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GBW #682

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This HO McKean 40' PS-1 boxcar kit came pre-painted and lettered by Accurate Finishing for GBW #682 with a 1967 rebuilt date on the car.  The kit is a close, though not exact, model of the prototype, but it does a good job capturing the overall feel of GBW's ubiquitous yellow boxcar fleet of the 1960s and beyond.

The Prototype

The GB&W's 650-691 series were ex-Buffalo Creek RR 40-foot PS-1 boxcars built in 1947 and acquired by the Green Bay Route in May 1962. These cars had 7-foot Superior doors. It is classified as car type "XP" because it has special interior fixtures for loading large paper rolls.  They were delivered to the railroad in the an all-yellow paint scheme with the "Home of the Packers" emblem on the left side of the car. In June 1967 the cars were repainted without the Packers emblem and with black ends.

Thanks goes out to GB&W railfans and modelers Andy Laurent, Bob Welke, Craig Wilson, Darin Umlauft, and Phil Buchwald for helping research the prototype car.

The Model

There is a photo of the completed model at the bottom of this page.

I assembled the kit basically following the kit instructions, with the following modifications:

The kit came with two types of 8' wide doors - Pullman Standard and Youngstown types.  I chose the PS type as the closer match to the 7' Superior doors of the prototype.  I left the optional roofwalk off of the model since the the car was shopped in 1967 which was right about the time that the Federal Railroad Administration began requiring that roofwalks be taken off of cars.

My first hunch was that the ladders were shortened when the roofwalk was removed, so I cut the side ladders and the end ladder opposite the brake wheel just above the fourth rung.  Subsequent research by people on the Yahoo! : GBW list revealed that the side ladder nearest the brake wheel remained full height.  So I picked up some replacement freight car ladders from Creative Model Associates and used them on the car.  The CMA ladders are nice, much more scale thickness than the ladders included with the McKean kit.

Many of the holes for mounting grab irons and ladders were undersized and I needed to drill them slightly larger with a pin vice.  It's much better to have them undersized than oversized, I guess.  The coupler lift bars didn't fit on the model very well (not to mention that they looked pretty delicate), so I decided to leave them off the completed model.

The wheels supplied with the kit didn't pass the NMRA gauge (tire width too narrow) so I replaced them with some 33" plastic wheelsets from Walthers.  I also added Kadee #58 couplers, instead of the "clones" that came with the kit.

The new ladders were brush painted using Delta Ceramcoat Opaque Yellow acrylic paint.  I also painted the grab irons that came with the kit.  They came painted black, but all photo evidence is that no GB&W yellow cars ever had black grab irons.  The paint was a close enough match to the yellow of the boxcar, especially after the car was lightly weathered.  I painted some tackboards to apply to the car, but wasn't happy with the color match of the tackboards against the car door and opted to leave them off.  Perhaps if someday I get a better match of the yellow paint used by Accurate Finishing, I'll paint the tackboards and attach them to the doors.

I also used some Delta Ceramcoat Black paint to touch up the end ladders where the black paint that came with the kit wasn't complete.  I also painted the bare metal axles of the wheelsets black.

Since I model 1966 on my layout, this car would be virtually brand new on my layout.  (As a matter of fact, the paint scheme the model has wasn't used until 1967!).  I airbrushed the trucks and wheels with Badger Modelflex Weathered Black paint.  Then I thinned the paint about 2:1 with airbrush thinner and lightly misted a layer of grime along the bottom of the car.  I added a 2:1 mist of Modelflex Mud to the model, mainly along the sides, lower part of the car ends, trucks, and couplers.  The upper part of the car was left unweathered.  

I bought out the details in the doors and ladders by applying a thin wash of Modelflex Weathered Black (thinned about 6:1 with airbrush thinner) applied with a wide brush.  The effect of this wash shows up better on the actual model than this photo indicates.  Finally, I touched up the "air hose" on the coupler with Delta Ceramcoat Black paint.

Although the prototype car was used in paper service, on my model Green Bay & Waupaca RR the car will be in the general boxcar fleet, serving industries along the railroad.  It is one of the newest cars on the roster, and the clean lines of the roof without a walkway will stand out from the majority of the cars on my layout.

Model and photo by Mark Mathu, 2001

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Updated July 11, 2015