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First Look Review
N scale
N DIFCO Dump Car
Master® N DIFCO Dump Car Norfolk & Western #514271
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Atlas' Master® series now includes this N scale DIFCO Dump Car. Currently it is offered in eight road names, with several more due in the second quarter of this year. This review is of Atlas Master® N DIFCO Dump Car Norfolk & Western #514271, catalogued as Item# 50004578.

Side Dump cars are a very versatile class of railroad car, designed to deposit their load to either side of the tracks, rather than between the rails like a ballast hopper. This feature is utilized by the railroads in maintenance-of-way roles for rapidly building up fills and cuts with stone, rip-rap or soil as well as for depositing ballast. Side dump cars are also used in revenue service hauling ore, limestone, gravel, and coal, in industrial settings hauling waste or recycling materials, and in mining operations. Their low sides enable easy loading of material, and their rapid discharge rates – some less than 10 seconds – and ability to take a lot of abuse have earned them the nickname of a “dump truck on rails”.

The Atlas DIFCO (Differential Steel Car Company) side dump car is modeled after the air-activated, all-welded construction, 50 cubic yard car which has been a familiar fixture on the rails both in the US and abroad from the late 1960s through today, and features prototypical accurate scale dimensions, roller bearing trucks, and knuckle couplers.

Technical Details*
    AAR Class: MWD: Dump Cars. On the type of contractors car used for building up fills; the body of the car dumps being raised by means of counterweight, air or hand power.
    AAR Type: M120
    Detail Info: Misc Cars
    Plate: B
    Max Gross Weight: 263000
    Load Limit: 183800
    Ext L/W/H: 47' 6" / 10' 8" / 8' 9"
    Int L/W/H: 41' 9" / 8' 5" / 3' 4"

The Model
Atlas packs these models in jewel cases designed for stacking, storage and, of course, protection. The model is protected in a form-fitted cradle, further protected from scuffing by a thin sheet, and held in said case. It is very sturdy and effective packaging.

The model is styrene with high-quality molding. Several separately applied parts are used. Molding is crisp and the model reveals excellent assembly. Atlas trumpets the following features:
    • Prototypically accurate dimensions
    • Accurate paint schemes
    • 100 Ton roller bearing
    • Truck mounted couplers
The wheels are plastic.

Except for the separately applied end rails, everything is molded on. It looks good. A basic underside is present, including the basic components of the air brake system.

This N scale DIFCO side dumper is exactly 45 feet from sill to sill, a bit long per Technical Details, above, and 50 feet between coupler striker faces. It weighs a whopping half ounce, which is only 50% of the recommended weight per NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight.

I rolled it over Atlas code 55 track and switches. It did not derail and rolled acceptably. The couplers are mounted at a good height.

Paint and Markings
I say it over and over - Atlas' painting and printing is excellent. Look closely and you will see remarkably legible printing. I apologize about the color of the car in the photos, it is close to a John Deere green.

This release features an undecorated model and eight decorated models:
    Helm Leasing (Black/White)
    SCAX (White) (Cancelled)
    Montana Rail Link (Blue/White)
    BC Rail (Black/White)
    Norfolk & Western (Green/Black)
    Alaska (Yellow/Blue)
    Missouri Pacific (UP Shield) (Green/Black)
    Rio Grande (Gray/Black)
Five of those road names have three road numbers, the rest have two.

Scheduled for the 2nd Quarter 2020 are these road names:
    ATSF (Brown)
    Burlington Northern (Brown)
    Norfolk Southern (Orange)
    Northern Pacific (Black)
    Florida East Coast (Brown)
    Louisville and Nashville (Blue/Black)
    Kansas City Southern (Brown)

N&W data for NW 514271 can be found via Click here for additional images for this review, below. Additionally, you can see photos of the real car via http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPicture.aspx?id=1082672.

Atlas has released a nice N scale DIFCO Dump Car. Paint and lettering is second to none. The separately applied rails pop the car a notch above above models without such detail, and enhances the good molding.

Such a small open car is difficult to weight properly so a weighted load may be necessary. Regardless, N modelers of the past 50 years in need of MoW equipment will appreciate this model. Recommended.

Please remember to mention to vendors and retailers that you saw this model here - on RailRoad Modeling.

* Railroad Picture Archives. Pictures of NW 514271. [http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPicture.aspx?id=1082672] 6/6/2018 4:10:43 PM.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Paint and lettering is second to none. Separately applied rails and the good molding.
Lows: If you care about what NMRA thinks, this car weighs only 50% of the recommended weight per NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight.
Verdict: Atlas has released a nice N scale DIFCO Dump Car. Modelers of the past 50 years in need of MoW equipment will appreciate this model.
  Scale: N Scale
  PUBLISHED: Feb 22, 2020
  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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