HO scratch build box car – John’s

John’s been in touch with his HO scratch build box car:

“Dear Mr. Lee…

Thank you for all you do to promote this great hobby!

Here are some photos of a recent project…

I Kitbashed this little boxcar (On30) in about 1.5 hours today….

The base is a Bachmann 4 wheel caboose….

The project is very loosely based on the earliest boxcars of the Denver and Rio Grande… And of the Ewa plantation in Hawaii.


HO axle

model train

model train

ho scratch build box car

ho scratch build box car

ho scratch build box car

ho scratch build box car

model railroad

ho scratch build box car

A huge big thanks to John for sharing his HO scratch build box car.

You can see his other box car build here:

box car build.

I do love seeing all your scratch builds – some of them really are amazing.

Take Mike’s HO scale structures – they have bags of character.

I’d say bridges are the scratch builds that appear most on the blog – simple because most layouts need a bridge, they are fun to make, and relatively simple.

Take Bob’s scratch built bridge for example:

Bob’s scratch built bridge.

Mind you, some bridges are not that simple but they are still works of art. Have a look at Jim’s trestle bridge:

HO scale wooden trestle bridge

And there’s Richard’s N scale scratch builds, which are just as impressive.

Perhaps one that really sticks out in my mind though is Andrey’s scratch built crane.

What’s impressive about it is all the parts move – it works – and it looks spot on too.

See for yourself, it really is a remarkable scratch build:

Scratch built crane.

There are hundreds of builds on the blog, and it’s always a joy to see what lands in my inbox every morning. Even after all these years I’ll never tire of it.

That’s all today – please do keep ’em coming. Beginner’s guide is here.

And don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet too. Savings to be made.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

model train answers

35 Responses to HO scratch build box car – John’s

  1. steve says:

    Nice job John , I’ve found HO cabooses to be great for kit bashing in to ON30 cars and have done several both with ON30 kits and also scratch building into dofferent kinds of cars

  2. Lynn says:

    I envy Dave. He is obviously retired, has disposable income, and a very understanding wife! Good on you Dave! Enjoy everything that you have earned over the years and be blessed with good health and long life.

  3. Edward says:


  4. Dave Whatley says:

    That was a really great rebuild, I think I am going to try it. Thanks again, Dave in Savanna Ga. USA

  5. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    John, Real nice job on the boxcar. You have shown that it doesn’t take a ton of cash to have nice equipment.

    Dave. As always, very interesting , entertaining, and well done. I’m always amazed at how clean burning British steam engines are.

  6. Roy says:

    Well Dave what can one say, great video and we can’t get away from it that as for steam live, we always be around watching these trains as long we live for. I always love them even when we go away hoping for a ride with a steam engine, any where as long there’s a steam railway near by. You take care now. Roy

  7. Paul Rodgers says:

    such fantastic sights and sounds.. Thanks for a great vid 😉

  8. John Reynolds says:

    Really enjoyed Dave’s video…
    Real steam in any size is wonderful…
    It sounds more “alive” than mechanical….

  9. Jerry Suits says:

    Dave–great video of real steam locomotives!

  10. Neil White says:

    Absolutely wonderful, fantastic video many thanks. It is as though the iron horses are actually talking to you, such sweet sounds. The smell is also out of this world.
    I love steam and I am part of a team restoring GWR 4253 Pannier Tank engine originally built 1917. 2 plus year still to go but the engine will run between Tenterden in Kent and Robertsbridge in East Sussex on the Kent and East Sussex line.

  11. Roy Pachkowski says:

    #60007 engine whistle sounds more like a fog horn.

  12. Martin Gliddon says:

    Great video Dave, thanks for sharing.

    Now that’s what I call scale running speeds….



  13. Al says:

    Terrific HD footage. Well done.

  14. Ian Mc Donald says:

    nice kit bash very technical work great job. very entertaining video will certainly go into the library.

  15. Julian Holmes says:

    NYM Video brings all sorts of nostalgia, emotions, what ever, back! I watched the last steam passenger train leave Manchester Piccadilly and again in Hampshire from Droxford Station. These preserved lines make sure generations of people can celebrate how british engineering lead the world

  16. Peter says:

    Dave, superb film. Spent a long weekend on that line in June, brilliant.

