Monday, March 27, 2017

Tackling a Tichy

The January/February 2017 issue of the Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Magazine has an article by Karen Parker titled "150 Gondolas Were Also Pulpwood & Tie Cars." It describes how the C&O converted a number of 50-ton low-side gondolas into pulpwood bulkhead flats. This article provided inspiration for several new projects.

I have one of the old Athearn Blue Box gons lettered for the EL that I weathering and detailed about one hundred years ago. The car was actually one of the first weathering projects I ever tackled. I've held onto all these years thinking it would eventually be put in service on the railroad. Of course, I found out a long time ago that there is no prototype for the car. Still, I though I might find some use for it. And I had actually been looking at it just prior to the arrival of the C&OHS magazine.

Then I found a shot of one of the converted C&O gons and the inspiration hit- I could take that old Athearn gon and convert it into a pulpwood flat for the home road. Cutting down the sides would be fairly simple as would scratch-building some new ends. While looking for photos of pulpwood flats on the internet, I came across some shots of Tichy's pulpwood car. There were also photos of the ends of the car that are offered separately. That settled it- I was going to use the Tichy ends on the Athearn car. While shopping for the ends, I also took a good, long look at their pulpwood flat. It's one of those cars that I have always thought looked great, and I planned to build one some day. So as long as was ordering the ends, I decided to pick up a couple of the flat cars.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the kit is the number of parts. Yikes! I've assembled some the the smaller Tichy parts/kits in the past, but never one of their freight cars. As you can see in the photo below, there's a bit to it.

It's going to take a little longer to assemble the two cars than I had originally anticipated. But they do look to be neat kits. Finding a place to add weight might be a challenge. These cars may end up permanently loaded in order to add enough weight to get them to perform OK on the railroad.

Another concern are the grab irons. The photo below shows how everything came out of the box. Note that the sprue is missing a number of the individual grab irons and they appear to have broken off. 

I'm hopeful that each sprue contains a number of extra pieces and that I'll have enough good ones to complete the kit. While I'm certain that Tichy will provide replacements, it would be a hassle to have to go through that process.

So now I have two Tichy kits to build and two bulkhead end kits to build. Yep- I picked up another one of the old Athearn cars at Tim's Trains and Hobbies in Covington, KY. We'll see how all of these turn out.


  1. Tom,

    Kudos for taking on two Tichy kits; they've long been in the "pay someone else to do them" class. Hope they turn out well.

    Roger Sekera

  2. Interesting really like the looks of the future cars