Re: best brass tank car models

Richard Hendrickson

Tim O'Connor's list of brass tank cars is, in general, a good one, so I'll
save some time by adding my comments to his.

Lambert 105BW -- 8000g, acid service, platform
Lambert 103W -- 10000g, single dome, platform
I can't judge their accuracy, as their prototypes were later than the
period to which I usually confine my research (and probably too late to be
of interest to brother Welch, though certainly of interest to others on the

Overland 3028 -- 11000g, pressure tank, no platform

This was marketed as "LP tank car". I think it is based
on a 1930's prototype, either ACF or Union Tank. Richard
knows, I'm sure!
It models a 10.500 gal. Phillips Petroleum ICC-105 LPG prototype dating, as
Tim says, from the 1930s. A nice model and, currently, the only correct
model of the slightly smaller ICC-105s that preceded the cars modeled in HO
by Atlas.
I don't have one and wish I did.

Overland 3130 -- 8000g, ACF, single dome ( Type 27? )
Overland 3132 -- 8000g, ACF, triple dome
Overland 3133 -- 8000g, ACF, 1 dome, platform
Overland 3134 -- 8000g, ACF, manyway, platform, chlorine

The above came out in the late 1980's and were pretty cheap
compared to prices now. They are highly detailed and well made.
They come in very small boxes so you have to look carefully!
One set good for the chlorine car was Champ's Dow HT-72. The
triple domes are rare.
Yes, these were supposed to model Type 27s, and Tim is right, the triple
dome 8K gal. prototypes were quite rare - and 8K gal.high pressure chlorine
cars were, AFAIK, non-existent. After deciding to model a standard ICC-103
tank car, Tom Marsh had the not-so-brilliant idea of using the same tooling
to produce other types of cars with tanks of the same size, despite the
fact that those types were seldom, if ever, produced with 8K gal. tanks.
There's also another problem; the tanks scale out much closer to 10K than
to 8K gal. Set one alongside an InterMountain 8K gal. Type 27 and you'll
see the difference in tank diameter immediately. I used one of these to
model a 10K gal. Texaco car and was well pleased with the results - but
since IM does both 8K and 10K Type 27s in plastic, I'm not inclined to
repeat that exercise. In short - they're nice models but only the single
dome car had an actual prototype, and that prototype can now be well
modeled for a lot less $$.

Overland 3229 -- 10000g, GACC, 1 dome, no platform

Another good model, these have a large-ish dome and some were
decorated for asphalt service. I think Richard H. has vouched
for the accuracy of them for some California refinery. I have
seen similar cars of other owners and mine is decorated with
Champ's Cities Service decals, for asphalt service of course.
The prototype (for which I provided photos and data) was a GATX car
assigned to Western Asphalt, but 10K gal. insulated cars of this desing
were fairly common, and the model is, as Tim observes, very well done.

Overland 3231 -- 10000g, X-3

This model needs some minor corrections to be as accurate as
Martin's model. I started working on mine when we were all doing
the Virtual Modeler X-3 -- e.g. I reworked the brake components
from KC to AB spec. However now it sits forlorn in storage...
This is actually a pretty good model of the later X-3s built for UTL ca.
1930, which were somewhat different from the earlier X-3s modeled by
Sunshine. However, it was based on Mainline Modeler drawings by Bob
Hundman which were, shall we say, confused about the prototype, hence the
nedd for some minor corrections. The main problem that resulted from
Hundman's confusion was the Andrews trucks on the model, which were not
used on the later X-3s, though replacing the trucks is, of course, no big
deal (use Accurail AAR trucks with spring planks). (Plastic trucks on a
brass model? You bet, if you actually want to run it. Most of the trucks
that come on brass models roll so reluctantly that they're suitable only
for use as fishing sinkers, even if they're prototypically correct - and
often they're not.)

Overland 3270 -- 8000g, GACC, 1 dome, insulated, platform
Overland 3271 -- 8000g, GACC, 3 dome, insulated, rebuild

Besides being wonderful looking models, I love the #3270 because
it has open grid running boards. Very unusual for a model tank
car even in brass. The 3 dome car has different size domes, and
that is why I assume it represents a rebuild. (IIRC.)
The single dome car represents a fairly common GATC Type 30 prototype. The
prototype for the 3 dome model was, as Tim says, a rebuild, as indicated by
the fact that the center dome was larger than the others, and in fact was a
glass lined wine tank car (for which, again, I provided the prototype data
and photos).

Overland 3361 -- 16000g, 103W, 1 dome

These late 1950's cars were bought by UP, CGW, and other roads.
It was marketed as a UP O-70-1 but I think it can be painted for
other owners. I forget who built the prototype cars, but probably
it was ACF.
Correct. NP had them, CB&Q had them, and there were other owners as well,
but these cars were all railroad owened and were designed for, and (with
hardly any exceptions) used in, diesel fuel service. So the model is only
useful if you model the late 1950s (as Bill W. and I do not) and your
prototype RR happened to own them.

W&R -- 1, 2, 3 domes, Pressed Steel Car, KC brakes, high walkways
W&R -- 8000g, 1 dome, Pressed Steel Car, AB brakes, modernized
W&R -- 8000g, 4 dome, Pressed Steel Car, AB brakes, modernized

The W&R tank cars are beautiful models....The high walkway cars were
unpopular >for some reason, and were easy to find for a long time at train
Tim is right, these are excellent models, though the prototypes were built
mostly by AC&F, not Pressed Steel (W&R's advertising was confusing about
this). The prototypes for the 1, 2, and 3 dome high walkway cars were AC&F
Type 4s, built from 1904 to ca. 1912 in large numbers. The models were
probably a drug on the market because modelers didn't realize how long
these critters lasted; I have photos of them still in revenue service in
the 1960s. The 2 and 3 dome cars were relatively rare, but the 8K and 10K
gal. single dome cars were very common.

Tim doesn't mention the Red Caboose/W.R. Drake 8,000 gal. GATC tank car
models because Bill indicated that he already had a couple of those, but
others on the list might still find a dealer with new ones, as well as
second-hand models at swap meets and such. Unfortunately, they sit too
high on the trucks, and correcting the bolster height ain't easy. However,
they're very well done in all other respects, and all factory P/L schemes
are correct (I know, because I provided the data and photos for them).

Other brass tank car models worth mentioning are the "Pennsylvania RR TM-8"
brass cars imported some years ago by Sunset. Though a bit on the crude
side, they were reasonably priced and, because neither Mort Mann nor the
SPFs who pursuaded him to import the models knew zilch about the
prototypes, the fact that they actually represented 8K gallon AC&F Type
11s, built by the thousands from 1911 to 1917, was a well kept secret.
When they didn't sell as PRR cars, Mort put a bunch of bogus colorful paint
jobs on them and peddled them at fire sale prices instead of painting and
lettering them for any of the numerous correct prototype schemes. In fact,
they can be correctly painted and lettered for Tidewater Associated,
Barrett Tarvia, Gulf Refining, Interstate Tank Car, Kendall Refining, Keith
Tank Line, Mobilgas, Mid-Continent D-X, National Oil Co., Sinclair, etc.,
etc. The only problem is finding suitable decal lettering - but that's a
problem with brass tank car models in general, unless they're factory
painted and lettered.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

Join to automatically receive all group messages.