Re: The MILW ribside car kit.....

Richard Hendrickson

Garrett Rea writes:

I just got one of these kits in the mail today. Looked at it quickly
when I got a chance to sit down around 9:00 tonite and look at it for
a moment. It "appears" to be a nice kit that yes, can be improved if
the modeller so wishes, or built as is. Looking at it quickly any
improvements appear easy to make for folks used to doing this type of
work and the instructions detail car numbers and details to use for
the respective series.

Now, not having drawings I cannot tell you if the car is correct in
all regards. This is the only rub I can find to the kit thus far, it
does have transfers, but no diagram on placement (a line or two in
the instructions on where some things go and what cars got what). If
anyone knows of any photos of these cars in revenue service in the
late 1960s, please let me know (off list to spare others please as
late 1960s = off topic) where to look.
I have one almost finished. The basic molding work is quite good and the
model is essentially correct in dimensions and details. Some detail parts
(e.g. ladders, doors) are very well done but others (e.g. brake step, wood
running board, air brake components) are quite crude, as are the molded-on
grab irons. And a few details are omitted entirely: route card boards,
defect card holder, uncoupling mechanisms. However, as Garrett says, the
people on this list know how to upgrade or replace the crude and missing
stuff. Some modelers will regret that the doors are molded on, but the
manufacturer (another model RR "cottage industry") is obviously struggling
to keep the price within reason.

I ordered my kit without trucks, as the prototype cars had Barber S-2s and
it's hard to beat Branch Line's HO models of S-2s (I'm not sure what trucks
are supplied in the kits that have them). The decal lettering is sharp,
high quality (by Ron Roberts of Rail Graphics), and relatively complete,
including alternative built and reweigh dates. No repacking or brake
servicing data, but that's readily available from Champ sets.

The absence of photos in the kit instructions is a real drawback since, as
Garrett says, it leaves the modeler in the dark about lettering placement.
I have several good photos which I will scan and send to Ted Culotta so he
can post them on his web site.

Bottom line: the important stuff - car body, roof, doors - is well done
and with some effort the kit can be made into a nice model of a long-needed
prototype. But those who want a Kadee/P2K quality ready-to-run model are

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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