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Kitbashing a Funaro & Camerlengo Boonton Coach into a Boonton Combine.

Boonton Combine Model

WARNING: The following dissertation contains modeling methods which may be appalling.

Almost every steam powered passenger and milk train I've seen


  • F&C Boonton Coach Kit
  • Evergreen Sheet Styrene No. 9030
  • Evergreen Sheet Styrene (clear) N0. 9007
  • Evergreen Car siding No. 2037
  • Grandt Line Passenger Car Roof Details No. 5043
  • Pikestuff Coach seats No. 541-4101
  • Eastern Car Works Pullman Standard 4 wheel truck, (part # 9005.)

has a Boonton combine as well as a coach. In the near future, F&C are going to re-release a much improved resin Boonton coach kit along with a combine. This is all fine and well except for 2 things.

1) The improved kits are going to be twice the price they were and

2) I wanted a combine NOW.

Therefore I looked a few things over and decided I could whip up a combine from one of the old coach kits without undue trouble. This is not meant as a step by step, but rather a basic "here's how I did it."

Start with a Funaro & Camerlengo Boonton coach kit. (These are no longer issued by the way, so if you don't already have one tucked away for 'someday', you'll have to really look around. Ask your friends. I haven't even seen them on the dreaded eBay.)

The June 1969 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman would be helpful for this project, but not necessary. It contains drawings for the coaches similar to what comes in the F&C kits, but includes a combine drawing. Any photos you can find in books will help you with this project as well.

Cutting: Basically, you start, by counting back from an end and cutting out the 3rd and 4th windows to make a door opening about 5 scale feet wide and 6 feet high. I did this by marking with pencil lines, drilling holes in the 4 corners (inside the required dimensions) and carefully cutting with a sharp #11 blade (in the handle of course). I then carefully filed the door opening to make it straight and true as humanly possible.

Filling: Next we need to fill in 3 windows, the two between the door opening and the end of the car and the one on the other side of the door opening we just made. I shaved off the rivets between the two windows and those along our new door opening, leaving the rivet strip above and below the door opening.

Then I put masking tape behind the windows I eliminated and filled them with epoxy. If you do this carefully, the epoxy will just fill the windows enough to make it look like a blank side. Too little and you'll still see the windows. Too much and the epoxy will run all over and cause confusion and delay.

Filing: After the epoxy dries overnight (recommended,) take a flat file you trust and carefully file the flat of the windows to true them up (if needed.) While you're at it, use the file to round over the sides of the door opening, leaving the top and bottom flat. At this point, I threw some Poly Scale Pullman Green paint on the filled windows to help see if they looked OK. (They did for the most part.) Remove the masking tape.

Door: The door is the simplest of simple as it's just a blank with a small window. Take a piece of sheet styrene and cut a window in it about 1 1/2 x 1 3/4 scale feet wide. Now cut a door around the window a wee bit bigger than the opening, sufficient for gluing. Make the bottom right on the line or the bottom of the coach won't fit right.

I glued my door in place to complete the side, but you can wait until you construct the rest of the kit if you wish. It should also be possible to create a slightly open door, but you then run the risk of showing off an unfinished interior.

Viola! (or as I say, Walla!) Now assemble the kit as per the included F&C instructions and you've got a Boonton combine. Just add a vertical grab iron to the left of the door along with a stirrup step and everything will be swell. (a divider between the baggage and seating compartments were also added, but maybe that's just me.)

Photo Sources

  • Erie/DLW Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Larry DeYoung and Mike Del Vecchio
  • Lackawanna Trackside by Mike Del Vecchio

Note: I finished off the combine with sheet styrene glazing, paper window shades of various heights, and seats from Pikestuff. The interiors of the Boonton coaches were reportedly a maroon color and this will help hide the interior. I also put about 6 seated passengers in the seats.

The trucks I am putting on this car are Eastern Car Works Pullman Standard 4 wheel truck, (part # 9005.) No doubt this is not an absolute match, but it was recommended to me as a 'Goodnuff' by Rusty Recordon. Don recommenced removing the little brake 'ears.'

Numbers: So far I've only found one photograph of a combine on the Sussex Branch which has a legible number, it's #425. Any others out there? Someday, I'll want to do a second combine.

Since receiving the Erie/DLW color guide to Freight & Passenger Equipment, I see that my combine (above) needs to be renumbered. The 425 had one less window per side than my kitbash. Luckily, I can simply renumber it as the 419 which is pictured in the Guide on page 79 coupled to what looks like a pflauders milk car. Sounds like another likely candidate for Branch operations.

By the way, the prototype for this model (the 425) still exists in Wisconsin. See it here: