Bob "Chooch" Rivard

Bulkhead Flatcar Modifications

Bob "Chooch" Rivard
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Duration:   30  mins

We join modeler Bob Rivard at his workbench. After he buys a new freight car, he does some prototype research, looking for a perfect photo online that shows the car on the line he’s modeling and from the correct time. In Bob’s case, this is the Soo Line circa 1977.

Bob recently purchased a CB&Q bulkhead flatcar from Walthers. When he compared it to the prototype photo he had found, it looked pretty close, but it did need a few modifications, particularly to the bulkheads. In this video, he shows us how he does that.


Bob finds that his car is one bulkhead too high, so he has to remove one on each side. He starts by making scribe marks into the bulkhead with an X-Acto knife, then with a screw cutter, he cuts off the pieces of the bulkhead. However, there’s a complication – the brake wheel is up on the top bulkhead that’s being removed. Bob saves the brake wheel and will rebuild the brake wheel housing and add the brake wheel back on lower down.

He also uses needle-nose pliers to break off the top bulkhead. Then he files the top surface to smooth it (you can also use sandpaper).


Part of the original brake wheel housing is still in place but in the wrong position. Bob uses his Dremel tool, screw cutters, and nail nipper to remove it.

To remake the brake wheel housing, Bob starts by making a mounting plate for the housing from a piece of styrene. He gets a brake wheel housing out of his parts drawer and glues it to the plate with Loctite, then drills out the brake wheel and puts a piece of wire through it to hold it in place. He drills the housing plate and inserts the wire.

And Bob is just getting started! Be sure to watch the entire video to see the modifications Bob makes and the techniques he uses.


Bob has a full video dedicated to weathering freight cars, so check that for his techniques. If you prefer to build your flatcars from scratch, Allen Keller has an article on building flatcars for a circus.

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