Re: Throwback Thursday: Athearn Rolling Stock Ad, Model Railroader, February 1959

Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...>

On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 04:20 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:
You're right! :-D Athearn shared the roof + ends mold with their other reefer - a wood
sheathed rebuild with steel ends and roof. Some have said it's an R-40-24 but...
Tim has hit upon the reason why it has been so difficult to track down prototypes for the Athearn "blue box" cars.

While the kits are one piece bodies, the injection mold cavity inserts that form the roof, sides, and ends are five separate pieces, and this opened the door to mix 'n match the inserts with new pieces to make future kits... Especially the ends. Given the toolmaking techniques available in those pre-CNC, pre-EDM (Electro Discharge Machining) days, those ends ate the lion's share of the tooling budget, so it made sense to re-use them over and over again. In those long ago days of much less research and a much less sophisticated market, the fact that the rib pattern might be slightly different was not a concern. Once this path was chosen, the fact that the ends were for a 10'-5" car and and some prototypes were only 10'-0" tall was dealt with by simply stretching the sides upward 5" to fit. Those same ends seem to have been used on the 50' boxcars, also.

Another oddity that no one has mentioned is the 50' boxcar roofs all seem to be missing a panel, being 14 panels rather than the correct 15. The panels themselves should be the same width as those on the 40' car, but are not. I have no idea why.

Dennis Storzek

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