NEW PRODUCTS: Solution to Vanishing Vendors in 1/48

As most of you know, Mike O’Connell sold his Chooch business to Walthers.  The sale didn’t include the 1/4″ scale Ultra Scale II product line of resin kits and plastic detail parts.   As of this date, the line remains dormant.   The plastic freight car parts were a source of details for the modeler upgrade older models and the kit manufacturer.   The resin kit producers like Southern Car & Foundry, Twin Star Cars and Yarmouth Scale Models are having to work around the situation by finding alternate sources of detail parts.  Replacing the plastic tooling would be very expensive and the market size creates a marginal business case.

Well a new Proto48 modeler in Austria decided to tackle the problem.  New technology is facilitating a way forward.

The person is Sarah Griessenböck. She has been developing her 3D modeling skills as an aid to model building.  Her skill level has amazed me and others with some of the latest parts she has designed and printed.  One of the early tasks was to create the classic Camel door closing device. She not only created the “J” shaped lever but the latch.  While Chooch had the Camel closing device on his sprue, he did not do the latch.  This part is really needed for boxcars.  I will be able to go back and add that to my cars as soon as it becomes available.


The parts turned out to be replicas of the prototype hardware.  This 3D technoloy can render parts that are nearly impossible to make in tradition injection molding.   Dan Dawdy obtained the STL file from Sarah and printed the parts shown below.   He also took the photo and posted it on Face Book.

Sarah has created new designs for the Creco (Chicago Railway Equipment Company) door closer device and latch assembly.   Creco sold the design to Superior for use on their panel door in the early 1940s.  The hardware became know as Superior door hardware.

The closing device is at the top left and the door lock and track detents and stop are below.

The latch pin keeps the door from moving until the handle is pulled up.

Here is the detent that keeps the door open.  Otto Vondrak took the three prototype photos shown above.


Photo from Denver Library collection

The Superior door hardware is a first in our scale and be perfect for upgrading a number of models like the Lionel PS-1 or the expected Twin Star USRA rebuild kits.

There are many parts needed in 1/48 and 3D is the way to go.  Smoky Mountain Scale Models has demonstrated what can be done with his S scale freight cars.  The photo below shows his Milwaukee Road ribside boxcar in S scale.   Jim King has offered to produce replacements for many of the old Chooch parts using 3D printing.  Parts like the hand brake, ladders and grab irons would be great to have in our scale.  Sadly Jim’s offer fell upon deaf ears.

We are very fortunate that Sarah is willing to share her talent with new parts.

Onward and upward!





4 thoughts on “NEW PRODUCTS: Solution to Vanishing Vendors in 1/48

  1. We’ve been doing this in HO scale for years now. Unique parts, common parts in bulk, redetailing kits, steam parts, structure parts, even entire cars (as masters for resin reproduction. Being a newbie to O scale I would have thought that this sort of thing was old hat in O, but it seems to be new to the scale. It’s an interesting and exciting technology that’s finally able to produce quality parts on a home desktop unit. Be warned though: it’s still NOT fast, cheap, nor easy to get GOOD prints, and for entire cars or large parts it’s still cheaper and faster overall to print one good master, and resin cast the rest.

    • The difficulty with O scale is that while the size permits greater detail, it also makes the detail harder to produce, because it’s no longer just an addition to a thicker part, but a small part in abs of itself. Things that print in HO sometimes don’t in O … or are hard for desktop printers to do without a stupid amount of cleanup. Expensive printers can do it, but until the technology matures, it will be difficult to justify the cost of that type of printer for the average hobbyist

  2. I think it might be an idea to share 3d drawings among our selves. I’m working on drawings for a CNR E10a 2-6-0, have finished the tender and am starting the loco. A group of like minded modelers could build up a repertoire of parts that could be used amongst us.
    Jim Ryckman

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 )

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.