Large Scale Central

40' Pullman boxcar

Hi guys,
I thought you might be interested in one of my winter projects. This one began last summer when I was hanging around in the Cumbres & Toltec’s Antonito yard, waiting (naturally) for a train. On one of the exhibit tracks are a pair of Rio Grande 40’ Pullman boxcars. Here’s an example of one in service:

For my railroad, I tend to model things that are unusual so I decided to build one of these cars. The project will be a “five foot rule” build. The next time I was in Antonito I grabbed a bunch of dimensions from the various steel framing components. I then placed an order with Plastruct for a pile of plastic shapes.
I got a copy of the Grande’s folio sheet for these cars from John Tudek, a retired Rio Grande carman. During my research into these cars I also ran across a picture showing one of the Grande’s narrow gauge rider gons freshly converted to narrow gauge from one of the standard gauge Pullman boxcars for service on the Silverton Train. These cars are in service on the Durango & Silverton to this day. I decided to build one of the narrow gauge cars as well, thinking it would make an interesting flat car load on my standard gauge line.
Here are the car bodies, with the narrow gauge rider gon in the foreground and the standard gauge boxcar in the back:

I may cover the build of the narrow gauge car in a separate post. The car floors are 1/4" thick craft plywood from Midwest Products. The walls are 1/8" basswood sheets. The floors and walls were scribed with a dull X-acto blade to simulate individual boards.
As of yesterday the car has had a bunch of Plastruct added, along with some brass parts from Precison Scale. The trucks are Kadee 970; the couplers and air brake hoses are from Burl Rice. Our very own Devon Sinsley sent me some 3D printed air brake underbody details. The roof is Evergreen Products 0.060" styrene with some Plastruct strips applied to simulate a Murphy roof:

Since very little is available for the things I model in 1:29 scale, I had some custom dry transfers made by All-Out Graphics in Vancouver for this and some other projects:

That’s where this project is to date.



Looking good Matt. I guess I need to get to Antonito next time I get down that way. I spent several hours wandering the Chama yard taking pictures last July.

Thank you Jon.
Yesterday in a marathon work session before kickoff I got the boxcar far enough along for a coat of primer:

In the sunlight you can see a couple of places where the Z-channel has separated from the wood, something to touch up before painting.



I am a big fan of your work. You make it look so simple, and it comes out beautifully! I had been planning on “stealing” your basswood techniques quoted above for some of my “micro projects” (rehabilitation of bashed and battered LGB stuff) later this year. I am grateful to see you re-describe the technique here.


Hi Eric,
Thank you for your comments. The basswood technique beats the hell out of tiny individual strips of wood!
I was fortunate enough to wrap up this project during the week Here’s a shot of it after a thin coat of PBL D&RGW Faded Boxcar Red:

I decided to letter the car with older style D&RGW lettering on one side:

On the other side I used more modern lettering. After all, you can only see one side at a time:

Now, back to that rider gon project…


Great pics as always! You have the perfect background for them!! However I would like to see the re-railing pics :grinning:

It’s all good and nice work as always.

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Nice work! I was going to ask if you did it in 1:20.3, then I noticed you model 1:29.
I built a standard gauge 40" box car in 1:20.3 (riding on narrow gauge trucks) The dang thing was huge!