These observations are based on my Overland
caboose, an Atlas undecorated new run caboose and photos.
1 . The roof needs to be replaced with an "overhanging X panel roof." These can be obtained from Athearn and Roundhouse late model boxcars. Also if Branchline makes this for their Berwick 50' boxcars but not as yet brought it out separately. Unlike other models their roofs are separate from the rest of the model which I think is a great way to make them. How often do you have to actually replace the underframe?
2. The cupola needs to be centered on the roof and the end windows need to be modified to a square configuration with frames around them to represent the new windows with safety glass required by the FRA.
3. The cupola roof also needs replaced with the "overhanging X panel roof."
4. A DW 235-106 beacon needs to be added to the center of the cupola roof.
5. A DA or DW Sinclair antenna needs to be added to the cupola roof. It's approximately 6" from the edge of the roof opposite the smokestack. I'd say which end, but I don't know which end is the front or which is the back.
6. Add red running lights (?) to each end. This could be modeled with 1/8" styrene or brass tubing and red MV lenses.
7. The smokestack needs to be moved to the other side of the roof with one brace extending toward the center and down to the roof and one that goes towards the end and down to the roof. There is also a small capped vent where the Atlas smokestack is located. The smokestack itself has an "H" configuration on the top and can be made out of 5/64 tubing. Remove the "U" shaped cover on the Atlas smokestack and replace with the "H" piece.
8.There are three steps instead of two as on the Atlas model, so the existing steps would have to be cut out and replaced with the infamous Holey material from Plano. Moloco also has replacement endstep and platform kit 504-1201 that would be suitable for this.
9. Small widows on each side must be blanked out and one larger one depending on the caboose you're modeling. The remaining windows need to be enlarged to 21" w X 24" tall with frames made out of .005 styrene or brass with bolt detail.
10. The window in the end doors needs to be filed out to 21" x 24" with the frames around them. The left end windows need to be blanked and the right needs to be filed out to 21" x 30" with frame. All frames look to be 1 1/2' - 2" wide.
11. Remove upper grab irons on the ends and the lights above the end doors.
12. The end railings are all tubing so the sheet metal from the end platform up should be removed.
13. There are two ditchlights under the ends on both ends. Use 1/16" tubing and MV lenses.
14. These cabooses had cushion underframes so the couplers should be extended out approximately one scale foot. I'm going to try a DW cushion boxcar underframe but have not investigated this as yet.
15. Remove the two tabs on the body that cover the two center crossbearers. Add a pc of styrene to make the frame solid under the body. There is a notch on one side 18" long, 5' 3" from the end of the body, to clear the axle generator that's located on the truck. This is on the two window side.
16. Remove the brake parts and relocate in the same place only just where they extend down where the top of the parts is even with the frame.
17. Add any brake rigging since this will be visible.
18. Remove the box under the frame opposite the brake rigging.
19. Add an axle generator to the left truck on the two window side.
20. Add two 18" grab irons to the ends of the frame but only after the safety stripes have been added.
21. There is a foot step on each left side/end of the frame at opposite corners to each other.
22. There is a red painted button just above the axle generator but I have no idea what it's for because I can't read what the decal says. I would imagine this is some sort of shutoff since it's painted red.
Additional note from Chris Ivins (4/12/04):
"The one thing I noticed is that Bob suggested using tubing for the red
marker on the ends of the caboose. The prototype is a Pyle single Gyralite housing,
which is available from Detail Associates (#229-1009), and Details West (235-115),
I was kind of surprised he didn't mention this part, as the detail on this looks
better than using tubing. The end of the light housing has very small ribs and
the housing isn't truly round, but is actually
almost oval-shaped when viewed directly from head-on."