Ed Bommer models the B&O Staten Island line in O scale. He recently shared photos and notes on his O scale scratch-built B&O C-721, modeled as the prototype looked in 1950. Here’s Ed with the story.
I built this caboose model a long time ago, in March 1983. I was somewhat familiar with the prototypes as I would see them on Staten Island Rapid Transit freights as a boy and young teen. I even got to ride in one for a few miles.
In mid-February I received an email from a friend who was responding to a question from Alan Mende. Alan needed decal help to finish a box car project and I was added to the email response as a possible resource. Alan was lucky as I had a decal set on hand to send to him. Here’s Alan with more details.
I had scratchbuilt a Central Railroad of New Jersey box car from a plan published in the January 1972 issue of Model Railroader. The model reflects the pre-Safety Appliances appearance, which is why there is only one grab iron on the car side. I was planning to use a Clover House dry transfer set, but the HO versions were out of stock. What to do?
Building models using a minimum of commercial parts or set directions is often referred to as scratchbuilding. Anyone who is building a model railroad that closely follows a specific prototype location will need to scratchbuild a number of structures to capture the look and feel of the real place. In some cases, commercial models can be modified and altered to represent an actual structure but those instances are infrequent. Scratchbuilding has challenged many model railroaders over the years. The fear of failing or messing up a project inhibits many modelers. I think all model railroaders should attempt at least one scratchbuilt structure. I recently finished two small buildings and learned new skills in the process. Click on any image here to review a large size. Let’s take a look at one of these projects.