by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
Atlas N Kaolin Tank Car
Kaolin Tank CarPrimarily used to haul kaolin clay slurry for use in the papermaking process, along with many other liquids, the 14,000 gallon non-pressure tank car first built by ACF® in the 1970s adds a modern flavor to any layout. This common tank car can be seen all over the country and is in service today.
Atlas N Kaolin Tank CarAtlas keeps expanding the standard of 1/160 model railroading. The latest series of Kaolin tanks have these fine features:
• 100-ton roller-bearing trucks
• Separate safety bars
• Accurate painting and lettering
• AccuMate® couplers
What else does the model offer? Scale ladders and stirrups, safety bars and railings, equally fine and separately applied trainline piping, the brake cylinder, and hand brake wheel. Placard stands for hazmat and other information are on each end and side. The hatches and valves atop the tank are nicely molded. As is the entire model: no flash, no sink holes, no ejector marks, and no seam lines. The 100-ton roller-bearing trucks have good detail for the scale and the wheel sets, while plastic, are molded a dirty brown color. They are compatible with code 55 track.
Atlas securely packs their models. This model is held in a formed cradle with tissue paper to protect from scuffing; the cradle is held inside a hard clear plastic jewel case that both protects and displays. I did notice a blemish on each end, just above the reporting marks. It appears that the ends have dimples from jig that holes the tank.
You may notice the model looks warped. This is distortion of the small model under close-up photography. However, some of the rails are bent; they are made of a flexible plastic and are distorted from setting in the case.
Paint and Markings I write this a lot because it is true - the quality of the finish is amazing. Recalling the state of model finishes just a generation ago I am amazed at the level to which factory printing has progressed. Just find and examine N scale freight cars from 20 years ago and you will see why I am impressed with models of today.
The lettering of the logo, roadname, and dimensional data is sharp, crisp, opaque, and legible. In fact, I found the shoe data only after examining the closeup photos, and it is legible: 2 IN HF COMP SHOES!
This car is Ontario Carbonate No. 71465, built in August 1986. Atlas offers two other road numbers for OC. Indeed, each roadname has three road numbers. On their website Atlas lists the year a specific kaolin car is modeled after. The companies available for this series are:
1. Anglo-American Clays
3. Freeport Kaolin
4. Ontario Carbonate 71465 1986
6. Thiele Kaolin
Test TrackThis car meets NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices, with RP-25 wheels and couplers at acceptable height. It weighs 1.2 ounces which is heavy compared to recommended RP-2O.1 Car Weight of .95 oz.
ConclusionAlthough I was not able to find definitive data concerning ACF® kaolin tank cars, this model impresses me. It is a crisp, well detailed, sharply painted model with separate ladders and other detail pieces. Today factory applied knuckle couplers have become the standard. One or more will certainly add to your modern N scale railroad. Quite recommended.
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