MODELING: Part 2 Muncie & Western Boxcar Build

Models of Mather freight cars are a true rarity in quarter-inch scale.   There is only one notable model that comes to my mind.  It is Jim Zwernemann’s Chicago & Illinois Midland boxcar.  It is an exquisite model scratchbuilt by Jim.  He even did the decal artwork.

zman boxcar

I found a picture online of a short version of the Muncie & Western boxcar that was taken in 1956.  The picture is a good color rendering and will be helpful in painting my model.   The color scheme and lettering does create a most interesting car on anyone’s railroad.


I had a question about how I built the Mather patented roof.  My approach was to build it in layers so I could create the look of the prototype panels.  Each panel is approximately 28″ wide.  The base of the roof is made from .020″ sheet styrene.  This layer does overhang the car sides by .060″ on each side.  The raised panels are the same width of the first layer.  The panels are cut from .030″ sheet.  I used a spacer to position these panels on the base layer.  A final overlay of .015″ styrene has an added overhang of .060″.  I added .060″ angles to the edge to create the prototype edge.

mw roof underside

mw roof top

I will add a small clamp to each slot.  This is part of the patented approach to the Mather roof.  Running board supports fit into the slot.

mw side

I continued with the detailing process which included stirrups, door guides and latches.  The prototype had metal strips to the right of the door.  I am not sure what its purpose was but it is an essential detail.  The stirrups were made from .020″ brass wire.  Mather used round steel stirrups on their cars.

mw door

Much of my time has been spent completing details on the car ends.  I added cut levers for top operated Type-E couplers.  They were formed from .015″ wire.   The B end has the hand brake equipment. This particular car had a Klasing horizontal hand brake with gearbox. I obtained this part from Protocraft.  I still need to add the brake step.

mw b end

Hopefully, I will be able to finish the car and shoot primer.  It has been a challenging build with so many nut-bolt and rivet castings and complex structural shapes.

Happy Trails,



10 thoughts on “MODELING: Part 2 Muncie & Western Boxcar Build

  1. Quite a unique car to say the least. Challenging but no doubt very satisfying. Very cool model build thank you for sharing your superb talents.

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