When was the last time you had an Athearn "Blue Box" on the bench?
An Athearn hopper that has had the side panels cut out with a laser and cast resin panels added to replicate the stampings that were used to increase the internal capacity of these coal haulers.
This kit came from Stan Rydarowicz. He offers both Ann Arbor and Wabash panel side hoppers.
The other big part of this job was slicing off all the cast on grabs and replacing them with wire.
Sort of trip back in the ole Wayback Machine. I was remembering upgrading details on Athearn cars back in the early '80s just before IMWX came out with their stunning 40' boxcars. Thus started my descent into the madness of prototype modeling. Shortly after the IMWX kit came out Stafford Swain made available all the Canadian roofs and ends. For me the die was cast.
Anyway this little project is now ready for the paint shop, just as soon as I move the 4 multi-coloured reefers out. That'll be tomorrow.