Tony Thompson asked:
"'Dumpster fire' is about right. Do ANY of the four models actually have prototypes? Why would you choose, for example, the roof they have put on three of the bodies?"
Going back to the end of April when these were first discussed:
40' double sheathed USRA boxcar
Analysis: An OK model of the USRA DS boxcar, but already available from Accurail for $10 less, and if you can't assemble the Accurail kit, you deserve to have your money taken.
40' "USRA" single sheathed boxcar
Analysis: Only thing it has in common with the USRA Specification 1001-B: 50-ton Single-Sheathed Box Car is general dimensions, 5/5/5 Murphy ends, and the fact it's a standard gauge single-sheathed boxcar. It resembles the 1923 ARA standard SS boxcar (XM-1) design, except (a) I can't think of any cars Pratt truss built to the XM-1 design with 5/5/5 Murphy ends and (b) any variants built to 9 ft IH vice the default 8 ft 7 in IH. If I do my homework, I might be able to turn up a 9 ft IH prototype as a kitbash subject, but for $28 MSRP, I shouldn't have to.
40' steel USRA rebuilt wood boxcar
Analysis: FAIL. This model has 5/5/5 Murphy ends and XLA roof, indicating an early rebuild reusing these components that did not increase the dimensions of the original car. Unfortunately, none of these rebuilds (ACL/C&WC, SL-SF) had 10-panel sides, but exhibited 8-panel sides. Also, the model lacks an inset side sill and brackets that are a spotting feature of almost all rebuilt boxcars. This, along with the Atlas "Rebuilt USRA boxcar" model, is an overpriced representation of nothing.
40' Early Wood Reefer
Analysis: This looks like a generic 40 ft reefer. Actually, I'm trying to come up with any wood-sheathed prototypes with Murphy XLA roofs.
Overall, these appear to be a 21st century repeat of Train-Miniature's approach of using common tooling across a group of similarly-dimensioned house cars, but even less thought out than the late 1960s attempt. Maybe they went with a Pratt-truss SS boxcar to distinguish it from the Accurail SS model, but then why would they tool the same prototype as Accurail for the DS boxcar? For that matter, why tool the same "rebuilt" boxcar as Atlas?