Glenn Butcher

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Building a LaBelle D&RGW Long Caboose Kit

2011-03-05: Collecting the Materials

20 years ago we moved to Colorado; at that time, my modeling interests were in the southern Pacific and 50s-60s mainline railroading, N scale. Over time, the Colorado narrow gauge gradually supplanted that interest, along with gradually deteriorating near vision that made N scale modeling rather difficult. So, I'm now working on modeling some aspect of the Denver & Rio Grande Western in Colorado that will fit in my small basement space. It's a good time to be doing this, as there are more good narrow-gauge models available than ever. I bought a Blackstone K-27 to start out, a good-looking and well-running locomotive.

Since I'm still traveling regularly with my work, I thought I'd use the time to start building a modest collection of rolling stock, some ready-to-run, some kit-built, and maybe even some scratchbuilt after I collect the necessary skills. For my first kit, today I went to Caboose Hobbies in Denver with the intention of procuring a LaBelle Woodworking D&RGW long caboose kit. This kit has been around for quite some time; I believe I recall it from my earliest modeling days in the early 70s. With the help of Art, I bought the following items:

MfgPart #DescriptionPrice (USD)Notes
LaBelle Woodworking Co.HOn3-129D&RGW Long Caboose Kit$25.75
San Juan DecalsHon3 SJD-340D&RGW Short/Long Caboose Decals$7.95
Kadee7143/4-Size Couplers/Draft Gear for HOn3$3.40
TestorsF414281Polly-S Boxcar Red$5.65
ScalecoatS53Sanding Sealer$3.09

They didn't have caboose trucks in stock, but had 30 items of the Blackstone trucks on order, so I put in a reserve for one pair; when the get them, they'll send to the house. Love Caboose Hobbies...

My plan is to paint and put a fairly smooth finish on the outside parts, then assemble per the instructions. The wood used in the kit appears to have a tight grain, but I think showing the natural wood grain in such a small scale doesn't impart a sense of fine detail.

It occurs to me that I didn't make plans to populate the interior. I think if I'm going to spend significant time building this thing,