Stubborn Projects

Marty McGuirk

Ever have one of those projects that fights with you all the way? That’s been the case with a certain otherwise non-descript Sunshine Cotton Belt double-sheathed boxcar. I started building it back in October 2001. I remember that since it was my “hotel room” project while I was in Colorado and my family was back in Wisconsin. I remember the underframe didn’t quite fit and took a fair amount of sanding to get it to seat in place inside the bottom. I also remember struggling to get the roof to go on straight and level, and correcting the rather pronounced warp in one of the sides. Getting the basic “box” assembled square and straight was a challenge. But I did it, and put the car in the box and didn’t touch it again for several years. Somewhere along the line I learned the Sunshine directions didn’t give a lot specifics on the brake component arrangement – and I ended up redoing the brake rigging on the car back in 2005 or so, only to put it back in the box again.

In fact I only dug it out of the box a couple of weeks ago. I thought there was still a lot of work to finish it up, but all I had to do was add one lateral, install a pair of grabs to one of the sides, and install the uncoupling levers and brakewheel. Then I washed the car off and set it aside to dry.

Last Saturday I decided to paint the thing. I carefully mixed the paint, tested how it was spraying through my airbrush on a piece of scrap styrene. “Everything looks good” I thought. I placed the car in the spraybooth, aimed the airbrush at the center of the car, pulled the trigger…..and….managed to put a big splotch of paint spatter right in the middle of the side and along one side of the roof.

Perhaps I was out of practice (it's been a few years since I used an airbrush on anything other than track) and made what is frankly a rookie mistake. But maybe this thing is just cursed?

Ever have one project that seemed to have one problem after another?

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