As I have gone deeper into the operations of the layout, I have been trying to gather the correct cars for each of the industries. One of the considerations is a railroad's preference to deliver one of their own empty cars to an industry for loading. When looking through the 14 Micro-Trains gondolas in my collection, I found that I had only one Southern Pacific. I then did purchase a recent release of a Cotton Belt model. Golden West was a subsidiary of the SP and I was also able to purchase a Micro-Trains Golden West gondola on ebay.
And then I started looking at some lease / private owner gondolas. I really liked the RailGon gondolas, and Micro-Trains has done a few of those but I have not been able to find any. Athearn and Con-Cor have also done them but looking at the photos I was not happy with the quality of the paint work, specifically the blurry lines between the black and yellow along the bottom.
At a recent club open house I picked up a pair of Atlas models of the Thrall 2743 gondolas for $7.00 each. These are not quite the exact model as the prototype photo. The prototype has 14 panels and the model has 15. However the models are the correct length and the pillars between the panels appear to be a good match so I decided to try to create may own RailGons.
This particular decal set is no longer offered by Microscale but I was able to find two sets on ebay.
The trucks were removed from the plastic body and metal chassis. The chassis and body seemed securely attached and I did not attempt to separate them. I soaked the body / chassis a paint stripper from the hobby shop, then washed in warm water scrubbing with an old tooth brush.
When the paint removal was done I was surprised to find that one of the models was molded in black plastic and the other in gray plastic.
To have something for a clip to hold on to, I attached a scrap of plastic to the deck of the gondola with E6000 adhesive. This can be pulled off later without damaging the model. The gondola was then air brushed with Model Master gloss black. After letting that dry overnight I masked that areas that would remain black and sprayed with Trailer Train yellow. I had at first attempted to wrap the tape around each pillar to get a clean line but had trouble keeping the line straight so the tape was just applied to the surface of the pillars in a straight line.
After just a bit of touch up with a small brush, this is what I ended up with. I am satisfied with the result of the separation between the black and the yellow along the bottom which is what I had noticed was blurry on the Athearn and Concor models.
This is the end of part 1, I'll continue this project with decals and finishing in part 2.