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Kitbashing a Borden's Wood Side Milk Tank Car


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

In the Krause/Crist book, LACKAWANNA HERITAGE there is a wonderful photo of a small Sussex Branch milk train steaming its way through the fields of Lafayette. Ever since I had the idea of modeling the Sussex Branch I've felt this would be the ideal, simple, train to model. It speaks of the Branch, consisting of merely a Pacific Steam engine, two Borden's milk cars, a combine and Boonton coach. The milk cars are both Borden's milk tankers, but one is of the older, wood-sided variety.

A while ago, I had a thought about an old Walthers kit I bought. It was a 40 foot, wood end, wood side reefer decorated for Borden's. (These were produced earlier under the Train Miniature name according to Don Spiro.) Other than the word 'Borden's', the paint scheme didn't resemble anything I'd seen photos of from the Sussex Branch, so I was even reluctant to display it.

Then I had an idea. There was so little photographic evidence about these cars, why not change a few things and repaint it for what I wanted?

First thing I had to do was remove the ice hatches and fill in the mounting holes for same with body putty. I then added some Evergreen scale 2 x 4s to continue the roof pattern. (I've never seen the roof of one of these cars, so why not?)

Some 1/8th inch styrene channel glued along the bottom of the car nicely gives the illusion of the sill on this car.

Next I painted the car Polly Scale caboose red, well, actually the bottle just said 'Red,' but it matches caboose red. (I used several billion coats because I hadn't stripped off the previous paint job. See warning above.)

I painted the roof and underbody (fairly detailed in the kit,) Polly Scale Grimy black (the modeler's favorite color it seems.)

The decals came from an F&C butterdish kit I had bought with white decals. (I bought replacements for the butterdish in dulux gold.)

I chose to use a pair of Athearn 53308 50' Express Reefer trucks.

Can't find the Walthers 40 foot Reefer with wood ends? That's probably because they're discontinued. Here's a secret: Do a search on eBay for 'Borden.' Eventually someone will put up a Walthers Borden reefer kit. They originally sold for around $6.00, so judge for yourself how much you want to spend.

I got 3 more in this way and will be doing one of these in the cream/yellow color with black decals. A picture of this scheme can be found in Mike DelVecchio's LACKAWANNA TRACKSIDE. I'll be using Polly Scale Russian Sand for the color.


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