If all you want is a caboose, then there are hundreds of models to choose from. But what if you want this caboose? Sometimes a readily-available model can be customized to match.
This project starts with a Walthers HO scale bay-window caboose decorated for Conrail. While not an exact match for the prototype, most of the major differences can be easily overcome. Similar models are available in N, O and G scales as well from other manufacturers. These techniques will work on any scale or model.
1. The Prototype
The prototype for this project is a former Conrail bay window caboose, No. 21267. This car has been assigned to the Hershey, PA shifter and can regularly be found in the shadow of the famous chocolate factory. The car remains in service in Conrail paint now more than 10 years into ownership by Norfolk Southern. The blue paint is beginning to show its age however.
Modeling this car starts with a Walthers model, and consists mostly of simple weathering changes to capture the look of this specific prototype.
One of the biggest differences between our prototype and the model is the road number. Changing the number is easier than repainting the entire car.
The same technique used to change the number can be used in moderation to recreate the distinctive faded markings on the model. Follow the prototype photo for guidance. If you are modeling the car in younger years, leave more paint intact.
The windows of the Walthers model are not an exact match for this class of caboose on Conrail. I left the larger windows as-is but filled the small window to the right of the bay window on one side.
Use a chisel blade hobby knife to cut off the frame and fill the window with putty. Smooth and add a little blue paint to hide the old window. An exact paint match is not necessary as the entire car is about to be faded.
If you model a Conrail class N21 caboose, this step can be ommitted.
5. Fading Paint
Recreating the faded blue paint is best done with an airbrush.
The final weathering touches can be applied with chalks. A little rust and grey dust around the roof line and trucks will bring out details.
Touch up the trucks and underframe areas with a little grimy black paint and your caboose is ready for service. All that's missing is the smell of chocolate!