Available from j-c Models, Box 445, South Bound Brook, NJ 08880, is an 80' streamline passenger car kit in S scale of a freelance design patterned after the car types built by Pullman-Standard and American Car & Foundry as built for a majority of roads during the 1940s. They "look" like Santa Fe cars although most closely resembling the cars of either the New York Central or Pennsylvania railroads. With slight modifications and the use of a modeler's license, they can be made at home for virtually any first class railroad.
Construction is extremely simple. The kit consists of .016" thick aluminum sides, aluminum doors, white metal end and vestibule wall castings, white metal generator, UC valve, steam traps, and roof vent castings, with a bass wood floor, roof, and underbody details (i.e. battery boxes, air reservoirs, water tank, compressor reservoir, etc.). Wire is supplied for the roof grab irons and ladder rests, and a clear strip of styrene is included for window glazing. The kit comes without trucks and couplers and without decals. The sides are corrugated above and below the windows, but not the skirts. The kit is available with smooth sides as well. Both types have smooth roofs. Kits can also be ordered director from the manufacturer without side skirts between the trucks on special order at an additional cost of $2.00 over the $18.25 price of the kit.
Another option, that of plain sides for those ambitious enough to want to amok up their own particular car, is available for $1.75 less than the regular kit price.
Instructions, though adequate, are somewhat spartan, A half-size drawing of the roof and underbody is all that is illustrated for the placement of the various roof and underbody components. Lacking is an "exploded" view of the car body which would help in understanding the assembly sequence.
For those of you who have assembled any of this firm's HO scale line of passenger car kits, or perhaps similar ones from Walthers, construction of this kit is similar yet much easier.
The roof and floors are cut to exact length. Merely fasten the ends, roof, and floor together with four screws, attach the underbody and roof details and sand the wood pieces, paint, attach the sides, and the kit is finished but for any addition detailing you may wish to include. Add the trucks and couplers of your choice, decals, and you're ready for revenue service.
For the freelance Santa Fe "look," I added letter and number boards to each side which was made from scrap styrene. I also added window shades made from light blue letter paper, also door and end grabirons. Although the car is not Santa Fe in the prototypical sense, it still looks convincing enough for a model Santa Fe passenger consist. Finished with Floquil's Old Silver, the car becomes quite realistic.
This kit number is S 102. Other available kits are: S 100 18 Roomette, S 101 Diner, S 103 Coach-Dormitory-Baggage, S 104 RPO, S 105 Baggage-Mail, and S 106 Baggage. All are priced at $18.25, can be be ordered with smooth sides and the options mentioned previously.
For the HO scale modeler with an interest in these fine freelance kits, there will be the same selection available soon at $8.75 per kit. Watch for them in the magazine advertisements. These are fun cars to build!