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In-Box Review
N scale
40' PS-1 6' Door Box Car
40' PS-1 6' Door Box Car Cotton Belt 35352
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Atlas ready-to-run N Master® 40' PS-1 Boxcar continues to offer modelers more choices. This is their 10th issue and this version has 7' Doors.

Painted for the Saint Louis Southwestern Railroad, the "Cotton Belt" (reporting marks SSW), it is item 50 003 969. It features knuckle couplers, metal wheels, separately applied ladders, etched metal roof walk, and great printing.

50-ft Box Car
The 40' Boxcar is widely known as one of the most popular freight cars used by railroads as they transitioned from steam to diesel. In particular the Pullman Standard or PS-1 design was one of the most popular and was widely used by North American railroads. These boxcars were built beginning in 1947 and share the same basic design, with certain elements such as door size, door style or roof type varying among the different railroads and production years. When production of these cars ceased in 1963, over 100,000 had been produced.*

Atlas N Master® 40' PS-1 Box Car
Like both of the previous PS-1 box cars, this model has crisp molding and exceptional sharp printing. Aside from the paint, this review should be no different from the previous reviews of the N PS-1; like those this box car is packed in a jewel box for safe display or storage, nestled in a clear form-fitted cradle with a lid. A thin plastic sheet protects it from scuffing. No parts diagram is provided.

    • Body Mounted AccuMate® Couplers
    • Barber S-2A 50-ton Trucks with Metal Wheels
    • Separately Applied Ladders
    • Etched Metal Roof Walk
    • 10 and 12 Stiffener Roof per prototype
    • Ajax and Miner Brake Wheels

    Undecorated versions are available 7' or 8' doors, and two types of roof.

Atlas' injection molding quality has not declined and is still top-notch with crisp detail. No flash, no sink marks or visible ejector circles. In fact, I can’t even find tiny burrs where components were nipped from their sprue! Detail is both molded on and separately applied. Separate applied parts are expertly attached without any smeared glue.

Underneath this Pullman Standard 40-footer are the frame, bolsters, and modern air brake gear. It rides on 50-ton Barber S-2A trucks with blackened machined metal wheels. These wheels roll with little friction when pulled by its AccuMate® knuckle couplers. Single 6-foot Youngstown 5/6/6 sliding doors with molded tack boards and roller lift levers are attached on each side. The 10-panel welded body is riveted to ends of Pullman Standard design. It also has that odd asymmetric sill that hides the underframe cross bearers and cross ties, and the brake gear. Capping the body is a PS roof design. All details look good and close to scale. I can only imagine the technical challenge and resulting cost to mold everything to exact 1/160!

My inspection finds the model to be in conformance with NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices, with RP-25 wheels and couplers at acceptable height. It weighs 1.04 ounces which is almost the RP-20.1 Car Weight ideal of 0.98 oz. End to end it’s 40½ scale feet long, and 46-ft from coupler to coupler.

This little gem is a detail hybrid. For the superstructure, each side’s left-corner grab irons and stirrups are molded on, as are the hand brake rod and retainer pipe. At the other corners are separately applied 7-rung ladder/stirrup parts. Both ends have separately attached ladders and tack boards; the geared-type handbrake wheel is separately attached as is the platform underneath it. Up top is an etched metal running board with wire grabs set in the laterals.

Underframe detail consists of a molded floor with board detail and longitudinal intermediate sills. Onto it is attached a single part representing the welded-steel underframe: body bolsters, center sill, coupler and draft gear pockets, cross bearers and cross ties; brake gear integrally molded in this part includes: brake cylinder, brake levers and brake rods, brake pipe and branch pipes, control valve, and reservoir.

Paint and Markings
You can view a photograph of this box car through Click here for additional images for this review at the end of this review. It is a shot of the car in later years after it had been touched up and received the newer consolidated stenciling.

Atlas printing is exceptional. Cotton Belt's livery is applied smoothly and does not cover up any detail. This one is decorated with Cotton Belt's premier Blue Streak Fast Freight herald. Printing of the AAR mechanical code, built date, capacity data, dimensional data, load limits, reporting marks, road number and road name, and weights are extraordinary! Even without my Optivisor I can read the alphanumerics which are all open and clear, making text legible. Keep in mind that much of this printing is 1-2 inches high even in N scale!

Atlas N offers this new model in eight roadnames, with two car numbers per roadname, plus undecorated versions:
    1. Chesapeake & Ohio* (Brown/White)
    2. Jersey Central (CNJ) (Red/White)
    3. Norfolk & Western (Black/White)
    4. Seaboard Air Line* (Brown/White/Red)
    5. Soo Line (Brown/White/Black)
    6. Cotton Belt (Brown/White/Blue )
    7. Rutland (Green/Yellow/Black)
    8. Union Pacific (Brown/Yellow/Black)
There are two road numbers per road name.

This model is SSW 35352, sporting Cotton Belt's Blue Streak Fast Freight herald along the crown.

Atlas N Master® 40' PS-1 Boxcar with 7' Door offers a high bar between detail and economy. Parts approaching to-scale separate ladders and other details in N scale can be achieved, though the model would be more susceptible to damage, and the cost goes up. Atlas N Master® offers an excellent model of a very common modern box car design. Their tooling and molding is sharp, with wonderful 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.

Overall this is an exceptional model for your South Central states (and Missouri) N scale layout. Highly recommended.

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

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

* Atlas. Atlas N 40' PS-1 Box Car. Atlasrr.com.

Atlas All-Scales Archive. N Scale. 40' PS-1 Box Car: November 2001, March 2004, August 2005, March 2012, October 2012, April 2013, December 2013, May 2014, November 2014, June 2015, February 2016, March 2017, January 2018. [Web.] April 18, 2019.

TM 55-203. Technical Manual Maintenance Of Railway Car. Headquarters, Department of the Army. [PDF.] August 1972.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Knuckle couplers, metal wheels, separately applied ladders, and etched metal roof walk. Incredible printing.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: An exceptional model for your N scale layout.
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50003969
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 10, 2019
  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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