OPINION: Fifty + Years of Improvements

I was looking at eBay last night and came across a picture of an old All Nation or Zimmer model.   I had read once on a forum of this car that was offered around 1950 or so.  I don’t recall see the actual model built up or even in kit form.  When I was first starting to dabble with O scale I do remember that modelers considered Zimmer as being a cut above most other O scale kits.

As you can see, it is a ATSF Bx-12 raised roof boxcar.  The railroad changed and raised the roof by 12 inches from the original car.  I first saw a string of these cars near the entrance to the Bay Bridge in Oakland, CA.  That was back in the early 1960s.  Over the years I have seen pictures of these cars and finally after doing some research with the help of  Jim Zwernemann and the late Richard Hendrickson.   It turns out that the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum in Temple, TX had the original Bx-12 drawing.  I also obtained a folio drawing which provided details on the raised roof.

I propsed to Jon Cagle at Southern Car & Foundry to do a kit of the car.  He agreed and  I was off and running.  The challenge was to make a one-piece cast urethane with only the doors and floor being separate parts.  Jon is a very talented model maker and with considerable skills working with urethane.

The car had a reverse or inverse Dreadnaught end that was rebuilt and added for the additional height.   I was able to rework ends from a San Juan Car Company kit.  Lots of chop and channel work as the old hot rodders used to say.  The old Zimmer kit doesn’t appear to have a reverse Dreadnaught.

The kit was released in 2012 by Southern Car & Foundry.   I believe they are not available at this time.  The decals were done by Protocraft for this specific car.

As you can see, modeling evolved as result of copius amounts of prototype information, new materials and techniques that have come along in the last fifty plus years.  The “good old days” were so great after all but one has to keep it in context for the period.

Hope that this is of interested.





8 thoughts on “OPINION: Fifty + Years of Improvements

  1. Gene – As a rabid ATSF fan and steam era freight car nut, I can’t thank you enough for creating this kit in cooperation with Jon Cagle- always wanted an accurate model of this car and I immediately purchased three of them when released. If only I could get you two to put together a kit for the most needed ATSF steam era car – the Caswell GS gondolas! Thanks for continuing to produce such a helpful blog and I really appreciate you continuing with it. Best regards, Tim B.

  2. Pingback: ATSF Bx-12 Box Car – Models

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