Penn Central N8 Caboose Project

I picked up a Bowser N8 caboose, factory painted in Penn Central some time ago.  It’s a nice model, but the paint left a bit to be desired.  Bowser decided to apply the scheme with the white stripe running the length of the car, and as far as my limited research revealed, this was something of a rarity.  The clincher, though, was that after careful examination, I wasn’t happy with the lettering font.

I considered my options, and eventually resigned myself to the inevitable.  I stripped the paint off the model and applied a new coat of Polly Scale Penn Central Green.  While I was at it, I masked off the cupola to paint the sides green, as per photos of the prototype.  A Microscale Penn Central caboose decal set provided the necessary elements.  Here’s my progress so far:

IMG_0143I need an end-photo of one of these cabins to determine if there was any lettering hiding in the grime.  I’ll probably get this one together pretty soon, though I’ll likely hold off from gluing the roof on until I get my friend Steve to help me hook up some red marker lights.


  1. You post made me visit Bowser’s site to check out their error. Looking at their sample, indeed the font looked weird, down to the “P” and “C” appearing to be mismatched:

    Looking at their site more, what I know of PRR-era N8’s (which isn’t much, I’m more an NYC guy) and the Conjob painted one, all their other hacks appeared to wear proper schemes. I also noted there were two other PC painted cars that are sold out, with no accompanying photos of the product.

    Knowing the PC cabin cars with the white stripe were a rare early scheme, and that Bowser usually doesn’t mess up this bad, this got me wondering if this was based on a real prototype.

    Well no shots on line, but apparently a photo of PC 23352 does exist on page 113 of the MorningSun “PC Color Guide to Freight & Passenger Equipment” book taken in 1969. So the the model may be legit.

    Not to say your decision to repaint wasn’t a good one. I’d do the same thing, as I’d rather have more typical models than weird one-offs. Just trying to defend Bowser’s honour …but they really should offer their caboose in a PC scheme that the other 100+ N8’s actually wore.


    1. I wasn’t implying that the scheme Bowser used was an error. To Bowser’s credit, the model is definitely legit. I’ve seen shots of a caboose in that scheme. Like you stated, I’m more inclined to model a piece of equipment that was typical, rather than one that was unusual.

      I’m a big fan of Bowser, so none of this is meant to detract from the overall quality of the model. I might buy a couple more of these models, but I’ll get the undec version next time.


  2. The one I wanted was the ICG version, but it’s sold out too. I emailed Lee and apparently they will be rereleased in RTR form. I hope not too much more expensive, otherwise I will have to get a kit, strip and paint orange…


    1. Colin, I think this is a pretty nice model and a good value. If Lee offers it RTR, I hope he uses better trucks and wheels. The trucks that come with the kit have coil spring details and plastic wheels, which pretty much relegates them to the trash, for my purposes.

      I’m going to build another, but I want to see how the marker lights work out on this one first. The stock lettering was good, so if Lee does the ICG scheme I’d say go with the factory scheme.


  3. Nice job on n8 so far, Im almost done with my pc n7 (Wrightrak model).
    I used to spend alot of time in both as a young kid in early 70’s
    Good luck !


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