How To's N Scale

From Tackle box to train tote

I love repurposing things. Especially when they work out as good as this repurpose has. I had always had this tackle box (got it on clearance at Wal-mart for $10) and my intent was to use it to haul trains in. I did for a very long time but I sat down with a few cars and started moving things around and things just started clicking in the right wyas and before ya know it I had maximized my storage by almost 10 times how I was using it.

Tackle box that I take to train shows
The tackle box, I used to take my trains in. This is exactly how I carried my trains to shows before I revamped the tackle box. Bulky YUK!

Turns out you can take the drawers out of these tackle boxes. Whoa I had no idea (I had an inkling but that’s different).
Tackle box missing a few drawers

It’s much easier to remove the drawers when making these alterations so go ahead and do that.

Next we’re going to need some of those cool craft foam sheets. I had no idea how many uses I’d find for these foam sheets until I started using them. They really are great. Need some soft code 40 based siding style roadbed? Use 2 layers of craft foam sheets. Need a quick gasket? Use some craft foam sheets. Want to have realistic black top streets? use craft foam sheets, but I digress.

The key ingredient in converting a tackle box into an n scale transport

Go ahead and cut these into 1″ wide by however long your foam sheet is. I literally took a metal ruler, placed it on the foam and started cutting. The 1″ is approximate. It just needs to be able to clear the drawer of the tacklebox depth.

Now cut a “slat” at the end of the foam. We are going to form 2 “tabs” that we will glue to the tackle box. I used hot glue to do this you can use whatever you have handy. It should look like the picture below.

The divider is cut in half so there 2 tabs

Continue doing this until you’ve finished the entire drawer.
This is a quick in progress shot.

Foam is glued on both sides of the plastic compartment

In the above photo I placed foam on the sides. As it turns out this did more harm than good. It made the compartment too tight and I had to remove the outside foam pieces later. I also removed the indentions you see that are used to divide the tackle box into smaller compartments.

Adding the thin craft foam

Then with a little patience and about 2 hours you can have a pretty killer tackle box train tote.

From Tackle box to train tote

We place all the locomotives in the top of the box in their cases and the cars go in the drawers loose. The foam in between some of the cars keeps them from coupling and banging into each other and the ends of the box is protected from the tabs.

I can get over 80 cars in this tackle box, quite an upgrade to how I was using it.

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