  17. Max Dosser says:

    John’s scratch building is an eye opener for the budget concious modeller.
    Dave’s video of the North Yorks Moor Railway is outstanding.
    We ( wife and self ) had the great experience of travelling on the NYMR train to Grossmont and back when we were on holiday from Australia and visiting family in Driffield and to Lockington where my G.G Grandfather and other family members were baptised in St Mary’s Church.
    I have a question for Dave. Why do your loco’s have small running lights.
    In Australia our loco’s have very large headlights in front and just below the smokestack.

  18. Dave Biddles says:

    Excellent ‘clean’ modelling _/ ( big tick )

    Video : Wow ! 1 – 2 – 1 scale video . . . . If only….

    Clean-steam = Welsh anthracite coal.

    4253 Pannier Tank out of Tenterden Kent
    Let the World know when your running as I’m up for an early ticket Please

  19. Andrew says:

    Great video, many thanks. We can occasionally visit NYMR and it never disappoints. I haven’t seen Sir Nigel operational, but it is even more an attraction having seen your video…and my wife is equally enthusiastic.
    Take care,

  20. I love trains of all kinds – Love looking and reading the articles you publish !
    Thank You

  21. david howarth says:

    In Answer about the lights on UK Trains , they are directional lights , ie red rear /white front , but not for seeing the way , hence only small lights needed , thanks all for your comments re the railway compilation …as a lot of you will know , my wife and I spend a lot of time up there on the NYMR …Dave

  22. Dave got me there…. “Wow, that’s realism,” I said to myself, thinking that Dave had reach the ultimate in modelling. Then I went back to my morning coffee.

  23. Terry Miller says:

    Dave–great video. At first I thought it was of a model rr layout and marveled at the close-up shots—then when I saw people taking pictures of people (and the train), I realized it was all for REAL!!!
    Nice going..

    Terry Miller
    Idaho USA

  24. ANDREW SCHYHOL says:

    Thank you Dave, awesome video, especially the sounds. Haven’t heard steam at speed in a while!

  25. john thorogood says:

    Love Dave’s videos of British live steam through the English countryside.

  26. Peter Briggs says:

    Dave, thank you for taking the trouble so that many of us far away can almost enjoy to the point of smelling hot oil and steam!
    Thanks mate
    peter in Australia

  27. Rod Mackay says:

    British trains on the main lines do now have to have a high intensity headlight, not to see by but to ensure the approaching train is seen by staff working near the line. This is not a requirement on heritage railways because they (mostly) operate under a Light Railway Order which limits speed to 25mph. Preserved engines that are used out on excursions out on the main line, are usually fitted with a portable headlight only when required, so as not to spoil their normal appearance. The old oil lit marker lamps on the front were arranged in a code to show what class of train was being hauled, eg one over the left buffer was a slow freight, one at the top of the smokebox was a stopping passenger, one over each buffer an express. A lamp on all four brackets indicated the Royal Train.

  28. Mark T. Pianka says:

    nice job! looks good!

  29. Marklin ed says:

    Dave Great videos THANKS THANKS. seeing the old engines running is wonderful.
    US ed

  30. Robert D. Bouskill says:

    Loved your steam engine clip

  31. Will in NM says:

    Dave, I loved the video of your UK trains running. You live in such a beautiful country and the British steam locos all look so clean and shiny. They also seem less complicated than their US counterparts — perhaps they hide all the ugly bits under sheet metal cowling? US steam engines seem to have all sorts of pipes and generators and sand domes and steam domes and bells and whistles hanging all over them, but British steam locos don’t seem to have or need those gadgets?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing such high quality video with us. It’s always a pleasure to see your work, both in the train room and outside.

  32. Erick says:

    Looks great.!!!!

  33. Two excellent posts. Merry Christmas to All!

  34. Dallas Franklin says:

    Thanks Dave. Brought back some wonderful memories. When I first started work in the mid 1960’s I caught the train into Perth (Western Australia) and home again. I lived 16 mile from the CBD on a line with about 15 stops. Mine was the penultimate. I don’t know how the scheduling was done but both the morning and evening trains were powered by steam engines. Who can forget the smell of burning coal, the cinders in the eyes if you weren’t careful and the individual compartments with external doors either side. Often the sole compartment occupant for half the journey enjoying the peace, solicitude and the passing scenery.

  35. robert dale tiemann says:

    good memories, nice.

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