by Jeff Eggert
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Scratch-Building a GATC 4700 cuft Grain Car
This How-To shows an overview of scratch-building a General American Transportation Company 4700 cuft covered hopper, the CGW 7253. This car is unique due to the fact there is a noticeable dent running along one side of the car. Shown below on this page is the build of the basic body, how the dent was added and adding details. A link to a separate page showing the creation of the ribs can be found further down in the page. The homemade styrene break used bend the roof and other brass and styrene sheets into angles also has a separate page. For this project I tried to catch as many details as possible and make them as correct as possible. There were times when I let sanity set in and I said no. Construction took around 150 hours over a 2 month period.

The start of the model. The upper ends and the non-dented side.
Car body complete. Non dented side. Car was weighted using the How-To: Weighting Covered Hoppers.
Dented side. This was made by using .005" thick styrene. The bay dividers, car ends, bottom sill and top roof edge are solid with the .005" overlapping to the edge. The bottom of the side has a piece of .020" styrene backing behind the .005" up to where the slope sheet meets the false vertical end panel to allow the .005" to more smoothly flex without having to bend around a hard edge. The .005" was tacked in place with Scotch tape. A soldering iron was used to heat up the .005" enough to stretch it into the bowed in look seen in the photo. If the .005" got to hot is quickly shrivelled and attempted to make a hole in the sheet. After the .005" side was bowed to my liking, I glued it to the car body.
This view shows the depth of the dent. In this form it seems worse than it is. The ribs did end up pulling it back out a bit from what is seen here.
Rib guides were added as 4 x 4 styrene strips which ended well before the top and bottom of the side. The ribs will be made from stamped brass, so this serves as a guide for landing the brass. Plastic cement is much more forgiving than super glue. A T-square was used to square up the guides.
Completed rib guides on the non dented side. The ribs on the ends of the sides are square and were made from styrene.
On the dented side, the rib guides had to be split, one piece on each side of the dent.
The ribs were made from .001" thick brass stamped from homemade jigs. See Stamping Brass Ribs - Jigs & Demonstration.
Closer view of ribs on dented side.
Car with overhanging roof added. The roof was made from .002" brass in a homemade break. See Homemade Break - Bending Brass & Styrene.
Bolster and coupler pocket added during construction of the main car body.
Post rib and roof addition, the coupler pockets were detaild during the detailing of the ends.
Roofwalk cut from Plano Model Products Scratch Builders Material Apex - Slotted Pattern. Styrene roof ribs and roofwalk supports were glued to their respective parts. A styrene to styrene bond then allowed me more time to position the roofwalk on the roof.

Construction completed. Non dented side.
Construction completed. Dented side.
Close up view of roof. Archer Rivets were used here and in a handful of other places to simulate bolt heads.
Completed B-end. Archer Weld Seams were used to simulate the stitch welding on the end panels. Upright L-angles and Z-channels made from .003" thick brass bent on the homemade break. Grabirons made from .012" brass wire. All non scratch built parts on the entire car can be seen in this photo. Walthers trucks, Intermountain Semi-Scale 36" wheels, Kadee 158 whisker couplers, Kadee brakewheel and two parts pulled from a junk box: a triple valve and air reservoir. I consider the Plano roofwalk material and Archer rivets to be scratch building material.
The trucks were modified to add the snubber. A small placard for the data plate was added. In this view the roof rivets and seam can be seen. The roof seam was made by adding a thin strip of .002" brass to the underside of the roof overhang.
Closer view of ribs and roof side view
Bays. As much detail was made from styrene as possible. Brass strip was bent into angle for the sides and back of the gates.
Just like the real car, the ribs are hollow. This view shows that the ribs on the model are indeed hollow - only as far as you can really see, since further up are the guides.

Painted in Polly Scale CNW Green.

Decaled using a mix of Microscale and Oddballs sets and various scraps in my decal drawers. Herald was originally a black and white herald - made black and yellow by brushing on a coat of CNW Yellow.

Fully weathered model. Non dented side. Washed with a light green watered down mix to simulate some fading.
Dented side. Weathering done using brush and airbrush. Various shades of Polly Scale. Roof Brown, Engine Black, Oily Black and others.
View lighted to semi simulate prototype photo above.
B-end. Adding the recent reporting mark decals had to be done after a majority of the weathering. A small amount of weathering is done after these decals are added, such as rust spots.
The "Proviso Z" decal by Don Manlick was added with a painted on black slashed circle as seen in the Chicago and North Western Final Freight Car Roster, page 170. That photo shows the other side - opposite the one seen at the top of this page. Luckily this is the only CGW 4700 cuft car of which I have seen photos of both sides.

Spotting a GATC 4700 is easy if you can compare it to a GATC 4500 (on the left) and a PS 4750 (on the right). The 4700 is 6" taller than the 4500.

As part of the project this photo was taken of the work bench post construction. Plenty of sanding dust, trimmings and tools around the perimeter of the work space. Pretty typical of a scratch build of major kitbash project.
The "laydown yard" for the styrene and brass strips and sheets used in the project.