Discussion in 'Cabooses' started by nickm, May 18, 2001.
Nick Molo's nice Frisco transfer caboose kit
Nick Molo's nice Frisco transfer caboose kit
How To Make A Realistic Frisco 1200-Series Caboose For About $25.00-
The following is an article I submitted to Model Railroader that was rejected because of the photos. Since I've all ready spent about $50.00 in getting the slides devolped I've decided to post it here and maybe somebody who is more camera-savy can take it further, here is the text:
How To Make A Realistic Frisco 1200-Series Caboose For About $25.00-
Roger R. Taylor
8606 Arlington Ave.
I've never considered myself being a rivet-counter or spending too much time or money to make something absolutely perfect. If I could run something out of the box I would be more than happy. However, when you model Frisco, you gotta add parts. Such as the case of Frisco's 1200-series cabooses.
The St.Louis-San Francisco RY (Frisco) rostered a total of 198 cabooses at the time of the Burlington Northern merger on Nov.21, 1980. Some of the oddball's were 1100-series former Santa Fe CE-1's, 1300-series tranfers mounted on flatcars and 10 1730-series bay window types, the latter two built at the company's Springfield (MO.) Consoldiated Car Shops.
Other company-built cabs were extended-vision types manufactured from retired boxcars. They included #1400-1442 for local service (no radios) and #1700-1725 & 1776 for mainline and pool service. The first one, #1776 was painted red/white/blue for America's bicentineial. A handful of 1200-series and #1700 were also painted into this scheme with a few variations. All were repainted by the end of 1978.
By far the most popular were the 1200-series built by Morrison-International. An unofficial poll regarded them as the best riding cabooses in comparison to other Frisco & BN cabs. As a matter of fact after the merger, former Frisco conductors accused the BN crews of raiding thier caboose tracks and leaving them with standard BN waycars because they rode so smooth. Renumbered BN 11530-11620, some were repainted into BN's Cascade Green but most remained in thier Frisco paint with BN sub-lettering. Unfortunately most lasted only a few years under the BN, most being retired by the mid-1980's with a few of the 1275-1292 series lasting until the early 1990's because of thier roller bearing trucks. After the merger some migrated far from thier former Frisco territory, a handful made it as far as the Pacific Northwest where they spent thier last days in transfer service in the Seattle, WA, area. As of this time only one is left on the BNSF, Frisco 1281/BN 11609 currently stored at Galesburg, IL.
Frisco rostered a total of 93 cabs numbered 1200-1292. The first order #200-274 were built between Feb. and Oct. 1957 and were renumbered 1200-1274 in a general renumbering program in 1968. They were purchased to replace Frisco's aging fleet of wooden cabs and were the first all-steel cabs with extended-vision cupolas. They had all the modern conviences of the time, electric lights, radios & water coolers. Frisco recieved two more orders, #1275-1284 in June 1968 and #1285-1292 in July 1969 to complete the series, identical to the first order with the exception of roller bearing trucks.
First painted boxcar red with black roofs and underframes, over the years some were repainted caboose red with black roofs and beginning in 1977, red and white like Frisco locomotives. All made it into the BN merger except for #1208 & 1217 which were wrecked and retired.
The 30' 7/8", 63,500lbs cabs were like other cabooses built during the era except for two exceptions:
1) The side cupola windows were spaced apart by about 42".
2) #1201-1274 rode on commonwealth trucks built by General Steel Corp. similiar to the type used on express boxcars on passenger trains (#1200 had Rockwell trucks like the ones used on KCS's bay window cabooses).
Like I said earlier, for me the easier the better, so a fleet of Athearn extended-vision cabs decorated in a variety of paint schemes kept me happy. They were close enough to the prototype without paying $200.00 apiece for an exact replica by Overland Models. However, when Moloco offered a cupola kit with separated windows I wondered if they could be adapted from the standard cupola (for which the kit was built) into an extended version. After building a test cab, the results were well worth the effort. It dosen't take much time, effort or money and if you start from scratch it can be done for about $25.00 each or less, depending on how much super-detailing you want to do.
