Quick Review: Intermountain Value Line AeroFlo Coal Gondola

Released in 2019, these inexpensive cars herald back to LBF/Hubert's kits, marketed by Intermountain in their appropriately coined "Value Line," these cars are now RTR.

Ages ago, in the 1990's LBF, later Hubert's marketed these cars, and several others.  Those old kit cars are numerous, and easily acquired even today.  Now that Intermountain added the line to their repertoire, they're once again found new in hobby shops, but this time in RTR!  Prices are more than reasonable, under $30 a car.

Unfortunately I do not have immediate access to one of my old BNSF decorated LBF kits, which was actually an outside rib Coalporter.  This is my first ever Aeroflo car.  These interesting cars were developed by Johnstown in the mid to late 1980's, and are often regarded as the lightest coal gondolas, the version seen here was replaced by the Aeroflo II, where the slope sides were open more like a normal hopper.  Part of the design of the prototype was to reduce aerodynamic drag.

BN purchased anywhere from 240-340 of this design (depending on where you fact check online), and some subsequently were repainted into BNSF, but not all were as evidenced below.

June 28th 2019, Defiance NM, © Josh Baakko

The model is interesting, in that the car comes RTR out of the box, and for the low MSRP of $26.95 even comes equipped with Kadee couplers!  Weight in my model seems correct, however, the previous owner added a Motrak Models load, and may have adjusted the weight (I have not heard back from him yet).

Metal 36" wheels in Intermountain's 100 Ton trucks with truck mounted brake cylinders.  The previous owner of mine nicely weathered them, before I purchased it.  These cars get grimy, so I've got some work ahead of me.

The curious part comes to the grabs.  LBF molded them in, but they're so close to the car they're hardly visible.  Intermountain didn't update the tooling on the body at all, so we still get the nearly non-existent grabs.

At least the brake wheel on this Intermountain is much better that the old LBF/Huberts one!

Now that I have the one BNSF car, I'm going to search for the 6 pack of BN cars to weather like the prototype posted above.  I'll be on my way to running a decent sized BNSF coal train!

If you're looking to model a coal train, and don't have unlimited funds, the Value Line of coal gondolas is a great way to go.  I'll leave this here with a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

©2019/2020, Josh Baakko, https://www.modelrailroadtips.com