van

CP plywood-sheathed van in N scale

CPR Van 436980-437264 preview no scale
This is another of those projects I’ve wanted to try for a while. I love these plywood-sheathed CP vans (cabooses). Over the years I’ve often kitbashed stand-in versions based on the Bachmann, Model Power, or AHM three window, end-cupola cabooses by blanking out the extra windows in the body and cupola. While I’ve liked every one I’ve done they all are missing the proportions of the prototype.

This model is designed to fit exactly on an Atlas or similar end-cupola caboose floor. This helps keep the costs down and if you select a newer production model, like the Atlas Trainman version, you not only get the floor but some nice, low-profile wheels, and Micro-Trains compatible couplers. I have included the railings as moulded on parts. With no real extra details required, all the modeller should have to do on receiving the model is to clean and prepare it for paint, paint, and finally rub on some classic CDS dry transfer lettering for these vans.

Transfer van update

Shapeways rendering shows the current state of the car - click on the link to see it the latest version on Shapeways

Shapeways rendering shows the current state of the car – click on the link to see it the latest version on Shapeways.

Here’s the latest rendering of the CN transfer van in N scale. So far I’m pretty impressed with how this is all coming together. The roof is designed to be removable and the car will be supplied with the roof as a separate piece. The floor is a part of the model and includes some very basic detailing. The bolsters are sized to work with a Micro Trains truck. I’ve included a 0.030″ diameter hole for the truck’s king pin as a centre guide but expect to ream this out larger for the trucks I’ll ultimately use.

Details that still need to be added

I will be adding in the smoke jack on the roof as well as some more details on the shell.

I’ll be adding in the rain “gutters” over the windows and platforms.

I need to add in the class lights on the roof. I’ll mark these out on the back of the roof casting too in case you want to drill them out to install fibre optic or pico LED lighting. (The roof is hollow to make it easier to route the wires).

Finally I’ll mark out the panel seams on the body. I’ll try to do this in a way that makes it easy to highlight them when painting and weathering while still making it easy to clean and polish the shell while preparing it for paint.

Details that are better added by the modeller and won’t be included

I don’t plan on incorporating much underfloor detail on this one as it’s just as easy to use up some detail parts and wire to assemble. I don’t  have any photos of the underside of these cars and would rather leave out detail than just guess. The generator is there, so it’s a start.

I’ve been debating on the subject of the handrails. This car will only be available in Shapeways’ Frosted Ultra Detail and the material really isn’t suitable for handrails – it’s just too brittle. More than just brittle, I’d need to create handrails that are just too thick (I tried including them and they looked like the were made from sewer pipe). It’s really easy to make up handrails from wire and given the vastly improved appearance I will likely elect for this route.

How much?

I expect the single car will sell for around $25 and I can offer a pair of them on the same print for around $40. I expect to order a test print of this car in the next few days and if everything with that goes okay they’ll be available in my Shapeways store in the next couple of weeks in case anyone else could use one.