Sunday, January 14, 2018

4400 "Washboard" M. U. Cars Part 2

Body Shell

The body shell from Island Modelworks is cleanly cast and fits the Lifelike Proto 1000 power chassis well. The clear cast windows that come with the kit fit the window openings in the shell very well and simply snap into place, but they must be cut from the window strip and installed individually.

The suggested Bachmann E 33 Pantograph is used.

Adding Detail To The Body Shell

I decided to remove the cast on body on details like the grab irons, horn, headlights, etc. for a detail upgrade and replacement.

One thing that was most bothersome about the shell was the inset depth of the front and rear doors, they did not appear to be set far enough into the shell. The Danbury Railway Museum has a 4400 "washboard" in their collection, during a visit there the actual inset depth of the front and rear doors was measured, using that measurement the inset of the doors were corrected on the shell.

First step was the removal of all the molded on roof details except the roof air vents on the rear of the car. The lightning arrester was carefully cut off and put aside for remounting later. The roof was sanded smooth.

The front and rear doors were were cut out of the shell, the doors were then reset further back into the shell as per measurements taken of the prototype.  As seen in the photo below of the rear of the car body, styrene strips were used to make the passageway wings on both sides of the door and also the passageway ceiling not seen in photo. The molded on air vents were shortened on both ends, then a longer styrene cover was made to fit over the molded on vents so there would be a prototypical opening on both ends of the vents. A styrene platform walkway and buffer plate were also added. 

This next photo shows the inside of the body shell, this again shows the styrene strips used to frame the inset door.

Also shown below and above a coupler lift bar from a Branchline coach kit was installed on a styrene bracket. The coupler yoke is also from Branchline, a styrene cover was made to look like the washboard prototype.

A headlight lens a bezel ring was harvested from a F-7 body shell to replace the molded on headlight.

On both ends the upper sheetmetal sheets were replaced with a .005" styrene overlay. This gives a crisper edge between the ends and roof. This photo also shows the door and end hand grabs. Archer rivet decals were applied as the prototype.

A styrene filler strip was added above each vestibule door to bring the top of the door opening in line with the top edge of the stainless steel side fluting. Molded on hand grabs were removed and the door was framed with styrene strips then rivet decals applied.

Styrene channels were added to the roof to match the mounting holes in the Bachmann pantograph.
A Hancock air whistle casting from Branford Hobbies replaces the molded one.

The lightning arrester will be remounted on a styrene channel and brass bar mounting bracket.

I really don't know what the roof details below actually do on the prototype!  My assumption is that the release mechanism has something to do with the pantograph, as well as the detail marked ? Motor ? below, maybe this raises and lowers the pantograph? Anyway they were modeled as well as possible from photographs with pieces of styrene, solder, brass wire and bits and pieces from the scrap box. The short piece of running board is from Kadee. The lightning arrester sits on its new mounting bracket shown above.

A second look.

Ready for paint!

The model is presently in black primer, color to be added next. Final results in part 3.


  1. Once again, inspirational! Keep ‘em coming, please!

  2. Thank you Colin & Fred, looking forward to finishing the paint work!!


  3. Every time I stop by, I'm newly overwhelmed by how impressive your work is. Heh - and a bit intimidated. Really amazing craftsmanship Joe!