Kitbash an LGB flatcar

How to turn an LGB flat car into something usefulThe finished product.IntroductionWe all have them, or have had them, at one time or another, and aren't really sure what todo with them. Those little LGB flat/log cars that come with just about every starter set. They're cute, but not really prototypical for any kind of US railroad. So, we let our 5 yearolds run them with the Stainz around the Christmas tree...

But, they DO have this nifty I-Beam frame. At 1:20.3, it looks nice and heavy, and its a decentlength and width for a narrow gauge flatcar project. I dont know of any prototype thatthis is even close to, but it is reminicent of an industrial or railroad work car.

This project requires no special skills, no parts you can't find in any decent hobby or craft shop,and few tools. I went into this project without really knowing what I was trying to complete, sodon't get worried that you aren't up to the task. The prototype shown here took me about 2 hours, not counting glue drying time. The second one took a bit less, mostly because I knew what I wastrying to do. When finished, the car is farily light, so if you intend on running it in a train,you might want to get some lead tape and affix it to the underside of the flatcar when you are done.

You need:1/4" x 1/2" Basswood - about 24"Popsicle sticksCouplers of choiceOzark Miniatures or similar detail parts:02B Strap step1120 Stake pockets07 NBW07A NBW12120 Brake wheel if desiredAnd now, on with it!Remove the couplers (a single screw a piece), and pry off the brown flatcar "body". This isheld on with force, at four points, which you can see from the bottom of the car. Use a small screwdriver, or something similar, to pry it off.

Now is the time to mount your couplers of choice. I wont go into details here, as there will be different methods for each brand. Most all will require hacking and sanding of the frame. I haven'tput on any couplers yet, but I'm going with link-and-pin pockets from Ozark.

Take your 1/4" x 1/2" basswood, and cut two 5 5/8" long (142mm) and 2 3 1/4" long (82mm). UsingWalthers Goo (or similar) glue these in a box, with the ends overlapping the sides. Try to make themflush, but not TOO flush. Don't worry about a bit of overlap.

Once this is dry, rough fit the box to the top of the frame, and sand a little off the inside of eachside where the frame rubs against the basswood side.

Glue the frame to the rails of the body with goo.

Cut popsicle sticks 3 3/8" (85-87mm), varying their length by around 1/16". I then put them in a can of water for a few hours, then let them dry on a paper towel. This warped them up pretty good.Glue these over the ends first, overlapping a bit, then fill in between, leaving gaps, and making sure that things don't line up too well. Additionally, you can use a wire brush, bricks, or other wood-distressing method of choice.

Once everything was dry, I gave all the wood a wash of black watercolor, very diluted, to grey up the wood. I just brushed it on, and let it flow into the grain of the wood. Remember, you aren't painting it black, but going for an aged grey look. Practice on some scrap to get the hang of itfirst, if you are unsure of your skill.

India ink and diluted in rubbing alcohol also works well. There are also various weatheringstains on the market, but I haven't tried any of them.

This is also the time to drill holes for the NBW's, and mount the strap steps, stake pockets,brake wheel, and other detail items as desired.

I drilled holes in the strap steps, and used NBW's to attach them to the bottom of the frame. Dollopsof goo help keep things in place.

Give all the metal a coat of rust, then weather to your hearts content!.

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