TIPS & TECHNIQUES
The Bachmann hopper is a relatively inexpensive piece of rolling
stock. I bought three of them on E-bay for $9.95 each. This hopper was
designed from an East Broad Top hopper, which was a standard gauge
hopper riding on narrow gauge trucks. The EBT was built to standard
gauge specifications since it was a heavy coal hauler. This meant that
the roadbed , bridges, and train clearances could acccomodate standard
gauge rolling stock on their narrow gauge track. The car scales out
pretty close to the new USA Trains 70 ton hoppers, but is probably about
50 tons. The era is 1950's through 1960's.
This car can be "improved" with a little work. I removed the trucks
and couplers because they were Archbar, which is too old for my
railroad. I also removed the plastic coal load and saved it for later
use. The cars were then stripped of all lettering using a product
called "Lift Off" which removed the lettering without affecting the
paint. The flexible plastic grabs can be replaced with brass rod. The
holes in the car need to be filled with 3/32" plastic tubing to make the
1/16" brass rod fit the holes. Once this was done, I sprayed the car
with Boxcar Red using an airbrush. After this paint had completely
dried, I sparayed Testor's Glosscoat on the sides of the car to give
myself a good surface for decals. I used some SP decals that I bought
from Robert Dustin, and completely re-lettered the car. When the decals
had dried 24 hours, I oversprayed the sides with Testor's Dullcoat.
I sprayed a set of Aristo sprung Bettendorf trucks with Boxcar Red,
and added Bachmann metal wheels which were painted with roof brown. I
had to grind off the top of the coupler tang on the truck so it would
clear the underside of the car. I used Kadee #830 couplers, which
required that I grind off the rear of the coupler box to make it fit the
Aristo trucks using the original coupler mounting hole. I bought some
washers with 1/4" holes in them. I used these washers to shim the truck
so that the car was at the same height as with the old Bachmann trucks.
This was needed so that the wheels would clear the underside and trucks
would pivot properly. The Bachmann truck and the Aristo truck have a
different shape to the mounting area which required these shims.
I glued black aquarium gravel to the plastic coal load and placed it
back on the car. The cars now have an updated appearance, and with some
weathering will be ready to join my freight car fleet.