New Monthly Content February 2017: How to Make Gondola Loads Out of Common Household Items

Feb2017 Cover

New Monthly Content February 2017: How to Make Gondola Loads Out of Common Household Items

Feb2017 CoverFor many beginning model railroaders, the cost of the hobby quickly adds up, limiting what improvements can be made while staying within one’s budget. Model railroading is not an inexpensive hobby, after all. A good HO locomotive will set you back $100US or more and a good freight car $25US or more. Individual detailing items may not be too expensive, but it may take a lot of them to create your desired look.

Thankfully, there are things you probably have in your house right now, or could inexpensively acquire at a local store, to create added detail. Aluminum foil, thread, flat toothpicks, drinking straws, a plastic bag, and a few other items (detailed below) are all that you need to make four different types of loads for your gondola cars.

You can do all of the work for this project in one afternoon. We’re going show you how to make tarp covered machinery, crushed scrap metal, pipe, and scrap lumber – all common loads you might find being hauled in gondola cars. If you make all four different loads then you can put them in different gondolas, or rotate the loads on a single gondola car.

This project works for all scales, too. Make your aluminum foil cubes larger for O scale and smaller for N scale. Choose scrap pieces for tarped machinery of an appropriate size for your scale car. Break all the toothpicks for N scale and maybe use tongue depressors or popsicle sticks for O scale. Use either swizzle sticks for N scale pipe or the drinking straws in the description in the report, just cutting them shorter (I’ve seen some very large diameter pipe shipped in gondolas before). For O scale, the straws make smaller pipe but still work.

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Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.

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About The Author

Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.