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One of a Kind Cabooses (Cabeese?)

Updated: Mar 20

Yes, I like unique cabooses (cabeese?)

Even though Lionel made a ton of cabooses during the Post-War period, I still desired more options. I’ll divide these desired options into four categories:

1) I like fully “dressed up” cabooses too. Many Post-War SP style cabooses were produced with only one coupler, no window “glass”, no light, no simulated fuel tank, no smoke stacks and no ladders to the roof.

2) I like Post-War frames and trucks. Lionel/MPC made some nice cabooses with graphics that match Post-War diesels but with flimsy trucks resulting in wobbly action.

3) I like fully “dressed up” cabooses too. Many Post-War SP style cabooses were produced with only one coupler, no window “glass”, no light, no simulated fuel tank, no smoke stacks and no ladders to the roof.

4) A different style “Post-War” caboose would also be nice.

I addressed all of these issues by buying a selection of well worn and beat up cabooses and used them as the basis of enjoyable projects that would meet my needs and desires.


Category 1 cabooses - custom paint jobs:

Category 1 was addressed by stripping a number of these derelict cabooses by soaking them in warm water with powdered Tide laundry detergent and repainting them. I like Tester’s “rattle can” paints for this. I then used home made decals (water-slide decal paper is available on ebay, Amazon and other outlets) by using my common ink-jet home printer. I purchased commercially produced decals when white lettering was needed as most printers cannot print white. After painting and applying the decals I coat the newly decorated bodies with Tester’s dull-coat to blend it all together.

Road name cabooses I created this way include Rock Island, Western Pacific, Long Island Rail Road, Norfolk & Western, New York Central, Milwaukee Road, Union Pacific, Illinois Central, New Haven, Great Northern, Seaboard, Wabash and Virginian. I also made a Warrenville RailRoad caboose this way.


Category 2 cabooses - MPC on Post-War chassis:

Category 2 was addressed by simply putting MPC 9273 Southern, 6-16506 ATSF and 6-9268 Northern Pacific Bay Window caboose bodies on Post-War 6517 Bay Window caboose chassis. While disassembled, I also sprayed these bodies with Tester’s dull-coat to eliminate the MPC shine.


Category 3 cabooses - Dressed up Post-war cabooses:

Category 3 was addressed by combining Lionel 6457 SP caboose chassis, trucks and dress up parts with Post-War bodies that lacked these items. I improved Lionel’s 6059-50 Minneapolis & St. Louis and Lionel’s 6017-100 Boston and Maine cabooses this way.


Category 4 cabooses - Grafted and custom painted:

Category 4 was addressed my grafting together complete 6457 derelict cabooses with the leftover bodies from Category 2 (waste not, want not) creating stretched center cupola cabooses. I made these with Erie-Lackawanna and New Haven road names using Category 1’s techniques.

BONUS: This Maintenance of Way Caboose was made from left over body and frame pieces of two of the Category 4 cabooses, left over trucks, "U" shaped electric wire nails for railings and steps, a tool box made from a plastic pocketbook tag, an old "Block City" piece for a fuel tank, some left over spray paint and home made decals:


These were all fun projects and I’m more than happy with the results of my efforts. I’m pleased to share these pictures with you.

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