Wednesday, August 30, 2023

36ft Fowler Boxcars - NC&StL 15337 (Part 2) Details & Decalling

Nearly completed NC&StL 15337 at the end of Part 2

In the last post in this series (Part 1), I was starting to work kitbashing an Accurail 36ft Fowler car to be a late-serving NC&StL car into the late 1940s.  Well, the time has come to finally get the decals together for my kitbash of an Accurail Fowler 36ft boxcar into NC&StL 15337, an XM-27 class car from July, 1948.  

NC&StL 15337 - Fowler -TRRA photo, East St Louis, July 1948, Illinois, Joe Collias collection, Ted Culotta collection with permission.

I reviewed my reference photo from the article on kitbashing Accurail Fowler cars, specifically the picture from Ted Culotta collection of the NC&StL 15337.  Thanks to Ted for permission to use this photo for this series of modeling posts.  The photo shows a couple of minor details that I hadn't bothered changing during Part 1.  So I'll be addressing those now, then doing a bit of minor paint touch-up around those spots before proceeding with the decalling.

Additional Kitbashing

Original Accurail Fowler Boxcar with low door stop.

The first change needed is with the door stops, they should be in a higher position than the stock Accurail model has them.

Right side of the boxcar with moved door stop and guide-strap added.

This wasn't too hard to do with a No.11 blade, shaving them off, then scraping some of the newer paint off, and reattaching them up at the correct position with Tamiya liquid plastic cement.

Adding Strap & Wood Block

Next I added a piece of Phosphor-Bronze etching sprue, bent to shape, then glued in place with thick ACC/CA cement (aka super glue).  The strap is bent to wrap around the two Z-braces.  The strap squeezed extra glue out, which I cleaned up with a paper-towel tip and scrapped away with the No.11 Xacto blade.

On the left side of the car the car had an interesting vertical wood block added.  I fashioned this "wood" block from a piece of left over OwlMtModels lumber sticker from building a load.  These are molded in straw wood color.

Overall of left side.

I then repainted the car-side again with FCR color.  The wood block is scrapped to match prototype photo.  I used an old wooden close-pin which resulted in the wood grain form being transferred.  


NC&StL 15337 - Fowler -TRRA photo, East St Louis, July 1948, Illinois, Joe Collias collection, Ted Culotta collection with permission.

The car that I'm modeling is a challenge to find the right decals for.

New decals from K4 Decals - NC&StL Caboose & Boxcar sets

I went with K4 Decals' sets for NC&StL 36ft, 40ft Boxcar White and NC&StL Caboose White sets to get the mixture of data for the little 40-ton Fowler and also the right heralds and slogans for the 1940s era.  This will allow me to decal-bash and get the right bits to make this car match the prototype photo.

Starting to apply decals to the car.

The trouble with the decal sets that have been offered is that none of them have exactly this scheme's slogans, heralds, and even the "&" used in the reporting marks is different.  The "Caboose" set has the proper large san-serif paint-brush "TO AND FROM DIXIELAND" slogan and the "NC&St.L" Herald, as opposed to the older script "Dixieland" version and "The DIXIE Line" herald from the "Boxcar" set.

Partly done decals (left side)

The car number requires rearranging the numbers, and also some shuffling of the lower roadnumber stripe lengths.  The K4 Decals boxcar set doesn't have a data set for the XM27 class, but for XM28... So I cut out the "8" and replaced a "7" from the end-lettering set.

The "fat" style & in the reporting marks... isn't right.

I looked around through the two decal sets and found the other half of the "Boxcar" set has a non-extended version of the "&" which looks more like the prototype photo (below).  So I ended up removing the extended & from the model before it was fully set.

NC&StL 15337 - Fowler -TRRA photo, East St Louis, July 1948, Illinois, Joe Collias collection, Ted Culotta collection with permission.

So this car certainly is a tricky car to get the right combination of decal parts to match the photo.

Prototype left side of the car

Here's the revised bashed decals, using the "&" from the caboose set, along with the slogan and herald.  The rest of the reporting marks are from the boxcar set and the modified data set.  I still need to add all the build date and tare data as well.

Theorized right side of what the car should look like.

Decals are almost done here.  On the right side of the car, I just sorta went for the "typical" guess of what it might look like.  I didn't apply the same door-stop board on this side.  Otherwise it's very similar, so that either side looks highly detailed, no matter which side is viewed in a train.

Finished Decalling

K4 Decalling complete on NC&StL 15337, before applying chalk marks & OMM Routing Cards.

The remaining decals to apply are the tare station and date (N E 4-45), and some fine stenciling below the herald for the Dirt Collector and AB Brake equipped markings which I will draw from the spare OwlMtModels data sets.  Then I'll just go for the amount of weathering shown in the picture, which I'll do for Part 3 as I finish up the details and get the car ready for service.

In Closing & Sneak Peak to Part 3 - Weathering, Routing Cards & Chalk Marks

The car's not too beat up in the prototype photo, so as I'm modeling roughly in the 1947-1951 era, when this photo was taken.  Weathering will come in Part 3 of this series.

Finished model with Chalk Marks and OwlMtModels 1220 Routing Cards applied.

I also applied Gel Pen Chalk Marks and OwlMtModels Routing Cards to the car after this.  I've covered those techniques in their own blog posts. 

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Detailing Accurail Fowler Boxcar

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