Re: Prototype for the old Walthers 40 plug door steel car and 40' SS cars?

Benjamin Hom <b.hom@...>

Stefan Lerch� asked:
"Is there a prototype for either of these cars? The steel car (Walthers
#932-3223) looks like a old ARA design but with a big plug door, so it
was obviously a late 1950s modification? or?"

Both these kits were originally from the Train-Miniature line. This kit is
a bizarre mish-mash of details - an 8 foot wide plug door, 8 panel sides
(that don't extend to the side sill), 3/3/3 Dreadnaught ends, an odd 11
carline flat panel roof, and the rehashed Rock Island reefer underframe
that's used for all the cars in this line. The car is similar in
proportions to the BAR/NH "State of Maine" insulated boxcars, but these
prototypes had 10 panel sides, improved Dreadnaught ends, diagonal panel
roofs, and straight center sills.

It sort of looks like the final iteration of the DT&I USRA DS boxcar
rebuilds, but even the three-foot rule won't help this model fool anyone.
There aren't any prototype matches for this model.

"The SS car is still listed on the website: "

The SS car is more useful, but you'll need to do a lot of work to make a
credible model. The model resembles a number of 8 ft 7 in IH Howe truss SS
boxcars of the 1920 for many roads, the most common cars for the MILW:
Other roads with similar include ATSF (ex-Clinton & Oklahoma Western), CN,
CV, G&F, KCS, LNE, L&A, Missouri & Arkansas, MP/I-GN, and RI, though all of
these cars have different ends and/or roofs than the model. Some of these
prototypes are available in resin from Sunshine and Funaro. Richard
Hendrickson kitbashed ATSF Class Bx-22 from this model during the 1980s; you
can catch a glimpse of it in a model freight consist article in the January
1990 Railmodel Journal. (Unfortunately, this model was stolen some time

The biggest flaws of this model are the roof, which isn't a very convincing
model of either the Murphy XLA or Hutchins roof common to these cars; the
ends, especially the DS end or the 3/3/3 Dreadnaught end (the "braced end"
is salvageable), and the rehashed RI reefer underframe.

This model is currently most valuable as a "Tan Dot" stand-in to break up
the "sea of 10 ft 6 in steel boxcars" prevalent on many layouts. By doing
basic upgrades to this model (similar to what I did to the Walthers X29 in
my TKM series) with new paint and lettering, you can visually crate some
variety in your boxcar fleet and "stair step" in your trains until you've
built enough "Green Dot" single sheathed boxcar models from resin kits and
quality kitbashes.

Ben Hom

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