Upgrading freight cars

I'm looking to upgrade my rolling stock from my mostly Athearn and Swap Meet cars to something a little better built and detailed. I've seen some nice
Accurail products but I'm asking what brands group members like for box cars and reefers. I'm not ready to move up to brass yet.
Carter
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Jeff Dippel wrote:

The primary question is: What era are you modeling? IMHO, for the wooden car era there's nothing like a real wood model. Taurus made some excellent wood craftsman kits for PFE and CRI&P reefers. Taurus was bought by Trout Creek Engineering who now puts them out under their own label. http://www.troutcreekeng.com/tcho.html
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Rick Jones
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The Accurail models are great starting places because they're nearly all dimensionally accurate so far as they go. Several of the guys in our club like to upgrade them by carving off the cast-on ladders and grab-irons and adding seperate detail parts, brake hoses, etcetera.
I'm currently using Accurail wood reefer kits as the basis for a short string of Tecate beer reefers: cars that simply aren't available unless you care to make 'em yourself.
~Pete
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I should have added that I'm modeling Transition Era and like the 40 ft. cars.
Carter
wrote:

The Accurail models are great starting places because they're nearly all dimensionally accurate so far as they go. Several of the guys in our club like to upgrade them by carving off the cast-on ladders and grab-irons and adding seperate detail parts, brake hoses, etcetera.
I'm currently using Accurail wood reefer kits as the basis for a short string of Tecate beer reefers: cars that simply aren't available unless you care to make 'em yourself.
~Pete
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Actually, the plastic cars tend to be a lot better detailed than the brass cars. For the most part, taking off the cast on grab irons and putting on wire ones helps a lot with the plastic cars. More important to operation of the cars is to replace the horn hook couplers with Kadees or McHenerys couplers and replace the wheels on the trucks with good ones with RP-25 wheelsets. Any cars with truck mounted couplers also need to have the couplers body mounted. Finally, doing a good job of "weathering" the cars will make them a lot better looking. You don't need to do a lot of weathering and don't do all of them the same and the trains will look a lot better.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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Red Caboose, Intermountain, Proto2K, and Branchline offer plastic models that are a bit nicer than some. They offer separately applied grab irons and ladders, scale size (and breakable) stirrups, and full brake rigging. Fun kits to build. My fleet is a mix of Athearn, Roundhouse, and the fancier kits. Looking at the cars on the layout (as opposed to held in the hand) the simpler Athearn and Roundhouse models look as good as the more highly detailed ones. Actually, the paint and weathering is more important to the looks of a car than fine superdetail. I take some care to paint over all the plastic gloss parts (wheels, trucks and underbody) with flat paints. Just painting the trucks, and the wheel faces does a lot.
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