As far I know, the only source of my beloved Cryo Reefers is the decades old Walthers model. Although it’s been discontinued, you can still find some kits on ebay. The one I picked up was clearly many decades old. The model came from the old era before the “find standards” freight car production boom we are blessed with today. Remember the old days? Cast on grab irons. Super thick stirrups. Thick, brilliant paint. I wanted to salvage the model without spending a lifetime doing so. Murphy’s law of model railroading reads that if you go too deep into a redemption project like this, a week after you’re done, Rapido or Athearn will come out with a mind blowing, fine standards version.
Shaving off grab irons was an option that was DOA for me. Same for replacing the door. Not happenin’. My strategy was to focus on a few simple, high bang for the buck, upgrades and then focus on weathering. I replaced the foot stirrups and brake wheel with aftermarket parts, added air hoses, good couplers and left it at that.
For weathering I started with a very dilute overspray of white to tone things down. That was followed by a light oil wash, some chalk weathering, and highlighting the panel lines with a pencil.
Here’s what the factory stock version looks like. My version was so old it came with horn hook couplers and plastic wheels and trucks.