MODELING: Replacement for Deleted NP Build Posts


NP 1254  Tacoma

Well, this is NP 2.0 on building a NP 24′ caboose.   I didn’t like the previous version and thought I could try to do better.

With any scratchbuilding project, you need to do your research on the model you are going to build.  Plans are essential and photographs allow a modeler to better understand.  I was fortune to enough to dig up a number of useful documents.  You can see the material below.


The drawings were published in the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association Mainstreeter magazine.   They represent a 1700 class car.  We are building a 1200 class.  Key dimensions for windows and trim are included below.

NP 1254 001The NP cabooses vary in small dimensions for the most part.  Window position varies in position and detail.


close-up-of-1324Ken Johnson’s restored caboose is an example of the railroads most common caboose during the steam era to well into the diesel era.


I will be sharing more photos of Northern Pacific cars as we go though the process.

This project started with building the car body and then the wood frame and underbody.   The basic body is two ends and two sides.  One side has a small window (WC) at the end.    The sides and ends are cut out from Evergreen 3 1/4″ siding.  I prefer .020″ thickness.  This siding is also available in .040″ thickness.   Cut  the windows out from the side sheets.  Add .060″ reinforcement to the back framing the window openings.


The end construction is slightly different.  I started by cutting the top radius in the Evergreen material.  I made a tool to allow me to cut an accurate radius on a repeatable basis.


You can find a discussion on the cutting tool in the June 23, 2015 posting.   The ends were reinforced in a similar fashion to the side.


The window openings are framed on the top and side with .015″ by .060″ strips.   The strips were topped with .015″ styrene rod before cutting to length and installing.  The window  frame is made from .015″ strips.  You can see the thin strips in the inside of the body.


Ok, we are nearly back to where we left off.  I will post one more section to complete the missing material.

Happy Trails ??


7 thoughts on “MODELING: Replacement for Deleted NP Build Posts

  1. Glad to see you back-
    Need to relate an experience I had rebuilding a 12″ scale caboose-Rock Island 17808 to be exact.
    Needed to replace rotten siding on both sides of the car, so, took measurements-1 1/4 x 5 1/4 tongue and groove, and had stock milled.
    Worked great on one side, was off 3/8″ on the other. Car had different size boards on the other side!
    If you think about how cars were built-assembly line, mills in the center and several lines going at once, on carpenter builds one side of two cars, and another mill builds the other side.
    I have an Overland model of the car-both sides are the same, but I’ll bet this happens quite often.
    Just trivia fodder, but interesting.

    • Jesse
      I would imagine that it happened often. Different moisture content in the wood could contribute to different lengths to the sheathing.
      Sounds like a big project however.

      • over two years-replaced everything except some siding-new floor, roof(beaded material??), doors, etc. but was fun.
        cutting the bolts out of the old flooring was a bit of a task-special 1/2″ carriage bolts with a large flat head. Still have a couple

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