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"How to" Series

Tools and Materials


  1. (1) Shell - Accurail 40' boxcar, with ridge walk and brake wheel removed

  2. (1) Floor* - 1-1/8" x 5-1/2" x 1/16" thick sheeting

  3. (4) Floor standoffs* - 1-1/8" x 1/2" x 1/16" thick sheeting

  4. (1) Roof substrate* - (2) pieces of 5-13/16" x 5/8" x 1/32" sheeting

  5. (2) Fascia boards* (long) - 2 x 8 dimensional lumber x 5-7/8" long

  6. (4) Fascia boards* (short) - 2 x 8 dimensional lumber x 1-3/8" long

  7. Roofing: Silcone Carbide sandpaper: 320 grit (black)

  8. X-acto blade: #11 *Either wood or styrene can be used




*Fascia board - The long white boards (pictured) on the ends and sides of the roof line, directly underneath eave.

NOTE: The step-by-step process for making the boxcar shed can be followed visually using the slide show on the lower left picture block above "Tools and Materials".  To activiate the slide show, hover your mouse pointer over the picture and use the arrows to progress forward or backward.  Each picture is properly labeled so that you know which picture corresponds to which step.


DISCLAIMER: I got the idea for this from an American Model Builders boxcar shed and depot kit that I put together in 2005.  I used a 40' Accurail boxcar for my project. Obviously, dimensions will vary between manufacturers and in the type of car used.   Sorry for the lack of pictures to the tutorial. I thought of it AFTER I had put everything together.


From Boxcar to shed: Step-by-step instructions


Step 1 - Remove center ridge walk from top of box car shell.  Remove brake wheel from box car end, if desired.


Step 2 - Spread boxcar shell apart with your fingers.  Press floor piece up inside of shell until it butts up along inside ridge, where the frame would rest.  A proper fit should yield a 1/16" between the bottom of flooring and the bottom of the shell.


Step 3 - Glue the (4) floor standoffs to bottom side of flooring, as shown.  The bottom of the standoff should now be even with the bottom of the shell.  To give your shed a more "off the ground" look, glue 1-1/8" pieces of 10 x 10 dimensional lumber to the underside of the shed. (See first and last picture for details.)


Step 4 - Center and align one of the roof substrate pieces so that one edge is right along the center line of the roof.  Glue with CA adhesive. Repeat process for other side.  Let dry.


Step 5 - Glue long fascia* boards to edge of roof.  Make sure that the fascia board is parallel with the sides of the boxcar.


Step 6 - Glue (2) of the short fascia boards to end of roof so that they align with and overlap the longer fascia boards ends.


Step 7 - Glue the other (2) short fascia boards along the top edge of the short boards you just glued to to form a taller piece.  Let dry.


Step 8 - Once the short fascia boards are dry, use an X-acto knife with a #11 blade and trim off the excess fascia sticking above the roof.


TIP: You can lay the boxcar on its end and use the roof line as your trim line.


Step 9 - Use a file to file all rough edges and surfaces smooth.


Step 10 - Cut roofing piece so that it overhands each side by ~1/16".  Crease roofing so that it lays flat over ridge.  Glue roofing to roof with wood glue, center, and let dry. For layered look, roofing can be cut into strips.


TIP: After 10 minutes, when wood glue has had a chance to skim over, clean off ANY excess wood glue that oozes out from underneath roofing BEFORE it completely dries.


Step 11 - Paint top and underside edge of roof with Polyscale Grimy Black.  Paint fascia and boxcar desired color or simply weather original paint scheme.


There ya' go.  The railroads were notoriously resourceful and saved money by using and reusing the discarded and unused items laying around their yards.  Now you can model your railroad just like the real ones used to.  Enjoy!

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