HOW TO REDECORATE A CABOOSE
AN ADMISSION OF DISSEMBLING, SUBTERFUGE, AND MISDIRECTION
BY DON M. SCOTT, RAILROAD MAN
I FIND IT INTERESTING that, although more than one goose becomes geese, more than one caboose is just more than one caboose. Of course that has nothing to do with anything in particular, but since we're on the subject of more then one caboose, I will regale you with my adventures in modifying two.
Consistent with my usual premise, one need not be Joe Modeler to produce credible trains. Besides, considering the expense of those trains, whacking them up with chainsaws to satisfy an urge to count rivets seems akin to murdering your money.
But even a tightwad such as I (and I am the original El Cheapo thrifty Scot) will do a bit of serious, no holds barred, modification if the necessary items are readily available and sufficiently inexpensive.
Case in point: Turning the Bachmann A.T.S.F., or any LGB bobber caboose, into a Colorado & Southern crummy.
OFFICIAL RAILROAD MAN DIRECTIONS
Before beginning any project, I firmly park myself on the couch in front of the TV. and turn on an old Star Trek rerun. In this case, just as Spock was about to say something logical, I popped apart the caboose; it's snap-together technology. Be careful with the grab irons. I pry them out gently with the flat edge of the knife. If you gouge one or two, don't worry. They're a bit gorky anyway, so what difference does it make if you gork another one?
Then, using a Q-Tip and paint thinner, I gently and lightly moisten the A.T.S.F. markings on the side of the caboose a little bit at a time. As the paint crinkles, I gently and lightly wipe if off with the rag or paper towels.
Next trim the decals or dry transfers and, if you are applying the decals, make use of the bowl of water in the list of materials. When you have the decals in position, blot lightly with a paper towel.
To finish the job, add a set of Gary Raymond's small-size wheels. They give the caboose a neat, "squatty" feel. I found some clear styrene in the Official Railroad Man Junk Box, sprayed it with Testor's Dullcote, and glued it into the window openings. Now I own a neat, squatty, dirty-windowed Colorado & Southern caboose and it cost under thirty bucks. Ha!
THE RAILROAD MAN ADMITS TO AN UNSPEAKABLE HORROR: DEFILING A COLLECTIBLE LGB CABOOSE
The rest of this article is for you adventurous types, those of you willing permanently to modify a sacred LGB caboose. Allow me to tell you what I have done. First, and I admit it, in previous articles I have lied to you. I have actually made permanent modifications to LGB rolling stock, and collectible rolling stock at that.
So there. No more denial. I did it and it felt good and I am glad.
I owned three yellow LGB C&S cabooses. I don't know whether the C&S ever ran a yellow caboose but I run one because it is cute and because I am an absolute freak for yellow rolling stock. I stashed the second caboose in the Official Railroad Man Collector's Bin hoping someday the caboose will make me rich. That leaves the third. In a fit of money murdering perversity [Editor's note: The remainder of this sentence contains graphic language and may be unsuitable for sensitive readers.] I took it apart, masked it, and painted it boxcar red. I used Floquil from a spray can.
HOW HE DID IT
To defile the caboose, first remove the wheels. Then unscrew every screw you see. The thing will fall apart in your hands.
Uncle Russ recommends keeping each screw in a sequential line so you may reassemble the car easily but, then, Uncle Russ is that kind of guy. [I am not. Besides, the Railroad Man already has admitted lying about the caboose. And he's a lawyer. Need I say more?--Ed.]
I have a different way. I videotape myself breaking down the model. Having no short term memory, when I take something apart I usually forget how to put it back together. What's more, if enough time elapses after disassembly, I often forget what it is I took apart.
After I painted the caboose, I tried my hand at reassembling it. With a videotape is is relatively easy. Then I lettered it with dry transfers.
HOW TO DO THE LETTERING WRONG
If you look at the photos you'll notice the numbers, lettering, and herald placement vary between the cars. The Bachmann caboose is more prototypically correct (I love that word; it's so pompous!). That's because the LGB car has a flat spot across the boards where the manufacturer put the original Rio Grande herald. I put the round C&S herald there because it camouflages the flat spot.
I numbered the caboose 1002 because the cupola is in the center and the only C&S caboose with a center cupola was number 1002. At least I did that right.
OFFICIAL RAILROAD MAN TOOL AND MATERIALS LIST
The following are essential:
1. A dish of water.
2. A small, sharp knife.
4a. A set of Walther's Colorado and Southern "bullet herald" big scale decals such as you will find on page 238 of their current Large Scale catalog at a cost of $7.88, or
b. A set of the C&S large scale dry transfers from Larry Larsen Graphics, whose ad runs in this issue of Outdoor Railroader.
5. A small amount of paint (not lacquer) thinner. Avoid that fancy hobby paint remover that eats holes in everything. Just use plain old paint thinner. I bought a small can at the local drugstore.
7. A rag or paper towels.
And the single most important item...
8. The caboose.
I also suggest the following optional items:
9. A couch.
10. A television set showing old Star Trek reruns.