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Project Builds, Detailing, Painting, Weathering


Let's build a resin box car kit

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I'm going to try to document my building of this kit. Yes, Westerfield's not producing right now (supposed will resume) but they're pretty readily available on Ebay and, over here at least, they do show up at train shows. One thing to look out for is the age of the kit...the oldest kits will have an address of Illinois on the box - almost all of them were made from a very dark gray metal filled resin. And that stuff's no fun to work with...dulls drill bits, knives and will shatter like glass if dropped on a hard floor. Avoid it. The late Illinois and all the product from Crossville TN are of a lighter grey resin that's flexible, softer and not a pain to work with.


Anyway, here's what comes in the typical kit:




On the left - roof with running board aka roofwalk; in the middle one car side w/ door tracks, center sill flanges, another small bit I've not yet identified, and brake wheels; the other car side with a slew of other detail parts; and the floor casting. On the right, the ends, ladders (PRR car with peculiar wide ladders, usually Tichy parts are suppled there), and AB brake bits. At the top, the Tichy K brake sprue (use the levers and other bits from it as I'm building an AB brake car), two poly bags with grab irons, corner steps, and other resin bits.


All these resin bits are not called out in some sort of illustrated instructions. Most resin kits don't do that in the instructions - Westerfield doesn't. Rail Yard kits were very clear in their instructions...Sunshine's are more like Westerfield; Funaros are hit and miss. Newer Funaros are more clear whilst old kit's instructions are not much more than a two sided typewritten sheet. Building ingenuity is required!


Anyway, a close up of the ends 'sheet' of parts




The parts are cast in polyester resin in a mould that has only one side; the caster fills the mould from the top and applies a vacuum to pull air bubbles out. The back of the castings are dead smooth; my understanding is that the caster overfills the mould a little and that creates the 'flash' that all the parts are stuck in. So you, as the builder, get to deal with the flash by trimming it off carefully with a sharp blade or by placing the part backside down on a sheet of 220 grit sandpaper and sanding till the flash is tissue thin or just falls off on its own.


But first...we must clean the parts. They have mould release agents on them...and paint doesn't stick well to that. Steve Funaro at Funaro & Camerlengo recommends a liquid laundry pretreating product sold over here as "Shout"...I'd hope there's something similar in the UK. Sylvan Models also makes a 'resin prep' product that looks like it's mostly acetone. I've had good lucking using the Shout...and I do it before I start assembly. And I'm going to go wash the parts now :)

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I'll be interested in seeing the process, I'm building my first resin kit and although I've built a fair few UK styrene kits of equal quality I'm finding using CA a steep learning curve, At least the instructions on mine are pretty comprehensive.

With regards to the slightly-thicker-than-the-moulds nature of the part cause by the slight overfilling causing the flash, is this generally designed it or do the parts need some sanding off the back?

I've been keeping an eye on ebay, and while there always seem to be Westerfield kits on, none of them are the PRR GRa I'm looking for!

Edited by Talltim

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The first step, after determining all the bits are in the box, is to begin working on the carbody box. Some guys build the box then add details; some (and Westerfield recommends) detail completely then build the box. I'm in between. I add the wire bits then build the box, then add the glued on parts like ladders and brake parts. I feel like being drilled and mounted that the wire bits will stand up to the handling that comes with the main body construction.


I've already cleaned the flash off the ends using 220 grit paper and sanding til tissue thin. Take care at this point not to knock off small details...work slowly. Remove the flash with a sharp #11 and try to square up the edges without cleaning off rivets or seams. You will probably have to fine tune the ends more at box assembly. Drill thru the #79 holes for the wire bits. In most places you'll find small dimples as drill locators. If they're not there, I use the tip of my #11 blade to make a dimple. Drill with a pin vise...I rarely use motor tools. Place the parts, getting the spacing from the body equal as possible for all grabs. I apply thin CA from behind and let it wick up to secure the part. I end up with parts that look like this, with wire protruding from the back.


post-751-0-01971000-1333636463_thumb.jpg post-751-0-02559300-1333636478_thumb.jpg


Yes, that bottom grab is not applied well...I'll deal with it later. And the other bottom grab is 'backwards' relative to the bolt detail...prototypical for the car. The protruding bits won't work at box assembly - I trim them off as flush as possible with flush cutting nippers then use a large mill file to get them truly flush. I lay the file on my bench and carefully slide the parts across it a few times. I end up with this:




Next step - the sides...

