Improving a Life-Like boxcar

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Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby sailormatlac » Jun 29th, '13, 00:13

Another of my experiment with cheap rolling stock that looks ugly.

This boxcar was manufactured by Life-Like years ago. They offered a badly painted version in CN "wrong color" with an utterly wrong paint scheme. Indeed CN acquired a few of them from ex-Penn Central parentage in the late 80s but they didn't look like this:

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So I decided to strip the paint and start again:

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Decals were scavenged from Microscale (CN freight and freigth data) to match as close as I could the picture from Canadian Rail Pictorial boox. However, I didn't have modern data placard sign decals. So I decided to paint them by hand on a blank decal sheet. Not perfect, but good enough if you aren't looking at it with a magnifier glass.

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I also replaced the brake wheel with a Kadee one and also the stirrups. All other details, though cast on, were quite decent and didn't need an upgrade.

The result:

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And after a light coat of weathering according to prototype picture:

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Verdict: these Life-Like boxcars aren'T that bad when they receive a decent coat of paint and a few detail improvement like new couplers and newer roller bearing trucks.

Matt
Proudly modelling Quebec Railway Light & Power Company since 1997.

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Erie 149th Street Harlem Station http://www.harlem-station.blogspot.com/
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby AF350 » Jun 29th, '13, 00:35

Nice work, big improvement :tada:
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby lajry » Jun 29th, '13, 02:28

Matt
Microscale makes Consolidated Stencils MC-4126 so why paint your own. The set contains single, double & 3 part white stencils on black boxes. The single ones started in 1972 & are called COTS for clean, oil, test & stencil. These only were for air brakes only. In 1978 the 2 part boxes started covering both air brakes & lube info. For some reason Microscale calls them Consolidated Lube Plates but they are not just for lube data. You can find more info here: http://www.hosam.com/mod/rsdet.html
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby faraway » Jun 29th, '13, 02:29

Well done! That is strange. Yours, the correct paint scheme, is totally different from the one LifeLike applied. How come they made a pure fictional paint scheme? I think LifeLike has in general a good reputation.
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby Southern Tuxedo » Jun 29th, '13, 07:26

:worship: Wow! That looks great. I see metal wheels, were they original or did you change them out? Also, if you had to guess, what's your total investment?

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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby teejay » Jun 29th, '13, 07:54

A huge improvement . Your work really paid off . :tada:

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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby sailormatlac » Jun 29th, '13, 09:30

faraway wrote:Well done! That is strange. Yours, the correct paint scheme, is totally different from the one LifeLike applied. How come they made a pure fictional paint scheme? I think LifeLike has in general a good reputation.


@Reinhard: Years ago, before P2K existed, most Life-Like stuff wasn't nothing more than toys for kids. Many cars were crude because the tooling was from the 60s and 70s. Paint scheme, especially for canadian roads was no more than pure fantasy most of the time. This boxcar was from this line of RTR toys. Some of them, as you can see, are totally salvageable and "correct" for nowadays standard, but many of them would require major rebuilding à la Doctorwayne to be decent. As a young kid in the late 80s, I prefered my Bachmann stuff over my Life-Like set. I remember to have truly hated Model Power for their cars which had no stability. IHC cars were also notable junk to me. Imagine, you are a kid, you finally get a few bucks from picking up strawberries, spend them on a 5-6$ car (which was a large sum for me back then) and get a unusuable car on the layout... Only the Michigan Alcali Chlorine tank car was decent!

@Andy: I'm perfectly aware of Microscale's offering. However, I'm well-known to be a lazy modeller that use expedients to make sure a project is completed. I know myself, if I had waited 2 weeks to get the decals, I'll probably had completed the project in 5 months. If I can make a decent Elesco feedwater from a Papermate pen, I'll gladly do it! (done it). But I must admit next time I order decals, I'll get them!

Matt
Proudly modelling Quebec Railway Light & Power Company since 1997.

Hedley-Junction Club Layout: http://www.hedley-junction.blogspot.com/

Erie 149th Street Harlem Station http://www.harlem-station.blogspot.com/
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby faraway » Jun 29th, '13, 09:46

sailormatlac wrote:...Years ago, before P2K existed, most Life-Like stuff wasn't nothing more than toys for kids....

Matt, thanks for the history information. I am far to new to US model railroading and judge most brands on their todays standards only.
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby modelsof1900 » Jun 29th, '13, 10:53

Matt, good work your changing to a more correct painted and lettered car!
Cheers, Bernd

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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby Green_Elite_Cab » Jun 29th, '13, 12:02

Nice, I have a pair of these same cars (classed X72) in Conrail, one as a PC patch, and one as an unusual blue boxcar. they're pretty good once you put the work in. I'll definitely refer to this thread when I get to mine.
Modeling New Jersey Under the Wire 1978-1979.
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby Catt » Jun 29th, '13, 23:43

For all the toy like stuff LifeLike did they also did this Thrall Alldoor boxcar back in 1976.Only changes I've made are metal wheels new stirrups and body mount couplers the rest is pure 1976.

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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby shortliner » Jun 30th, '13, 04:02

Johnathan , sheer co-incidence - but I picked up that exact same model at the Perth, Scotland show yesterday - mine needs stirrups replaced n- souldn't believe it when I looked on here this morning!
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby jwb » Jun 30th, '13, 10:20

Walthers has just re-issued those basic cars, but with some improvements and the usual $30 or so price.
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby Catt » Jun 30th, '13, 10:28

I have some of the Walthers cars. They are nice but they don't rank the same rating these old LifeLike cars have. Unfortunately 3 years later LifeLike made these cars into real trainset trash.As for the pricing Walthers is going nuts on pricing anyway.
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Re: Improving a Life-Like boxcar

Postby shortliner » Jun 30th, '13, 11:24

If anyone is interested the photos of US outline layouts at the Perth show yesterday are here http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index. ... d-in-2013/
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