Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Choose your poison

Well, it has been a great, but very busy day today. I was in the mood for doing something 'modely' this evening, but wasn't prepared to get involved in something that would require some real focus. Then I went up to the bedroom to get something, and remembered that I had left a Branchline kit up there the other night.

I had been working on organizing little projects and kitbashes I had printed out. I liked the Cocoa Beach Shake 'n' Take from 2006, a KCS Rebuilt Box Car. I haven't made it to Cocoa Beach yet, but I figured I'd build the projects appropriate to my era.

Anyway, this kitbash uses an Accurail Postwar Box Car with an Accurail Double Sheathed Box Car underframe. Greg Martin notes in his instructions that these are great kits to work with, since they are the only accurate kits on the market that have a separate floor instead of roof. As such, it's easy to model a rebuilt box car by substituting an older underframe.

This does require, however, carving off all of the detail parts on the box car shell to apply separate parts. So I figured I'd use a Branchline kit instead. So I had brought one of the undec kits I had on hand up to see how that would work. It looked like a good option, so I prepped it with the parts I'd need (it also comes with the correct 8-rung ladders), and put in the instructions so it would be ready to go when I got to that kit on the shelf.

Because I'd much rather cut out the floor than try to carve off molded on details. Obviously Greg feels otherwise, but my demolition skills are still rather primitive.

So when I went up tonight, there it was. So I figured what the heck, let's see how hard it is to remove the floor. It looked like it would be pretty easy to use a razor saw just inside the sides to cut along the length of the floor. Since the ends are dummy ends I wasn't worried about damage to them. Unfortunately, I found that I could cut through the floor pretty easily, but the thickness of the side sill tabs was less than that of the sides. So once I made it through the floor I was sawing straight down the middle of the sides.

So I figured I'd use a technique that Ted Culotta pointed out in one of his Essential Freight Car articles for a Sunshine mini-kit. I believe the Sunshine instructions recommended the approach - you score the floor along the edges, then cut a big 'X' across the middle, then snap out the triangular pieces. I used the Dremel to cut the big 'X' which was much faster. It still took some work to break off the pieces, but overall it worked pretty well.

Of course, it will go back in the box at this state, because tomorrow I need to get back to the important things, like laying track and the 44 tonners. But it was fun to make some progress on something and not have to really focus or be very precise. I have a lot of these sort of unfinished projects around, and when I get the necessary parts, etc then I'll be able to finish a bunch all at once.

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