Steel drover caboose, rider car, steel combine (2 versions)     

                                     scroll down and click on pictures to enlarge



DROVER/RIDER CAR                                                                2309, 2315-2320                                                                          2310-2314

DROVER/RIDER CAR                                                                2309, 2315-2320                                                                          2310-2314

3D PRINTED SIDES                                                ETCHING                                                               UNDERSIDE BRAKE DETAIL


N-230 Steel drover caboose/rider car. complete kit: all body parts 3D printed, etching, 2 brakewheels (less trucks, couplers, decals)

N-231 Steel combine 2310-2314. complete kit: all body parts 3D printed, 1 etching, 2 brakewheels (less trucks, couplers, decals)

N-232 Steel combine 2309, 2315-2320. complete kit: all body parts 3D printed, 1 etching, 2 brakewheels (less trucks, couplers, decals)


A very elaborate history of these cars can be found in the books "Caboose cars of the Santa Fe Railway" by Frank M. Ellington (Railroad Car Press)  and "Coach, cabbage and caboose" by John B. McCall (Kachina Press). On the website of the Society you wil find a very useful article by Steve Sandifer called DROVER CARS. Look for his name under RESOURCES and "Livestock Operations on Model Railroads". Pictures will show the details of specific cars (there are quite a few minor differences).

The drover cabooses were built in 2 batches: D930-939 in 1931 and D940-947 in 1935.

In 1941-42 a total of 12 cars were rebuilt into coach/baggage/cabooses. Numbers 2310-2314 had 4 windows on both sides of the coach area, numbers 2309, 2315-2320 had a 3 window arrangement.

As built all cars were painted mineral brown (roof,complete body, trucks). In later years many had their roof painted black. In the 2310-2314 series some were painted coach green for some time.

In later years many had all handgrabs and railings painted white (for better visibility).

These cars were used in stockcars trains (coupled directly behind the engine), in mail trains (rider cars),  in branchline trains (either directly behind the engine or just in front of the caboose or as caboose), in Atomic Energy  Commission trains (to accomodate armed guards) and on the Hurley ore mine trains (they could pass through the rotary dumper). They could be found behind steam engines, diesels and even doodlebugs.

To be sure how to detail your specific car pictures are a must. To name the possible changes: long or short stacks, with and without roof vents, low or high end railings, the form or the bend in the top of the roof ladder, with or without underfloor toolbox........ all these detail possiblities are included in the 3D print and/or phosphor bronze etching.

Building instructions.

Please read these instructions carefully before you start building your car.

When you receive your 3D prints from Shapeways they still have to be cleaned. I use a product called ''wasbenzine" with excellent results. Its the same as lighter fluid or the stuff used by dry cleaner. It is the same as Bestine I believe. CAUTION: it is naphta based so use only outside or in a well ventilated room. I use my spraybooth (the outlet goes outdoors). Soak for 6 to 12 hours and let the parts dry for about the same period afterwards.   

Start by removing all connecting tabs on the back of all sides (and under the roof ends).

Using a sharp straight bladed scalpel/hobbyknife carefully scrape all tabs on the back of all 4 side and roof to remove all remaining support material from the printing process.

Drill out all grab or handrail holes with a 0,4 mm drill (see pictures to determine where they all are).

Assemble the body. Hold 1 side square against 1 end, checking for a tight fit (the top edges of side and end should be level). Apply a little Zap-a-Gap ACC on the inside (glue will flow into the joint). Attach the other side in the same way. Last attach the remaining end. The roof should be a tight fit leaving no visible joints (glue roof after you have positioned/driles the holes for the possible ventilators). Testfit the floor but do not glue the floor in place (you can install glazing, some weight and even an interior lateron). It should be a tight fit and exactly level with the underside of the sides. If not give the underside of the lower tab on all sides another scraping with a sharp pointed knife.

Check pictures what chimneys (long/short)  and possible ventilators your model has. I reinforce the chimneys I planned to insert a little piece of Thichy Group phosphor bronze 0,15 wire into the hollow stack. The printing process was not succesfull in this aspect but taking time and care I drilled a 0,4 mm hole lengthwise into the stack and inserted the wire (no glue yet). Position the stack (top crosswise) and apply a little glue from the inside.

About the position of the ventilators I am not exactly sure. If you look at pictures and compare those with the drawings on page 39 of the Frank Ellington book Caboose Cars of the Santa fe Railway I thought these were too close to the roof edge. So I had dimples made on the inside of the roof to facilitate drilling the 1 mm hole to postion the ventilators (4 or 5 depending on model). On second thought I might have placed the dimples too far inside of the roof edge and I would suggest to follow the drawing (see my sketch, pictured from above). I recommend a 3,5 mm distance (hole center) from the roof edge.

Mark the position on the inside of the roof, drill a 0,5 mm pilot hole and enlarge to 1,0 mm aligning the holes to be spaced equal distance to the roof edge. Insert the ventilators (check orientation: rounded top facing the centerline of the roof) and apply a little drop of ACC glue from the inside   

Cut the parts from the etching as you need them. I use a chisel blade on a steel surface (ruler) to makes cuts as clean as possible. To facilitate positioning of the U-formed grabs, the end handrails and the ladder I use a Dremel motor tool with a grinding disk to sharpen the ends of the etchings VERY lightly, holding the part with tweezers.

