MODELING: Odds and Ends plus Jim Zwernemann

Wilson painted

Well, the Wilson reefer is just about done.  I only need to weather the car.  These cars ran pretty dirty so I should have fun with this.   The Protocraft decals are really beautiful.  Norm did a super job with the artwork.

Mack AC

I dug out my Brommer Mack AC truck.  My intent is to finish it up after 40 years sitting in a box.   I started the truck when the kit first came out over 40 years ago.   The original Brommer kits were cast in Cerro Bend, 158 degree melting point, white metal.  The kit is beautiful and very accurate.  Cerro Bend can’t support much weight so you need to support the leaf springs with block or they will collapse.  In my youth, I remember seeing them monsters hauling coal or ice when I spent a summer in the Bronx.   That was the 1950s.

zmann turntable

It has been a while since we have seen photos of Jim Zwernemann’s work.   He has been busy working on a new turntable for his railroad.  Jim scratch built it using styrene for the bridge.  The railing was built up using individual pipe fitting.  He just about went crazy drilling the brass castings out.  He found out that he could have purchased cored out castings for a little more money but with a lot less stress.  It is a manual drive  which eliminates the complexity of a motorized mechanism.

zmann rail unlimited stock

I am always amazed how Jim Zwernemann can take a kit like this Rails Unlimited urethane model and turn it into a really work of art.  He added a few details such as the drop door hardware either side of the door.  The faded color projects a feel of a car that has not seen any maintenance work in many years.   The decals are from Rails Unlimited as well.

Till next time

Happy Trails,


12 thoughts on “MODELING: Odds and Ends plus Jim Zwernemann

  1. Gene,
    Great seeing the ‘Z’-man’s work. I hope to swing by to see him after the Narrow Gage Convention. Can’t wait to see pixs of your reefer after you weather it.

  2. Terrific stuff, Gene – yours and Jim’s.
    Whenever I read of hobbyists complaining (online) about not having enough time to get things done, I point out that Jim gets a lot done and doesn’t spend anytime online. There’s a lesson in that…
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

  3. AC’s still running in the 50’s? what a treat! And looking at your Wilson reefer build i realized how similar it was to some of the FGEX cars i had blueprints and photos of.

  4. Gene

    A friend and I have been painting some large scale models (7-1/2 inch gauge 1.6 scale) cars and we have one very similar to yours except ours has steel ends. Can you verify whether Wilson had any steel end cars? If so is there a photo we could use? I cannot find anything and after spending $60+ on a PFE book it turned out to have a lot of history and only three color photos. Same for the GN car book I bought. However, I do have a Soo Line SLT&HS book with a Soo Line reefer that looks very similar to the one we have and are trying to paint prototypically. It is tough since spray can orange is somewhat more orange than yellow but it is going to have to be as I don’t want to buy a special mix color and try to shoot it on like an automobile.

    Many thanks.

    Ray & Renee Grosser

    1145 Linn Road

    Eubank KY 42567-9579

    (606) 379-6590

    “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” General William Booth

    I hope you never have to work as hard as we play!

    • Ray
      Wilson had all steel cars built by Pacific Car and Foundry in Renton, WA. Have not seen a wood car with steel ends however. The Soo might be a better choice.


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