Last week I was at my local hobby shop, Trainmaster Models in Buford, Georgia for my annual supply run. It seems I run low on HO scale parts like Kadee 209 and 210 washers, couplers, replacement metal wheel sets etc about this time every year. So while filling my carry basket I perused the vast selection of available models. Looking for an inexpensive kit that I could build in the cool of the basement on a another hot August day I came across an old Roundhouse Products kit #7868, a CB&Q 50' Exterior Post Double Door Auto Boxcar for the cost of $7.00. Perfect! Seeing I have some 50' steel double door auto boxcars already in the fleet I thought this would be a nice addition.
Some prototype info; Before the big enclosed auto racks that we see today and the open auto racks of the more recent past railroads hauled automobiles in boxcars well into the 1950's. Starting with a 40' double door design in the 1930's many of these cars featured Evans racks that folded up so the cars could be used for purposes other than automobiles. The railroads graduated to the 50' double door design with an auto loading door at one end. These doors made it easier to load autos on one end but were a mixed blessing. Since the car had the auto loader door on only one end a lot of switching was required to orient it correctly. (good or bad for model railroad operations?). The door apparently became a maintenance headache and many of them were just welded shut. Many of these specialized cars had the words AUTOMOBILE stenciled in white on their right side doors.
Here is a link to a CB&Q 46000 series single sheathed double door boxcar photographed in 1968.
The brake components have been installed along with the new fish belly detail. The steel weight is attached with silicone adhesive. Everything has been painted rattle can flat black. The Kadee #5s were then installed along with the metal wheels sets. The trucks have been dry brushed with burn umber.
Fellow modeler and Model Railroad Miscellany blogger John Bruce posted an Accurail vs Walthers 40' AAR Boxcars blog entry on August 13, 2015 which is excellent and does a nice cost comparison between the two. The Accurail car being a kit much like this Roundhouse kit and the Walthers car being a ready to run model. In addition John showcases some of his own upgrades to both cars.
Read it here: http://modelrrmisc.blogspot.com/2015/08/accurail-vs-new-walthers-aar-boxcars.html
Kadee #s $2.05
Metal wheels $3.00
A current check for this exact car (CB&Q 46662) on ebay shows many available for purchase for about $11.00 plus $6.00 shipping cost. Using that cost the car would come out at a price of $22.05
All told it took about 90 minutes to get this car from box to layout. Not bad for a decent rugged car that will give a lifetime of fine performance. As John B pointed out in his blog post molded on detail is not a detriment to a good model and can be the preferred choice for those who operate their trains. Not having to worry about breaking all the finely detailed separately applied parts during handling is not a bad thing.