The Rock Island Fowler clone boxcars have been featured in three different postings on my blog. The first story appeared on October 25,2019 that described modifications done to the original Rio Grande Fowler kit produced by San Juan Car Company. The November 18 showing the car painted and decaled. The last story appeared on December 11.
Now fast forward to a car built by Robert Leners that did not use the San Juan kit. He scratchbuilt this Fowler clone using the traditional methods of individual siding boards assembled to recreate the prototype construction. Robert picked the last version of the Rock Island Fowler car built for the railroad. The car was built in 1927 featured a 4/5 Dreadnaught end and a Youngstown steel door. The roof was a Murphy radial design. The railroad car diagram is shown below.
There are published drawings for the original Fowler clone ordered by the Rock Island. The undeframe is essentially the same for all three of the car configurations. Robert used the kit underframe as a guide in constructing a new one. One could reuse the kit underframe but building a new one is what Robert wanted to do.
Reusing the rest of the kit is not really worth the effort. The car requires a new roof, steel door and Dreadnaught ends. The diagonal straps on the car side are different on the steel end cars. Robert went ahead and built new sides using scale-sized ( 5-1/8″ wide) boards along with exterior posts made from .010″ styrene strips and Evergreen .060″ angle shapes.
The sides show the amount of work Robert invested in applying a ton of Grandt Line #9 nut and bolt castings. The prototype cars held the siding in-place using stove bolts with nuts applied on the outside of the steel post. The boards were not riveted to the frame since periodic maintenance would call for the replacement the wood boards. Rivets were used to assemble the “steel” parts together. Robert used .025″ Tichy plastic rivets on the car. These details show up on this restored NP boxcar.
You may have noticed the Dreadnaught end has a vertical seam in it. The end was cuto off of an Intermountain boxcar kit. The car had to be narrowed to match the correct car width.
Robert took a no-compromise approach to this build. This called for a scratchbuilt door. This might look like a lot of work butit goes very quickly using Evergreen and Plastruct styrene shapes.
The car starts to really pop when primer is applied.
Robert is a master at his craft. His work is crisp and flawless.
Paint and decals are done. Robert has a few more touches to apply before the book is closed. I couldn’t wait for the final touches so I decided to go ahead and post the material.
Thank you for sharing your work with us.