It’s a baby…

I am taking a break from constructing the layout to work on the car fleet.

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One car I have always liked are the “baby” hi-cubes.  They were never very common.  I believe they were largely used to haul appliances.

Athearn produced a couple of hi-cube cars, but most of the road names were not accurate for the variety the company produced.  Hi-Tech Details makes a pretty accurate kit of one of the most common prototypes designs.  Click here for a nice history of HO baby hi-cubes.

Let me be upfront, this is not a kit for beginners.

However, if you have patience and make a few modifications, it will result is a great addition to any freight car fleet for a layout set between 1967 and about the early 1980s.

The biggest recommendation is to not get in a hurry and do consider replacing the couplers.  I also added Hi-Tech Details rubber air hoses.  (They really are rubber.)  I still need to add pin lifters.  Again, do not hurry, especially when removing parts from the sprues.  The ladders are very fragile.  I broke a couple.


The kit must be assembled, including the cars sides.  This was not difficult, but some careful sanding and slight bending of the sides to ensure flatness will likely be necessary. (Pictured is an D&RGW kit I am also working on.)


Make sure you get the corners flush and square.


Here is a tricky part.  I learned on the D&RGW car to do this BEFORE assembling the shell of the car!


As messy as it might be, it works.  Pictured to the right is an accumate scale couple that works really well.


Here is B. Smith’s coupler of choice for this job.  It worked well for me also on my CB&Q car.


Here’s some photos from the master (B. Smith) from when he assembled his baby hi-cubes–

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See how nice the accumate couplers work?


To see a similar prototype (#19837) from August of 1980, click here.  I really like the results.  Thanks goes out to High-Tech Details for producing this needed prototype and B. Smith for his helpful pointers.

To see another link describing assembly of this car, click here.


Does the presence of this car, signal yet another shift in the era I am modelling?  Stay tuned to find out.

3 thoughts on “It’s a baby…

  1. Might be too late for you on this build, but I learned a trick from Charlie Duckworth on squaring up the sides and ends: Use a Lego brick! They’re molded perfectly square and are cheap enough to be glued to the sides and ends and left there for the life of the car. They’re also bigger and cheaper than styrene shapes, so they’re more suited for the task.


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