Large Scale Central

A Private Hunting Car from an Accucraft Coach

Let me start with a little background for this project. Many years ago, I built a Private Car which some of you may remember. It one Best of Show at the 2011 Narrow Gauge Convention.

After a while, I thought it looked lonely running all by itself. So I decided to add a car. The one thing that came to mind was a sort of support car that would be available for special trips. After some thought, I concluded that it had to be a car that provided the capability of housing extra people and equipment whenever the owner decided to go on a hunting trip across the great western expanses.

Of course, the car that would best suit this purpose was some form of a combine configuration. However, back at that time there were no inexpensive plastic 1:20.3 combine models available. Accucraft only sold a coach. Luckily, a company (no longer in existence) called Rio Grande Models out of England did produce a combine kit that was fully compatible with Accucraft models. All one had to do is remove the sides of the Accucraft car and replace them with the combine kit sides. They fit perfectly. But that wasn’t good enough for me. I had to make it unique and as highly detailed as possible. So here’s the story.

I’ll start off by stating a recurring regret. I didn’t take enough pictures at the beginning of the construction. What I first did was completely take apart the Accucraft car. I discarded the sides and all the flooring except for the plastic framing including the end platforms. I saved the roof and car ends. Since I threw away the original plastic floor and the metal plate, I had to make new bolsters. I made these out of brass stock and threaded nuts.

I then replaced the plastic and metal floor with a 1/8” plywood floor.

Next, I applied basswood flooring. I get the flooring from Micro Mark. They sell pre-glued decking sheets for their ship building supplies. I have used these sheets for several projects.

The Rio Grande Models kits were highly detailed. Everything was laser cut. This photo shows some of the wooden pieces included in the kit. All the wood pieces for the windows were also included. The only things I had to add were the quarter rounds for the door openings.

The interior is where I began my own detailing. I started with the car ends. I cut off all the original mounting points and gave them a thorough sanding.

I then added a plywood inner layer.

I did the same thing with the doors.

These are now the interiors of the car ends with the additional paneling stained in two different colors.

I did the same treatment for the car partition. This is the passenger side.

And this is the baggage side.

Here are the interiors of the two sides. The coach/passenger sides are paneled and stained and the baggage sides are veneered with horizontal scribed basswood and painted.

I added basswood strips to the interior of the baggage doors to simulate paneling and a pieces of brass channel to allow the doors to be opened and closed.

After painting and glazing the doors, I added some hardware details.


That’s it for now. Be back later with roof and other interior details.


Remember? How could one forget that work of art? I feel fortunate to have seen it in person. And now you’re doing it again! Great job Don!

Thanks Tom. Always glad to hear from you.

Your use of two stains creates a wonderful, beautiful look. Fantastic. I am gonna have to try that if/when I ever try to make something that looks nice instead of looking decrepit.

Following with interest!

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Wow! That sure looks great - and if it’s anything like the other, I know that it looks even BETTER in person!

Wonderful work!

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My feelings exactly. ECLSTS 2009 - in progress I guess as the decals are not fitted:

For anyone who wants a similar combine without the fancy woodwork, Alan at G.A.L. has CAD files for laser cutting sides for the Accucraft coach.

Thanks Jim and Bruce. Yes Pete, that was close to a finished product at that show. Here are a couple of interior shots of the finished Private Car from my archives.

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Spectacular, Doc!

Is the carpet a paper photocopy of a real carpet? Such detail in it!

Love the woodwork, and I always drool over your light fixtures.

Did you use dollhouse furniture kits, or…?

Thanks Cliff. The carpets are real. The fixtures are 1:24 dollhouse parts.


Before going into more interior details, I want to describe what I did to the roof. The first thing I did was to remove all of the mounting tabs, posts and lighting fixtures and give it a good sanding. This gave me a clean, unobstructed surface.

Then I glued on sections of scribed, styrene strips.

Here’s the result. The gap down the middle will serve as a channel for wires for the new lighting fixtures.

Here’s the final result. The new paneling was painted a yellow gold and the dollhouse lighting fixtures have been installed.

And, a close-up of the fixture. The wires for the lamps run under the center channel.

As for the roof’s exterior, I got a little lazy on this one. In the past, I’ve gone to some extent to make the roof coverings as realistic as possible. I’ve used masking tape, aluminum duct tape and, in one case, actual copper sheets. However, in this project, I simply used thin masking tape strips to mimic the seams and then painted over with black paint. These are two photos of the striping before painting.

This is a photo of the finished product.

Now moving on to the interior detailing. First the two stoves. One at each end of the car. For the coach end, I started with an old stove salvaged from some car I don’t remember. I sanded it and applied some styrene and metal bits.

After painting.

For the baggage area, I started with a piece of tubing and applied styrene pieces and some pins to finish.

And, after painting. The baggage area stove had to have a cook top for obvious reasons.

For the seating in the passenger section, I retained some of the original Accucraft seats. After cutting them from the plastic base, I covered them with a fuzzy fabric.

I needed a cabinet of some kind to house the battery for my lighting, so I decided to make it an ice chest. A perfect item for my baggage/hunter support area. The hardware is scratch made.

What would a private hunter car be without guns? These were modified from dollhouse furniture guns. The cabinet is basswood.

Another thing a well-equipped hunting car needs is a proper toilet. Not just an average one but a truly up-scale one. The one on the right is what came with the Accucraft car and, of course, the one on the left is the new one.

Here is an interior view. Sorry to say that the lamp isn’t operational.

Here is the toilet installed.


The seating arrangements in the coach section were based solely on my imagination. A few of the seats were set face-to-face with tables to allow guests to converse and eat their meals.

This is a close-up of a table. In real one-to-one operations, the leg would fold under and the table would fold down to allow guest more leg room.

I installed a channel that the table rests on. This allows the table to be completely removed if desired. Although the coach section has to fold-down beds, removing the table would permit the addition of a board, laid between the seats, which would serve as additional beds.

Here’s a view of the table installed.

As I did in my Private Car project, I installed fabric blinds on the windows in the coach section.


That’s it for now. I’ll return for the finish.


"What I first did was completely take apart the Accucraft car. I discarded the sides and all the flooring except for the plastic framing including the end platforms. I saved the roof and car ends. Since I threw away the original plastic floor and the metal plate, I had to make new bolsters. "

Call out the peasants with pitchforks and torches!
He threw parts out! Sacrilege! Heathen practices!

Lou, I still have those sides if you’re interested. Maybe I misspoke. I hardly ever throw anything away.

Absolutely brilliant.

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You may regret not using the metal weight floor? Although I swapped them for an aluminum floor as they were a tad heavy!

You’ll find there is a demand for the old sides - I sold all mine!

Pete, By the time I added all the extra detailing, this thing is pretty heavy. I haven’t advertised the sides yet. I also have the original plastic floor with all the seats attached.

Perhaps I missed it but how do you flush the toilet ?

Outstanding modeling work as always

Son, no need to flush… It deposits right onto the roadbed…


Stunning, Doc. As always, but even more so.

Feel free to write a book on how you make your door & sink & light & other hardware, I’d sure snap up an advance copy!!!

All I know Dad is Doc smokes more crack than I do !

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I know how I made a sink back in the day in the hood.

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