Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
Tony comments that these kits are still "hell to assemble".
Well, he has that exactly right. Other problems, besides attempting to get all of the stamped steel and cast metal parts aligned correctly (bleeding fingers), include rampant zincpest, and most frustrating, no model paints whatsoever on the current market that will satisfactorily match the Stewart-Lundahl 410M finishing products that Athearn (and among others- Ulrich) used at that time.
The two common things about these cars (boxcars) that seem on casual look to readily turn off current modelers are 1) The thick metal running boards seemingly made of 4x6's, and 2) (except on the PRR, SAL, and DT&I cars with rolled roofs) the peculiar very prominent stepped joint between the roof and the sides. For those cars that I like to operate regularly, I simply replace the running boards with Tichy, Details West, or in one case, Kadee products (made relatively easy because in most cases the cast metal running boards are already failing!). This simple improvement alone is often enough for the casual modeler/visitor to completely overlook all the other dated features about these oft-very-handsome and substantial cars.
I know at least one of the Athearn steel cars that Ben Hom sneaks once in awhile into his prototype meet displays, and to my knowledge very few people pick up what it is. I did once, because by serendipity I also had the identical car- which currently also runs incognito amongst a string of far newer and more sophisticated models.
Denny S. Anspach, MD