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In-Box Review
HO scale
50' Single Door Boxcar, IC
50' Postwar Single Door Box Car Illinois Central 523014
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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Introduction
50' Postwar Single Door Box Car Illinois Central 523014 from Atlas is an HO model in their Master Line series. It is item 20 003 995.

Growing up in an Illinois Central Railroad (Main Line of Mid-America) town I witnessed the debut of boss William Johnson's 1966 orange livery and the new "split rail" emblem, which I never liked as well as the iconic green diamond logo. It certainly gussied up the main predominately carrying brown or black coal hoppers! So I was very happy when Atlas sent this box car for me to present to you.

50' Postwar Single Door Box Car
At the end of World War II, railroads ordered large numbers of 50' AAR boxcars with a standard design that was first widely used in the late 1940s. This design was based on the original 1937 AAR design but was modified in the post-war era to include: improved dreadnaught end and diagonal panel roofs with standard or overhanging design. These 50' boxcars were a common sight on American railroads well into the 1970s and 1980s. - Atlas

IC 523014
IC 523014 is a good looking model. Atlas gained these models when they acquired Branchline Models a few years ago.
    These single and double door box car models are based on the cars built started c. '44, when the industry switched from the Dreadnaught End to the Improved Dreadnaught End.*

It features crisp molding devoid of flash, sink holes and visible ejector marks. Surface detail such as rivets and panel lines and door fittings are executed with great finesse. This series of box cars features:
    Details such as separately applied ladders and grab irons
    Three different side sill styles - straight, tabbed and fishbelly
    8' & 9' Superior or Youngstown doors
    Fully detailed underframe
    Free rolling trucks with metal wheelsets
    Accurate printing and prototypical paint schemes

It also has Accumate knuckle couplers and RP-25 metal wheels. Optional detail parts afford the modeler the choice whether to add even more detail to the model.

IC 523014 has the correct 16 panel sides and a straight side sill, and Improved 4-3-1 Dreadnaught ends. A diagonal roof tops it off - without the running board. Superior 8' doors are hung, as are 7-rung ladders. Atlas made those doors to be positionable.

To view the real IC 523014 please see Click here for additional images for this review, below, to see how 523014 looked in Minneapolis in 1978. You will notice that by then, per regulations, the ladders had been cut down, and there are no tabs behind the stirrups as there are on this model.

To make this 50' box car model able to represent the greatest number of prototypes, different roofs and bodies are molded. The roof is attached to the body separately.

Detail
Atlas includes optional parts, air hoses and angle cocks plus hangers to mount them on. Separate uncoupling levers are provided, too. No instructions are included so the modeler must find the minute mounting holes. They are tiny and the parts are springy!

Recall that you can slid the doors open? Unlike proceeding boxcars which had unsightly and unauthentic door guide rails along the bottom of the car, these doors hang from the top, per prototypes.

The blackened wheels are actually black - too many are just a dark and shiny silver.

A good looking air brake system is installed under the car. It includes train lines, brake rods, and brake levers.

Over the brake system is a detailed underframe: sill; crossbearers; stringers; fine floor boarding; fine rivets.

Stirrup steps and grab irons and ladders are attached, not molded on. As is the brake platform.

Rolling
The model rolls easily across code 83 Atlas track and through a Peco code 80 slip switch. It weighs 4.5 oz, which is right where it should be per RP-20.1 Car Weight. The couplers are also at the right height.

Paint and Livery
Atlas' paint is very thin yet opaque. No detail is obscured. Fine stenciling and other demarcations are razor-sharp. Each railroad is provided with two road numbers.

Instead of trying to describe how sharp and legible all of the stenciling is, I'll let the photos speak for me. In short, the lettering is truly amazing.

Atlas has released an undecorated version for the 8' and 9' door type. Six railroads are offered:
    Undecorated - 8' Door
    Undecorated - 9' Door
    Atlantic Coast Line* (Brown/White)
    Green Bay & Western (Yellow/Black)
    Illinois Central (Orange/Black/White)
    Lehigh Valley (Brown/White)
    MKT (Green/Yellow)
    New York Central* (Jade Green/Black)

The model is decorated prior to the addition of UMLER (Uniform Machine Language Equipment Register) which came out in 1968. Modelers can find decals of the multi-colored bar rectangles if they need to model a later date.

Conclusion
50' Single Door Box Car Illinois Central 523014 is an accurate representation of a 50' ACF SD box car. Atlas has done a fine job of tooling sharp molds for the parts. The underframe and AB system add a lot to the model - the dangling AB parts can be seen without inverting the model. I like that the doors can be slid open to give your scale hobos a nice breeze. Surface detail is good and the separate applied grabs, ladders and stirrups enhance the model, as do the separate optional air hoses and uncouple levers. The paint and lettering is fantastic. Knuckle couplers and metal wheels are good, although they have come to be expected these days.

The cut bars and air hoses are challenging to install, even with magnification, tweezers, and a steady hand. But they look so good!

Modelers of the postwar era, 50' ACF SD box car and the Main Line of Mid-America should appreciate this model. Atlas' release of several body styles offers modelers the ability to create a more authentic roster. Recommended.

Please remember to tell Atlas and vendors that you saw this model here - on RailRoad Modeler.
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SOURCES

* NEB&W Railroad Heritage Website. NEB&W Guide to Branchline Assembled 50 Foot Box Car Models With 8 Foot Wide Doors. [Web.] 28 September 2011, at 10:09.

** American-Rails.com. The Illinois Central Railroad, Main Line of Mid-America. [Web.] n.d.

Click here for additional images for this review.

SUMMARY
Highs: Fine detail and separately applied grabs, ladders and stirrups enhance the model, as do the separate optional air hoses and uncouple levers. The paint and lettering is fantastic. Knuckle couplers and metal wheels.
Lows: Cut bars and air hoses are challenging to install.
Verdict: Modelers of the postwar era, 50' ACF SD box car and the 'Main Line of Mid-America' should appreciate this model. Atlas' release of several body styles offers modelers the ability to create a more authentic roster.
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 20 003 995
  PUBLISHED: Aug 02, 2017
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 86.97%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.36%

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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