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First Look Review
HO scale
Trainman® ACF® 50' 6''
HO ACF 50' 6'' Box Car US Army# 29424
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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Atlas HO Trainman® offers this sharply detailed ACF® 50' 6" Box Car. We examine the crisp molding and excellent printing for US Army car number 29424. A photograph of the real life car can be found through Click here for additional images for this review., at the end of this review.

History - American Car and Foundry (ACF) built these 50’ box cars for many railroads during the late 1960’s through 1970’s. It was a popular design featuring a clear inside loading space and is still in use on many railroads throughout North America.
    The development of load restraining devices in the '50's made the wood liner inside box cars unnecessary. (The wood allowed a shipper to brace a load because he could nail into the wood.) So the wood was gotten rid of and the outer steel shell moved to the inside of the bracing to give a smooth surface.*

ACF Industries, Inc. began as a company In 1899 and remains in business today as ACF Industries, LLC.
    In 1974, ACF® built the first box car for Railbox, a subsidiary of the Trailer Train Company. They went on to produce 5,400 50’ cars over the next six years, receiving large orders from Class I railroads, shortlines and box car leasing companies. This ATLAS HO TRAINMAN® box car is a stunning replica, designed to enhance your layout and provide many hours of reliable operation. - Atlas

Type: Box Car
AAR Class: XP: Boxcar similar in design to "XM", but which is specially equipped, designed, and/or structurally suitable for a specific commodity loading; except, boxcars (XF, XM, XMI) dedicated to the transportation of commodities in paragraph A, Rule 97, AAR Interchange Rules, must be designated "XP".
AAR Type: A302
Detail Info: Equipped Box Car, Inside Length: 49' to 59', Sliding door, opening between 9 and 11 feet
Plate: C
User Notes: PS 5077

Trainman® ACF® 50' 6" Box Car
Atlas packages Trainman models in a black card box with a cellophane display window. It opens at each end. Inside the model is securely ensconced in a plastic top-bottom interlocking fitted plastic cradle. A soft plastic sheet protects the model from scuffing. No parts sheet or other documentation is included.

Trainman® is Atlas' entry series of models. They generally lack separately-applied parts and photo-etched pieces. Ladders, grabs, and haws are molded on. Yet they are equipped with knuckle couplers and metal wheels, and molding tends to be high quality. Also, paint and lettering is as good as Atlas' top of the line Master Line series.

This 50’ ACF box car is no exception. It is crisply molded with no visible flaws: flash, desprueing burrs, sink marks, ejector circles.


* True scale dimensions with accurate details
* Weighted, detailed underframes
* Equipped with AccuMate® Knuckle Couplers
* Trucks equipped with free-rolling metal wheels
* Accurate painting and lettering

There are 14 panels per side, a wide 10-foot single sliding-type door on each side, non-terminating (overlapping sides) corrugated ends, and a diagonal panel roof. The doors do not open and there are no tack boards on the doors. Half-height side ladders are molded on the body as are the stirrups and other appliances.

The 70-ton roller-bearing trucks are plastic. They hold metal RP-25 contour wheels. Those wheels are blackened with an oxidizer that successfully attenuates the metallic sheen common with many blackened wheels.

Surface detail is raised and recessed and not overstated. The AAR standard hand brake wheel is the only part separately attached. Further hand brake detail consists of a molded gear box, chain, and rod.

Underneath the car is a simplified basic underframe and air brake system with the reservoir, cylinder, and triple valve. No piping, forks, levers and brake rods are molded. All of that detail is integrally molded with the frame. That frame looks fair.

AccuMate® knuckle couplers equip the model.

This model is 51' 3" scale feet long and weighs 4.5 ounces, which is almost exact per NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight.

paint and markings
Atlas' paint smoothly covers the surface opaquely without obscuring detail. There is no overspray along the red door and yellow sides.

Stenciling is sharp and legible. The two-panel Consolidated Stencil Panel dates the car to post-1974, while lack of wheel inspection dots sets the car to pre-March 1978. The US Army reporting marks are simple and there are no logos nor emblems. Eight roadnames are available in this run. Each has two road numbers.
    Ashley Drew & Northern (Green/White)
    Rail box (Small Logo) Yellow/Black w/Red & Blue Logo
    Bath & Hammondsport‡ (Purple/White)
    BNSF‡ (Brown/White)
    Clarendon & Pittsford (Yellow/Green)
    Norfolk Southern (NS late repaint)‡ (Brown/White)
    Norfolk Southern (SOU)‡ (Brown/White)
    US Army‡ (Yellow/Red)

How might this model look if you weather it? Please look at the gallery below this review.

Atlas' HO Trainman® models are good looking rolling stock. This US Army ACF 50' 6" box car is eyecatching with bright paint and sharp printing. I like the knuckle couplers and metal wheels.

Those wheels are blackened nice and dull, enhancing authenticity. It does not bother me that the hand holds are molded on as this is an entry-level model.

Atlas' US Army ACF 50' 6" box car should be a pleasing addition to your modern model railroad. Recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on RailRoadModeling.


*"Exterior Post Box Cars." NEB&W Introduction to Rolling Stock. Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website, 3 June 2013. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.

‡ paint scheme is accurate for 12-post cars not manufactured by ACF.

AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Excellent paint and printing. Knuckle couplers and free-rolling effectively blackened metal wheels.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: I think this Atlas' US Army ACF 50' 6" box car should be a pleasing addition to your modern model railroad.
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 20 002 582
  Suggested Retail: $21.95
  Related Link: Master Line 50’ ACF Box Car
  PUBLISHED: Dec 30, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States

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)

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 ©2021 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.


I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like the modern freight rolling stock This one looks like it has good detail for an car designed to run on an active layout
DEC 30, 2014 - 08:37 AM

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