HO Scale 60' flat Side-by-Side Comparison
Intermountain and MTH 60' wood deck flat cars.
Allowing you to compare the two models on the market, models representing a 60' wood deck flat car with 4 tie down channels.
The 60' flat. Modeled in two main forms for HO scale modelers. Athearn/Roundhouse has a wood deck 60' flat, but why is it not represented here? Well the models offered by Intermountain & MTH represent a flat car with 4 tie down channels. Both models featured here are Ready to Run (RTR).
Intermountain has offered the 60' flat in the past as a decorated kit, and still lists an undecorated kit in its catalog, with an incredible MSRP of $13.95! All factory painted cars are offered RTR.
MTH offers both unloaded, and loaded RTR cars, but no kits or undecorated. Loaded flats come with various Caterpillar construction equipment.
The Intermountain car weighs .4 oz less then the MTH car, some of this can be attributed to the Metal trucks, and plastic deck of the MTH car. Flat car like this are notorious for being light, and it's usually recommended that the cars are loaded in some way, to better the tracking characteristics. I plan a future article on doing this, although you could simply buy the Adair Shops add-on weights (Walthers #143-2052 fits the Intermountain 60' Flat, none available for the MTH flat).
MTH really surprised me, I expected the car to be more of a train set quality car. This is a serious modeler's car. The addition of the half modeled uncoupling lever is nice, something the Intermountain car lacks. Only thing is, they only modeled the lever & trombone, and ended there, I'd assume to ease the removal of the coupler cover. Though they really skimped on the brake wheel. It looks like a car steering wheel.
The MTH trucks feature spinning bearing caps, however it is very difficult to remove the axle/wheels to paint them separately. For an ATSF car in the number range modeled (Ft-58), they come properly equipped with 33wheels, where the Intermountain uses 36(which may be appropriate for other number ranges, or railroads).The MTH trucks are sprung, and both are equipped with a brake beam (though different styles).
Both manufacturers chose to use press fit coupler box lids, and Phillips head screws for the trucks.
The laser cut wood deck on the Intermountain car is nice, until you see it start bowing & popping off the body! A little CA works here. With the MTH plastic deck, they did a superb job of casting the wood grain in. However, in the process they left off the cast in stake pockets! MTH did one up the notch detail in the tie down channels though, Intermountain simply left plain smooth channels.
MTH used metal grabs above the stirrup steps, where Intermountain used plastic. Same goes for the end grabs. The MTH brake wheel staff is a black metal rod, where Intermountain painted it the body color. Intermountain's trainline air hose is very plain, and molded in the body color, vs the MTH black part (the real hoses are black rubber, with metal glad hands).
In the end, it's hard to decide which car you like more. If you want a real wood deck, then Intermountain is the way to go, where MTH wins out with a slightly heavier model. Prices are the same, though the MTH car comes packaged with add-on tie-down chains.
© 2011, 2019, Josh Baakko, https://www.modelrailroadtips.com