|Al Armitage photo, late 1940s|
The prototypes were acquired in 1907, 2,800 cars in total. They were progressively rebuilt between 1924 and 1936. Improvements included Hutchins Dry Lading roofs, new ends (indented Hutchins) or refurbishing of the composite or facsimiles of the ‘Indestructible’ ends, replacement trucks, AB schedule brakes (eventually), Ajax power hand brakes to most cars, if not all, and Wine ladders.
The other main reason for profiling these cars is that they are unusual prototypes, but would not be extremely difficult to replicate through judicious use of kitbashing and/or scratchbuilding. One could either scratchbash the models using an Accurail 1300 or 1700-series car as the starting point* or scratchbuild most of the model. Either means would yield an attractive result.
My plan is to model one of the cars following the latter approach. I will scratchbuild most components, fabricating the sides, ends (‘Indestructible’ as shown in the photo), and underframe and use a spare resin casting of a Hutchins Dry Lading roof. I will chronicle my efforts for publication in some medium. Decals will be made available for those wishing to collaborate virtually.
*I seem to remember that years ago John Nehrich kitbashed at least one of these cars using an MDC model as the starting point. I have a copy of the article somewhere and once I locate it, I will publish a separate post with the details. I think it was in Railroad Model Craftsman and I believe it included drawings, likely from the late Chuck Yungkurth.