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Santa Fe Intermodal Equipment
Here is a selection of my trailer, chassis, and container models based on Santa Fe prototypes.
Scroll down the page to check them out.
Left: This prototype photo by Wayne Buser, found
on the internet, was the inspiration for my model.
Below: Lonestar Models makes the
perfect flatbed trailer kit for this project.
Below: I built the Lonestar trailer kit per the instructions, then scratch-built the wheel rack from styrene strip. The freight car wheel sets
were quite a lot of work - each one consists of 5 parts! The nickel-silver wheels/axles are one part, and I glued on small styrene tubes
(painted black) over each axle point. Then I glued on Details West BC-244 axle bearing caps (painted silver). It's hard to see in the
photos but each cap has a very thin hand-painted orange band separating the silver and black. Some wheel faces and axles were
brush-painted a grungy black, while others were left shiny. A few wheel treads were dry-brushed light orange simulating fresh rust,
as seen in the prototype photo. The trailer is weathered with a combination of dry-brushed paints and powdered chalks.
Left: This interesting mash-up was the inspiration for
my model. I took this photo years ago in Stockton, CA.
Left: The tarp on the 20' "open-top" container is made from
two layers of yellow plastic bag material ACC glued over the
container top (see below for container construction). The black
"rivets" are dots made using a fine-point Sharpie pen. The
container markings are a mix of commercial and home-made
decals, plus some hand-painting. The weathering is chalk.
Below: My model consists of my scratch-built LSFZ chassis, an
"open-top" 20' container modeled after the one in the prototype
photo, and an American Limited Models Santa Fe QTC tank
container kit standing in for the difficult-to-model Bulkhaul unit.
I scratch-built the chassis from styrene shapes (white)
using the prototype photo for guidance. The landing gear (orange)
came from an Athearn container chassis. The leaf springs (gray)
and wheels are A-Line parts.
Left: This is the prototype inspiration for this project.
I found this image on the internet - thanks to whomever posted it!
Below: I took this photo in Las Vegas, NV in the early 1980's.
Note the variations in markings on both tarp and trailer.
Below: My kitbashed model is an approximation of the prototype.
The tarp is made from plastic bag material - two layers of yellow with
rectangles of blue ACC glued on. The lines are white sewing thread
with real knots attaching to the tie down bars.
Left and Below: Starting with a cheap Walthers 40' smooth-side trailer,
I cut out the side panels and grafted in board-and-batten styrene sheet
to replicate the closely-spaced ribs. For the bar-style tie downs, I glued
on short lengths of 0.010" styrene rod (red color). I reworked the front to
add vertical ribs. The landing gear is a cast metal set, I don't recall what
brand. The leaf springs and wheels are A-Line parts.

Technically, I should have removed the entire roof to get a more correct
height for an open-top trailer, but chose not to as I was concerned it
would compromise overall strength of the model.
I'm not entirely certain there is
a prototype for this rig, but the
American Limited Models trailer
and container kits mated together
is just too cool.

The trailer kit is enhanced with
Plano Models etched metal wheel
guards and open-mesh platform,
while the container has the Plano
etched walkways and hazard
Below: The completed chassis with no containers loaded. The chassis is painted gray, with a mix of commercial and home-made decals.
Below: Adding the containers hides much of the chassis, unfortunately.
Left: The 20' "open-top" container started as
a normal box. I carved off the upper area of
the side ribs to add styrene C-channels.
Flatbed Wheel Trailer
LSFZ Chassis
SFTZ Open Top Trailer
LSFZ Goose-neck Trailer