I found an old book first published in 1941 by Kalmbach. The book is titled “How to build Railroad Models” by Frank Taylor. As the title suggests, it is about scratch building railroad models in an era of little to no parts or kits. There are a number of interesting projects in the book. While the models may be crude by today’s standards, the models are an amazing example of craftsmanship.
Like most of the early Model Railroader magazines, the focus is on local railroads like the Milwaukee Road. One article that caught my was a car construction project to build a composite 40′ gondola. Some older modelers might recognize the car as the same prototype for an Ambroid 1 in 5000 HO kit. I built one in my HO days. The car had no weight and would not stay on the track without a heavy load.
I was thinking that it might make an interesting project to scratch build. I would use styrene as the primary material. I send a photo of the car to friend, Rick Leach, and he came up with a plan published in a trade journal many years ago. The photo shown in the article shows a repaint date of 1939 and was still wearing a K brake system. I will need to do some research to find out if the lasted in revenue service into the 1950s. The Milwaukee Road had a lot of interesting wood equipment but little in the way of information exists. I do have a diagram book that does provide a few dimensions and the roster numbers.
Doing the research is part of the fun of a project like this. We see where it goes.