Back in December, 2015, when Athearn announced they were going to produce the old 40′ Grain Door Box Car in their new Roundhouse line, I jumped online and ordered the entire fleet. I have been buying the older kits whenever I can find them but they are few and far between (I collected 6 in two years). With 6 road names announced and 3 numbers per road, I figured I could quickly build a fun little unit train with these. About a week ago I finally got these cars and they were quickly inspected. Here are my thoughts:
They are mostly ready to run (read the bad below). The cars come equipped with a plastic knuckle coupler and the wheels roll nicely in the truck. Athearn painted the metal weight before assembly so that’s a step I won’t have to do myself. When placed on my coupler height test track, the couplers lined up perfectly with the gauges. As far as weight, my cars all weigh in at about 3.8 ounces, which is adequate for this size car.
I am mostly impressed with the paint and printing on these cars. The paint is applied evenly with a little over-spray on the silver roof. This will come in handy when weathering the car later. The printing is very crisp and mostly legible to the naked eye, though some of the smaller items require a magnifying glass, but are still legible. The ends of the cars are lacking in lettering though they do include the reporting marks and road number.
While I am mostly satisfied with these re-released cars, I was surprised to see that Athearn has kept the older style metal clips for the couplers. Many of the other ready-to-run cars offered recently have had these replaced with a plastic cover and screw. This means that I will have to follow the clinic Screw Mounting Couplers on Athearn Blue Box Cars to move these cars to the ready track. Otherwise I can’t find anything bad about these cars.
I can’t say I found anything ugly on these cars.
Other than the bad listed above, I am happy with these cars and they will make a nice addition to my fleet. You can bet I will be watching the Athearn announcements to see if they do any more of these cars. The next one I am waiting for is the former Roundhouse Waffle Side box car.