Re: MTH USRA 55-ton twin hoppers


--- In, "rhammill" <nhrr@...> wrote:

Well, since I hadn't seen anybody posting on these, I was wondering how well they were done. So I picked one up. I had to special order it, since none of the shops in my area carry MTH HO models.

I am certainly not an expert on these cars. From what I've read here and elsewhere, the complaints for the existing models are:

1. The side center side panels on the Tichy hopper are too wide, and thus all of the ribs are moved too close to the ends

2. The Accurail ones are very accurate, but have molded on details

So I was hopeful that this model would be as accurate as Accurail, but have the fidelity of detail as the Tichy. And as far as I can tell, they have.

I've added a gallery of a few pictures to let you judge for yourselves. I stacked an Accurail hopper on top of this one, and although I didn't quite get them centered, you can see the ribs and panels are pretty much identical. In fact, in terms of the body itself, it looks like it's almost a copy of the Accurail. I don't know if that speaks to the accuracy of both models, or if they copied the Accurail one (and yes, I know their ads show a picture of the Accurail).

The double rivet line along the bottom is a little closer together, and the rivets for where the two hoppers meet in the center are at a slightly lower angle. The interior rivet detail is pretty much the same as the Accurail - that is there is no rivet detail on the interio of the sides, just the slope sheets.

The interior does have a center brace that is snapped into place, and there are two additional cross beams that the modeler installs. They snap into place as well, but it's loose and they have a tendency to rotate, so I'll glue them. These extra cross bearers are not shown in the pictures I took (I hadn't found them yet).

The end detail is great. All grabs are wire and there are wire uncoupling levers. The train line and air hoses are plastic. The Wine latches have rods that connect to the mechanism between the two hoppers on each side. There are no brake levers.

The brake detail looks very good. It looks 'right' to me, I don't know if it's accurate. The surprising thing to me, though, is that it's a K-brake system. It includes piping to the retainer valve, and between the brake components. It includes a dirt collector, the connection to the train line, and the main brake lever.

It weighs 2 oz without the plastic coal load which adds another 1/8 oz. The center sill is metal, and additional metal weight is squeezed in between the two hopper bays, and between the hoppers and the bolsters.

They have released them in various delivery schemes appropriate for K-brakes, as well as non-prototypical schemes. But they are notating these with their "Imagination and Fun" logo, an orange circle with an 'I' in it. The non-prototypical schemes product numbers start with 81-, so they'll be easy to avoid.

So I'm happy with the quality of the models. I will have to see how easy it is to strip and refinish them in a later paint scheme.

Aside from hearing what others think about the models, what I'm curious about is:

Would any of these still have K-brakes circa 1947-1953, which is when I'm modeling. I've asked MTH if they have plans to release later paint schemes with AB brakes, I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, take a look at the pictures and let me know what you all think. I can take more if needed.

And no, I have no affiliation with MTH. In fact, this is the first product of theirs that I've purchased.


Randy Hammill
So what is the verdict on this car ?
Are the CNW and MILW paint schemes usable with this car? A personal interest of mine.
K brakes and all i like Randys time frame 1947- 1953 i also would like to know if these are usable.
Thank in advance
Doug Kinder

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