If you decide to model white handrails it is a good idea to paint the model and details first (while still in the fret). Clean the fret very well and be sure to use a good primer. Mr. Primer Surfacer 1000 has given me good results. If there is some damage to the paint on the handrails because of all the handling, touch up later is easier this way.

The angled handrails on the front and rear porches have bending points. Bend to a 90 degree angle and insert in the proper holes, one leg at a time, using tweezers. The 2 legs which go into the holes on the long side have to be glued from the outside. A tiny bit of AAC on a steel pin will do the trick. Remover access with an old toothbrush before it sets.

All other parts are glued from the inside of the shell or from the underside using a little ACC. You have a short time to align (lift or press) the part using a sharp hobby knife or tiny screwdriver. Do not bother about horizontal or vertical plane at this time, only make sure it is parallel to the wall. The other directions can be corrected using long tweezers after the glue has set.

The end handrailings (check if your model needs the low or high version) must be given 4 little bends in the upper horizontal railing. You can judge how much by the position of the holes in the floor. This way the brake wheel stand is recessed a bit (as per prototype). Test fit if everything is square.

The brake wheel stand comes next. This is a 3 part construction plus the brakewheel (included) to give it the prototype form and volume. First drill out the 3 holes with a 1,0 mm drill. The part with the longer legs goes on the inside (check its length: it should only touch the floor). Insert the brakewheel in the hole, insert from the inside into the end handrailing and add the short piece on the outside. Holding the 3 pieces aligned with tweezers, put a tiny drop of ACC glue on top of the 3 etched parts. Glue will flow down between the parts. Excess glue can be brushed off with an old toothbrush or simply blown off. Be sure to keep the 3 parts aligned. After glue has set remove the protruding pin of the brake wheel till it is flush with the etching using your Dremel with a grinding disk. Insert this assembly into the holes in the floor (no glue yet).

Now comes the ladder. The bottom ladder pins should be inserted into the holes in the floor just till they are visible on the underside of the floor/drawbar. Check pictures of your prototype model which form the bend in the top of the ladder should be. Determine the height of the bend and using a pin of the desired diameter, bend both ladders at the same time to ensure equal looks. Insert the bottom tabs first and the roof tabs next, using tweezers. Using a small needle apply a little bit of glue to the ladder hitting the edge of the roof and on the underside of the roof to secure the top legs.

Now put some glue on the underside of the end porch floor edge to secure the end handrailings and the bottom tabs of the ladder. Remove excess glue using an old toothbrush.

Cut out the curved handrails which go on the 4 corners of the long sides. The curved part has a  visible "'joint" with the 2 straight ends. Holding the grab with tweezers make a 90 degree bend at that point (I did not want to make a half etch at that point to facilitate the bending because it weakens the grab too much in my opinion and handling of the model could put unwanted pressure on these curved grabs). Insert into the proper holes and glue from the inside.

If you model the combine version you have to insert the vertical grabs besides the sliding doors and the step under the door. The middle leg/tab of the step has to be bend back a little and forward again (2 halfetches provided) to fit into the recess in the backside on the long side.

Using your Dremel motor tool with a grinding disk remove all protruding parts on the lower back of the side (etchings and glue) to allow the floor to seat properly. Test fit and grind/sand/scrape till a perfect fit.

Bend the end supports of the roofwalk to 90 degrees. Check if all tab remnants on the long side of the roofwalk have been filed or grinded away.

Holding the roofwalk lengthwise between 2 fingers apply some ACC on the bottom. Using a steel pin or toothpick spread the glue out evenly (and thin). Position on the roof with equal overhang on both sides (there are small tabs on the 3D print to ensure proper distance from the printed end platforms. Using tweezers bend the end supports all the way, making sure they are square. Apply a little glue to secure.

The brake rigging has to be glued to the underside on the main bearer. Bend the 4 protruding "brake pipes/chains" till they touch the bottom and secure with a little drop of ACC. Remove excess with the old toothbrush.

It is handy to make clear plastic/styrene window inserts (not supplied) before you start assembling your model. These can easily be applied after you have painted (and weathered) your model.

Most cars were painted ATSF mineral brown but a few were coach green. Some roofs were black. Handrails were mostly white in later years.

One car (green) had SANTA FE as reporting name, the rest ATSF. Prototype pictures are a must to determine the looks of your model.......

The same goes for the remaining lettering of your model. Microscale has the right lettering (taken from freight and passencar decal sheets).

Do not forget to add some weight to the car, it is too light right now.

For trucks I recommend MTL 1184, Bettendorf swing motion caboose trucks, without the generator.

Couplers are a drop in for MTL 1015. I would recommend the brown version for this car and I would suggest a little bit of ACC on top of the coupler housing to secure it (no screw and be careful not to foul the spring/coupler).

This may sound as a long story bit a couple of hours of work will do the trick, good luck!