Modeling Cabooses

Model Survey

Overland has imported very good brass models of the major styles of Lehigh Valley cabooses, but there is no exact plastic model of any Lehigh Valley caboose available in HO scale. Depending on what you are willing to accept (how good is “good enough”?), the following models offer possibilities.

Model Comments on model Modification & detailing notes
HO: Overland 1250 (brass) Phase I caboose w Birdsboro trucks, 1 rectangular window on each end. Model depicts caboose with oil heat – filler cap and high smoke jack.
Overland 1251 (brass) Phase I caboose w Birdsboro trucks, 2 rectangular windows on each end. Model depicts caboose with oil heat – filler cap and high smoke jack.
Overland 1252 (brass) Phase II caboose w Gould trucks, 2 circular (porthole) windows on each end. Model depicts caboose with oil heat – filler cap and high smoke jack.
Proto 2000 The best overall shape of the plastic models available, with fine molded detail, but the details are a combination of Reading and WM cabooses. The version painted for Lehigh Valley has the wrong end windows, located in the wrong position. There are no end ladder grab extensions above the roof. The end platform steps are the right style, but have only two treads instead of the three used by LV. Grab irons on the end walls are in the wrong position. There are no rain gutters above the side windows, nor wind deflectors on the cupola and body windows. For the detail fanatic, it is best to start with one of the versions with no end windows, and add Detail Associates end windows. See Joe Zyla’s modeling tips (below) for his approach to adding other accurate details.
Eastern Car Works
4000 (North East Standard Caboose)
Coarse detailing, and the roof does not have the proper curve at the edges, but provides a fairly accurate model of LVRR phase II cabooses with round end windows, except for the wrong style of ladder grabs. The Taurus end ladders are correct for Phase II.
ECW recommends that LV phase I cabooses be modeled by combining a left half blank end wall with a right half square window end wall, but the window is the wrong shape and in the wrong position. Using the blank end wall and Detail Associates rectangular end windows would produce a more accurate model.
Life-Like
(old version, not P2K)
Not bad for a train set model. Battery box needs to be removed, plus most of the modifications noted for P2K models.
Mantua (may be same as Life-Like) Not bad for a train set model. Battery box needs to be removed, plus most of the modifications noted for P2K models.
MDC 03566 Not up to contemporary standards- all grab irons molded on, end ladders are stamped brass strip. Roof appears to have too much curvature, but I haven’t compared it to drawings. Cast white metal underframe has apparently been reused from an earlier MDC kit, so end platforms and steps bear little resemblance to those on the prototype. Same goes for wood plank roofwalk. If you are not looking for real accuracy, this can be used out of the box – it’s only about half the price of the P2K and ECW kits. However, it’s probably not worth the effort to try to improve this one, there are better starting points.
Eastern Car Works
9111 (Detail set)
Provides two styles of steps, two styles of roof walks, peaked rain gutters, and end ladders.
Detail Associates
6509
Northeast caboose rectangular end windows.These are white metal, fairly soft. Detail is coarse compared to the P2K kit detail. This is the proper style for LV cars with one or two rectangular end windows (phase I). No LV cars had the square end windows used on the P2K model.
Detail Associates
6510
Northeast caboose circular (port hole) end windows.These are white metal, fairly soft. Detail is coarse compared to the P2K kit detail. These can be used wit h the P2K model to depict LV phase II cabooses.

Caboose Modeling Tips, by Joe Zyla

I have put together several of the LV cars using P2K as a base and metal steps from I believe Quality/Gloor Craft. The Quality/Gloor Craft steps are metal and are of the RDG/two step variety. I cut off the bottom step and affix it to the P2K step.

The end window is the current Detail Associates (former Trackside Parts) cast metal rectangle end windows.

For rain gutters, I use wire. Some people use Plastruct angle, which I find is too thick, but could be thinned.

For rock screens, I use very fine wire mesh, manufacturer unknown. The screens get installed after the painting and decaling, and are painted separately with an airbrush. This prevents them from being covered with too much paint.

I also use Taurus ladders, as they duplicate the LV’s more accurately. Plastic sheet stock is used to represent the guards and H angle stock is used for the vertical supports on the end platforms.

Marker lamps are detail parts from Cal Scale, which makes a PC/LV type. I also replace the smoke stack with one that is more accurate. Remember that many of the LV cars had extended smoke stacks, which are noticeably different than the P2K part. I leave the P2K base and install the stack into it.

To model a Phase II car, one with porthole end windows and the separate roof walk, I have used parts from the Eastern kit that many have mentioned. ECW has a nice roof walk and Detail Associates makes the porthole end windows.

Match trucks to your prototype caboose number.

LV 1776 (nee 95085), by Tom Haag

Tom took the P2K model, added rain gutters and Walthers trucks, and used the Microscale decal set. (Photo by Tom Haag)

LV 95100 by Lee Turner

Lee’s 95100 is a Weaver O scale kit modified with resin cast LV style steps, end beams, platforms, single window ends and roofwalks. An interesting note on 95100 is that the safety slogan was added in 1960 but the car was not repainted at that time.

LV 95172 and 95273 by Lee Turner

Lee’s pair of wood cabooses were scratchbuilt in O scale from styrene, from Chuck Yungkurth’s plans and article in RMC, Sep. 1991, p. 75. Commercial parts were limited to trucks, couplers and brake gear.

Prototype Caboose Page

Lehigh Valley Cabooses in Brass

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