I am combining an earlier post with new info to close this topic….

Right now, I am preparing the coal train.  This includes a dedicated NYC Class U-3a 0-8-0 Switcher and six 55 ton USRA hopper cars.  The NYC did not classify their rolling stock like other railroads (example: X-29A, X-29B, etc for a type of box car on the PRR).  They used Lot numbers as a means of identifying groups of cars built to common specifications at the time of purchase.  In the case of my hoppers, they will be Lot 387 H (“H” is for hopper).  Built in December 1918 (another source calls for 1919, January I assume), as a group of 500 cars, they were delivered to the NYC subsidiary Toledo & Ohio Central (TOC) as 28000 – 28499.  Sometime later they were renumbered, over a period of time, to NYC 416100 – 416599.

I had built four Tichy kits a few years ago and now I just finished assembling and painting two more.  I very much enjoyed building these cars, but I’m glad I’m not modeling an Appalachian coal road requiring two or three hundred of these.


Since I model June of 1942, I wanted these cars to look appropriate for the time.  Prior to February 20, 1941, all open topped freight cars (hoppers, gondolas, flat cars) were painted black. After that date they were painted box car red/oxide red.  I wanted black cars so a shopping date of May 1939 was chosen – ER 5-39 (“ER” East Rochester).  Decals are a mixture of Microscale and Westerfield.  The “System” logo along with the AAR striping above and below the reporting mark and road number is also correct for the era.  The decals were applied after a coating of Testors Model Master Acrylic Gloss was allowed to dry thoroughly.  The matt finish seen in the picture above was obtained by spraying Tamiya TS80 Flat Clear lacquer spray.


Car interiors were weathered with Light Rust powder, rubbed into the paint using a stiff 1/4″ wide flat brush.  This had the added benefit of burnishing the finish to produce a somewhat “metal” appearance.  I then toned down the rust by spraying thinned Grimy Black and, later after checking that result, Steam Power Black.


The exterior of the cars were weathered firstly by airbrushing a thinned mix of Polly Scale Earth to the undersides, but not strongly.  Then the sides and ends were airbrushed with thinned Grimy Black to tone down the lettering, applying more to the car ends.  Finally, I very, very lightly dry-brushed the highlights with Testors Model Master Dark Gull Gray enamel.

These cars feature removable loads (please see the post in OPERATIONS, SERVICE TRAINS for info).  The kit builds a very detailed model, but I added Cal-Scale air hoses, cut levers made from .016″ brass wire with .030″ x .040″ strip styrene mounting blocks, Sergent Type E couplers, and Kadee semi-scale 33″ rib-back wheels mounted in Proto 2000 Andrews trucks.




I’m very happy with how they turned out.  Now for that 0-8-0…