Monday, April 8, 2019

CN Woodchip Gondola - Product Development

I'm happy to announce the CN Woodchip Gondola project is not dead and well alive.

CN 879000-series (should be CN Rail)

Thanks to Justin Babcock, I've been able to refine my 3D models to a level I feel is quite excellent. Now it's time to adapt this quite accurate model into something that can be both printed and cast as a resin kit. Jeff Briggs from Briggs Models has been helping me to figure out how we could realistically make it possible in HO scale. I also want to thank Bruce Barney who kindly gave me many hints about improving a model for 3D printing.

The Model

The first model to go into production would be CN 878000-series. It was the car with the side doors welded shut and lettered with a standard CN wet noodle logo.

CN 878000-series

The kit would features flat parts (sides and ends) and a one part underframe. Small separate details such as brakewheel, air reservoir, valve, etc. would also be supplied. A standard coupler box made to accept most Kadee products would be cast on the underframe. Ladders and platforms would be photo-etched brass and grabirons phosphore bronze.

Due to casting process and price control, the underframe  would feature all the structural members of the prototype, but they will have simplified cross-sections. Since these car sills are quite low, such details aren't visible and I think most people can live with that limitation. However, everything visible would be detailed as best as I can.

Kit won't be supplied with trucks, but it is good to know Rapido is making the correct Barber S-2 100-ton trucks used on the prototype. The model was designed with them in mind.

The goal is to have a kit that can be assembled easily by most modellers within a reasonable time frame without going crazy because you want to build a fleet. Think of something between a Blue Box kit and a craftsman kit that you can improve if you want to (brake rigging, etc.)

For rivet counters, I could put on Shapeways the fully detailed underframe to 3D print. This underframe would fit the resin kit. Be only aware it will cost a lot.

Also, I'm working on CN 879000-series (of "CN Rail" fame).


A set of decals will be produced for these cars. I still have to contact a trusted decal makers (if possible Canadian) and produce suitable artwork. Feel free to suggest names.

Pricing and production (UPDATED)

Price will vary from $30 to $40 per car depending on quantity produced (based on 25-car and 50-car runs). I can be said the initial run would probably be at least 50 cars.

For this reason, if you are interested in this project, let me know how many cars you would like to have. This will give me a decent idea how much cars to produce. Feel free to leave a comment, contact me on Facebook or via email at

(you can contact me or leave a comment).


  1. I wholeheartedly recommend Bill Brillinger ( for the decals... made right here in Manitoba.

    1. Thanks Steve! I'll contact Bill then. I've hear many good words about him! This project is becoming a true pan-canadian achievement! At least six provinces are providing assistance literaly from coast to coast! Great to see this friendship through a common hobby.