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First Look Review
N scale
FMC 5077 Single Door Box Car
FMC 5077 Single Door Box Car
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Atlas has released a new N scale model: FMC 5077 Single Door Box Car. It is ready-to-run, featuring knuckle couplers, good printing and metal wheels. This particular model is item 50 002 418 of the Cadiz Railroad. Cadiz's railroad was not far from where I grew up and the (very) shortline made a run of it for over 80 years. To generate revenue that was not available on-line, the Cadiz entered the Plate B IPD (Incentive Per Diem) box car arena in the 1970s, with their yellow and blue cars bearing the standard of Cadiz across the North American railway network. A URL to a neat short interview with a former member of the CRR is available at the end of this review.

Fifty-foot box cars showed up in increasing numbers on railroads before the Second World War. They were mainly for lumber, furniture, and the burgeoning automobile industry. After WW2 more 50-ft box cars were built for greater capacity.

FMC Corporation built railcars in Portland, Oregon and Charleston, West Virginia from 1958 through 1984. FMC built numerous types and varieties of railcars and other transports such as barges. The company was bought by Greenbrier and rebranded as Gunderson.
    This is FMC’s entry into the Plate B IPD (Incentive Per Diem) box car era. The design was intended to be the “most universal”, interchangeable on most common railroad clearances. The cars were available with and without end-of-car cushioning, and were offered in several door configurations.

    Over 4,300 cars were produced from 1975-1979 by FMC’s Portland, Oregon plant. The cars were delivered in numerous colorful shortline paint schemes, as well as the nationwide car pool fleet of Railbox. Many secondhand cars were later seen in Class 1 railroads and large leasing company fleets under additional shortline reporting marks.

    This new Atlas N scale model includes early and late body styles with single doors.
    - Atlas

N 50’ FMC 5077 Single Door Box Car
This N (1/160) model represents an FMC 50-foot 5077-cubic-foot box car with 10-ft sliding Youngstown 4/5/5 doors. The box car has 14 posts per side, non-terminating ends (overlapping sides) with corrugated ends, stepped sill with squared-off ends, an X-panel roof, and rides upon ASF 70-ton Ride Control trucks. I think this model was originally a product by Branchline, which has been assumed by Atlas, which promotes these features:
    Single Sliding Door
    Multiple body styles
    Body mounted couplers
    Plate B Box Car
    X-Panel Roof

It is curious that Atlas does not trumpet the photo-etch walks nor metal wheels.

Packed in a jewel box for great display or stacking and storage utility, the box car is nestled in a clear form-fitted cradle with a lid. No parts diagram is provided.

Molding is sharp. No flash, sinks, elector marks, nor noticeable seam lines mar the body. Underneath the detail is good yet basic. Detail is mainly molded on except for photo-etched end footboards and the AAR standard handbrake wheel. Although prototype construction of these welded cars leaves little structural surface detail to model, the doors give the sides a 'busy’ look.

While the trucks look good, all air brake and under frame detail is cast on - not that you can see any past the sill.

How does it run?

This model weighs 1.2 ounces, a smidgen heavy per NMRA RP 20.1, Car Weight, by which the model should weigh 1.06 oz. I measure the models at 50-feet 6-inches from sill to sill (accurate), and 56 feet from coupler to coupler. I rolled the model solo across Atlas code 80 track and through their turnouts. The model performed flawlessly.

To offer the most accurate car practical, Atlas offers two body styles. Surface detail is cast and this includes ladders, grab irons, stirrups, power brake housing, door latches, and tack and routing boards. Underneath the frame includes basic structural detail and air brake detail. The ASF trucks have good detail including crisp roller bearing ends.

A distinguishing aspect of the model is the two P/E end walks. They look really good.

So what about the finish of this model?

Atlas’ continues to provide an excellent finish. I don’t know if commercial manufacturers have this problem but yellow model paint has always provided thin and translucent. Atlas’ yellow is opaque without obscuring detail.

Cadiz Railroad yellow and blue livery is smooth and does not cover up any detail. The roof is silver to represent galvanized metal while everything below the sill is black. The wheels are blackened. Printing of the AAR mechanical code, built date, capacity data, consolidated stenciling, dimensional data, load limits, reporting marks, road number, roadname, weights, and FMC logo are sharp.

Atlas N offers this model in eight roadnames with three road numbers per railroad:
    Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay
    Atlantic and Western
    Burlington Northern
    Cadiz Railroad
    Escanaba & Lake Superior
    Lake Erie, Franklin & Clarion
    Port Huron & Detroit
    Undecorated - Early
    Undecorated – Late

Together or mixed-n-matched, this 50’ of colorful box car will make up an eye-catching consist.

I could not find a photo of the real CAD 1050 but you can see prototype photos of the Cadiz via Click here for additional images for this review, below.

Out of the Yard
Atlas N offers a good model of a ubiquitous modern box car design. Their tooling and molding is sharp, as is the paint and printing. Metal wheels and knuckle couplers are the standard today and no well-dressed model would dare to dust the rails without them. The drawbacks are nitpicky: molded detail. Injection molding ladders and grabs in N scale can be achieved, though the model would be very susceptible to damage, and the cost would skyrocket. I can’t see much of a difference. Overall this is a fine model for your modern N scale layout. Recommended.

Thanks to Atlas for this sample; please tell vendors and manufacturers that you saw this model here – on RailRoadModeling!

Building the Cadiz Railroad

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Photo-etched end walks, metal wheels, knuckle couplers.
Lows: None, unless molded-on ladders in N scale are a problem to you.
Verdict: Atlas N offers a good model of a ubiquitous modern box car design.
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50 002 418
  Suggested Retail: $23.95
  Related Link: Cadiz FMC 5077
  PUBLISHED: Sep 22, 2016
  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.


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