I posted a brief writeup of the Rapido Northern Pacific 10000-series double sheathed box car almost two months ago (link to that post here). Since that time, I have made a few upgrades to that model and painted, lettered, and weathered it. This post describes the details associated with all of that. As I stated in the original post, it is an extremely fine model right out of the box. The changes highlighted here are ones that simply suit my tastes.
Most of the upgrades were performed on the ends, with the majority of those specifically on the B end. I replaced the running board supports with styrene to create more realistic details. I replaced the original retainer with a Precision Scale retainer valve with 0.008" wire "pipe". The brake staff was secured to a pivot support. Finally, I reworked the push pole pockets to create a more dished, stamped look, as on the prototype.
On the A end and the doors, I replaced the handles with ones fashioned from 0.010" wire, filed flat on the outer surface. The last upgrade was the replacement of the stock wheelsets with 0.088" tread width sets with 1.005" long axles.
The preparation and painting of the model followed my normal regimen. All metal and engineering plastic surfaces were lightly blasted with 200-grit aluminum oxide. I primed all surfaces, using Tamiya surface primer for the first time (link to my thoughts on it here). I painted the sides Rust (no. 4675) from the Model Master Acrylic line of paints. I masked the sides and painted the roof, ends, underframe, truck sideframes, and wheelsets Tamiya acrylic flat black. In preparation for decaling, I applied a light coat of Future (now Pledge) floor wax, creating a glossy surface.
I lettered the car* using decals I created myself and had printed by PDC of Canada specifically for this model. I reserved part of the capacity data, the reweigh location, the brake test, and repack stencils to be added during the weathering process. I also added a few chalkmarks prior to weathering.
I weathered the model using PanPastel and Bragdon powders. On the roof, ends, and underframe, I used brown, light grey, and Payne's grey. On the roof, I also interspersed this with some "blobs" of light grey paint applied with a Q-tip to simulate the beginnings of paint failure on some of the panels. I used the same powders on the sides, but applied them progressively: first, I applied small pieces of masking tape over the stencil areas referenced in the previous paragraph followed by powders that were then sealed with clear flat. I removed the masking from capacity, reweigh, and brake test stencils and added those along with more chalkmarks, another clear flat coat, followed by more weathering and yet another clear flat coat. Lastly, I added the repack stencils and more chalkmarks. Everything was sealed with a final flat coat.
Rapido has produced a beautiful model of a very significant prototype that belongs on most layouts. Bravo and I can't wait to see what is next from north of the border!
*the lettering layout doesn't exactly follow the standards for this car. The arched Northern Pacific and capacity data are slightly shifted to reflect photos of car NP 10975. Variations in the layout of lettering on actual equipment are not uncommon... remember, the shop crews were humans, not robots!