these cars as both cars are in a storage box somewhere in my basement.

      These car roofs are not to be confused with the PRR X31 box cars, which had more of a full round roof/turtle back roof. The roofs on the X37 and B-4 cars are strange looking and I’ve never seen them on any other cars – only on the PRR and N&W cars in question. For lack of a better term, I referred to them as “Semi-turtle back”.

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