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.|
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.|