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First Look Review
HO scale
CN 42' Coil Steel Car
42' Coil Steel Car, Canadian National No. 187000
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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42' Coil Steel Car
Series: Atlas Master ®
Item: 20 001 423
Roadname and number: Canadian National No. 187000

Atlas released a 42' Coil Steel Car as a new model type in their HO Atlas Master ® series. 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® Series
These models are packed in Atlas’ red, black and gold trimmed Master® 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
• Cut-levers
• AccuMate® couplers

Molding of the parts is crisp and to a high standard. I found no glue smears, flash, seam lines, sink marks or ejector dimples. A previous Atlas Master® model I reviewed a couple of years ago had small burrs on the handholds and railings, made when detaching the parts from their sprues. I did not notice any on this model as presume quality control has improved. Well done, Atlas!

Underneath the car are a chassis, bolsters, modern air brake gear, and train line. 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 has two components: 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 right at 42 feet long. It is in conformance with NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices, with RP-25 wheels and couplers at acceptable height. It weighs 4.4 ounces which is heavy compared to RP-2O.1 Car Weight recommendation of 3.9 ounces.

Details 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 not 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 Markings
Compare this model with a model from 20 years ago and you’ll see why I am stoked about the state of today’s model finish. The paint is smooth, opaque, and does not obscure detail. Finished in Canadian National’s sterile gray paint and markings, this model is all business. There is plenty of data stenciled on, dimensional data, plus maintenance and test information 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.

This run of coil cars is in six roadnames:
    1. Canadian National (Gray/Black/Yellow)
    2. Grand Trunk Western (CN Noodle) (Brown/White/Yellow)
    3. Laurinburg and Southern (Gray/Red/Blue/Yellow)
    4. Tomahawk Railway (Black/White)
    5. Providence and Worcester (Gray/Black/White/Yellow)
    6. South Shore Freight (CSS)* (Maroon/Orange/White)
Each roadname is available in four different road numbers. An undecorated model is also available.

Today 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!

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here – on RailRoadModeling.

* Atlas model site

Wilson, Jeff. The Model Railroader’s Guide To Freight cars. Waukesha: Kalmbach Publishing Co., 2005. ISBN: 0-89024-585-1.

Railroad Picture Archives. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net.

Freight Cars Illustrated. Web. 2009. http://fcix.info.
Highs: Crisp molding with fine small separately attached detail parts, photo-etched walks, metal blackened wheels and knuckle couplers. The paint and printing is simply fantastic!
Lows: Unpainted metal walks.
Verdict: Atlas Master Line freight cars are certainly high on the list of quality ready-to-run models.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 20 001 423
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 25, 2013

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2018 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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