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Athearn's Small B&O Hopper Athearn's Small B&O Hopper...
Athearn makes a small hopper that comes delivered in a 1950's era B&O paint scheme.  It is not bad as models go, but it is not perfect for any class of B&O hopper.  Your best bet is to strip off the 50's era paint job, paint it in a Chessie paint job, weather it heavily, and run it in the middle of your coal trains.

Chessie coal trains on average consisted of 40% 100 ton hoppers (use the Bowser 100T Hopper for these), 40% 70 ton hoppers (use the Stewart 70T Hopper for these) and the last 20% were a collection of odds and ends.  Some of this last 20% were "Moonshine" cars (see my tips page for these), some were old smooth sided hoppers, and some were little off set ended hoppers (like the one in this project).

These little two bay hoppers were very old by the time Chessie rolled around, but some of them did get painted into Chessie colors.

Below is a pic of a real 2 bay B&O hopper in the same class as the one I did.  Thanks to Kermit Geary for use of this photo.

                                                                                                                                      Kermit Geary photo
How to:
1.  Remove the hopper from the box and apply Polly S Easy Lift Off (ELO) to all the lettering.  I put it on with a Q-tip, let it sit for 15 minutes or so and scrub it off with an old toothbrush.
2.  Rinse the car with warm soapy water to remove any left over ELO.
3.  Sand the car where the ELO stripped down to the bare plastic.  Some of the car will still have the original black paint and the sanding will make the transition invisible between the bare plastic and original Athearn black.
4.  Spray the entire car with flat black paint.
5.  Spray the car with gloss coat.
6.  Add decals, I used Herald King Chessie Hopper decal set, but the Champ ones would work just as well.  You will have to cut the "B&O" and the Ches-C logo in half to give it the proper look.  I cut a 1/8 strip out of the Ches-C logo so the logo still looks circular.  The "B&O" letters are just cut in half and applied, just like the real thing.
7.  Spray the car with dull coat.  Glue in the weights.  Paint them with an enamel primer.  When dry, paint the weights black.  Add the underframe and brakewheel.
8.  Spray the car with oversprays of engine black (very dark grey color, almost black).
9.  Spray the bottom 1/4 of the car with engine black and tan mixed.
10.  To add that used hopper look, drybrush the inside with the same black and tan mix.  Mine really came out well and I plan on using this technique on all my other cars.  Keep the drybrushing to the bottom of the car and only 3/4 the way up the sides.  This makes a very realistic wearing of the paint where the coal/rocks would be in the car.  The top part of the inside edges should still look pristine.
11.  Add the trucks.  Drybrush with shades of grey.  Paint the wheel faces rust colors.
12.  Seal with dull coat.  You are done, enjoy your car.

Below is a pic of the car right out of the box.  I have never seen the old 50's era circular B&O logo on a car in the Chessie Era.  So, this car needs to be redone in a more accurate Chessie Era paint job.

Below is a pic of the hopper after it has been stripped of all its markings.

Below is a pic of the hopper painted black.  Ready for decaling.

Below is the hopper with new Chessie decals.

Below is a pic of the hopper with the weights added.  They have been primered and will be painted black.

Below is a pic of the finished car.