Many model railroaders enjoy customizing their models to make them more reliable, realistic and unique. Projects can often be completed in one evening or less and are within the reach of beginners. Let's walk through a typical project to learn the basics.
This covered hopper makes an interesting model. Photos of the prototype, and several thousand additional potential modeling projects, can be found at Fallen Flags and Railroad Picture Archives. The prototype was built in 1970 for the Western Maryland. Two corporate mergers later, most of the original paint is still intact as the car serves its new owner, CSX Transportation. When cars change hands like this, they often receive new reporting marks and numbers. In addition to a patch of new paint, this car is also showing the effects of more than three decades of service.
Like the prototype, the model starts with an ACF covered hopper already decorated for the Western Maryland from Athearn Trains. Athearn's model features great paint and outstanding fine detail right out of the box. All that is left is to add some age to tell a story.