One little thing I’ve done to enhance the looks of my trains are lumber wraps for my flatcars. You can buy really nice loads for pretty large sums of money, but I don’t want to spend over $20 just on a plastic casting of wood! On my prototype, loads remained unwrapped into the late 1970s, but that doesn’t matter to me, since this is a budget vs. precision debate, and budget wins.
To start, I found some 1×2″ nominal lumber that had a precise width of 11/16″. This was just right to fit in between the stakes of micro trains flats, while a 3/4″ (12/16″) wide piece was too wide, blocking the stake pockets. I used my crappy-ass table saw to rip it to a height of 13/16″ – mind you, I failed a couple times first and killed 12′ of lumber. I then cut it with my REAL saw to a length of 4-1/8″, which snugs in between the bulkheads with a little bit of room to spare, which can be left on the print. Ah yes, the print. I got a lovely local print shop to print off a 12×18″ sheet of these guys on the usual light weight glossy paper. Glossy shows the detail and colour a bit better, plus giving the sheen a plastic wrap would give.
Cut to size, rubber cement on, et voila!
Now let’s see if I can give you the loads I made, since I’m so charitable…