Old Varney boxcar

Went shopping for model RR stuff the other day, the first time in a looooong time; ended up buying some cheap cars on sale at a small local shop. One of the things I got was a Varney boxcar, for $3. Thought it might tickle some of the old-timers here to hear about it.

My reaction, then and now, is this: it looks pretty damn good. What attracted me to it in the first place was that it was obviously made of metal when I first saw it, and then picked it up and saw the wooden floorboard and cast metal underframe.

Now, I'm not claiming that the detail is anywhere near as good as even the current Athearn stuff. I'm guessing this is from the early '60s (the build date on the car is 8-64). A couple of things cry out for fixing, mainly the gap below the side sill on one side that the wood bottom shows through. But with a little weathering, and in the middle of a consist on a layout, this car would look pretty damned respectable. The details, all metal except for the underfloor stuff, is very good; the ladders look quite believable.

It's a weird one: "GAEX", green w/yellow lettering, with a big yellow stripe with "DF" on it. I have no idea what the prototype might be.

By the way, for those in the Bay Area, the store is Tinplate Junction, an interesting little shop in West Oakland (visible from BART), with a lot of O stuff as the name implies, but a fair amount of HO and N. Not the greatest store in the world, but worth checking out.

Reply to
David Nebenzahl
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"GAEX" started life as 'General American-Evans Co.', which later became 'General American Transportation Corp.', and still later became 'General American Marks Co.' I suspect the last one is where marks General American no longer uses, but want to hang on to, get stashed.

"DF" could be 'Durkee Foods', or in this day and age 'Drug Free' or 'Done For'.


Reply to

Len spake thus:

Is that Evans the car builder?

Reply to
David Nebenzahl

| "DF" could be 'Durkee Foods', or in this day and age 'Drug Free' | or 'Done For'.

"Damage Free" - a cargo restraint system.

Varney metal lettered in '60's seems odd. That's about when Varney went bung foo and the line had been plastic for some time. Could it be a post war car that someone repainted and lettered?

CTucker NY

Reply to

Christian spake thus:

So was this a manufacturer's demonstrator?

On closer examination, it appears that what I thought was a build date is probably something else; it says "B-64". So you're probably right, it's probably older, as everything looks original. (The metal body is attached to the floorboard with 6 wood screws.)

Reply to
David Nebenzahl

A quick Google search yielded

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which will answer most of your questions.

This site mentions that some of the first new DF loader equipped cars were built by General American Transportation Corp. in 1950. This would seem to match as Varney kit number B-64 with metal sides and a wooden floor is listed in the 1950 Varney catalog, but was discontinued by the issue of the

1953 catalog in which all of the box car kits have higher B- numbers and came with plastic floors. The box cars in the 1948 Varney catalog all have paper sides and lower B-numbers. Geezer
Reply to

Isn't DF a logo for Damage Free, some kind of load restraint system? I think they are on the car in a bold yellow italics format.


Reply to
Dan Merkel

The prototype is the 360 50' boxcars built as a joint venture between General American and Evans Products Company in 1950. At that time, Evans were an independent manufacturer and lessor of load restraining and carrier systems for boxcars.

The Varney kit is an interesting one. It features the correct markings for the 1950-build cars, but on a 40'carbody. Cars in these markings are known to have been leased to the following roads:


All the best,


Reply to

David Nebenzahl spake thus:

Here's a link to a scan of the car:

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Don't know how long this will be valid; it's one of those free image hosting sites.

Reply to
David Nebenzahl

On my new HO layout I have built several large mountains. I used the crumpled up newspapers with cardboard strip lattice method. Over this I have two layers of plaster cloth. I'm looking for suggestions as to what type of plaster, to use as a final layer, that I can brush or putty knife over this. I want to use something has a longer setup time than Hydrocal and can be purchased at hardware or building supply stores. I used the old paper towel dipped in plaster and applied over a chicken wire grid on two previous layouts and was not happy with the way that plaster held up. Thanks for your help. Don

Reply to
Don Goebel

I use drywall mud. Mixwith some laytex paint.

Reply to
Charles Kimbrough

"Don Goebel" wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@corp.supernews.com:

Drywall mud. Mix it with a bit of water. Not much water just a tablespoon or two for a cup. That's all it takes to make it runny enough to brush on with a paint brush. Somone else mentioned paint. I haven't thought of that. But I can see where dry pigment mixed with the plaster might be a good idea.

Reply to

I use just enough black to turn the mud gray so it won't show white when chiped.

Reply to
Charles Kimbrough

Gordon spake thus:

Sure; just dump some black (or whatever color turns you on) tempera powder into it. Extremely cheap, available everywhere.

Reply to
David Nebenzahl

Also, if you go to an industrial insulation sypply house, you can not only get your B-11 hydrocal in 50 bound bags for less than 10 bucks, you can also pick a 80 pound bag of either :Delta One Shot, or Smooth coat for less that 12 pucks a sack. These products are used as insulating cement for the tops of boilers and the lije in processing plants.

I've worked with these since my 7th grade social studies project and have fponf MANY

Reply to
the OTHER Mike

Don't know why your plaster didn't hold up but you do have to remember that the plaster can't be too thin or it won't interlock together. The first layer of the plaster cloth is there to provide a substrate for the top coats which should be properly mixed plaster. FWIW, I've found Hydrocal to be quite sufficient to do rock carving with, what with it's setup time and how soft it is at the beginning of the cured stage. I find that with practice, I can do more than a square foot of carving at one time.

-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?

Reply to
Bob May

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