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Standard Gauge "Junk" to a Observation Car Tribute

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

For $10 I recently bought a rusted, brush painted, Lionel #312 Standard Gauge Observation Car, made sometime around 1925, with a plan in mind - to honor two men from the "Greatest Generation" who served during World War II; my Father and my Father-in-law.

Below are two pictures resulting from this plan.

One side is in remembrance of my father, Bernard "Benny" Warren:

The other side is in remembrance of my father-in law, Augustine "Gus" Blasi:

Follow below for a step-by-step tutorial as to the process I followed to make "gold" from "junk".

These two pictures show what I started with:

After disassembly:

The next step was a good soaking of all painted parts in very hot water and powdered Tide laundry detergent:

After soaking overnight, all of the brushed on paint was removed and the original paint was softened:

A few more hours in hot water and Tide, and then a good brushing with a fingernail brush and a toothbrush - down to the shiny tinplate:

After a good rinse and after drying overnight, I gave all sheet metal a light coat of primer. After another overnight drying period, the sheet metal parts were rattle can sprayed:

Rust, dirt and tarnish on the smaller parts were scrubbed off, wire wheeled and rinsed. Those parts requiring paint were repainted and then these parts were reassembled:

All was then reassembled. Decals designed, printed and applied.

The two pictures at the beginning of this blog post reflect the final results of my efforts.

Branding on the bottom:

I love projects like this!

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