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  • The Athearn Union Pacific 40' Hi-Cube Box Car

    by Staffan Ehnbom

    LEFT: Union Pacific 40' HiCube boxcar at Seattle, Washington, in August 1976. The car seems not to carry a visible Hydra cylinder like the Cal-Scale under frame set. Photo by Staffan Ehnbom.

    RIGHT TOP: With the use of a few extra details and close attention to painting and lettering, the model by Staffan Ehnbom closely resembles the prototype boxcar. Photo by Staffan Ehnbom.

    RIGHT BOTTOM: The car ends are extremely simple with the brake wheel down low and the lettering in the white strip at the top of the ends. Photo by Staffan Ehnbom.

    Prototype Modeler - December 1980 - Page 18 Prototype Modeler - December 1980 - Page 19

    Finding the prototype for a model is a most pleasant experience for a "prototype modeler." Imagine my enjoyment when I spotted two 40' Hi-Cube box cars in a Seattle yard in August of 1976. One of the cars was a straight "one foot to 3.5 mm" version of the Athearn smooth side car lettered for the Union Pacific. The other was the outside braced version lettered for the Cotton Belt.

    The Union Pacific car in Seattle was the 518127 from the 518110-518129 series. The Athearn model (Number 1966) has number 518109 which does not belong to any series on the UP but the "miss" could hardly have been closer. However, I felt that installing wire grabs and painting and lettering the car improves on the "quickie kit" look and seems well worth the small effort.

    Scrape with a knife and sand away the horizontal grab across the ends and the vertical grabs going down the sides of the ends. Drill st the ends of these grabs for the new 0.3mm brass wire grabs. About 0.1mm soft wire twisted around the horizontal grab at the center forms an eye bolt that will be pushed into a hole in the center of the end. Cement the brake wheel in place.

    Scrape and sand away the grab irons on the side ladders. 18" lengths of 0 .3mm wire is cemented to the side ladder risers as new grabs. Use a rubber base adhesive for this.

    Cement the metal weight to the floor but fasten the underframe to the side of the floor that is scribed plastic using truck screws and plastic cement. This way the unprototypical metal weight goes on top of the plastic floor out of sight in side the car. A Cal-Scale Hydro cushion set No. 301 is installed on the underframe.

    Wash all parts in water and detergent. When dry, spray with Floquil Barrier. The underbody and trucks, ends, roof, and side sills are spray painted silver. When dry, the ends and side sill and eventually the roof is masked while the sides are sprayed yellow. The top of the ends is painted white as a background for the "No Running Boards - Excess Height Car" lettering and the car number. The 518126 was lettered using Micro-Scale set No. RH-7, UP Freight, Automated Railway, and RH-2 gothic style RR data.

    Article Details

    • Original Author Staffan Ehnbom
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date December 1980

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