Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad
Dressing Up Commercial Large Scale Rolling Stock
large scale rolling stock leaves a lot to be desired if you want
to be faithful to the idea of the DSP&P. A few locomotives were
manufactued that are reasonable representations, but most
other rolling stock is generic.
page illustrates a few of the things that can be done to commercial
products to make them more like the original and to make them
unique to my railroad. To see what DSP&P rolling stock should
look like, see my DSP&P
Rolling Stock page, where
accurate models in various scales are portrayed.
Rocky Mountain House, Leaverite and Northern Railway has many
interesting and unusual items on its roster. As the long
forgotton Canadian subsiduary of the Denver, South Park and
Pacific Railroad, most of the equipmennt is borrowed or leased
from the DSP&P.
Accurate large scale models of DSP&P locomotives and rolling
stock are rare and mine are no exception. Using commercial large
scale models, I have accepted some "as is", kitbashed others,
others to obtain variety and colour, giving an impression of
what it might have been like in the
1879 to 1889 era. Some were modified by other modelers and
purchased from eBay, then further adapted by me. Weathering varies from slight to really
grubby, depending on age and class of service. The MOW cars are
the most interesting, but the open loads and reefers are pretty
Touch Up The Details
Minor upgrades by painting
cast-in detail or modifying ladders also adds variety and
realism. Lengthening the brake staff is the most important
modification to make the cars look like they really belong on
narrow gauge track. My wife, Sonja, does the fine detail paint
jobs, sometimes with a single-hair brush. I do the
rough weathering and mechanical work.
Cast in door
hooks on LGB reefer touched with black paint (lower right on
left-hand image). In the right-hand image, all hardware, brake
staff, and truss rods were painted black, with ice hatches
removed, air vent and ladders added, and a new road number
inscribed, making the LGB reefer closer to the 1880 prototype.
Steel wheels painted rusty brown look well used compared to the
black plastic originals. Knuckle couples (USA Trains are the
right size) painted grubby brown fix up the end view. I know
body mount link and pin would be more authentic and look better but my curves won't permit this.
Just correcting the road number on a car can be satisfying. A
little research and some press-on dry transfers lead to more
A Commercial Car To Your Era
In my case, I wanted an 1880's
double-board roof on my house cars to replace the 1920's metal
roof on the original product..
The Murphy patented "outside" metal roof didn't arrrive until
1905 so no DSP&P car could have carried one until well along in
Converting the poorly rendered Murphy metal roof on the LGB,
Delton, and USA Trains reefers and boxcars to a simulated wood
roof makes a huge difference. The cure is to purchase some well
used Bachman 933xx series boxcars at auction and snap off the
roof - it is simulated wood, and the only one available in
large scale. It needs to be shortened a bit in a miter saw to
replace the Delton and USA Trains roof, and shortened even more
for the LGB cars, then it just snaps into place. Doesn't it look
Parts and Details for Unique Models
Many commercial models are
incomplete or have features that are not quite right for the
model's era or purpose. The examples below show some typical
The original USA Trains rotary was freelanced into DSP&P
To improve visibility in blowing snow, a cupola has been added. A
roof and backhead were added at the rear using Hartland parts,
as were a bell and whistle on the roof. The tender is from an
LGB Mogul with sound added.
Wedge plow O3 sitting in the yard during a summer respite. This is
also my track cleaning car, with emery cloth under the plow
blade and a scrubbing pad under the body. It was kitbashed from
an Aristocraft plow, shortened by 3 inches, with a Hartland
headlamp added to backdate the original modern headlight.
Headshot of DSP&P wedge plow O3 showing rusting plow blade
before it gets scoured clean and shiny by the icy snow next
An old-timer with modern headlights just won't do. I added
Hartland headlights to help the
locomotive fit in better.
Making completely unique
equipmentr or performing significant modifications to existing
commercial products is called kit-bashing. Lots of fun can be
had while doing the work, and observers will notice the special
Steam Shovel O4 can be brought forward to clear the
line of avalances and rock falls, or to widen a cut or clean up a
ditch. The enclosed cab is a real comfort to the crew in the minus 40
temperatures of the Northern winters. This is kitbashed from an LGB flatcar and
a JS Woodcrafts steam shovel with the track assembly removed.
Add a diesel powered shovel for a more modern ditcher.
Starting with steam shovel parts and some Ozark Miniatures
a wrecking crane appears, loosely following a DSP&P folio drawing.
The wrecking crane tender/boom car includes lots of tools, parts,
rope, chains, junk, and a guard goat.
The pile driver uses the same stwan hoist with a
free lanced mast holding
the pile driver's hammer.
boiler for a locomotive with a different paint job, add a
plow and you have a unique engine on your roster.
Loads Provide Eye-Opening Interest
Whether on a flat car or in a
gondola or coal car, a load is a must. Few cars run empty for very long.
Machinery appropriate for the era makes a dull flatcar into a
All you need is some scale chain and a bit of glue.
Four more of the open loads on my large scale
and Lettering for Variety
Making it uniquely yours.
The right paint, people in the seats, and the car name plaque
give a realistic,
even if somewhat inaccurate, model.
If you can see
inside, there should be something inside to see.
for more kit-bashing examples.