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Juneco Caboose


Modeling Information and Examples

Juneco Caboose (Van)

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If you are looking for a challenge, the Juneco Canadian Pacific Wood Sheathed Caboose can certainly provide it. It certainly can be built into a decent looking model but if you are looking for a fleet of them for your layout I don't think that these kits are the fastest way to accomplish this. 

I chose the Juneco kit as my first exposure to the hobby in about 5 years. It took me almost 6 months to complete it and frankly I wish I had chosen another model to make my comeback into the hobby.

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My biggest complaint with the model was the cupola castings. They were rough at best and lacked depth of detail. Infact with painting, the scribed wood detail disappeared almost completely. I struggled for a while with a solution to the problem but in the end I chose to scratch build a cupola entirely from wood.

I began by making a scale drawing of the cupola ends and sides on heavy cardstock.. Dimensions of the cupola were derived from the cast metal cupola castings supplied and from photos of a CPR caboose that is preserved in Grand Bay, New Brunswick. Photos of this caboose can be found on the gallery page. Using a very sharp exacto knife I cut out cardboard templates of the cupola ends for the arches for the cupola roof and where the end meets the roof of the caboose. I carefully transferred the arches onto some scribed basswood siding that matched what was supplied for the car sides and ends. I used a very sharp 3H mechanical pencil to make these lines on the basswood. I find it best to scribe onto the front or scribed side of the basswood. I then carefully cut the arches with an exacto knife. I find it best to use many light strokes when cutting basswood. In this case it was essential to have total control of where the knife went as I was following the curved line freehand; too much pressure and the knife will follow the grain of the wood instead of your pencil mark. After about 3 or 4 strokes of the knife it was much easier as the blade follows the groove cut very nicely.

After the arches were cut I laid out the windows on all four sides of the cupola. Using a straight edge I cut the top and bottom of the openings for the windows. Finally I very carefully cut the sides of the openings. Care must be taken here as the sides of the windows fall in the scribing on the basswood and it is very easy to split the small piece of basswood. Sometimes some masking tape applied to the back of the scribed siding will prevent splitting.

Once I had the four sides cut and the openings made, I trimmed out the openings with some scale 2x4 material. This doesn't provide a completely prototype window detail but it is much better in my opinion than the metal castings provided. I find it is best to make the length of the 2x4 just a little long so that it is a press fit in the window opening.

Once this is ready you can assemble the sides and ends. I used a jig to keep everything square and I put in some square basswood stock in the corners for reinforcement.

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I glued on the supplied basswood roof as per the instructions and trimmed it accordingly. To hide any imperfections between the sides and the roof, I used some scale 1x4 basswood as a trim under the eaves of the roof. With some careful gluing and clamping it is possible to bend the 1x4 to match the arch of the roof.

To make the seam between the roof of the caboose and the sides of the cupola as invisible as possible, I laid some fine sandpaper on the the roof and gently rubbed the completed cupola over the sandpaper. Effectively I used the roof of the caboose as a curved sanding block. This assured me that the curve of the cupola ends would exactly match the curve of the roof.

The other part of the model that bothered me was the end sill and railings casting. I toyed with the idea of scratch building the end sills and railings but in the end I decided to use them as they were. I did attempt to scratch build new steps but soon became frustrated and I chose to live with the cast steps. Overall I think the finished product is respectable.

With all due respect to Juneco, this kit is a bit crude. In many ways it uses the same technologies that were used in kits in the 50s and 60s. There is nothing wrong with the kit but with today's high standards of fine details in relatively easy to assemble kits this caboose seems to take up a lot of modeling time and resources that could be better spent on other quicker, more detailed kits.

It has been rumored that Sylvan scale models will be bringing out a resin kit for the wood sheathed caboose and they may have a version of the caboose after it was covered with plywood.

No matter which kit you build or scratch build you will be faced with the problem of painting the caboose. Choosing the correct color is not as simple as it may seem. The Juneco instructions indicated using bright caboose red for the ends and freight car red for the sides. After careful examination of the pictures provided by the John Riddell Canadian Pacific Color Guide published by Morning Sun Books, the sides seem to be more maroon than freight car red.

One great thing came of this decision making process. I have made a great modeling friend. I posted a question on the rec.models.railroad newsgroup about the appropriate colors to use and got a few responses. One respondent and I began corresponding as we were both building the Juneco kit at the same time. It has been over two years now and both of us have completed our models but we still correspond.

To quote Ian Garton:

I'm not sure if you've followed up your post in the newsgroup any further, but there are two more replies. Both say that the end colour is caboose red, and one says that the side colour is freight car red (box car red, I would assume.)

I seem to remember the Juneco instructions saying it was tuscan red and action red, but this may have been for later, steel cabooses with the script lettering. The box car red and caboose red may very well be the correct colour for the wooden cabooses. This would mean the tuscan red is too light and not brown enough, and the action red has too much orange in it.

How old is that kit you're building? I bought another one on Friday and the instructions in it call for CP Tuscan Red (Accu-Paint AP-38) and Action Red (Accu-Paint AP-11).

The group of guys at the hobby store said that the cabooses were redder than the boxcars and that it was indeed tuscan red. However, they said that the ends were more of a caboose red, not action red. I see that somebody else responded to you post, saying that the ends were caboose red.

In the end I used Scalecoat CP Tuscan red and Floquil Caboose red for the ends.