Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More Buffalo Bill

One car, two different sides. Artwork by John Ott greatly enhanced the appearance of these cars over my earlier attempt.
As I mentioned in my post on the Buffalo Bill Advance Car 3, I had the artwork for cars 1 and 2 and wanted to build those.  Those cars were a little more problematic as they would have to be scratchbuilt. Fortunately, I had good photos of both cars and could scale dimensions from them. The first thing I learned was that the cars had different lettering on each side. That would make things more interesting on the layout since both sides of the cars can be seen from different parts on the railroad.

Car Number 2 with just as much colorful lettering as Number 1.
The first thing I did was scale out the cars using the wheel diameter as a standard. According to this, both cars were about 50 feet long. Coincidentally, this was the same dimension as the MDC passenger cars. I used the floor and roofs of these cars as the basis. The windows and ends were Westwood parts. For those who might not be aware, Westwood made passenger car kits around the late 1960s. They used a series of windows and doors to build up their car sides. I have a number of these parts and found what I needed among them. Evergreen styrene passenger car siding took care of the sides. The doors on Car No. 2 were built up from .020 thick styrene.
Prototype photos of Car Number 1.
The end beams of the platforms were cut off the MDC floor and Cal-Scale end railings installed. A "possum belly" tool carrier was installed on each car built from scribed styrene. The duckbill roof of Car 1 was an MDC part. The contours of this roof are a bit strange so I used drywall joint compound to fill in the unusual groove on the roof which was then sanded smooth.
   The lettering decals were made from the tremendous artwork developed by my friend, John Ott ( It was adapted in the same way as Car No. 3. Trucks were from Bitter Creek Models (
Prototype photos of Car Number 2.
Now I have three advance cars. How were these used on the prototype? A few weeks before the show was due to hit town, Car No. 1 was sent out with a crew who would paper the town with posters advertising the show. When the job was done, it moved on to the next town on the show's tour. Meanwhile, Car No. 2 was visiting the outlying towns close enough to the show town that residents could join excursions to see the show. Car No. 3 was held in reserve. If another, competing, show tried to play the same town, No. 3 was dispatched on the first train. They would again paper the town, stage some sort of exhibition, anything to draw attention to the Buffalo Bill show instead of the competitor. It should work for some additional car movements on my railroad. In any case, they are nice-looking cars and were fun to build!

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful cars and thank you for the detailed explanation of how they were built!