Adding Car Siding

In this section we'll add the external siding, roof, roof walks & doors to the freight car.


Your model should resemble this at the end of this section.

Step 1 - Install the Car Ends

The following instructions are intended to compliment those which were provided with your kit. Thus we'll only focus on the highlights, you are (always) recommended to read and understand the kit instructions before embarking on the next assembly step.

The first step is to install the car siding on the car ends.
Locate the end piece of siding (often pre-cut by the manufacturer) and dry fit on the car end.
It is important that you identify the vertical orientation of the panel as the top edge typically aligns with the lower edge of the end letter board and the bottom edge alines with the bottom edge of the car frame.
Once you are satisfied with the fit, apply a thin layer of wood glue on the backside of the panel and clamp it in place.
Repeat for the other end.

Once the end panels are glued in place, take a sanding block or mill file and sand off any portions which extend past the edge of the car.

Step 2 - Install the Car Sides

Next, install the side wall panels. These are the panels we built up in the previous section.
As with the end panels, dry fit the panels first to familiarize yourself with their placement on the car form.
Note the side panels are longer than the car shell so when you glue them on, leave a little extending past each the end of the car. Once the glue has set the excess cn be trimmed off with a hobby knife and sandpaper.

The side panels should be clamped in place while the glue sets.
Another option is to lay the car on it's side, place the glued panel in place then place some weights on top until the glue has set.

Step 3 - Install the End Letter Boards

The end letter boards are now installed.
Locate the larger boards from the kit. These will butt against the top edge of the end panels that were installed in step one.
Apply some wood glue to these pieces and glue one to each end of the car, clamp until the glue has set.
Be sure the letter board is placed tightly against the end panel with no gap showing.

Once the glue hs set, trim the excess of that extends past the top of the car roof.
Use a hobby knife to trim off the worse the place some snd paper on a flat surface then turn the car body up side down and carefully remove the balance.

There is a good article on the Labelle web site that also speaks to this: Perfect Craftsman Car Kits Every Time

Step 4 - Install the Side Letter Boards

Now install the side letter boards.
In most cases these butt up against the sub roof overhang.
Trim to length.

Step 5 - Install The Roof

Now is the time to install the roof panels.

As with the wall pnels, dry fit the pieces first comfirm fit.
It is not necessary to pre glue the roof panels together end-to-end since the pnaels will be fastened the the sub roof panel.
Run a pencil down the ridge of the sub roof, we'll use this to align the roof panels to.

Take your first piece of roofing and glue in place by lining up the top edge with the pencil mark. Clamp in place until the glue has set.

Since the first roof piece doesn't extend past the end of the car, a second piece is required.
Glue the second roof panel in place by aligning the top edge to the pencil line and butt up against the first panel. Clamp until the glue has set.

Once the glue has set, trim the roof over hang back so it just extends past the end of the car.

Repeat the whole process for the second half of the roof.


The roof panels for one half of the roof are in place and the first for the second side has been glued on.


Note the left roof panel extends slightly past the end of the car.


Sand the edge of the roof panels if they extend too far past the edge of the car body or they are crooked.
Step 6 - Installation of the Doors

Now is a good time to install the the doors and associated trim.

With most kits, the doors are modelled in the closed position and are represented by attaching a "door panel" on top of the scribed siding.
Locate the doors panels in the kit. Double check the size & squareness of these pieces. I found the door panels in my kit were slightly off square so I fabricated new ones from my scribed siding inventory.
Using the kit instructionis, locate where the doors are positioned on the car sides and do a dry fit. Once satisfied with the fit, apply a thin layer of wood glue and attach.
I laid a weight on top off the door panel to hold it flat while the glue set.

Some of the older cars had smaller "vent" doors at one end of the car. These were located at the opposite end of the car from the brake wheel.
Once again locate the door from the kit parts and install.

Add the supporting rails, door stops etc


View of the installed end door.


The side door installed.
Note the door hardware has not been added at this stage.

Installing the Roof Walks

In this section we'll instal the roof walks to the top of the car..

There are many different approaches to installing the rooof walks of which there is a good article on the Labelle web site that also speaks to this: Perfect Craftsman Car Kits Every Time

I chose to take a slightly different route that worked out pretty good.

Locate the roof walk wood strips. These were laser cut in my kit so the three boards were pre-spaced.
Turn the strips over and mark out where the roof walk supports will be positioned.
Cut the roof walk supports to length, then install with glue one by one until all are in place. Place a weight on top until the glue has set.

Now we need to taper these roof supports to match the pitch of the roof, that is to form a "v" notch in each roof support.

I did this by marking the centre line down the length of the roof walk assembly then taking a flat needle file and carefully filing the taper in one cross member at at time.
Test fit every so often to validate the fit.

Once you are satisfied with the fit, cut the roof walk stringers to length and glue to the roof of the car.
When you do this, ensure the roof walk is plumb in all directions.


Install the roof walk supports one-by-one.
Note the roof walk has not been cut to length yet leaving the end sections in place holding the roof boards in alignment.


Install the rest of the supports at regular intervals.


Take a flat needle file and file a "v" notch in each roof support.
Test fit as you go along to ensure you don't file off too much.

This complets this section of the kit aassembly.


This Web page is maintained by Grant Knowles and was last updated on Nov, 2015.