RGS Caboose #0409

During the Spring of 2004, I was asked to build an On3 styrene master of the Rio Grande Southern (RGS) Caboose for an upcoming kit for The Cimarron Works. The prototype was #0409. As I started into the project, I discovered that it was originally built as a 4-wheel caboose and then later rebuilt in an 8-wheel configuration which was the prototype that I built. It also had the characteristic RGS single side window cupola. What drew my attention to this non-revenue car though was its short length. At just under 21 feet it was perfect for my future Elk Valley Lumber Co. short line!

The photo opposite is the Sn3 version of this kit and will be updated later as I complete the resin On3 model.

D&RGW Caboose #0409
RGS #0409 entering Ophir late one Summer's evening
Cupola front outside wall showing the "roughed out" window openings.
Cupola front inside wall. Note the horizontal scribed styrene.

I started construction of the caboose by building the cupola. This consisted of 4 double thickness walls, a curved roof and window frames.

I wanted the walls to be a scale 4" thick (or 0.080" in O-scale) and decided on two thicknesses of 0.040" scribed styrene. In the prototype, the siding was installed vertically outside and horizontally inside. I did the same.

The inside walls were cut first and the roof curve was filed. I then carefully marked out the position of the windows with a sharp 2H pencil. Once I was happy with their locations, I carefully cut out the openings. I actually did this a few times and scrapped any pieces that I wasn't happy with. Scrapping work pieces that I've spend 2 weeks working on might seem like extreme behaviour but at the end of the day, if it isn't right, it isn't acceptable. End of story.

You don't need very expensive tools for this work - a sharp X-acto knife, steel ruler, cutting mat, needle files (flat, square and triangular), 2H pencil, small engineers square and lots of patience. You also need to appreciate that even though you mark out a square hole, you're actually working in 3-dimensions at the same time...

I used a similar construction technique for the main body walls.

Once the styrene work was finished, a series of moulds were made from the master parts.

The Resin Kit
Now we turn our attention to the resin kit. Not a very flattering photograph but this is shot of one of the first resin mouldings from the masters. Most of the parts fitted together with ease right out of the box. The detail was / is amazing as the resin can pick up details that are under 0.001" (including any mistakes that were made in the masters).

Note the grab iron detail on the roof and body sides. Each window consists of 9 individual pieces, all cut and filed to an exact size! This car has a total of 9 windows. I'll leave you to visualise the cutting and filing... At their tops, the window trim pieces are bevelled with a prototypical 45 degree angle.

The Cimarron Works kit comes complete with detailed and illustrated instructions.

First-off resin parts

Cleaning out the flash from the main body roof opening
Careful with that axe, Eugene...
The photo opposite shows the flash being removed from the main roof opening. This is an important step and care must be taken to remove only the flash as the resin material is very soft and you can easily wind up removing more material than you bargained for. Once again, no fancy tools are needed.

Note the fancy arched roof supports and the highly detailed end beams. The door openings are finished with scale trim and even have door jambs. Cool or what?

To be completed, please stay tuned...

Click on the arrow to return  Click to go back or here  Click to return to Chris' Railroading Corner page to return to the Railroading Corner home page.
Last updated: July 2004