Quick Freight Car Scratch Building

By Jim Long MMR

  1. Saw 1 floor, 1 roof and 2 end blocks from appropriate material and mark bottom of floor block for queen post beams and truss rod holes.
  2. Construct the body frame from the parts in step 1 (make sure the whole mess is somewhat square).  Add the queen post beams to bottom of floor.
  3. Drill holes and insert queen posts into queen post beams, drill holes for the truss rods (ream out one of the outside holes at 1 end of the car a little larger than the other holes) and string the nylon line to represent the truss rods.  Start by tying a knot in one end of the nylon line and pushing it through the hole at the opposite side (but same end) of the reamed out hole from inside the car, over to the corresponding hole at the other end of the car, up through that hole and down the next hole on the same end, now over to the hole on the other end, etc.  When the last whole is reached (the reamed out hole), make sure the line is not on any queen post then pull the line fairly tight.  Secure the line by taking a round toothpick dipped in glue and shoving it into the reamed out hole.  When the glue is dry, trim off the toothpick.
  4. You had better add some weight to the car now, so glue some lead to the inside of the car floor.  The bolsters can now be added to the car bottom (I like to measure the placement with the actual trucks).
  5. Cut up some scribed siding to the correct size and glue to the ends and sides.  I normally do the ends first and sand even with the end blocks followed by the car sides sanded even with the car ends.
  6. Attach end fascia boards and sand to roof contour.  When this is done, cut up some more scribed siding for the roof and glue in place with equal overhang on both sides and ends.
  7. Add side fascia boards and buffer beams to car ends.  Drill four holes for nut castings to represent the truss rod ends at bottom of car ends (in the buffer beams if full length beams are used)
  8. Cut out 2 doors, glue 1 to each side of the car, and add upper door guides.  Use track spikes for bottom guides and door stops.
  9. Assemble the roof walk using the roof walk template for support placements.  When the roof walk is dry, paint it and the top of the car then glue the roof walk into place.
  10. Drill holes for the side, end and roof grabirons then install the grabirons. Add an air reservoir tank to the floor bottom and install the brake wheel shaft and brake wheel.
  11. Finish painting the car, apply lettering, and seal the whole mess with Tester's Dullcoat.
  12. Add trucks and couplers and roll the new rolling stock out of the car shops onto your railroad.