Over the past couple of years I have picked up a surprisingly good roster of the out of production Ertl flats and gondolas. Not sure why guys are getting rid of them since they were very expensive when first released. Now days I have been finding them for under $10 at local RR flea markets. They are a nicely detailed car and worth adding to anyone`s fleet. They were originally marketed as Ertl Collectibles ...Authentic Railway Designs. I currently have two flats and three gondolas in regular service. What I did to my cars was easy and added a lot to the overall look.
|Two Ertl cars are seen in operation. The N&W has been put into marble hauling service while the MP flat is looking for it`s next customer.|
My two flats were left in the road name they came in, but both had the decks repainted which makes a huge difference to the final appearance of the cars. Repainted the flat car deck was done by brush, first with Floquil Grime then a few streaks of Roof Brown while the Grime was still wet. Once the deck is tacky and almost dried I add white, dirt and black chalk weathering. Lastly once completely dry, I dry brushed some Floquil Reefer White across the decks.
To both cars I added Kadee no. 58 true scale couplers. Detail Associates eye bolt 2206 and a wire bent lift lever are also added. A Tichy brake wheel and fine wire was substituted for the larger size wheel and wire included with the kit. I found a few packs of Kadee brake wheels...which are really nice at my local hobby shop. I now use Kadee`s on these type of cars. The flat car sides also got some white and rust chalk weathering that was sealed with Dulcote.
|CNR flat as it looked straight out of the box...compare it to the views below once the deck is painted and the load added.|
|The deck is painted and my car is now ready for service although the stakes and load had yet to be added.|
|Once finished the load adds interest to the car.|
This type of low side gondola had varied loads and was an anything that will fit in goes general type of car. I wanted mine to carry rock and stone so some research into this use was done. I found that in New England the MEC hauling marble chips or shavings from the quarries in Vermont to Maine for the paper industry. Many would be seen on the StJ&LC line then routed over the MEC mountain division. Doing some more research in the lower states shows these type of gondolas would carry limestone and gravel products.
|The lettering was left as is on my two Ertl gondolas. One is loaded with marble chips and the other with marble blocks.|
I had three gondolas when I began this project. One painted N&W, another in MEC black and the third was L&N that I would change into a MEC green gondola. The MEC green car was a project I did with my modeling friend Peter Mumby. He also had an Ertl gondola that needed a paint job.
To begin the MEC black and N&W gondola were just weathered up with an overcoat of Floquil Grimy black and chalk weathering. The floors in the gondolas, since they were wood, had the same treatment as my flat car decks got...Grime and Roof Brown. I did not have to do a really good job on weathering the floor as there was going to be loads...covering most of the floor surface. I thought it would be nice to see some of the wood showing through. Both cars got new Kadee true scale couplers, no 58. I added limestone dust screenings to the MEC car that looks a lot like marble chips. The screenings are sifted with a wire food sifter to get the dust out. This type of screenings are normally used in patio stone paving application. The dust makes good gravel roads, so nothing is discarded. The N&W car got three slabs of marble set on blocking. The blocks are cast plaster with tooling marks scribed in. This load would be heading to the south or midwest states.
|My MEC gondola had been loaded with marble chips at the nearby quarry.|
The project MEC green cars that I worked with Peter on had new Kadee brake wheel no. 2022 added along with Kadee true scale couplers no. 58. Detail Associate cut lever no. 6215 are used and a wire bleed rod is also added. The gondola wooden deck is painted as mentioned above. The body of the car is painted a mix of 75% CNW green and 25% Dark Green. These are Floquil paint colors. Decals used are Accu-cal MEC boxcar set no. 5811H. As the sheets we had were very old we had to gloss coat the sheets before cutting the decals off. Prior to that they were just falling apart. The car did get a green overspray once the decals were attached and chalk weathering was applied. Our loads were the limestone chips. Well that`s enough for one day...will look at the Ertl boxcars another day...George Dutka
|The two finished Ertl MEC gondolas are now in service. Peter`s gong has been updated with marking that would have been found in the 1970`s. Mine I left as would be seen during the late 1950s early 1960s era.|