In August of 1957, Soph Marty photographed a load of new REA delivery trucks being delivered via a Pennslyvania GSC flatcar. Sure it conjours memories of Lionel boats, missles, and helicopter loads. But, the proto photo is right here begging to be modeled.
I used an Athearn GSC flatcar, factory painted in the PRR scheme. Athearn also made the Ford C trucks with REA boxes, though the Athearn box is a corrugated version. If I run across good decals for REA trucks of this era, I may scratchbuild better representations. In the meantime, the stock Athearn models are a great fill in.
Well, great except for one problem. Throw two Athearn trucks on the flatcar, and the load is too high and too long! Compare the Athearn stock model to the trucks in the Soph Marty photo, and you can see that we have to chop and channel the Athearn models to decrease the size of the cargo box.
The box itself is lightly glued to the Ford C chassis. A gentle pry should loosen it. The roof of the box is removable, and should be pulled off first. Then a straight edge and a sharp exacto can be used to cut the factory painted body. I removed as much as I could from both the length and height, without affecting the stock graphics.
I would suggest rmoving one end at a time to help keep the rest of the model square. I cut the front off first, removed a portion of the sides, and then glued the front back in place before continuing to remove the back, then bottom, and finally a portion of the top. The final step is to shorten the roof. I cut a portion off of one end of the roof, then cut the raised bead off of the removed section of top and used it to patch in the roof and keep me from having to find any touch up paint. If you’re careful with all your cuts, you won’t see any seams, and you won’t have any paint to touch up.
Finally, the frame of the truck will need a portion removed from the center, and the box can be remounted. In stock form, there is space between the cab and the front of the box. In order to save some additional room on the flarcar, be sure to butt the box right up against the cab when you reattach it.
Weather the deck of the flat car, then mount the trucks. Finally, use some scale strip wood to block the load.