MODELING: Revisiting a Northern Pacific Automobile Car Kit 1.0

Mike O’Connell Photo


In 2006, I undertook a project to develop a kit for a Northern Pacific 50′ automobile car.  The project was for Mike O’Connell at Chooch Enterprises.   It was to be part of his Ultra Scale II product line.   The prototype was a classic single sheathed car with staggered double doors and a Camel end door.  Like many of the steam era NP freight car, it had a classic radial roof. We are fortunate to have a preserved 4700 class car at the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish, WA.


I built the pilot model for the instructions sheet illustration and for Mike’s marketing purposes.  I had a couple kits have been sitting in a storage bin with other Chooch and Southern Car and Foundry kits.  As part of my bucket list reduction, I decided to build some or all of the kits for myself. My modeling skills and knowledge have gotten better (my opinion).   I want to see what I can do with the car today compared to twelve years ago.  Ok, the improvements in my modeling have been new weathering techniques that I have learned from Lee Turner and Jimmy Booth.  The knowledge gained has Allowed me to put a better finish on the model compared to me work a decade or so ago. Might even hide some so-so craftsmanship.

Mike O’Connell Photo


I must admit that the Camel end door facinated me from the start.   Mike was fortunate to still have Joel Berling to cut the dies and shoot the plastice for this project.  The end door latches, hinges, towing staples and other plastic parts are the highlight of this kit.  Chooch still lists these parts on the website under O scale parts.

As with any urethane kit, preparing the parts is most of the work.  Don’t cut corners or you will struggle with the build.  Most of the work is sanding flash from the castings.  You can do this using a sheet of glass with 320 grit wet sandpaper attached.   I used double-side Scotch tape.   Use water on the sandpaper to reduce dust and promote material removal.  The dust creates a slurry with the water.  It seems to remove quicker than trying to dry sand the parts.  Contolling the dust is important for your health.  Urethane dust is not something you want in your lungs.

I assembled the basic body and added the roof.  Start with the “B” end and add the two sides.  I like to reinforce the corners with stryene.   the auto end is made up of two parts. The door casting is bonded to the body first and then the frame around the doors.  Make sure this part is of uniform thickness and dry-fit the part first.


Next I cleaned up the floor casting and fitted it to the body.  My casting needed a small amount of sanding along the side.   Next, I drill out the bolster pads to accept the Protocraft bolster bushings.  Re-thread the bushings to 2 MM by running a tap into the hole.  Next I fitted a pair of Protocraft draft gear to the frame.  You will have to cut away the side of the plastic parts to slip into the space in the end castings.

The kit comes with cast cross ties and riveted bottom plates for the cross bearers.  I used 1/8″ Evergreen channels for the cross ties and made new riveted plates from .015″ styrene.   It was less hassel to fabricate rather than deal with more sanding of very small parts.   You can see the .032″ brass wire used to create the trainline. The cross ties have to be treaded on the wire as you install the trainline.

This is the first installment of building this kit.  Stay tuned for the next chapter.








12 thoughts on “MODELING: Revisiting a Northern Pacific Automobile Car Kit 1.0

  1. gene:
    a little help would be appreciated,
    1) there is no o-scale freight listed in chooch’s
    web site?
    2) there is no ultra scale II line listed under
    chooch’s web site?
    3) these car door ends are not listed under
    chooch’s o-scale parts, at all?
    4) and to make matter’s worse, inorder to
    contact chooch, their host wants access to
    my email accounts?, wtf?,
    5) if you know the part number for the doors
    could you advise me?
    6) i was going to send a copy of this blog
    to chooch, until #4 popped up, then gmail
    said it was also too long, can’t win for s***

    • Chooch exited the O Scale kit business around. Ultra Scale II was his trade name for a series of kit produced in 1999 through 2010.
      The doors were never offered but the hardware set it.
      My blog didn’t suggest that the subject kit produced in 2006 would still be available.
      Urethane kits are limited run products.

      As far as your problems with contacting Chooch, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  2. Wow! Always look forward to Gene’sP48 pics and posts! Absolutely top of the line. Thanks to Gene and all those fine modelers! Happy Holiday Season to all!

  3. Hallo Gene, do you know what happened to the proposed Bill Yancey FMC kits that were shown at the March meet and mentioned in you blog, is the project still live or has it died a death? Thanks,

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