Showcase Miniatures has recently introduced a pair of new models that should find their way on to any Z scale layout that has even a passing reference to intermodal transit, the 40’ and 53’ ISO (International Shipping Organization) Container Trailers. Made of white metal, these models continue the Showcase Miniatures trend of models that are comprised of just a few pieces, can be assembled quickly but look complex and interesting. In the smaller scales, this is important and it adds depth and realism to a scene.
These trailers are, according to Showcase Miniatures, will accommodate containers from several different manufacturers including AZL and MCZ. The trailers each have just three cast sections: the dual axle section, the landing gear section and the skeletal frame itself. The landing gear section slides in between a pair of raised ridges on the main frame for quick placement. The wheel / axle section has a flat groove, just inside the inner tire on both sides of the casting, which allows for positive placement with the bottom of skeletal frame.
Two of the detail areas that I particularly like are the rivets on the outside of the frame from the cross members and the deep wheel detail. The tread design on the tires is pretty cool too!
Out of the package you may need to do a little flashing removal with a needle file, remember this is Z scale so be careful not to file away any detail pieces. Once I removed a few bits of flashing, I placed the models in a small container with hot warm water and dish soap to remove any possible residue from the casting process as well as any possible oil residue from my hands. I also use a new, soft toothbrush to give all the pieces a very gentle scrub.
You do need to be careful when handling the skeletal frame and the landing gear castings, remembering these models are white metal and can bend if too much pressure is applied. Whenever you do apply any pressure to the frame, such as when you’re cleaning the metal prior to paint, just keep a finger under the area your scrubbing with the toothbrush for support and you’ll be fine.
On painting and building the model, I’d suggest attaching the landing gear section to the frame prior to paint; otherwise, you’d risk scraping paint from the frame while attaching gear. I use a couple of small drops of CA for the gear and for the rear end of the trailer, more than strong enough for the model. A good basic paint scheme is shown in the last photo in the gallery: one color for the frame and landing gear section and another color (likely black or a dark gray) for the rear end.
You can of course add as much detail with paint as you’d like, I’ve left the two 40’ trailers here in very basic paint to show just how simple these models are to build and how good they look even without additional paint accents.
If you Google “intermodal container skeletal trailer”, you’ll see just how necessary these models are to a good intermodal scene, they’re a universal component. I like the idea too of having a few of these parked off in an unused section of road or field with grass growing right up through the frame. Never overlook the chance to add interest and a little history to your layout.
Category: Raildig Build Projects