HO scale gondola loads

Dan’s been in touch with an excellent ‘how to’ on ho scale gondola loads.

But what made me smile from ear to ear is the other ‘how to’ at the bottom of the post. Clever stuff!

“I was asked to make removable scrap loads for a man’s layout for which I was doing the scenery. When finished I submitted an article to Model Railroader. They published the article in January 2009.

Here I will give a little more photo help than they published.

Keep in mind that these iron scrap loads were to his liking. I might have not made the steel so “rusty”.

Finished product. I have included a load of aluminum.

HO scale gondola loads

Parts needed. A piece of ply wood. One piece painted and one unpainted. Scrap aluminum. There is a place that makes specialized windows not far from me. I asked for a bag of scraps and they gave some to me. Later I took one of the cars to show them what I did with the scraps. The all important paper clip. You will also need white glue.

HO scale gondola loads

Cut the plywood to just slightly under sized of the gondola. This will make it easier to lift out the load. One could use foam. However, we wanted some mass to simulate a load.

The messy part. Don’t try this on you kitchen table WITHOUT waxed paper or you might be sleeping on the couch. Make a nice layer of white glue. Sprinkle on the scraps. Lightly press down the scraps. * When nearly dry, drizzle on a little water to draw up some glue. You might drip on 50/50 mix of white glue and water. Set aside at least a day. Then scrape away any of the scraps sticking to the sides and ends so the load will clear the gondola.

* The paper clip! Cut off an end to make a small loop. Insert this in the mix near the middle. This will be the handle to lift out the load.

HO scale gondola loads

HO scale gondola loads

The finished load. Choose colors you want. This is the color he wanted.

I don’t have photos of pulp wood loads I did for another fellow. In this case, I used a foam insert sculpted to conform to the way the loads look. Slightly wavy.

I made the top of the foam about 1/4 inch below the car’s top. I used white glue and sawdust for the wood pulp. In the middle of the load I buried a bolt. Using a magnet the load was easily lifted out.

Have fun!


A big thanks to Dan for sharing his way of making HO scale gondola loads – there’s quite a few on the blog now and it’s great to see the different ways you do things. I was reminded of Mark’s afternoon project.

And these model railroad skills can be useful you know.

Dan also sent me this and it had me beaming from ear to ear so I thought I’d post it too.

Hope you enjoy it as much as me.

“Al, here is the project I have been working on for the past two weeks.

When the paper is put into the paper box, it is hard to see if the paper has come or not. Short of actually going down stairs and outside we can’t see in the box.

After early January I will not be aloud to go up or down stairs more than twice a day as I recovery from a fusion in my lower back.

This solves the problem…..a one of a kind.


A big thanks to Dan – please do leave a comment below on either post, I’d love to know your thoughts.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

6 Responses to HO scale gondola loads

  1. Rob McCrain says:

    That first layout photo wows me. What a creative and perfect railroad view. The hills in the background are very well done, and that long curve approaching the viewer is perfect. I am very impressed.
    Nothing like a newspaper alarm, Dan. Too bad mine comes from a website and I read it on my computer. Back a few years ago it would have come in handy.
    Rob McCrain

  2. JW Snyder says:

    Brilliant on both counts! I will apply both of those inside and out! Thank you.

  3. George Sisco says:

    Great idea. Very happy to see info like this shared.
    As a beginner, any & all info helps a lot.

  4. robert dale tiemann says:

    helpful thanks.

  5. Malcolm says:

    Nicely done!

  6. George Zaky says:

    My back is such a problem but no one is going to fuse anything and so I go on as I can. You have my sincerest wishes for your best recovery because a clever guy like you must carry the torch. That was a brilliant solution to the paper box.
    The loads look great and please keep us enlightened.
    Big Al

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