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.
Value Trains USA definitely picked a stand out color for their box and in throughly impressed with the inside packaging holding the model.
White cardstock backed by gray foam provides a safer option to hold the model inside the outer package.
Out of the box one can see the model closely follows HO scale convention. The injection molded body reminds me of the old E&C and Front Range models, but I cannot accurately say it's those molds.
Grab irons and stirrup steps are molded with the body, as are the doors and associated parts. The only separate detail is the brake wheel, which is ironically missing from our model!
All lettering is laser printed onto the car, as evidenced by the stratification lines in the printing.
Being made in the USA, the manufacturer wisely decided to use Kadee couplers and sprung trucks. Our model's couplers closely lined up with a kadee height gauge, but the pin hung too low, hitting the go-no-go gauge for the trip pin.
Weight was incredible, at 5.1oz it sits at .5oz too heavy compared to NMRA recommended practice. This was a pleasant surprise as models have been getting lighter and lighter throughout the recent years.
Underbody detail is as spartan is they come with crude cast lumps where the brake detail should be, this is unfortunate for a fairly well made model, they could have spent a little more time, even 3 separate parts here would have upped the value.
Overall a good model, if I recall correctly they were priced moderately, competitive to Walthers Mainline. Unfortunately it seems they've either shut down completely or are lacking funds to produce models, as their website is now a placeholder. No models or information is shown.
Because of the odd choice to laser print the lettering, the very crude detail, and the complete lack of a brake wheel, I'm going to have to give this model a 1.5 out of 5.
If you do happen to find these models on a store shelf, or swap meet, for under$20, they'll make for a decent fleet expansion. Otherwise I wouldn't recommend them unless you absolutely need more Railbox!