Does anyone know a source for a craftsman style wood freight car kit?
There are plenty of plastic kits and a few wood caboose kits, but I
cannot find a wood freight car kit I checked Walthers (and called them)
and they do not have anyting like what I want in stock.
Please let me know if you know of a source.
Do appreciate it.
Two companies still offering wood craftsman kits are:
Labelle Woodworking. Most are under $20, no trucks and couplers, and
variable detail. One of the oldest makers of wood freight car kits, and
still one of the best. State of the art in the 1960s. You'll drool over
their wood passenger cars. :-)
Ye Olde Huff'n'Puff. Produce the Silver Streak and Mainline series,
among others, which in their day were state of the art, too. Also in the
$20 range, no trucks or couplers.
Both are on line, just google them.
There is a sad but very good reason that Walthers no longer carries wood
freight car kits: very few people still want them. I have three Ambroid
and two Juneco kits on my shelves. Even the local "I don't like plastic
and won't even look at it" hasn't taken these off my hands... (Available
at reasonable prices to a good home, BTW. If interested mail me using
noshomosu at sympatico dot ca.)
There is also a pretty good reason: the resin kit. Westerfield, for
example, makes a line of accurate kits that just couldn't be duplicated
in wood. Check them out.
Wood is still used a lot for structure kits, which are largely laser cut
Another source of some fine craftsman kits is Trout Creek
I believe the former Taurus
line of kits are now sold under their name. The Taurus PFE and Rock
Island reefer kits were *very* nice.
And if you're looking for a good supplier of craftsman kits in
general, I suggest Valley Model Trains:
I really think wood rolling-stock kits just need a big promotional
like the laser-cut structures generated to become equally popular. To
be honest, I've never built one (though I've scratchbuilt a few cars
varying results) but I'd really like to try some day.
President, a box of track and some plans.
Valley Model Trains is the largest dealer specializing in craftsman
kits of which I know. They mostly seem to list structures, but there are
a few rolling stock kits mixed in there if you search thoroughly.
Besides the previously mentioned manufacturers, there's also Trout
Creek Engineering. The former line of wood craftsman kits from Taurus
Products has also been melded into the Trout Creek line. The CRI&P and
PFE reefer kits are very nice.
Train shows. Old Ambroid, Labelle, and Silver Streak kits show up
For that matter, it's just about as easy to scratch build from wood.
All you get in the kit is plans and a bunch of wood. Find some plans,
buy the wood from Northeastern, and you are in business. The old Model
Railroader had prototype plans in every issue. Start with the easiest,
a boxcar. They don't have windows, which can be tedious to cut square
and even, they don't have insides that need to look good, and the the
full roof and bottom make them strong. Northeastern sells milled boxcar
roof stock and matching floor material. Buy or make a pair of end
blocks, glue the roof and floor to the end blocks. Make sides out of
thin bass wood sheet. For a steel car, the paper from a glossy
photograph works well as siding. For a wood car, use scribed basswood
sheet. You can buy ready-to-go wood truck bolsters. Make the main
floor beam and the roof walk from strip wood. Buy or scrounge ladders,
grab irons, trucks, and brake gear. Dreadnought ends can be purchased
or cannibalized from junker train show cars. Paint brushes on well, you
don't need an airbrush. A coat of box car red, or a spray can of red
auto primer, some decals, and you have a very good looking car. They
only take a few evenings to assemble. Tool requirements are modest, an
Xacto knife, a scale rule, some twist drills and a pin vice.
Well, maybe. I took a look at some of the unbuilt wood car kits I have,
designed in the late 50s/early 60s. I decided that apart from the basic
body, almost everything else would have to be replaced. Some die-cast
underbody parts and doors are OK (and add weight), but ladders,
roofwalks, brake parts, grab irons, door tracks and so on are just not
up to current standards. AFAICT, the available wood freight car kits are
still the old designs. Compared to resin kits (for example) they just
don't cut it.
A modern, upgraded wood car kit would have to have all major parts laser
cut to size, painted and printed. Tab and slot construction, exact scale
parts for brake gear, ladders, roofwalks, etc, even if that entailed
different materials. A fairly elaborate kit, requiring new tooling, and
therefore expensive. Definitely a niche market item.
OTOH, I'm assembling a 4-wheel PRR caboose from Ye Olde Huff'n'Puff. The
roofwalk is too thick (I may replace it with card), the end ladders are
thin stampings, the hand grabs are spot on - IOW a typical kit from the
50s-70s, made up of as many readily available materials as possible. But
I like it (I have a soft spot for 4-wheel bobbers anyhow.)
Nostalgia can be a powerful motivating force. :-)
I am in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Around 35 to 40 years ago I bought a number of La Belle, Ambroid, Scotia
scale Models and Northeastern kits of American outline wagons and
passenger carriages. I have assembled some of them.
There was a scarcity of local outline models then.
Now I want to model the local prototype exclusively and want to sell my
collection of American outline models.
A local person indicated some interest. But if his answer to me is that
he doesn't want them, would you be interested?
You could write to me off group.