Well this all started with Rosy's caboose, I had a cupola to use, but needed railings, catwalks, ladders and grab rails, found a complete Bachmann caboose on EBay for $10.50 and free shipping less the chassis, ladders alone were priced at $10.95 + $3.95 shipping. No brainer except I wound up with another cupola. What to do, what to do.!!! In my array of goodies I found a Kalamazoo combine, looked like the start of a drovers caboose to me. Had railings but no catwalk, ladders or upper roof railing. I liked to size of the Kalamazoo car as it was a fair amount shorter than LGB or Bachmann cars and fits better with small engine trains. I thought this is going to be easy, there was no interior in the Kalamazoo car and figured it would be easy to paint by just separating the chassis from the body and wouldn't have to tape off anything!!!! Wrong Kalamazoo glues their body to the chassis and there is no floor in the car, the floor is part of the chassis. Well after some sawing with a razor saw and a fair amount of acetone dropped into the joints + some carful prying it finally came apart. Only minor damage was done to both chassis and body and was easy to cover up.
There were end car railings and grab bars on the combine, just no ladders. Measuring the existing bars I found that they were 1/16" brass rod so I started the ladders and designed them around the existing end car railings over lapping as to reuse as much as possible and reuse existing holes in chassis. Ladders were something that I had done before but not well so this time I took a little more time. Cut 1/16" brass wire and attached by soldering rungs to the up rights, trimming excess from ends when done. Also, while soldering, I made the upper walk railing using the same technique as I did with the Sinclair Dino tank using brass tubing and cotter pins soldered together and tapping the ends and screwing into roof at predrilled and tapped holes that I had made. Secured the top part of the ladders to the roof with a small piece of styrene that I drilled to the same size as the spread in the ladder uprights and secured it to the roof with my favorite 2/26 screws. This allows me to remove the roof for service on lights and things inside.
The cupola was attached with CA clue after window glass was put in, cutting the hole in the roof as a little tricky but was done with a saw blade in a dremel. The roof walk way was a little challenge but easy after I had a none senior moment, Roof was slopped and the catwalk needed to be straight, so I stole some of the good ladies' (wife) plastic clothespins cutting the tapered end off and gluing to the roof at the same spots that the railing uprights were placed and on top of them I placed 100x250 evergreen styrene that I scored with a saw blade to simulate wood grain. Little acrylic paint and done. Fed 1'16" brass wire threw the cotter pin eyelets and soldered in place after securing ends into roof.
As stated before where was no interior in the car and I felt it needed some thing, back to goodies box and in there I found seats, people, and a partition to separate to caboose from the passenger section, a little trimming and it was secure but remains removable. Found some end car light from USA trains and after tapping them so I could bolt on with machine screw, also drilling out the center of the screw (the bulb goes into them from the side, not the bottom like LGB) replaced the GOW bulbs with mini LED's. Powering the lights is done by a AAAx2 battery holder w/switch painted to look like a shipping crate and is accessed then one of the sliding freight doors. Interior light into caboose section is a 10mm soft white colored with a yellow marker to mask the LED look, Passenger section I thought I would do something different and made a stove out of engine cylinder and dome parts, cut and opening in it and dropped down the stack 4 1mm flickering LED's 2 red and 2 orange. So now the cupola is dimly lit and the interior of the caboose is light, as Eric of triple O stated, so the conductor could do his paper work at night while in route and the cowboys could sleep. The passenger section, while not overly bright, but enough to see that there are people in it, lit by the flickering of the stove fire. Looks awesome at night. With the current draw of the LED's should last about a month if left on all the time.
Left to do, and little weathering and lettering of a road name. Not sure what name to use but open to suggestions???, Probably wind up selling it as I have no place for it on my layout or and cattle to use it with,,, wait I do have and LGB elephant car, now that is some serious meadow muffins. Fun build hope you enjoy, Bill