OPW stands for Other People’s Work.   I am posting some examples of fine model building by three gentlemen.

The recent O Scale West train show had a number of P48 models that scored well with the attendees.   The first model featured is Bill Yancey’s ATSF Bx12 boxcar.   He used a Southern Car & Foundry urethane kit to build this excellent model.   He won the freight car category with the car.  Good job!


Richard Hunn owns this very nice FM switcher.  The weathering is very subtle on the model which adds to the well used look.   The model is an Overland import with added details.   The model placed first in the diesel category.


Both pictures were used with the permission of OSW.

Reefer Time:

Can’t seem to stay away from the subject of reefers too long.  Fortunately, Robert Leners sent me a few shots of his latest project.   He is working on a scratchbuilt G.A.R.X. Rock Island reefer.  This prototype was built by General American for the Rock and later rebuilt and leased back under the G.A.R.X. reporting marks.  The car received a new wood roof replace the original Murphy Outside Metal roof.  The brake equipment was also upgrade to AB configuration.   The April 1960 Model Railroader featured a construction article by the late Al Kamm on building the original Rock Island car.  Plans appeared in the Car Builders Cyclopedia and the Newton Gregg reprints.

ri reefer as built

The rebuilt car is shown below.

GARX 6780 l

Robert Leners has quickly translated the rebuilt prototype car data into a 1/4″ model.   He used styrene for the primary material.  The car was built around a box body that was described in my earlier post on the Wilson reefer build.


The underframe is a single I-beam with four crossbearers.  It was designed and built by Bettendorf Car Company.   A number of cars in this era used this same underframe design.   The SP and UP built stock cars, flat cars and boxcars using the underframe design.  PFE had several thousand reefers that used the Bettendorf Underframe.  The frame had a weak point at the point where it tapered down to the bolster.   Bettendorf cut a standard steel I-beam and created the taper.   The SP had observed that the frame would crack at the point of the cut.   None the less, it lasted well into the 1950s under PFE reefers.


I have included a Pacific Fruit Express plan for the Bettendorf underframe.

betterdorf uf abstract

We will update you on Robert’s build as he makes progress.   By the way, the decals are available from Protocraft.

Happy Trails,


2 thoughts on “MODELING: OPW

  1. Gene,
    I noticed you have not been getting many comments on your latest reefer and OPW blogs. Let me say that they are great and keep them coming. As a model railroader for 5 years who became an armchair modeller for about 50 years and finally a novice modeller for couple of years, not only are the blogs inspirational but they are an important source of current construction techniques that would be difficult to gather else wise.

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