HO Scale Model Railroad Freight Cars

With a good balance between passenger and freight operations, HO layout owners have many options for their hobby. You can model realistic interchanges using plenty of HO rolling stock. Having a collection of different pieces of HO equipment will also let you service various model industries that call your HO layout home.

What are unusual freight cars offered in HO scale?

If you're looking to make your HO railroad more unique, then look into unusual freight cars based on special pieces of equipment used on real trains. Model railroading manufacturers have put together a number of lesser-known cars that might fit your layout:

  • Coil cars
  • Schnabel car
  • Depressed-centre flat car
  • Circus transporters
  • Working dump cars
How do you paint undecorated freight cars?

You might want to opt for a glossier look when painting HO stock. Enamel paints usually give undecorated HO stock a shiny coat that closely resembles what real railroads use. If you're modeling stainless steel passenger cars, then you might want to try a metallic grey enamel paint to make it shine like a real streamliner would have. Some modelers like to coat their HO scale cars with a glossy spray paint. If you do this, then you'll want to make sure you're far enough away to avoid creating air bubbles on the side of the scale model.

How do you weather HO stock?

You can weather train equipment by using a very light misting of dull paint on the sides of it. This can give a scale freight car the look of a well-worn real one. Some modelers use bits of ground up chalk or slate to make scale freight cars and locomotives look like they've visited a mine or quarry. Think of the kinds of scale buildings that you have on your pike and consider what kind of dust they might give off in real life. You might even want to grind up a tiny bit of charcoal to make it look like your scale rail vehicles have been carrying coal for hungry steam locomotives.

How do you attach different types of couplers together?

If your locomotives use knuckle couplers and your freight cars have horn hooks, then you can't couple them together. You can easily make a scale converter vehicle out of a few parts that are readily available. Take a heavy hopper and place a horn hook coupler on one side and a knuckle coupler on the other. You can then use this hopper to couple freight cars that would be otherwise incompatible.

How do you make scale loads for HO cars?

While some open hoppers come with a load in them, you might have a hopper that's empty. If you have extra scale scenery compound, then you can grind a tiny bit of this up to make a load that will fill the top of the car. You can actually improve traction this way since doing this adds some weight.