Looking for unlettered covered hoppers

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by 2-8-2, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    One featured industry on my layout is going to be a grain elevator. I live in the heart of farming country here in Ohio, and have lots of inspiration for building one. Since my railroad is ultimately a tribute to my late grandfather, a farmer and N scale railroader, I feel that this industry must be a focal point.

    I already have a few NKP covered hoppers, but I also want some for my freelanced road. Who makes high quality unlettered N scale covered hopper cars? I want to paint these myself, in my road's colors. If you know of an online source, please let me know.

    I'm also looking for a source for dry-transfer N scale car lettering.
  2. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    Intermountian offers (or at least used to offer) all of their un-assembled cars undecorated, and I've been able to get them from my normal online and local shops.

    Atlas offers some of their items undecorated too, and should be available direct from them (when they are released), or from the same online and local shops.

    That being said, if you are able and willing to go to the point of painting and lettering your models, stripping the paint should be well within your skill set. Simply disassemble the model, soak the painted items in 91% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, use an old toothbrush to clean things off, rinse it off well with water, set aside to dry completely, and you are ready to paint and letter. If you are leery about how well this will work for you, the alcohol isn't expensive, and if you have an old, nasty, car you don't care about laying around, you can test the process on it.

  3. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Intermountain...that's it! I had a brand in mind but couldn't think of it.

    I had considered buying pre-painted/lettered models and just redoing them as you mentioned. Seems like some of the more unpopular road names sell for cheap, any of those will do. I worry about harming the plastic with all that paint stripping.
  4. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    That has been my experience on places like eBay.
    That's the nice thing about the alcohol, it is so much friendlier to plastics than commercial strippers. I can't say that I've stripped every kind of plastic out there, but I haven't run into a plastic, resin, or styrene that is affected by a long dunking in isopropyl. The only issue I've had is that the lower edge of the windshield on the Life-Like GP20 cab is very fragile, and I've broken them when brushing. But that was my clumsy brushing, not the plastic.

  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Atlas makes a Undec 2 Bay ACF® Centerflow.ITEM # AT-3900

    Another thing you could do is paint out the road name and add your road name or lease cars from GATX or SHPX..
    Now my C&HV lease cars from GATX,SHPX and NS.We also lease Railbox and Railgon cars..This is based on some regional/short line practices.
  6. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I thought about doing that too. I'm modeling the early 1950's, my freelanced road opened their doors in the mid-40's. Were those leasing companies around back then?
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Just GATX ,ACFX SHPX and UTLX. Railbox and Railgon came along in the 70s. For your covered hopper you will be using the PS-2 Covd Hopper.Fr tank cars you will need the 11,000 Gal Tank Car,8,000 Gallon Tankcar and other small tank cars of that era.
  8. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I found these...Atlas GATX GACX #45148 and #45150. Will they work?

  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Yes..Those cars was built by GATX starting in 1953.Just watch out for the more modern names like Chessie,Conrail etc.:D Those are nice looking cars btw.
  10. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I ordered a couple of those. Unfortunately, Atlas only makes the GATX/GACX with two numbers. Two will work for my layout size, and I think it'll add some realism as well.

    Now that's out of the way, I can move on to making a couple of cars with my road's scheme. Which brings me back to my original post. Where's a good source for dry transfer lettering for N scale cars?
  11. Pete

    Pete Member

    CDS is one supplier for N scale dry transfers, but the owners have recently retired and shut down their business, so whatever stock is left on the shelves is all there will be.
    One seller on eBay has a fair selection of N left; his user ID is mob45 and i have no afiliation to him, other than being a happy customer.
  12. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    Depending on the desired color of your lettering, have you considered a print your own decal kit? It might be alot easier, quicker, and a neater, better aligned job.

    I can appreciate that there are considerations like cost (maybe, I don't know), what you are comfortable with, etc., so it might not be the right solution. I'm just putting it out as a consideration.

  13. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I'm comfortable with the process of designing decals, though I wouldn't know what materials to use. I imagine you'd have to have a pretty high quality printer to show any kind of detail for something as small as N scale.
  14. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Bev-Bel, Vita-Cal and even Testors make decal paper for ink-jet printers.Vita-Cal and Teators sell whole kits that come complete with paper and a cover coat spray.Testors kit comes with a disc with designs you can use, but this is mostly for model cars and trucks.
    The Vita-cal kit costs $30.00 USD, comes with a sample pack of 11" x 8 1/2" paper(three white, three clear) and a small can of cover coat. But you can get packs with five sheets of either for about twenty bucks.
    The Testors kit, comes with a design disc, and a small can of cover coat for about $10.00 USD(can be bought at Wally-World), but you have to buy the paper seperate, which comes with six sheets of 4" x 6" paper(three white, three clear) for another $6.00 USD. I have no idea about the Bev-Bel.
    What I do is buy a five pack of the Vita-Cal paper, and get a large can of Krylon "Crystal Coat" for about $4.00 USD at True Value.
    A seperat can of the Vita-Cal cover coat will cost about $10.00 USD
    The "Gauge" decal on both the HO and N scale Gauge cars were done on my computer.
    I have tried both. I think the Vita-cal paper is good, though the 11 x 8 1/2" paper is wasted when doing smaller decals. The Testors paper is nice for smaller decals, but I have had them get ruined and wrinkled when putting a finishing coat such as Dull-Coat over them.
    Hope this is helpful.
  15. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    The printer doesn't have to be too high-end. Like 88 said, most of those kits come for inkjets, and resolutions as low as 600x600 should at least work for railroad names and car numbers. Even before you lay out for a decal kit, you could print some trial lettering on basic white paper, and see if they work for you. Cut 'em out, and compare them next to a car, and see if it meets your needs.

  16. KATY

    KATY Member

    Just throwing this out, but really don't think hopper cars were used much for grain hauling in the early 50's. The box car with wood grain doors and later paper doors was pretty much the standard fare. Elevators were not set up to load/unload hopper cars, it's just a completely different setup.

    (36 years in grain business)
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Jack,You are correct.I think hauling grain in covered hoppers started in the late 50s and early 60s...I know there was boxcars with hatches on the roof for grain loading.
  18. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Thanks for the info. Where might I acquire these boxcars with hatches on the roof?
  19. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    2-8-2,I am not sure if they are available in N Scale..At lest I haven't seen any..
  20. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I was afraid of that...my searches haven't turned up anything in N scale either. It looks like I have two options:

    1) Bump up my timeframe.
    2) My road becomes a pioneer in the industry, being among the first to use covered hoppers for grain transport.

    Modeling the early 50's isn't something I really want to change. I have some company history in the works, and moving things ahead a decade just throws everything out of whack. Not to mention, I'm determined to run a steam engine on my layout as well, and it just won't work in the 1960's.

    However, I'm sure the powers that be at W&N headquarters could've said, "Hey, we just leased some covered hopper cars, why don't we use those in our grain sector?"

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