Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wagon Assembly Line

The assembly line of wagons almost ready for decals
When I build items where I need more than one, I find it a bit more convenient to build more than one in an assembly line fashion. When you model the nineteenth century, you need a lot of wagons to make the scene look right. Think how many wagon loads are there in a boxcar? I decided to build a few of the Jordan kits I had been accumulating but I wanted some variation so they would look like they came from different manufacturers.
   I chose the Farm Wagon as my basic kit, built one as Jordan intended, another with lower sides, another with a spring seat, one flatbed wagon and a last one with very low sides. These went all right. The Jordan kits are finely detailed and look right if you don't lose too many of the very tiny parts. Most wagons had two colors, one for the wagon bed and another for the wheels and running gear. This now takes a little more planning since the right running gear has to go with the right wagon. You also find that very small parts are often blown away by even the light pressure of an airbrush so you need to make sure that they are very secure. I used painters' tape which worked fairly well.
   The last three wagons were also Jordan products, the light and standard Delivery Wagons. These were assembled per the directions. I used some of Art Griffin's wagon decals ( so the colors had to match them.
When the body paint is dry, the heads, harnesses and hooves will be painted. The tape is really not holding them upright. They are just standing there on their own. No, the end horses are not blue, they're really gray.
 Painting horses is another interesting chore. Horses are hard to hold while painting. There is not enough hoof surface to hold well on tape. I decided to hold their heads and paint the rest. I'll go back and get the heads after the body dries. Then I have to paint the hooves, add stockings and other small marks to make them more individual and then paint the cast-on harness which is painstaking. I use a water-based paint, a fine brush and a wet Q-tip to wipe off any paint that shouldn't be there.
   Painting figures to drive the wagons come next and that's a little easier.


  1. Don,
    This blog entry and any follow ups are going to be vital must haves. Have your considered a complete article in any publication for the whole process, since this is vital for all TOC modelers. I know that Mel McFarland would be interested for the Colorado Midland Quarterly since wagons lasted into the '30s in Colorado, even if the CM only lasted to 1918.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Having painted hundreds of model horses for various hobbies, I suggest you try gluing the horses to small pieces of wood. I use coffee stirrers and small dots of CAA on two or three hoof bottoms. One the horse is painted, they can pop off the stick with a slight twisting action.