Freight Car Shells

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by rmonarrez, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. rmonarrez

    rmonarrez New Member

    I bought some hopper car shells and was wondering where can get the underframes and the weights for them?
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Depends - best bet is to start with the maufacturer of said shells. Can you identify who made them?

    Next best bet is to get parts from a similar model - e.g. Accurail sells separate parts for most of their kits. You'd likely have to buy one to determine compatibility, and then could order the required parts.

    Last option is to scratchbuild the underframes from wood, brass, or styrene.

    Weights can be cut from sheet lead or similar dense metal. Alternatively, if you can live with permanently loaded hoppers, the weight can be concealed in a load.

    Good luck, and welcome to The Gauge!

  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    :welcome1: to the Gauge.

    If you're unsure as to which company made the bodies, post a picture: someone may be able to identify the manufacturer.

  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I suspect the cost of buying the parts to build hopper cars from those shells will cost more than buying a bunch of Athearn blue box or Accurail kits. I think I would use the shells as an opportunity to learn about scratch building with brass. If you use brass square section tubing for the back bone of the frame, you could close off one end with a soldered piece of brass sheet, and fill the center section with lead shot followed by soldering a piece of brass plate to close off the other end. If you build your frame out of brass shapes, I think you might be amazed at how much weight you could hide in the frame so that you don't need any other weight for the model.
  5. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Nice idea Russ. For the price of the parts you get some experience soldering, scratchbuilding, and several hoppers you can take pride in because YOU built them.

    This is why I spend more time looking through the scrap boxes at train shows than the new items ready to run.

  6. rmonarrez

    rmonarrez New Member

    Response To Questions

    :wave:They Are all MDC hoppers which now belongs to athearn. Thanks for your guys help it will help me decide what i am going to do
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    With hoppers, the most challenging part to build (by far) is the hopper with all of its rivets. It would be really easy to fabricate a styrene frame and hide some weights under a "coal" load in the car.
  8. rmonarrez

    rmonarrez New Member

    Thanks for the replies but I have found that athearn has some of the parts hopefully I can get them:thumb:
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Make sure that the Athearn parts are for the MDC hoppers. MDC used a die cast frame to add weight to the model. Athearn used plastic frames and put steel weights in the slope sheets for weight.

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