Re: Rapido USRA 40-ton Boxcar

Donald B. Valentine
 

     Well Dave, let's look at the bigger picture. The B&M may have had only 25 USRA double sheathed cars by
1950 but that is because the numbers came down rapidly shortly before that. In July 1946, for example, they
still had 476 of them out of the 500 total. Unfortunately you have not given us the month in 1950 that you refer
to that might also tell us something more. But by April 1947 the number had dropped to 447 indicating the loss
of 29 cars in just nine months.

     An even more important point is the Ertl car. Why set it aside??? As has already been noted, it comes with
an AB brake system and also has a roof that is easily removable as well as individually applied grab irons. This
is more than an Accurail car provides (sorry Dennis) and doe not require the assembly time of a Westerfield car,
two of which I have assembled that don't impress be too much (sorry Andrew as well). The other thing the Ertl
USRA boxcar offers that is too often overlooked is a WORKING DOOR!  No, I'm not suggesting at all that we
return to the day of the clunky Athearn cars with the "claws" at the bottom of their doors but to me an HO scale
boxcar that does not have doors that open is hardly worthy of purchasing. And the Ertl car easily has the most
prototypically thin scale door yet seen on an HO boxcar with the possible exception of Tichy cars. If those
manufacturering such models can't get their act together and give us operating boxcar doors they can at least
mold the damn things separately so they can be attached in an open position or even changed for a different
style. To me a door that is molded onto a boxcar is as big a pain in the ads as one with "claws". There is no
need of what we are being offered being without working doors in this day and age. The Ertl car is easily the
best HO Scale double sheathed car we have ever been offered. It is a shame that it is no longer being offered
but one can pick up all they want on eBay and elsewhere without paying more than $20 each and often lower.
While I have known and appreciated Bill Schneider's efforts very much over the years the lack of operating, or
separate, doors on the Rapido Northern Pacific boxcar left me cold on an otherwise really nice model and it
appears the Rapido USRA car will follow suit.  But with a few over thirty of the Ertl cars I'm not going to shed
tear over it knowing that I can have a better model with a little effort put into the Ertl cars. If Rapido decides to
offer separate underframes that have better detailing and a choice of K or AB brake styles those I might be
interested in but count me out for the cars themselves as I have already told Bill.

Just my two bits worth, Don Valentine

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