First, start with an undecorated Athearn extended-vision caboose, break it down removing the cupola and frame leaving three main pieces including the caboose body. Next will be the three separate phases to make a realistic 1200- series caboose:
Take a saw, knife or drill and remove all the plastic from the side window to the back wall level with the present windows. Don't mess the upper pane other than removing the little bit between the present window and back wall, it will be your guide to properly level the new window. Be careful not to get too close to the back wall, a little whittling with an Xacto knife will get you close enough to it. Now remove a little bit of the lower pane of the present windows so you have space on the inside of the cupola to add the new window panes and glass when the new side is installed. Once this is done, test fit the Moloco windows on top of the old side and remove any excess flash around the window openings. The Moloco windows should be flush with the old side was. Now use a little CA to attach the new side window on top of the old using the old top pane as a level. After that has dried, CA the the body filler section under the bottom of the new Moloco windows. They both have Z-shaped ridges so it will slide it place under the new windows. Don't push too hard or else the Moloco windows will bow out. The body filler section is larger and wider than the Athearn cupola so after drying trim the excess using the old cupola as a guide. It you use sandpaper to even out the bottom of the cupola be sure to push the new windows to and from you, not side to side or else you'll get an uneven bottom. Now take a little putty and fill in the space between the Moloco windows and the body filler section and sand smooth after it has dried. Paint the cupola into your desired color, paint the window panes silver and install. Be very careful when you trim the panes, they are very soft, but flexible. Add some clear styrene for window glass and your done!
2) Caboose Body-
Trim off the handrails and install new ones.
After painting the end platform into your desired color, cut small strips of tape and cover the steps leaving the sides exposed and paint lightly until desired coats are reached. Afterwards remove tape and touch-up where paint has bled through.
4) Athearn's end handrails always bothered me, here's an easy way to install some authentic Frisco ones; Drill one hole between the existing end handrail and brakestand & existing end handrail and first ladder hole and reassemble the caboose body to the frame. Using Athearn locomotive handrails begin with the two outside handrail holes, run one handrail up from the bottom to the top of the caboose body overhang, measure, cut & CA the bottom part only. This way you can remove the body from the frame later by just removing the ladder. Repeat opposite side. Now run one piece of handrail from the just installed horizontal handrail to the handrail to the brakeWHEEL, measure, cut & CA to brakewheel and level to the horizontal handrail and CA, repeat on other side. Make sure the longer vertical handrail lays on the top of the brakewheel and the shorter piece on the bottom. After drying, run a handrail up the new holes to the vertical handrails, measure, cut & CA, repeat on the other side. Now you have endrails that are Frisco accurate instead of the C-shaped supplied by Athearn. I used a photo of the 1261 as a guide (which is posted under prototype, cabooses, 1200-1292 in the resource center).
5) Finishing Up-
Touch up handrails with a small brush, install pin-pullers, ladders, smokejack, cushion drawbars and desired trucks. I used trimmed down Athearn express reefer trucks for the 1201-1274 models.
Now you have a quick & easy realistic Frisco caboose for about $25 bucks, even less depending how much you want to add. Many of the parts listed below have enough to do several models. This guide can also be used for Cotton Belt and Missabe Range cabooses which were similair to Frisco's.
Part's List (From Scratch)-
1 Athearn #5360 Wide-Vision Caboose, Undecorated
1 " #53308 Express Reefer Trucks
1 " #46027 Locomotive Handrail Set GP38/40-2
1 Details Assc. Caboose Details #6503 Grab Irons-Curved
1 " #6504 Grab Irons-L Shaped
1 " Freight Car Parts #FC6205 Grab Irons-Corners (for roof)
1 " #6215 Coupler Lift Bar
1 Moloco SC-1501 ICC Standard Cupola Kit
1 Walthers 933-1030 Cushion Car Coupler Pocket
1 Custom Finishes #B-162 Tool Box
1 Microscale Decals #87-85 Frisco Cabs & Cabooses
2 Kadee #5 couplers
P.S. After I wrote this there were about of other things to add. 1) Athearn U30B handrail kit would be better because of its straighter handrails, i don't know the part#. 2) I noticed the from photos the small window (toilet) was square instead of oval like Athearns, I guess it could be trimmed out.3) Another tip is to buy a Athearn Frisco caboose, rebuild the cupola and tape off the white part and paint the cupola & body Scarlet Red and renumber them.