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Continuing on...the sides are prepped in the way you prepped the ends - trim the flash, drill for the grab irons, file backs flush. At this point take the sides and floor and make certain that they are the same length. If they're not, make them the same length by sanding or filing or, in extreme cases like this particular car, with a razor saw. The floor was a good 2mm longer than the ends - I trimmed 1mm off each end still leaving it a bit long, then worked the excess off on my sandpaper. You want the floor and sides to be as close as possible to identical in length...if they're not the car won't be square or you'll have gaps where the ends meet the sides. Or both. And with some cars the roof fits between the ends as on this car...so I let the roof be the determining factor for length as it as details on the ends. If the roof sits on top of the box then don't worry too much about it yet.



Most flat kit instructions will tell you to build two assemblies like this:




I assemble mine with a couple of small dabs of contact cement, then tiny drops of CA...without doing this I'd either need a jig to hold stuff or grow myself a prehensile tail which would be awkward out in public. The contact cement/CA combination holds the parts in place yet they can be popped apart if adjustment is needed. Use a small square to keep the side/end, well, square. Making the two assemblies then attaching them to the floor usually works...taking care to get it level against the end, tack on the floor at the ends only with tiny drops of CA, bring the sides up to the right level against the opposite end, then tack them to that end but not the floor. When it looks good and square and no excessive gaps, add more CA. If in handling you push on a grab iron and it pops free and pushes in, just push it back flush to the backside and add a bit more thin CA to the backside. It will wick in and restick the grab. When you're satisfied with the fit, add more glue to the end/side joints and glue the floor/side/end joints.


But in this car's case, the L assembly method didn't work. The floor was a tiny bit too narrow - not an uncommon issue. I ended up taking it all back apart, gluing on one end only at the floor, then working my way around by gluing the vertical surfaces only, not to the floor. By taking care to center the first end, everything else worked out...the side to floor gap ended up being less than .005" so I chose to disregard it and was able to glue the sides to the floor without styrene strip fillers If it's more than .005" I'll add filler strips. Frankly resin car sides aren't the truest things in the world so a sub-.005" glue on won't show.


And an important point to make here - the reverse sides of resin parts are very shiny, glossy. CA doesn't adhere all that well to it. Rough every every glue surface...a few rubs across the file or sandpaper is adequate - you just want to break the gloss.

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Hi All;


I've just purchased my first resin boxcar kit.  Opening the box and looking at what I got feels kinda like Christmas.  My eyes behold the wonders of resin kits.  I'm new to RMweb and found this particular thread to be of interest.


Craig, I'd be interested to find out how you made out with your build.  Right off the bat I find that these kits require patience and some new methods of construction.  I'm very happy with the challenge, however, and have proceeded, albeit somewhat slowly so far.  So far, so good.


I hope you're out there somewhere, Craig. 




Gord Schneider

Brantford, ON, Canada

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I have an F&C milk car resin kit that I look at every now and again, then put back in the drawer. Whilst most of the construction looks straightforward, what keeps putting me off is the one piece, fully encircling handrail. The kit is supplied with resin knobs and rail which, quite frankly, wouldn't last 5 minutes in layout service. I will have to replace with brass knobs and wire rail.


The other issue is, as mentioned above, the need to use CA. Not a product of which I am fond.


Still, if I want a milk car then this is the only game in town...



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