rolling stock/weights

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Charles Mark, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. Charles Mark

    Charles Mark Member

    Have digital scale/weights and many rolling stock. Is there a proper method to take box cars apart to add weight? Then how to put them back together? First one I tried I must have broke something so top won't stay on. New at hobby. Thanks:)
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Charles, I don't think there's any one answer. How to disassemble a box car (or any other kind of car) would depend on the manufacturer, etc. Maybe someone (not me, unfortunately) can provide some general tips, but for anything more specific you would need to provide more details.
  3. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Most boxcars have the body attached to the underframe by means of either a press fit or small tabs on the underframe pressing against the body.
    Intermountain boxcars can only be accessed by removing the roof (a most unpleasent task at times) which is why I prefer their kits rather than the assembled ones, which makes it easy to install weights.
    Also, when installing weights, attach them to the floor of the car (I prefer them over the wheels) to provide a low center of gravity.
    I say this because I have seen modelers who have installed weights to the top of the roof or (in at least 2 cases) on one side:eek:, and have then complained that their cars would not stay on the tracks and would keep falling over:rolleyes:.
    Hope this helps.
    Happy modeling and Cheers!

  4. Charles Mark

    Charles Mark Member


    Thanks/one of my problems is I have several different mfg's of cars and not knowing what any are, other than micro trains and they don't need additional weight. I used small screwdriver blade to pry with but evidently broke off piece inside that would hold body on. They are next to useless [derail] if not properly weighted it seems.
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    The Feburary issue of Model Railroader Magazine has an article on adding weights. You might want to get a copy before they new issue comes out. I'm new at this too so I look everywhere and ask a lot of questions.

    Taking apart anything, especially something made of plastic, takes a lot of patience to find those little tabs and hidden screws, and a lot of care that you don't cause unwanted damage. I've been taking things apart since I was a kid, and that's a bunch of years, a bunch; and I've ruined a lot of good stuff in the process, especially those times I lost patience.

    Try prying the sides away, not with a screwdriver, but with a flat, thin knifeblade, gentally peer underneath to find the tabs and then pry just enough to free one side and the other will follow (I hope).

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The usual problem is to keep the floor in when you pick the car up.:)
    Look at the bottom of the car; if the floor and sides seem to be different plastic pieces (usually the floor is black and the sides coloured) you should be able to slide a knife between side and floor as Don said. There may be problems if someone has glued the floor in. (Are these used, since you don't know the brand?)
    There should be a maker's name or country of origin on the underframe.
    The tabs on the side of the underframe are quite small, and you can easily carve them off in error. You may have to glue the floor back in. Try Woodland Scenics' new temporary glue.
  7. Charles Mark

    Charles Mark Member


    Thanks again/I was successful with the third car I attempted and with some minor adjustments it is running fine. I spent some time in a local hobby shop today where the owner took bottom of a new car off to demonstrate for me and gave me similar advice you guys gave as well. While I was there I bought 9 new Micro Train cars that run very nicely. Now on to correcting weight in more rolling stock.
  8. Dan Brown

    Dan Brown New Member

    I also leave M/T cars alone but weight all other makes to same weight. When you try covered hoppers the roof is to be removed. Need to gently pull to make sure. Some tank cars have a screw that are under the underframe going into the tank holding both together, others are just a press fit toward the bottom of the tank. I also weight the caboose to help in tracking.
  9. nmtexman

    nmtexman Member

    Weighing In

    NMRA actually has a standard:

    0.5 oz + (0.15 oz * length of car in inches).

    Thus a 50' reefer that is 4 inches long should weigh in at about

    0.5 oz + (0.15 oz * 4)
    0.5 oz + (0.6 oz) = 1.1 oz.

    This works well for boxcars and the like, but I have problems with tankers. Realistically speaking, liquids weigh more that most solids; i.e., a gallon of water weighs ~ 5-6 pounds and takes up about 1/2 a square foot of space.

    Cars do ride better if they have some weight. I generally will add about 0.25 oz to most cars (MicroTrains, Roundhouse, Atlas, etc), 0.50 to the less expensive light ones (Bachmann, LifeLike, etc.)

    As far as taking them apart, it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. I know that a ConCor Auto parts car is held together by the screws used to hold the trucks on. In the case of most box cars, the frame is simply snapped into the body.
  10. Dan Brown

    Dan Brown New Member

    Anybody know what could be used short of making lead autos to weight the Arnold auto carriers. They have a small metal center frame the rest is plastic. Where do people put weight and where in ConCor passenger cars. Thank you Dan
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    the weight is not related to prototype; it is a device to get model cars to run better. The exact weight doesn't matter as much (within limits) as having all your cars weighted similarly. If all your cars are light, they may operate well together, until you put a metal caboose on the end of the train.
    Some modellers weight tank and other closed cars by drilling a hole and pouring in lead shot. Not sure how they make it solid.
  12. stary

    stary Member

    I read in one of the Kalmbach books (I forget which one) that you can glue in lead shot with gap-filling C.A. adhesive ("super glue")
  13. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    I use CA to glue solid lead weight, however, when gluing lead shot to the bottom of my hoppers and tank cars, I prefer use white glue. Just squeeze in a little glue and apply the shot untill you are at the desired weight.
    It makes removal easy too, Just soak in warm water to soften the glue and, with a pair of tweezers or a small screwdriver, gently pry the whole thing out.


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