by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
42' Coil Steel Car
Atlas Master ®
20 001 149
This past April Atlas released a new model type in their HO Atlas Master ® series, the 42' Coil Steel Car. Let's take a look!
Coil Steel Car The increased volume of coiled steel transportation gave rise to a new purpose-built freight car. Previously rolls of coiled-steel had generally traveled in specially equipped gondola cars. In the 1960’s a lighter type of car emerged specifically for hauling coils of steel in an integral trough. The car type gained popularity and eventually over 17,000 cars were built. Atlas’ model replicates a 42’ design with a distinctive fishbelly side sill.*
Association of American Railroads (AAR) class for a Coil Steel Car is GBSR: Specialty Open top car, having fixed sides, fixed or drop ends and solid bottom. Equipped with roof. The AAR Type is the E241. These are equipped with cushion draft gear or underframe, and are of AAR Plate "B" loading gauge.
Atlas Master ® SeriesThese models are packed in Atlas’ red, black and gold trimmed box with a cellophane window. The model is held in a two-piece fitted cradle, wrapped with a protective film. It is ready to run.
• Prototypical painting and lettering
• See-through walks
• Removable hood
• Inside floor detail
• AccuMate® couplers
Molding of the parts is crisp and to a high standard. I found no flash, seam lines, sink marks or ejector dimples. At first I wrote that there are no burrs, however I found some on the handholds and railings when reviewing the greatly enlarged photos of the model; you can't see these within 'the three foot rule'. Not something I can fault.
Underneath the car are a chassis, bolsters, modern air brake gear, and trainline. This is supported by a pair of detailed 100-ton trucks with blackened machined metal wheels. These wheels roll with little friction, and the car is pulled by its AccuMate® knuckle couplers.
The model is two-piece: the body and the detachable hood. Inside the container hood is a weight. The cargo bay floor features molded side rails with holes to affix separately packed coil retainer plates.
My inspection finds the model to be in conformance with NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices, with RP-25 wheels and couplers at acceptable height. It weighs 4.5 ounces which is heavy compared to RP-2O.1 Car Weight recommendation of 3.9 ounces.
DetailsDetails includes factory-applied grab iron handholds, railings, sill steps, cut bars, a handbrake wheel with chain, and photo etched perforated walks. Those items, if not exactly to scale, are very close. Atop the hood is a factory applied lift frame; the anti-sway frame is a flexible plastic to avoid accidental damage.
Additionally, Atlas includes a packet with a pair of soft plastic air hoses that snap onto the ends of the train line, and two coil retainer plates. These have small stubs that fit into the holes of the side rails inside of the cargo bay.
Finish and MarkingsCompare this model with a model from 20 years ago and you’ll see why I am effusive about the state of today’s model finish. The paint is smooth, opaque, and does not obscure detail. Finished in CSX’s workaday gray with sterile CSXT markings, this model is all business. There is plenty of data stenciled on, dimensional data, maintenance and test information, CSXT usage restrictions, and reflective bars to add interest. The fidelity of the text is simply amazing! Also, tiny emblems of some sort front the sill atop the stirrups. Very impressive!
The only concern I have is that the photo-etched walks are unpainted.
These models are available in 6 roadnames and color schemes:
1. CSX (Gray) (Gray/Black/Yellow)
2. CSX (Blue) (Blue/Yellow)
3. Kansas City Southern (Black/Red/Yellow/Gray)
4. Northwestern Oklahoma (Red/White/Yellow)
5. Norfolk Southern (Gray/Black/Blue/Red)
6. SeverCorr (Red/White/Blue/Yellow)
An undecorated model is also available. Each roadname is available in four different road numbers.
ConclusionToday model railroaders have a good selection of high quality models to choose from. Atlas Master Line freight cars are certainly high on the list of quality ready-to-run models. The molding is crisp and the fidelity of the small separately attached detail parts is impressive. Photo-etched walks! The paint and printing is simply fantastic! The standard is moving towards metal blackened wheels and knuckle couplers and this model boast both of those. That near-scale train line peeking out near the draft gear is a nice touch, especially when you attach the separate air hoses. They, and the coil retainer plates, are nice touches.
My only concerns are the unpainted walks and the lack of a diagram showing how to do basic maintenance; I suppose Atlas figures that model railroaders are, by natural, pretty smart and able to figure things out. They're right!
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* Atlas model site
Click here for additional images for this review.