SAL 40' Boxcars
I recently finished assembling two SAL 40' round roof boxcars, a B-7 6' door
car and a AF-1 double door car, that are offered by Sunshine (kit 55.8 and
55.6). These are the cars that are very similar to PRR's X31's and X32's
but with important differences. These kits are part of Sunshine's
distinctive cars of the 1930's series and share the same instructions and
data sheets. As always with Sunshine the data presentation and prototype
photos are excellent and printed on glossy paper. The instructions are
straightforward and have clear photos of completed models for reference.
The decal work is of the usual Rail Graphics excellent quality. Both kits
came with the early 40" Seaboard herald but I picked up supplementary 56"
hearlds with the red heart.
The first thing I noticed while unwrapping the tissue paper was the heft of
the resin due to the one piece solid cast roof. The kits are the typical
flat kits in the usual easy to work gray resin. The flash was very thin and
easy to clean off by dragging a single edged razor blade along the edges of
the castings. The castings are sharp and have the usual Sunshine detail
quality. The double door sides have the doors and hardware cast in place
while the single door sides, of which I am sure are the same castings as
Sunshine's 1932 AAR cars, have an open door opening so the door can be
modeled open. The sides of the kits are very uniform in length and lined up
very well back to back. However, on the double door car I had to remove
material from the ends of the sides to match the roof length to the point
that 1/2 of the side ladder pads nearest the end disappeared. Finally, the
cast brackets for the side bracket grabs did not line up well with those
cast on the edge of the ends. I cut them off and substituted DA bracket
grabs which look much better anyway. I would be happy if Sunshine gave up
on this concept and included DA bracket grabs in their kits like they used
The cast roof sections create a problem because both of my samples had
"sucked in" during curing. I measured the center sections of the roofs at
.030" to .040" narrower than that at the ends of the roofs. The same
problem existed at the ends with the centerline of the roof being .030"
shorter than the two longitudinal edges of the roof. The width problem
makes it impossible to achieve a prototypically appearing roof line where
roof joins the side without having the sides noticably bowed in. I
compromised as best I could during assembly but leaned towards keeping the
sides straight. The ends of the cars set under an overhang of
the roof and the edge of the overhang has rivet detail. Some fussing and
sanding is necessary to match the roof contour of the ends to that of the
roof so the roof sets down on the body correctly. The bowing at the ends of
the roof similarly make it difficult to achieve the appearance of the roof
sheet overlapping the end as the overlap varied greatly from center to side
of the roof. I chose to sacrifice the roof edge rivet detail and sand the
roof overlap so it became uniform. In retrospect, a better method of
construction would have been to have the car end castings completely overlap
the ends of the roof.
The underframes are one piece castings that include bolsters with cover
plates, stringers and centersill with flanges. Two styles of crossbearers
are added by the modeler. The underframes fit well into the bodies with
The parts included with the kits are wire grabs, A-Line steps, DW styrene
ladders, Bowser AB sprue, DA eyebolts, Plano etched Apex roofwalks and .010
and .015 wire. Both kits were short the required number of grabs but the
experienced resin modeler should keep a supply of extra grabs, eyebolts,
steps and other stuff for such occasions.
In spite of the roof aggravation the kits build into nice looking cars.