Star Line boxcar

Star Line boxcar

Postby ctxmf74 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:40 pm

Anyone know how to straighten warped Star-line boxcar sides? I've got a car with nicely painted sides but they are warped in a couple of spots. I was wondering if it's possible to straighten them out or maybe i'll just have to find some new sides? These look like they were pretty nice models for their day, thin metal ladders and grab irons, etc. ....DaveB
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Re: Star Line boxcar

Postby AstroGoat760 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:40 pm

It is possible to straighten the sides out, but that depends on the damage done. Also, when assembling the car sides to the car, it would be a good idea to add reinforcement to the car body to preclude further warping.
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Re: Star Line boxcar

Postby areibel » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:55 pm

Sadly there's probably no saving them- whatever plastic they used back then shrunk to such an extent that there's no way to straighten them out.
I've had mint kits in the box that the sides looked OK, but it was just because they weren't glued down, they were actually a couple scale feet too short. When they're glued down the stresses make them buckle and warp, and they'll probably break apart if you try to do much with them. And the plastic ends will actually curl up in the box, or completely pop off of a finished car. Even the roof panels aren't immune.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I've seen dozens of them in that shape. The only ones that seem to have survived were ones that were clear coated or repainted early in their life, it seems like sealing them up must have slowed down the off gassing that made them shrink.
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Re: Star Line boxcar

Postby ctxmf74 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:14 pm

"there's probably no saving them"
Thanks for the info. One end on this car also warped along with the sides, the roof and the other end are still pretty straight. I was wondering if the warpage came from gluing the plastic to the wood with Goo as I know it can distort plastic, but I guess it's a more widespread problem than that. I guess I'll either look for some new sides or maybe build it up as a wooden sided car. My other option would be to re-glue the sides then melt the roof to match and make it look like a car that was switched too hard :>) ...DaveB
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Re: Star Line boxcar

Postby j p » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:26 pm

I have also some kits where plastic parts are warped. They used some unstable plastic. It smells even now due to the degradation of the plastics.
I used them for wooden and metal spare parts.
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Re: Star Line boxcar

Postby areibel » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:34 pm

Yeah, it's too bad, but considering the state of plastics engineering in the 50's, well, they tried! I've never seen a set unpainted, so I'm wondering if it was the plastic in the sides or maybe even the paint they used, probably some sort of solvent based?
Here's another one in sad shape in an Ebay auction- http://www.ebay.com/itm/301038848637?ss ... 1423.l2649
The only loose ones I've ever had that were still OK were wrapped in cellophane sheet. They hadn't shrunk, but the cello reacted with the plastic and tried to fuse itself to them.. I finally was able to get it off, but it left some nasty waves in the sides. I had hoped to make resin copies of them to fix some of the ones I have but that wouldn't work either.
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Re: Star Line boxcar

Postby milwrd1 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:33 pm

My experiences with the Starline kits has me agreeing with Al and jp.....I believe the plastic compounds Starline used were unstable and caused the sides and ends to warp over time. Varney (HO scale) did not have any problems with the plastic he used.....the Varney plastic cars were introduced in the late 40's, early 50's, same time frame as the Starline kits. I have been unable to straighten them out....they are best used for parts.

It is ashame that the Starline sides and ends warped in this manner. :( Several very nice looking roadnames were available with the Starline boxcars.....ATSF (system map), Canadian National (maple leaf) and Central New Jersey (statue of liberty herald) to name a few.
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