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Front Range ACF Covered Hoppers Front Range's Small ACF type Covered Hopper...
Front Range is no longer in business, but they made the single best small ACF type covered hopper.  This kit is also sold under the McKean brand name.  They are the same kit.

The HC-44 class covered hopper were very numerous on the Chessie lines.  Chessie is actually the only Class 1 railroad to buy that type.  The Front Range kit is not a perfect match for the HC-44, but it is a great kit for a kit bashing project or a stand in for an HC44. If you can find one, buy it.

The kit is actually a nearly perfect match for the WM ACF covered hoppers #604950-604999.  Luckily Front Range does make a WM lettered kit, which you can see below.  If you want to see a kit bashed HC44 model look on Greg Stevens' page.

A few (around 10) of the WM ACF covered hoppers were painted in the Chessie paint scheme, but I don't have any pictures of those.  Some of the speed letter painted ones, like the one pictured below, made it all the way through the Chessie era, so a speed lettered example is accurate.

Below is one of my pics of the HC44.  This pic was taken in Sep 2000, so you can still see these today.  This one has the blue sill on the bottom, which was how the HC44's arrived from the factory.  Some Chessie paint shops left this blue sill off when repainting and made the whole car yellow, like my model below.  You need some all yellow ones to give your fleet a true Chessie feel.  This also happened on large ACF covered hoppers.

                                                           Jeff Hanke Photo                                                            John Whitmore photo
How to:
1.  Assemble the kit as per the instructions.  Add consolidated stencil decals from the Microscale sheet.
2.  Overspray the entire car with dark grey and roof brown.  Concentrate on the top and bottom.  Use vertical srokes of the airbrush on the sides to simulate streaking.
3.  When dry use an eraser to remove some of the overspray from the sides.  Do this as much or as little as you want.  A dirty car on needs a little erasing, a clean car needs lots.
4.  Paint the bottom black.  Drybrush it dark grey, light grey, and tan.
5.  Drybrush the trucks dark grey and just a little light grey.  Streak the tops with rust.  Streak the tops with white to simulate spilled sand or whatever contents these cars are hauling (usually they haul very fine sand for making glass).
6.  Overspray with dull coat.
7.  You are done, enjoy your small ACF covered hoppers.

Below are starting pics of my first two Front Range kits, a WM and a Chessie C&O.  The undecorated kits I have will follow soon.

Below are two pics with steps 1-2 done.  Notice I put the overspray heavily on the tops and only streaked the sides.  These have not yet had the eraser treatment.

Below are two pics of the finished cars.  Overall, I was unhappy with the results of the C&O car and reworked this car.  See my rework page to show how I finally gave in and stripped and repainted this car.  The WM car does have a consolidated stencil, but it is in a unique place, see the prototype pic above for placement.  It is actually behind the right ladder on the support brace just behind the stripes coming off the letter "D" in "Western Maryland".