Build a Scrap Load for That Gondola

By Stan Houpt

 Do you have an empty gondola on your railroad? Maybe you should make a scrap load for it and start to earn some revenue with that car. Here is a simple and easy project that yields what I feel is a convincing scrap load.

The first step is the best part. You need to buy a pie of some sort, Shoo-Fly for me!, to get the aluminum pie pan. Begin by spray painting the pan with a coat of red/rust colored primer spray paint. After that has dried I randomly streak the pan with other shades of browns and rust colors along with some streaks of black.

The next step is to cut up the pie pan into tiny pieces to create the metal scrap. I used the word tiny because the first time I did the cutting I made the pieces far too big to be realistic. It was not a real problem because I just went back and cut them smaller. To gain perspective on the size I always compare things to a scale person to see if it is realistic in size and believable.

In addition, I went to my scrap box and picked out some more convincing pieces to add to the load. Such things as cut up pieces of sprue, old rail car wheels, 55 gallon drums, etc. These should then be painted and weathered to look like junk in the load. I used sheet styrene as a base to glue the scrap to. Other materials could be used as well. Measure the gondola and cut the styrene to fit into it. At this point once you have made a good fit, spray the styrene with the rust or black paint so that it does not show when the load is complete.

Now you are ready to start assembly. I used a coating of tacky glue on the styrene base. This helps hold the pieces in place as you place them on the base. Keep adding layers to the initial layer to build up the scrap and create a convincing load.

Once you have things piled up, drip on some 70% isopropyl alcohol. Next drip on some Elmer’s white glue diluted 50% with water. It will be messy and run all over the place so I use aluminum foil under the project so I can remove it when dry.

Now walk away and let it dry for a few hours.

At this time, you can place the load in the car and sit back and admire the car running on your railroad.