MODELING: Another Rock Island Fowler Boxcar

The Rock Island Fowler clone boxcars have been featured in three different postings on my blog.  The first story appeared on October 25,2019 that described modifications done to the original Rio Grande Fowler kit produced by San Juan Car Company.   The November 18 showing the car painted and decaled.  The last story appeared on December 11.

Now fast forward to a car built by Robert Leners that did not use the San Juan kit.  He scratchbuilt this Fowler clone using the traditional methods of individual siding boards assembled to recreate the prototype construction.  Robert picked the last version of the Rock Island Fowler car built for the railroad.  The car was built in 1927 featured a 3/4 Dreadnaught end and a Youngstown steel door.  The roof was a Murphy radial design.   The railroad car diagram is shown below.


There are published drawings for the original Fowler clone ordered by the Rock Island.  The undeframe is essentially the same for all three of the car configurations.  Robert used the kit underframe as a guide in constructing a new one.  One could reuse the kit underframe but building a new one is what Robert wanted to do.

Reusing the rest of the kit is not really worth the effort.  The car requires a new roof, steel door and Dreadnaught ends.  The diagonal straps on the car side are different on the steel end cars.  Robert went ahead and built new sides using scale-sized ( 5-1/8″ wide) boards along with exterior posts made from .010″ styrene strips and Evergreen .060″ angle shapes.

The sides show the amount of work Robert invested in applying a ton of Grandt Line #9 nut and bolt castings.  The prototype cars held the siding in-place using stove bolts with nuts applied on the outside of the steel post.  The boards were not riveted to the frame since periodic maintenance would call for the replacement the wood boards.  Rivets were used to assemble the “steel” parts together.   Robert used .025″ Tichy plastic rivets on the car.  These details show up on this restored NP boxcar.

You may have noticed the Dreadnaught end has a vertical seam in it.  The end was cuto off of an Intermountain boxcar kit.  The car had to be narrowed to match the correct car width.

Robert took a no-compromise approach to this build.  This called for a scratchbuilt door.  This might look like a lot of work butit goes very quickly using Evergreen and Plastruct styrene shapes.

The car starts to really pop when primer is applied.

Robert is a master at his craft.  His work is crisp and flawless.

Paint and decals are done.  Robert has a few more touches to apply before the book is closed.  I couldn’t wait for the final touches so I decided to go ahead and post the material.

Thank you for sharing your work with us.


12 thoughts on “MODELING: Another Rock Island Fowler Boxcar

  1. This build is exquisite. And to whom it may concern, even the briefest of shades immediately are spoiled by incorrect grammar or spelling.

  2. Certainly a fabulously built model.
    Please remind us what resources are available for the rivet and nut-bolt detail used here. The close-up of the side and truck really show how well they work. The texture of the side sill there is also impressive.
    I assume the Zee’s are fabricated from individual flat parts?
    Rufus Cone

  3. Both the prototype and model feature a 4/4 Dreadnaught end, but the text states 4/5. Not only did Mr. Lener narrow that IM end, but he also must have shortened it. Was there ever a writeup on the suggested B-2 with 7/7 Murphy end and Hutchins Dry Lading roof? Thank you!

    • Thank you for spotting the error on the Dreadnaught configuration.
      There were three postings on the original design. No one has done the Murphy end version yet.

  4. For Rufus Cone, there is no secret to the sources for scale rivet heads and nut-bolt castings. Gene already mentions in the write up that Robert used Tichy and Grandt Line castings. Any P-48 stocking hobby shops (like ourselves) try to keep these in stock and Robert buys many from us for his superb models. For anyone who does scratch building, it’s best to keep a good inventory of all sizes.

    Stan Schwedler
    Coronado Scale Models

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.