New resin ends for a long planned kitbash. Stan drew my appreciation in his way of finding projects which could be facilitated by making some resin parts. with the interest generated from the recent RPC #35 book I think it is time to talk about doing an early 1937 AAR box car in HO.
First, a little background. Intermountain made the tooling for the IMWX '37 AAR box car as part of the "divorce" from a founding member leaving the company. Though the car was nicely done, it did have an error which was passed down from Intermountain's earlier made 'O' scale '37 AAR box car. The floor stringers are not in the proper location. I believe that the tool maker must have thought that the cars should have 3 stringers and before the 3rd one could be cut, decided to leave the remaining 2 stringers alone. This was unfortunate, as those remaining 2 are not correctly placed. After the sell of the IMWX tooling to Red Caboose, Intermountain felt compelled to offer their own '37 box car. While made well in some aspects, such as the separate ends, problems emerged with a big mistake in the roof panels (too wide) and furthering the repeated errors of the floor stringers. In addition, the bolsters were poorly designed and have made all cars with this frame to ride too high.
Later, Branchline Models made their only "shake-the-box" kit, also a '37 AAR box car. It has been mostly off the radar due to its molded on parts. This Yardmaster brand car is, however, a nicely tooled car. It has a very nice under frame of the earlier version of single floor stringers. The car side's rivets are very well done as well as the Murphy raised panel roof.
Some one could commit to a large project by filing off the ladders, grabs and end brake gear, such as what Richard Hendrickson did years ago with the Athearn 40' box cars. Side ladders are not too difficult to remove, but the end ladders, grabs and brake removal is a lot of work.
A positive design of the Yardmaster kit is that the ends are separate parts which means if another 4/5 end can be found, most of the grunt work is done, leaving just the sides to have their ladders relatively easily removed.
Since this Yardmaster kit has the earlier single floor stringers, I feel that these Yardmaster kits would be a useful project for a quality early '37 AAR box car. The earliest '37 cars had square corner ends so I looked into seeing if an end I was gifted from a friend years ago would work. Wayne Madison made his 4/5 end from Terry Wegmanns' 4/4 sq corner ends with which he did a lot of work to remove ladder brackets and adding the extra bottom 5th rib.