I've been working on this thing for about 2 months now and have 4 done with the 1290 about done. It's quick and easy. The photos that follow where taken with my brother's digital camera last Christmas Day at his house.
SLSF 1239 Caboose Model
SLSF 1239 with handrails added to only the roof & side.
SLSF 1242 Caboose Model
SLSF 1242 with only roof & side handrails added, notice the trucks.
SLSF 1275 Caboose Model
SLSF 1275 with all new handrails, not much difference but a lot more work.
Caboose Endrail template
The rejection letter
The rejection letter
Rick McClellan's Wooden Caboose Kit from AMR
Here a few photos of the new laser cut Frisco caboose kit from AMR. To get yours, contact:
Rick L. McClellan
PO Box 860446
Shawnee, KS 66286-0446
I can't wait for mine....
I wonder if someone would know how to match the Frisco Red used in the 1200 Series Athearn Caboose Kits, with the white stripe. I want to get as close as I can with a spray paint, as I only want to do the end platforms to match the body. It is a pretty "unique" Red, from having compared it to the standard, (darker) Santa Fe Red, etc. Any help you can give would be appreciated. Ted
PS, if you would email me directly at this address, email@example.com, I would appreciate it greatly.
I had purchased Krylon's Acrylic Latex Enamel in "Gloss Banner Red" to touch up my son's Radio Flyer wagon.
I'm not sure about the caboose, but I found that it was a perfect match for an Athearn SW1500 for which I needed to paint the handrails, drop steps, etc. It will undoubtedly need a coat or 2 of Dullcote or satin finish.
I bought a straight can so that I could use a brush to dab where needed; I'm not sure if it is available in spray cans.
Keep us up to date.
Ted, I used SP Scarlet Red on the R/W cabooses with an air brush, I really don't know what to use with a spray can. The only thing I could suggest is to take the shell to the hardware store and try to find a close match. You might consider buying a airbrush, they are relatively cheap and the results are like day & nite. I still use the first one I bought about 10 years ago albeit with a few replacement parts. Roger
I was at the Boeing swap meet and saw one of the new Walthers wood sided 3 window cabooses. It has a Grand Trunk prototype, I think. It looks a lot like the SL-SF cabooses. Has anyone looked at kit bashing this into a Frisco caboose? Thanks, Dwain.
The new cabooses have arrived! Here is a letter from Rick McClellan and Mark Davidson on how to get yours if you preordered.
If you didn't order one from the first run, then be sure to order now for the next run.
I can't wait...woohoo!
Hello Frisco Modelers,
We are pleased to announce that American Model Builders will complete
production of the SLSF cabooses within the next 10 days. The
instructions and history have been completed and the kits should be in
transit to me on or about November 20.
The kits feature
* Wooden caboose body scaled from actual Frisco blueprints and laser
cut for smooth
* Two cupola styles, steel for cabooses 40-119 and the slanted wood
for cabooses 207-
* Prototypically accurate ladders (these look great, check out the
photos on the
* Two styles of roofs, mule hide and the later Murphy improved roofs
* Roof walk variations to accommodate the roof options
* Athearn underframes
As with all American Model Builder kits, paint, decals, trucks, couplers
and other details are not included in the kit.
The decals (available separately) feature enough accurate decals to
letter one car in one of the following paint schemes . . . . .
* "Frisco Lines" herald pre-1947/48, simple lettering
* "Frisco" herald post-1947/48, simple lettering
* Slightly larger "Frisco" herald with "Southeast . . . Southwest"
and "Ship IT Z
Frisco!" slogans that were applied above and below the window
(approx. date 1957 and later)
* "Frisco" herald with the slanted "Ship IT on the Frisco!" slogan
that was applied
to the International cabooses (these lettering schemes were
1960's and 70's)
Here's what happens next . . .
1. The price of the kit is now set at $44.95. Those who have
reserved kits need to send me the balance ($29.95 per kit) for their
order as soon as they can. We can only ship kits for orders that have
been completely paid for.
