Quick Review: Value Trains USA ACF 50'6" Boxcar

Value Trains USA started out with a mission in mind, make their models 100% in the USA. As far as I can tell only this ACF 50'6" Boxcar was ever produced. Schemes included multiple numbers of this Railbox scheme, and some various fantasy schemes for their company  and the What's Neat podcast.

Beginning in 2017 Value Trains USA began popping up at train meets promoting their Made in the USA models. The brand was/is owned by an RC shop evidenced by a sticker on the back of the box.

Our review sample was decorated in the attractive yellow Railbox scheme, one that is a prototype to this ACF boxcar. The TTX XAF11 series covers a large series of boxcars, all built by ACF, ranging from the 12000's to 13999. Oddly I cannot find evidence that the XAF11 would have ever been numbered 14322 per our model.

Quick Review: MLR Products Ballast Spreader

This classic HO scale tool was designed to help speed the process of spreading ballast on your layout. This exact model is showing discounted, but they are often still in stock at hobby shops, or found at swap meets. Micromark makes a similar model as well.

I picked this one up cheaply on the secondhand market, however it was new, unused.

Book Review: Guide to Narrow Gauge Modeling - Kalmbach Books

A Model Railroader book written by Tony Koester

I picked up this book some time ago, and have casually read it over the last year or so. Unknown to most, I have a casual interest in Narrow Gauge railroading, and have always wanted to model something.

My primary interest lies in the Quincy & Torch Lake, a short haul mining railroad that was located in Michigan's Upper Penninsula. The equipment was unique so its a true modelers railroad.

Quick Review: Rapido HO scale Flexi-Flo

Release in the fall of 2020, Rapido Train's much anticipated, and quickly sold out Flexi-Flo covered hoppers are a welcome addition to any 1964 to 2015 era layout!

Officially carded as the American Car & Foundry (ACF) PD3500 Covered Hopper, the name "Flexi-Flo" came from the New York Central.  More details on the Prototype can be read on Rapido's website: https://rapidotrains.com/products/ho-scale/freight-cars/ho-scale-acf-flexi-flo

The Model: Rapido expertly created the model in HO scale, sparing no details.  This isn't the first model of these cars in HO scale, with brass imports, and even AHM made a model during the 1970's and 1980's!  I've seen in the past a few modelers who have turned great replicas from the AHM version, and I even started one myself in the late 2000's.  Plano Model Products released a replacement etched walkway for these old AHM models.

The clear plastic allows for viewing of the model in the packaging, but Rapido includes a smooth, foggy plastic liner to separate the model from the clear plastic clamshell, so the model is hardly "visible."

Quick Review: Scaletrains HO Scale Modern 40' Container

This new release Scaletrains Container continues in their line of great containers at a great value, and a price lower than most other manufacturers.

I missed the preorder period on these containers, but noticed the three single packs of the MSC were still available for preorder about 2 weeks prior to their arrival, so I quickly placed an order.

Fast forward to a month later and I finally paid, receiving my containers in 2 days time from the date I paid.

Quick Review: Bachmann HO Scale ACL-42 Amtrak Day 1 Scheme

Released in late 2021, this attractive model of an ultra-contemporary Diesel Locomotive represents the current day orders for Amtrak's new generation of long distance passenger units.  Models come equipped with DCC WowSound, or non-sound.

My model here is decorated in Amtrak's "Day 1" 50th anniversary scheme, however Bachmann also released road #300 & #305 in their 5 unit "Phase VII" scheme.  I'm still waiting to see what units #306+ will look like in the next standard Phase VIII scheme proposed.

Quick Review: Walthers Special Edition Athearn AMD-103

Walthers Special Edition Athearn AMD-103 (P42DC) in HO scale. My pre-order through Maders Trains arrived on Saturday the 24th [2009], just in time for my birthday!

I pre-ordered these units months back, and they shipped just in time for my birthday, and the best part is one of the two units was paid for by my wife, as my birthday gift.

Walthers commissioned Athearn to produce their P42 version of the GE AMD-103, in officially licensed Phase V paint.  These units are only available through Walthers, and are not sold direct from Athearn.  The October 2009 release (seen here) contains road numbers 44 and 139.

Quick Review: Evemodel HO Scale 40' Container

Evemodel recently showed up on the internet, as a factory brand offering several of the models they produce in their factory under their own brand.

I recently purchased their 3 packs of 40' containers, in MSC, TEX, & CAI. These models are available on ebay from the sellers Evemodel_fr and Evemodel_es, adding with others possibly. Having multiple eBay pages allows a factory like Evemodel to list more than eBay will allow.

Quick Review: ScaleTrains Kit Classics Havelock Shops Gondola

Released in October 2021, this simple to assemble kit comes in a multitude of paint schemes, representing 2 real and several foobie schemes.  These affordable kits are great for the budget conscious, but also represent a rare prototype assembled by the CB&Q Havelock shops.

According to ScaleTrains website the prototype dates from 1967/1968, built for the CB&Q (Burlington), by their own shop.  When I heard these cars were coming, I jumped on a preorder for the three green BN cars.  Although my era would better be represented by black BN or BNSF cars, I desired odd BN/BNSF gondolas for my layout.

Quick Review: Broadway Limited UP AC6000CW

The Broadway Limited AC6000CW is based off of the real GE AC6000CW. The railroads that bought the AC6000 are CSX and UP. They are primary used for coal traffic. BLI produced a nice model of the AC6000.

Here's a video of a test run: