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c23 2 C-23 Class Cabooses...
The B&O was a bay window caboose sort of railroad for many years.  The first modern (steel not wood) B&O cabooses were the wagon-top cabooses.  These were used during the war years.  However, after WWII, the B&O created the I-17 and I-17A classes of bay window cabooses.  These little square bay window cabooses were still common in the Chessie era and some even made it to work for CSX.  These were not often used on mainline freights in the Chessie era, as they were going on 40 years old then, but they were used routinely on turns and locals (2nd class trains).

    Chessie reclassified these cabooses as the C-22 and C-23 classes.  I have chosen to make two C-23 class cabooses.  They are identical except the C-22 class has slotted steps, which would be quite difficult to model.  Several of these cars existed for many years in the all blue B&O scheme applied in the late 60's.  However, no blue C-23 cabooses had the 90XXXX series numbers (which began in 1982) and all appear to have been painted in Chessie colors by December 1979.  Choosing a C-2XXX number is therefore a must for this class and the all blue paint job.  Many however were painted into Chessie colors before 1979.  I am doing one of each paint job on this project.  Chessie painted ones were seen with both the C-2XXX and 90XXXX series numbers.

The real cabooses were originally build with two windows on each side.  Before the Chessie era the B&O sent all I-17 and I-17As through a rebuilding program.  The net results were all Chessie C-22 and C-23s had one window on one side removed (see photo below).  Doing this project as I have will produce a caboose with only one window on one side, but it is unfortunately the wrong window.  The Athearn kit will produce a car with the blanked window on the right of the cupola not the left, as on the prototype.  It is a small difference I can live with.

No one makes a kit of these classes in plastic, but Pacific Mountain Scale Shops (PMSS) did make resin I-17s around 2002.  They are very hard to find now, but you may get lucky and find one.

The Athearn bay window, which is readily available and cheap, is a close starting point.  It is however, too long.  This will be a more difficult project to complete, as it will require much cutting and sanding to do right.

Below is a real pic of each of the two paint jobs.  I chose to do C-2899 because I found another photo of the same caboose still wearing this all blue paint job in November 1979.  Dean Heacock collection.

                                                       Dean Heacock collection                                            Dean Heacock collection

How to:
1.  Buy two undecorated Athearn Bay Window Cabooses.  I got mine for $3 a piece at a train show.
2.  Carefully cut the shell with a razor saw (vertically from the bottom of the shell to the roof line and horizontally across the roof line).  See photos below for clarity.  This will remove the bay window and the two inner most panels of the caboose.  Discard the panels and keep the bay windows.
3.  Cut off the two battery boxes on the bottom of the caboose.  Keep these parts.
4.  Cut the two middle panels out of the roof.  Eliminate the plain panel and the one that is directly in the middle (next to the plain one).  Discard the cut off pieces.
5.  Carefully glue the roof back to one piece.  Glue spare plastic along the joint inside the roof for added strength.  Cut the existing side sill off.  Simply glide a sharp blade along the panel line a few times and break it off with needle nose pliers.  It will break off perfectly straight.
6.  Carefully sand off the end grab irons (except the top ones), the side grab irons, and the vent that is at the top right of the side of the caboose that has only one window.
7.  Cut out the bars across the end windows.  Sand the end window smooth.  Fill the whole with plastic, and sand smooth again.  Cut in a small squarish whole on each side of the door on the end.  See photos for clarity.
8.  Glue an end cap to the roof ends.  Sand smooth with the top of the roof.  Fill the ladder holes.  I just put a piece of plastic on the underside of the roof over hang and filled the hole with gel type super glue, sanded smooth.
9.  Sand the two bay windows as thin as possible.  Also sand smooth the two vertical rivet lines that touch the corners of the big window's opening.  These rivets are not on a C23 class caboose.  Attach the bays to the shell.
10.  Glue a new side sill on the shell.  The plastic I used had a square cross section, which added to the problems on making the new frame.  Use a piece of plastic only as thick as the shell and you won't have to do some of the next few steps.
11.  Take the plastic floor of the caboose and cut it in three parts, to fit the length of the new shell.  I had to make my floor about a 1/16 of an inch narrower on each side due to the big new side sill I added.  A correct sized side sill would eliminate this step.  Take the middle piece you cut and glue it on top of one of the other two pieces, so that it over hangs about 1/2 way.  This will add strength to the joint when you glue it into the shell later.
12.  Cut the metal weight in half and stack them on top of each other.  Glue the pieces together with super glue.
13.  Take the center beam and trim off all the side beams.  They will show if not trimmed off.  You can't see them on a real C23, so just get rid of them.  No one will see the bottom of your caboose anyway.
14.  Take the roof walk and cut it into three parts.  Trim the two end pieces to the correct length for your shell.  Discard the middle piece.  Trim off the side parts (with the two holes in them) of the roof walk.  The ladder is on the other side on the C23.  Paint the roof walk black and then dry brush it silver.  Glue it on.  I used spare parts for the side parts of the roof walk (don't know what kit they came from).
15.  You can paint the cabooses at the same time or not, up to you.  I painted the blue one first.  I used C&O enchantment blue.  Then when dry for 24 hours, I painted the ends Reefer Yellow.  When that was dry for 24 hours, I painted the roof silver.  I rusted the roof with brown paints and streaked the sides with lighter shades of blue to show some fading.  Don't over do the streaking, caboose paint held up pretty well.  I primed the Chessie one light grey.  Since it is going to be all yellow, the primer will make the yellow paint look better.  When dry, paint the yellow, then orange, then silver and finally C&O enchantment blue.
16.  Spray the caboose with gloss coat and decal it.  I used the Herald King's C-560 B&O caboose set for the blue caboose and a combination of Herald King C-141 and a covered hopper set to make the Chessie caboose.  Spray with dull coat when the decals are dry.
17.  Prime and paint the grab irons.  I used Reefer Yellow for the color on the B&O one, the Chessie ones are SP Daylight Red.  Detail Associates makes the grab irons.  The end rail is the original Athearn end rail, cut to shape.  The two extra vertical posts are spare Athearn end rails cut to size.  Drill holes for the grab irons and attach them to the shell.  The end rail holes are already there.
18.  Glue the "glass" in.  This is simply clear sheet plastic held in place with white glue inside the shell.  It gives the impression of window glass.
19.  Drill two holes for the ladder and glue it in.  I also glued mine to the roof end for durability.
20.  Put on the bottom frame, couplers and wheels.  Also add the two battery box covers now.  Finally, add the smoke stack.
21.  Spray the bottom 1/4 of the car with a light overspray of roof brown.  Concentrate it on the ends and steps, very little on the body itself.  Seal this weathering with dull coat.  Be sure to not get any dull coat on the windows as it gives them a hazy appearance.
22.  You are done, enjoy your cabooses.

Below is the shell right out of the box.  Note that there are three big panels on each side of the bay window.  The C23 had only two.  We will be removing the two inside panels.  We will also be modifying the ends, sill and bay window.

Below is the shell after the first series of cuts.  Note how the battery boxes are cut and saved.

Below is the piece of the roof that is removed next.  Eliminate the plain panel on the roof and the one next to it.

Below is the shell glued into one piece.  Note that the right side has had the vent sanded smooth at the top of the right most panel.  Also the right hand rail has been removed.  Also, note that the right side has had the side sill excess removed, the left side has not.

Below are the ends.  The left side is right out of the box.  The right has been modified to be more C23ish.

Below is the shell ready for painting.  The bay window has been attached, the new end cap has been attached, the ladder holes filled, and the new side sill attached.

Below is the shell cut.  Discard the middle piece.  Notice how the right piece has been modified to accomodate the thick side sill I added.

Below is the modifications made to the frame.  Cut the weight in half.

Below is the two roof walks.  The top one is right out of the box.  The bottom one is cut and ready to go on in two pieces.  Discard the middle piece and the end pieces with the holes in them.

Below is the Chessie caboose at each stage of painting: primed, yellow, orange, silver and eventually blue.

Below is the decaled Chessie caboose.

Below is the finished Chessie caboose.


Below is the blue caboose, painted and ready to be decaled.  The ends have been painted yellow.  The roof has been paitned silver and weathered to look rusty ( a common site on all B&O cabooses ).  I faded the blue sides slightly with lighter shades of blue.  This would be a 20 year old paint job by 1982, so a little fading is appropriate.

Below is the blue caboose decaled and ready for some road grime weathering.  Note that the car had a wheel inspection dot (black square with yellow dot) in 1979.  The prototype picture above was taken before it was applied.

Below is the finished B&O caboose.