I would imagine a lot of modelers in 1/4″ scale have come across an early Chooch urethane freight car kit. Mike O’Connell sold a bunch of them over the years and they still show up at train shows and online in auctions. The basic patterns were pretty nice but the urethane material used in the old days had few unpleasant habits like warping. I have tried to build one once and gave up in frustration. For me it was easier to scratchbuild the model than taming the urethane parts.
Enter our modeling favorite, Lee Turner, and his great skills. Lee managed to build up the basic body, add lots of details and finish it with his spectacular paint and weathering. The subject of his work is a USRA single sheathed 40-ton boxcar. His unique style has managed to capture the long-term effect of weather on an old freight car. Metal ages differently than wood. As the paint flakes off the steel, it exposes surfacce to rust. Rust that has slowly built up a very dark and gritty surface. The wood around shows the bleaching effect of sun, wind and water.
Here are two pictures of an Ann Arbor single sheathed that had been exposed to years of weather. Not sure if it was Rob Adams or Ron Sebastin took these pictures.
It appears that Lee’s car still has all of the required safety equipment for interchange and even a route card nailed the siding. In the post-war era, railroads had cars with K-Brake systems still in interchange service that probably saw any reconditioning prior the war.
Even the lettering on a car is subject to the ravages of time and weather. Lee carefully distressed the New York Central herald to show paint failure of the stencil. Even closeup this old Chooch car holds up well.
Thanks Lee for sharing your inspirational work.