28 Jun 2017 Kitbashed Beet Gondola
A long time ago I won a Details Associates beet car at a PCR door raffle and it was only last year that I decided to put it together.
It’s a wonderful kit, but it did take me several evenings to put it together. Now that I had one, I wanted a whole train of course, but the kits are rather expensive. I decided instead to kitbash some stand-in models.
I took a close look at the standard 8 panel 40ft gondola made by AHM and others. I figured it would be easy to scribe the sides and add extensions to give it the look of an SP wood side beet car, but I was held back by what to do with the underside since a drop bottom gondola has a bunch of hardware for holding and releasing the floor doors.
After pondering this for a while, it occurred to me that I should just treat this as I do other 10-foot models. As long as it looks OK from 10 feet away, I’m not going to worry about the missing underbody details.
The first step was to raise the car to match the height of the Detail Associates car. I added .060 blocks of styrene to the bolsters so the cars would ride higher. Then I scribed the sides and add diagonal braces using .020 styrene.
I tried modeling two types of extensions, plywood and plank. For the plywood extensions I used styrene, but for the planks I used real wood that I cut from coffee stirrers. After I glued the extensions, I painted and decaled the cars, and applied a good amount of weathering. For beets I used wheat berries which are oversized but I think they look fine at 10 feet.
My beet car train is now 10 cars long and it looks great, even with the Details Associate car in the mix.