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BRV Caboose

The Black River Valley Railroad was conceived as a fictitious regional connecting road between the New York Central and Santa Fe Railroads in the Central United States. As the layout 'home road' the BRVRR has had up to now, only one representative, a EMD F-7 locomotive in the gray, red, white and black of the house livery. The intention of this little project was to change all of that and provide at least one item of rolling stock in the house colors. I decided the best way to do that was to make a caboose for the line. What follows are the steps I took to bring my BRVRR bay window caboose to life.

The Beginning

I started my caboose project with Athearn BB kit #1291, a bay window caboose in New York Central Jade Green. The contents of the kit are shown above minus the floor weight.

Primed and Painted

After removing the original heralds and numbers with a sharp hobby knife. I primed painted the car body with light gray primer and then applied two light coats of Testors Light Dove Gray paint.


After the Dove Gray Gloss had dried, I carefully painted the car body ends with Floquil ATSF Red and the roof and roof walk with Floquil Engine Black.


The decals I used on the caboose are home made. The BRVRR Herald on the left, was made using Microsoft Paint and printed with my HP inkjet printer on Testors white decal paper. The BRVRR lettering and numbers, at right, were printed on Testor's clear decal paper. Both decals were 'set' with a couple of light coats of Testors Decal Bonder.

Decals On

Here is the Caboose car body with the decals applied. When the decals were fully dry, I painted the handrails at the front, rear and sides with Testors Yellow enamel using a small Microbrush.


To light the interior of the caboose I installed Proto 2000 metal wheels and wheel wipers made from Kadee coupler springs. I soldered fine wires to each spring and routed it to the interior of the caboose via small holes through the bottom of the car. I used a grain of wheat bulb partially enclosed in heat shrink tubing for illumination. The bulb and a piece of aluminum foil, for a reflector, are attached the car roof with double sided foam tape. I also placed 3 ounces of additional weight evenly divided at each end of the caboose to ensure positive electrical pick-up and proper tracking.

BRVRR 1445

I weathered the exterior of the car body and the trucks with a combination of Bragdon Enterprises adhesive powders and artists' charcoal. I fear I got a little carried away actually. I fixed everything in place with a couple of light coats of Testors Dulcote. When everything was dry I fabricated window glazing from .005-inch clear styrene and installed it on the inside of the car body. As a finishing touch, I place a waving conductor figure in one of the bay windows to please my youngest grandson.

BRVRR 1445 & 1116

Here is a photo of my completed caboose together with BRV #1116. They represent the entirety of the Home Road's locomotives and rolling stock. I still have a few details to finish but I am pleased with the result of this little project.

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Copyright by Allan Coates 2004-2016. All Rights Reserved.