2. The remittance should be made out to me (Rick McClellan) and
mailed to PO Box 860446, Shawnee, KS 66286-0446.
3. The remittance should include $5.95 for shipping and packing for
each order. Orders will be sent via US Postal Service, so make sure we
have your USPS address with your remittance.
4. For those who have not placed a deposit/order, there are some
unreserved kits available, however, we suggest that you place your order
and full remittance quickly as possible as this is a limited production
run. These orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis.
If unfulfilled demand is sufficient, we should be able to reorder once
the minimum product quantity has been reserved with deposits.
5. Modelers wanting our SLSF caboose decal set need to include send
$5.00 per car with their remittance. No need to add postage if
accompanying a caboose order. If ordering only decals, please add $1.00
That should be about it. Please email me if you have questions or call
me in the evenings at 913-422-0190.
This is gonna be great!
Tips for those building the AMB HO caboose kits.
Build up the roof as a subassembly first, leaving off the roof walks. Then paint everything as per the instructions.
Leave the sides and ends attached to the master after painting. Apply the decals and dullcoat overspray before removing the parts from the master.
The two-piece coonskin decal is far too thick. Consider using the Oddballs, Microscale, or Harold King (if you still have a set or two) decal instead.
You may want to scratch build the cupola sides and ends from styrene if doing the metal cupola version. The wood parts represent wood very well, but not metal.
Just use the existing wood patterns to cut the styrene cupola parts. Use the existing wood cupola subroof (ACC glue, of course) and peel-and-stick roof cover.
These kits are beautiful. However, be VERY careful when attaching the peel-and-stick parts. There's absolutely NO room for error. This has been a big challenge for an eyesight-limited modeler such as me.
No. 1 is 1115. No. 2 will be 1107, which was used on the East Local out of Springfield (to Newburg & return) during the 1960's. Then one of the ex AT&SF steel cabooses was used. The last caboose assigned to that train was the SL-SF homebrewed extended vision 1413, which is now on display in Crocker, MO.
Doug in Annapolis, CEO
The Dixon, Jerome & Hancock Railway
Is anyone else having a tough time with the decal set developed for the AMB HO cabooses? Maybe it's just one set and I should try the other three, but the decals have no adhesion.
Perhaps a better option would be the MicroScale 87-85 set for the steel-cupola later cabooses and the OddBalls set for the early wood cupola cabooses with the Frisco Lines coonskin.
More on AMB caboose kit
I've almost finished my first of four. Only end ladders and handrails to be added. I've even got the leaf-sprung trucks under it already.
Awesome kit! Thanks again Rick.
Other three will be built in a different sequence. I'll build up three subassemblies before painting: 1. Roof, 2. cupola, 3. and platform/floor/underframe.
I'll also leave the ends and sides attached to the master, add the window and door frames, paint (with glossy BCR), add decals, and overspray with flat before attaching to the body box.
I'll paint the other three subassemblies above at the same time as the ends/sides.
The cupola parts will be used as patterns to fashion the steel cupola from styrene rather than wood.
Attachment of the sides to the body box is critical. I'll use small pieces of masking tape as hinges at the top and carefully align the sides before removal of the peel-and-stick piece.
I had to add about 1.5 Oz of weight to bring it up to the NMRA recommendation (for a 5" car - 3.5 Oz).
But my biggest tip is to use the MicroScale 87-85 decal set for the later-generation cabooses and the OddBalls set for the steam-era.
How are the rest of you progressing with your AMB model cabooses?
SLSF 918 Side Door Caboose Model
Brad Sloan's model of the early 1900's side-door caboose 918. Note the very short end platforms. Very dangerous getting aboard the middle of the car while moving. Entered in the 2004 NMRA MCR convention. Doug
Re: AMB Caboose Kits
The AMB web site now lists kit 863 as being available for $44.50. See http://www.laserkit.com/laserkit.htm Doug
|-| athearn makes a red and white frisco caboose kit numbered 1260.They used the picture on pg. 127 of frisco in color by Louis A.Marre-Gregory J. Sommers.|-|
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