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McKean Hopper Toppers Hopper Topper "load"...

McKean made a nice little plastic kit that consisted of two hopper toppers.  These plastic lids were actually used on the Chessie System to turn normal 100 ton coal hoppers into temporary covered hoppers.  This is a great detail to add to a Chessie layout.  Conrail also had these toppers, but they painted them white.

This project will allow you to model a load of grain on a hopper, by simply adding a lid to it.  It can also pose as an empty covered hopper just as easily.

Below is a pic of several real Chessie hoppers with toppers on them.  Notice on the hopper at the extreme right of the pic you can see the words "Chessie System" on the topper end.

                                                                        Dean Heacock photo

How to:
1.  This is a relatively easy project once you find the kit.  I have found four of them over time, but they are getting increasingly rare.
2.  Paint the main piece UP armor yellow.  They come yellow already, but it is too translucent.  Painting them yellow makes them appear more solid.
3.  Paint the walkways silver.  I use flat aluminum by Polly Scale, but any will do.
4.  Assemble the toppers as per the instructions.
5.  If you can find some use N scale Chessie System decals to put "Chessie System" on each end.  Also add a small "C&O" or "B&O" in the bottom right hand corner of the ends of the topper.  Toppers had no numbers, just "C&O" or "B&O", kind of like coil hoods did.  I actually made my own decals for the toppers shown below since I could never find any N scale decals that would work.
6.  Weather the tops lightly with a wash of dark grey or black paint.  Concentrate on the areas underneath the walkway, as they would accumulate grime first.
7.  You are done.  They fit onto the Bowser 100 ton car very well.  No need to glue them down.

Below is what you get in one McKean kit.  Enough toppers to do two cars.

Below are two of my toppers painted and ready for decals.

Below is a pic of the ends of three of my hopper toppers with the end decals.

Below is a pic of one of my toppers on a Bowser 100 ton hopper.  I have only seen photos of these toppers on Chessie marked cars.  I have never seen a picture of one on a C&O or B&O predecessor painted car.  This topper had not yet gotten its end decals in this pic.