My name is Chris White. I own Red Star Railways, and I've been modelling Russian railways for ten years. I was going to call these "One Guy's Models" because that's what they are: models I produce myself. My layout needed a train of Russian high-sided drop-bottom gondolas -- not just one or two, but a whole string of them.
I'm an average modeller with only average skills. I'll never make wonderful models like those of Feniks or Modela, so I took another approach. I think of these gondolas as "background cars," anonymous masses of freight stock. They don't need to be as detailed -- they set the scene by being present in numbers, and provide a realistic, mundane background against which flashier vehicles (tank cars, for example) will stand out.
I chose two designs -- type 12-119 (upper photo, below) and type 12-132 (lower photo, below). Each model consists of six resin castings (sides, ends, underframe, and interior floor) with styrene corner plates. The Model Die Casting express roller bearing trucks visually resemble modern Russian roller-bearing trucks (I'm sure that'll start an argument), and I add Proto 2000 36" metal wheels. Each model has your choice of couplers: Kadee #27s frame-mounted, or with Kadee #19 or European couplers in my home-brewed equivalent of the NEM box. The decals were custom-made by skilled graphics artist James McDonald. We can provide models lettered for Soviet Railways (late), Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
No brake gear, handrails or cut levers -- these are basic models,but they run well and are affordable in quantity. Are they perfect? NO! Will you find flaws? YES! But you can add details and weathering yourself. In the upper photo (below) is a Russian gondola to which a friend added brake gear and a coal load using parts from his scrap box. In the lower photo (below) is a gondola that I operate on my layout -- weathered within an inch of its life, with coal load and basic brake gear.
Plans of the prototype gondolas appear at these web sites: Link One Link Two Several videos offer useful views of prototype gondolas (in all their weathered glory). All of these videos are listed on the "Videos" page of the Red Star Railways web site:
- Soviet Railways in Action - 1 by Hillside Publishing
- Soviet Railways in Action - 2 by Hillside Publishing
- Red Star Double Headers by Machines of Iron
If you interested in placing an order, check first to see what I currently have in stock. I build these models in batches of fifteen, and I vary the body colors a little bit between batches to reflect the variations seen in real life.
If there's a good response to these first two cars, I'll consider adding more types in the future. My layout could always use more gondolas . . . of course . . .