Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Thursday, May 05, 2016

TBT - 1980's Detail Parts

I was doing some cleaning up around the workbench and came across 2 items purchased a while ago to help with freight car detailing and modeling in the 1980's. Back then of course we did not have as many options with prototype specific freight cars and modifying existing kits was necessary to push towards more accurate models.

The first item addressed a need to duplicate what the real railroads have been doing over the past decade of the 1970's - removing roof walks from boxcars. Many older 40 and 50 foot boxcars had their ladders lowered and roof walks removed, so it was natural to model that as well if you were a "current" era modeler, which I was at the time.

But removing the roof walk of an Athearn boxcar left you with 4 rather large holes to fill in. Hence the introduction of "Roofwalk Plugs" by I believe CM Shops.

These 4 plugs fit nicely into the Athearn roof, and have a matching rib detail to help blend the roof.
Not a lot of use for these now as more accurate "modernized" 40' boxcars can be purchased in model form already without the roofwalk. Even some older models with roof walks have such small holes that plugging them is not a big deal. Not sure if you can even find this product any more, except buried deep in an older hobby shop perhaps.

Next up was a cool add on for hopper cars. It seems the capacity of some older cars with flat sides were increased with the addition of side panel extensions that protruded between the ribs, as shown here on this D&H model:

An older issue of Model Railroading had a cool picture of a Central Vermont hopper car with some of these panel extensions added, but not completely on every panel. It was a cool effect, and I know I wanted to model that.

To model that appearance, a company (maybe Tichy?) produced styrene panels that you could glue to the sides of existing Athearn rib side coal hoppers. Here a look at some of them I came across:

These parts fit in specific locations between the ribs of the coal hopper to duplicate the look of the D&H car shown above.
It was pretty neat coming across these older parts which really helped you create unique models that were otherwise unavailable. I doubt I'll be using these parts, although I believe in a box somewhere is the CV hopper replicating the look of the car that did not have all the panels. That would explain why I only came across some of the panels from the original detail part. So maybe I'll dig that out and finish it one day.


Tom Patterson said...


I still have a bunch of those CM Shops roofwalk plugs. And there are a handful of cars on the railroad that have them installed. It was a great idea, but they didn't work so well as there were small gaps between the plugs and the holes. I eventually resorted to using scraps of plastic sprues instead.

Nice trip down memory lane- thanks.

Tom Patterson

Unknown said...


the raised panels hopper sides are still available from Pikstuff #4000 from Rix products wibe site.

Marc Boivin