Saturday, September 17, 2022

X31 & X32 Boxcars (Part 1) - NP, A Correction In Era

Many years ago I was looking to add some more lumber cars for my fleet.  I came across the Bowser X31 & X32 class cars that were painted in Northern Pacific scheme, showing 1951 tare dates.

NP 39159 with black car-cement roof applied to the model

Unfortunately, as we'll see, these weren't exactly what I was hoping they would be useful for once I dug into their history.


Fresh X32 NP boxcars on ATSF freight with 260-class F-units, 1961+ Walong - Richard Jahn collection

In 1961 the Northern Pacific leased 40 and 50ft round-roof boxcars from PRR/DT&I for lumber service.  Bowser released these models in the 1990s and early 2000s, I picked up a couple of each based on the printed tare dates on the models.  However, I did learn that the models are not accurate for the 1950s era that I model, but are more properly accurate for post-1961 layouts.

X31 40ft Round Roof

NP 39159 with black car-cement roof applied to the model

The 39159 has the roof painted black to represent the change to the car's paint for service on the NP.  I wouldn't be surprised if this was a coating of black "Car Cement", which was a water-proofing tar-like material to seal up the roof on these older boxcars for finished lumber loading on the NP.

Basic Bowser model with light chalk marks.

I'll still need to apply the black roof to correct the model.  Also changing the tare date on the model is still needed.

X32 50ft Round Roof

NP 39648, a 50ft X32A weathered from service on the NP in the 1960s.

These two 50ft models will need to have black roof coating applied and the tare dates changed.  The cars should have a "JN 9-61" as the tare date, based on the NP Historical Society special run of NP X32s available here, which just need the roof painted black:

NP 38715, another example of an X32A boxcar, which will need minor changes for the 1960s.

These cars will hopefully still find a good home to provide lumber service after the slight corrections to the era of service.

In Closing

These models are nicely painted and another example of the "Shake-the-box" kits from Bowser.  Once the modeling community realizes which era these are correct for, I think they'd make a great bit of "something different" for the 1960s era modelers of the Pacific North West, and also a chance to model an NP car that could be off-line as well.

PRR 59505, an X32A Bowser model.

I'll be covering two PRR cars of X32A in Part 2, which is a bit more historically accurate out-of-the-box.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Weathering NP 11661 - A Rapido Double Sheathed Boxcar - Prisma Pencil & Acrylic Weathering

Outside Links to Bowser's X31/32/33 type kits and RTR models in HO Scale.

Bowser's Current Offerings - Link to available kits and RTR models from Bowser. (looks like mostly Undecs for X31/32/33 variants.

X31 History Offerings - Past production runs of X31 type cars (Including 2 & 4 door, along with 4 door "Turtle Roof" version)

X32 History Offerings - Past production runs of X31 type cars (Including 2 & 4 door versions)

X33 History Offerings - Past production runs of X31 type cars

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