On18 Four Wheel Wagon Conversions

by Brian Wilson



In this article Brian describes how he converted some Graham Farish N scale wagons (cars to us Yanks) into On18 rolling stock. This is the first article about On18 that I have published, and I hope it won't be the last.

For those who are new to this 'narrow gauge thing", where On30 is O scale (1:48 in the U.S.) using HO scale track width, On18 is O scale using N scale track width to represent 18" narrow gauge track. Some modelers combine On18 with On30, using it to represent small industrial lines such as mining, quarrying, etc.

If other On18 modelers submit articles for publication on this website I will be happy to receive them. If enough are received I may start a seperate section for On18 material. If you are interested in submitting an article about On18 modeling just send me an email HERE.Thanks.


Brian writes:

"I found half a dozen Graham Farish N gauge wagons that I had bought about 25 years ago. It occurred to me that they would work as chassis for On18 rolling stock. Since shop-built equipment would be railroad specific, I felt that one set of plans would be adapted to a variety of uses.


First step was to strip off all that I didn't need:

I then faced the frame with 3/16 square balsa and 1/8 square basswood. I mounted Kadee #5 couplers as shown and made a deck from 1/8 x 1/16 basswood strips. I now had an On18 flat car! Note that the new frame provided a slot for weight. I didn't do anything to the undercarriage as it is just about impossible to see when the cars are on the track.


The flat cars could now be rebuilt into other rolling stock and my first conversion was a box car.

The side and ends are .020 Evergreen Scale Models O Scale Car Siding. The roof is .020 Evergreen plain styrene. Other styrene bits and pieces are .040 x .125, .060 x .060, and .030 x .060. The handrails are brass wire.


The caboose was built the same way as the box cars.

Railings, handrails and the door latch were fashioned from florist's wire and brass wire. The window glass is clear plastic cut from packaging with acrylic matte medium brushed on to give an opaque appearance.


Next came the Owner's open coach.

The inside and outside of each of the end walls were made from O Scale Car Siding separated by .060 x .060 styrene and capped with .030 x .060 styrene. Florist wire was used for the roof supports.

Additional details to be added: seats and maybe drop-down screens for weather protection."


My thanks to Brian for an excellent article. If you are inspired by this article to try your hand at some On18 rolling stock conversions, please let us know and send us some pictures to post.

Brian maintains an outstanding website featuring his micro layouts and models. Please pay it a visit by CLICKING HERE!


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This page updated January 22, 2008
Webpage © Lawrence Rickert
Title and contents © Brian Wilson