While I thought about scratchbuilding another boxcar end, I decided to try using a casting instead. I know... it is cheating! But, I wanted to see what challenges I might run into in using one. I searched online and the Walther's catalog and found Details Associates "Dreadnaught" boxcar ends (#6235). The two ends are not the same, with the differences seeming to be along the bottom. I used the one that matched the pictures. The end that faced the flatcar was in real life a portion of the surplus boxcar side cut and spun 90-degrees. The panel riveting lines give it away. I used plain styrene rather then trying to cut up the side of the Accurail boxcar kit. Everything was braced on the inside.
The inside-facing end had a doorway cut into it so that the crew could use the small interior for storage. I scribed the outline of the door on the end piece and then used small triangular pieces and small lengths of styrene rod to build up the door hinges and the door lock hardware. I find fabricated hinges look better than hinge castings, which can be clunky. At the top, another horizontal piece of styrene was installed per the prototype. After that, I drilled a lot of tiny holes with a #72 bit (0.025") and installed the grab irons formed from 0.015" stainless steel wire. This drill bit/wire size combo has become a favorite of mine. Interestingly, the prototype grab irons were not all the same size.
After that, I turned my car upside down and worked on the brake details. Even though I had some soft metal castings of brake parts which looked better, I prefer working with styrene pieces because it means I can use MEK instead of superglue for attaching them. The brake cylinder, air tank, and triple valve castings came from the Accurail boxcar kit. Styrene rods and strips were bent and attached to form the connecting air pipes. Cal Scale air hoses on the ends finished it all up. Unfortunately, adding them made it difficult to flip the car over without braking (get it?) them unless I set it on something tall enough to give them clearance. Now I remember why I always glued them on last!
Looking at the prototype pictures revealed profile boards along the sides of the floor that stuck down. No doubt they were somehow tied to crossbraces that either supported the deck of the car or the boxcar door's lower channel. I formed these from styrene strip and glued them to the sides, and then added a thin piece that ran along the length of the side which hid the exposed ends of the cross braces. I have never really noticed these details before but on a car like this (especially once painted bright orange) they stand out. The traditional boxcar door's lower sliding track was made from Evergreen C-channel.
asked on an online forum and also reached out to noted modeler Pierre Oliver for suggestions, and both pointed me to Plano Model Products splash screen. It was perfect! I had purchased metal roofwalks from them for my B&M car but promptly forgot about them. I cut it into small panels and tested them on the car, and they looked great! It was now ready for painting.