S Helper Service "Rebuilt Boxcar"
Benjamin Frank Hom <b.hom@...>
Normally I try to avoid posting info outside of my scale, but I just posted
a reply on the Pennsy list concerning these cars and I thought I'd share of
my thoughts here with the list, especially Jeff English, Earl Tuson, and the
local S scale community.
S Helper Service recently released a "40 ft Rebuilt Boxcar" in S Scale
(http://www.showcaseline.com/index.html). Unfortunately, the model has a
number of serious shortcomings.
For those who came in late here at STMFC, some quick notes on the
prototype: Even though Youngstown marketed kits to the railroads during
the 1930s to rebuild single- and double-sheathed boxcars, each individual
railroad approached rebuilding cars in a different manner, with some roads
simply replacing the sides while retaining the original roof and ends;
others replacing the sides and roof while retaining the ends, and one (KCS)
doing a USRA DS rebuild in 1949 by fitting a modern boxcar body, ends and
all on top of the old underframe. Almost all rebuilds increased the height
of the car, and railroads took different approaches to making the ends
taller, with some adding a blank panel and others splicing in sections of
Murphy ends. The cars were also widened - a reliable spotting feature of a
rebuilt SS or DS boxcar is an indented side sill with trapezoidal or
triangular brackets supporting the new steel sides. The wider cars required
end modifications as well - most railroads simply used an angle to join the
ends to the side creating an indent there, but some roads used sheet metal
to widen the ends creating a more familiar square corner. The original
trucks were almost always reused; the underframe was always reused. The net
result is that rebuilt boxcars were unique to each railroad. For a more
detailed account of USRA DS rebuilds, see "Steel Side USRA Rebuilds," Parts
1 and 2 by Martin Lofton in the September and October 1989 Railroad Model
The Model: The S Helper Service model has some serious problems with the
sides. The model has eight-panel steel sides, which is correct for many of
the rebuilds except those who used ten-panel sides (ATSF, PRR). However,
the sides have two problems. First, the side sills are incorrect for any SS
or DS rebuild - there is no noticeable inset, and the brackets are actually
closer to those used on Pennsy Class X29 rebuilds than anything used on an
SS or DS rebuild. Without this inset, the car is too narrow and fails to
capture the look of a wider new carbody fitted to a narrow older underframe.
In fact, it's pretty obvious that the tooling for this car was modified from
SHS's USRA SS
Here's a rundown of the model's details:
Roof: Original USRA steel sheathed roof.
Ends: Unmodified 5/5/5 Murphy ends.
Sides: Eight-panel sides. No distinct inset side sill. T-section support
Underframe: USRA SS car (?)
This model is probably closest to the ACL and SL-SF USRA DS rebuilds;
however, the side sills are wrong and the model lacks the heavy fishbelly
underframe of the DS rebuilds.
This model is better left to the American Flyer crowd. Serious S scalers
James D Thompson <jaydeet@...>
First, the side sills are incorrect for any SS or DS rebuild - there isThere were some clone rebuilds that had flush sills, Wabash comes to
mind. Also, RF&P's lone s/s rebuild had flush sills. As for the brackets,
some rebuilds used a t-shaped piece rather than a triangular cast bracket.
James D Thompson wrote:
There were some clone rebuilds that had flush sills, Wabash comes to
mind. Also, RF&P's lone s/s rebuild had flush sills. As for the
brackets, some rebuilds used a t-shaped piece rather than a
triangular cast bracket.
David, thanks for the reminder - I have several photos of the Wabash
rebuilds and should have noticed the flush side sills.
RF&P did a SS rebuild? You learn something new every day. Anyone
got more info and pictures?
The comparison to PRR Class X29B implied the T-shaped brackets - I
should have made that more explicit. Still, I haven't seen any
examples of this on a SS or DS rebuild.
All of this aside, the model still fails to capture the "wider body
dropped onto a older more narrow underframe" look; it's just visibly
--- In STMFC@y..., "benjaminfrank_hom" <b.hom@w...> wrote:
James D Thompson wrote:Wabash
rebuilds and should have noticed the flush side sills.David and Ben,
The Wabash cars with the flush side sills are a result of a second
rebuilding which started two years after the period of this group---
1962. Car bodies from 83, 84, and 85000 series rebuilt cars were
placed on the floor and underframes from 13500-14849 series 41'-6"
gondolas. Trucks from the gons, both AAR standard and Andrews, were
used. The rebuilt cars were numbered 85200-85899 and had both 10'-4"
and 10'-0" IH's. Car interiors were lined with plywood
for class A loading. Side sills appeared to riveted to the
underframe and the car body welded to the side sill. The center sill
which was a foot longer than usual stuck out an equal amount on each
end of the car. Cars were noted for some having a combination of
corrugated and dreadnaught ends, sometimes on the same end. Car
85346 had a 3/7/4, B end, with the top two sections corrugated and
bottom dreadnaught. Sorry I snuck past 1960.
Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
I think there is a photo of one of these Wabash cars being
repainted as N&W 361428 on the N&W archives photo server.
At 10:50 AM 7/12/2002, you wrote:
David and Ben,
Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
From: "Benjamin Frank Hom" <b.hom@...>Several of the S scalers on this list discuss S specific
prototype modeling, primarily freight cars, in a different
forum, after having had a "trainset bozo" sort of
experience on the so-called S scale yahoo group.
S Helper Service recently released a "40 ft RebuiltActually, it has been around for many years now.
the model has a number of serious shortcomings.Yep, we have covered the car on both this list and the
alternate S scale one.
it's pretty obvious that the tooling for this car wasYou are quite correct in this regard. The SHS USRA SS,
"S-40-10" stockcar, rebuilt boxcars, and more recently,
their USRA DS car, all share some tooling. The models have
progressively strayed further from their intended prototype
on each successive reuse of the molds. The DS car still
uses the SS car's narrow ends, the side sill is flush with
the outside of the sheathing, and the Murphy XLA roof
overhangs the car sides. If you did not know they intended
it to be a USRA DS car, you would not guess. It is an
absolute caricature; I would rather run a AF "X-29" than
this abomination. F&C did a lousy kit of the USRA DS years
ago. I have two, and will rework them rather than... How
many ways can I express my disatisfaction?
Underframe: USRA SS car (?)FWIW, the most recent paint scheme released using this body
has in fact included a fishbelly underframe fairly
approximating the USRA cars', having been borrowed from
their ACF Type 3 reefer.
This model is probably closest to the ACL and SL-SF USRAThe latter is the new scheme I refer to. Curiously, SHS
has never offered the rebuild in ACL or CW&C reporting
marks, despite my having made them very aware of the
prototypes and directing them to (Jim Six's?) article.
This model is better left to the American Flyer crowd.That does describe the bulk of SHS customers.
Serious S scalers deserve better.Such as my SRCC kits!
Despite the paragraphs above, SHS can be commended for
several of their cars: the 53'6" GSC flat, PS-2 hopper, and
USRA SS are good reproductions of the intended prototype.
I have never researched the stock car, never laid hands on
a three bay PS-2, and don't care about the International
extended vision caboose, although I have heard good things
about it. The is somewhere between the first three and the
rebuild. SHS's next project is going to be a 14000 series
LV composite hopper, which will probably later morph into a
USRA twin and a 20's era NYC 30'6" offset twin (how do you
spell disaster?) They have announced that they will make a
steel roof for the reefer, mount it on the USRA SS UF with
AB brakes, and offer more roadnames for that one.
Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Autos - Get free new car price quotes