Silk purse from sow's ear dept

From somewhere, (probably a yard sale) a low end Bachman hopper car turned up in my collection of stuff the other day. I hate to just throw
stuff out, so I did some improvements on this poor old thing. Step A was replace the talgo mount horn hook couplers with body mount Kadee's, so it would couple with the rest of my fleet. A couple of bits of styrene strip glued to the center beam made pads to mount the standard Kadee coupler pockets. A number 50 drill in a pin vice makes holes to accept 2-56 screws from my scrap box to secure the coupler pocket lids. A snip with Xuron rail nippers offed the old talgo coupler boxes from the trucks. Step B was a shot of Dullcote over the entire model to kill the gloss in the factory paint, which was so glossy it glittered in the light. Follow up by masking the sides of the car and spraying the bottom with dark gray auto primer to give it that grimy 100000 miles since the wash rack look, and a coat of red auto primer on the inside of the hopper to give it that rusty steel look. Also spray the glossy black trucks with the red primer for the rusty steel look. Step C, make a coal load from scrap pine and hobby shop loose coal. Step D, treat the car to the last set of good metal wheels in the spare parts locker. Note to self, restock on metal wheels next time I get to Charles Ro. Result, one fairly decent looking hopper car from a real cheapo trainset car.
David Starr
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*snip: improvements David made*

I've been reasonably satisfied with the detail on the Bachmann cars. They're worth putting new trucks and KD couplers on, I've done it a couple times myself.
Bachmann's started putting their EZ-mate couplers on cars now, so those no good, waste of plastic and the energy to make them hork hooks are gone!
Puckdropper
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David Starr wrote:

[...]
The IHC hoppers also have above average body moldings, a do some of their other cars. It pays to look at "junk" - often the body is just fine as is, or else it may have the right dimensions for a bash to a prototype you can't get otherwise.
I usually replace the trucks, too. Plug the bolster pin hole with plastic rod 9sprue), drill a new hole for the 2-56 truck mounting screw. Then add the pad for the knuckle coupler.
BTW, those plastic bread-bag (etc) fasteners are good for coupler box pads. They come in several thicknesses, too.
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Wolf

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It is less expensive to just buy a cheap car new that is decent like Trainman or Walther kit.

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Depending on how easy you want to be: Kadee talgo trucks are also available so the whole thing could be replaced if you don't mind the coupler mating on curves problem (or have broad radius curves to start with).
On the other hand, many of those old train set cars have very good truck detail, but it shows up lousy because it is all dark glossy black.
One of my old train set gondola cars got the "battering" treatment by using a soldering iron to create some realistic dents in the side....until I got a little too carried away and made a really odd looking melted glob bulge in one area. Maybe the car got too close to a blast furnace?
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The despammed service works OK, but unfortunately
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Actually I prefer body mount couplers for the superior backing performance. Plus I didn't have any Kadee talgo trucks and my LHS is a long way away from here. I do have Kadee couplers and styrene strip on hand.

I paint my black plastic trucks with red auto primer for the rusty steel look of the prototype. It has the extra advantage of letting the truck detail show up better.

David Starr
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Folks:
Supposedly the Model Power 40' boxcar (which, rumor has it, is made on old Marx dies) is a decent AAR 1937 car...or is that Mantua or Life-Like? I forget which...
Those Marx HO cars did have nice rivet detail, as does the Tyco 50' flatcar, which is a very nice model in many ways.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President,a box of track and some L-girders.
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Sounds like an interesting project.
The Bachmann quad offset hopper is basically a direct rip off of the Athearn car. It's one of the few cars in both lines that are models of real cars, in this case, the ARA 1926 quad offset hopper. The Bachmann car has one thing over the Athearn car, detail wise. It doesn't have opening hopper bays, so they're a bit more accurate.
The other big problem is that most of them, Athearn and Bachmann, have unrealistic paint schemes that are several decades newer than the cars would have had in their operating lives.

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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote:

Such as the Athearn hopper in B&M Mcginnis blue, a paint scheme for which I have never encountered a proto type photo...
David Starr
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