A fellow modeller was kind enough to send me various sets of old Beavercraft CN freight car decals. A few sets were in good shape but one was altered by water a long time ago. Fortunately, I was able to salvage enough lettering to complete the second car. A few missing letters were replaced with a Microscale set I had. Not a perfect match, but with some weathering, I should be able to hide this with some rust spots.
Before final assembly, I added 6 oz. of lead to each car to improve their performance. This is becoming a standard on the layout with boxcars around 9-11 oz. each. So far, it works fine with me.
Finally, the heating apparatus was scratchbuilt using various styrene sheets and styrene round shape. A new air reservoir from Accurail replace the old Bachmann one.
I still have a set of C-D-S dry transfer lettering to make a 40ft insulated boxcar. I think I have a suitable model on hand that could be painted and could do the job.
I don't know if I'll do more cheap CN boxcar conversion projects, but with the Canadian dollar taking the plunge, it's no longer advisable to buy +US$30 cars. I still have plenty of old Roundhouse 50ft boxcars that could be converted to NSC cars and I'm thinking about merging a Model Power 50ft boxcar with an Athearn 50ft mechanical reefer to get a decent CN stand in model. The good side of bad economy is that it push you forward to develop your creativity and skills.