B&O M53 - Construction: Conclusion
06/11/2010
Well, I think that completes the project. I will add some light Bragdon Enterprises weathering chalk to represent rust on the couplers and the truck's side frames, and I am working on some crates to place inside the car, visible through the one open door. I left one door open and one door closed. Both were glued in with superglue at each of the four corners of the door, so that they can be popped loose in the future, if need be.

All-in-all, I enjoyed this project. The final result is very pleasing to me. I think Jim King of Smokey Mountain Model Works, Inc. did a fantastic job in creating this car. The kit was sometimes challenging to put together, and some parts were missing from the kit. The instructions were kind of all over the place, but about 95% of the key information was there. The prototype photos were very helpful, as were the decal placements and the painting and weathering tips. I would recommend this kit to anyone, and I will definitely be interested in any (applicable) future projects that Jim releases.

I spent 35, non-consecutive, days (of mostly evening hours) working on this car. Besides the kit, I had to buy the trucks, the couplers, the air hoses, the paint, and the finishing sprays. The wood for interior was not part of the kit. That was my kit-bashing "extra". I had the wood in my supplies so I didn't need to buy that. The most tedious and time-consuming parts of the project were preparing and installing the countless grab irons, and detailing the underframe. I decided to do all of it even though most of the underframe parts may not be visible on lower layouts. The most difficult part was fitting and finally installing the underframe into the body. There is quite a bit of material in the corners of the body that needs to be removed for the underframe to fit. There is no information in the kit about the brake details. I later learned from Pieter Roos that the parts in the kit are the parts one can purchase from Grandt Line, and that the Grandt Line kit comes with instructions. It would have been helpful if Jim had included those instructions. Once one has built a number of freight car kits, or has purchased one of the Grandt Line kits, I'm sure it is easy to figure this out. I think, therefore, that Jim intended the audience of this kit to be the more experienced modeler, and not a novice like me!