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In-Box Review
McKean 40-ft Box Car
McKean 40-ft Box Car
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

This is another of my "Island of misfit toys" reviews - a review of an interesting model that is between mint and being built. I offer it because some of you out there may find these McKean models at shows or the LHS for a good price, and cogitate, "I wonder what these models are like?". I actually built this model over Christmas but realized the doors went missing during one of my three cross-country moves of the past 4 years. Check back, I'll find them sooner or later!

McKean 40-Foot PS-1 Box Cars
McKean made kits for the Pullman-Standard PS-1 40-foot box car. There are two versions of these cars, either with an 8-foot door or a 6-foot door. (I have a note they also produced a double-door version, but will have to recheck this.)

The 6-foot door version can be modified to a 7-foot door car by simply gluing on a wider door and door track. Similarly, the 8-foot door version can be modified to an 9-foot door car and either kit could get double-doors.

The McKean pair of kits were considered the best compromise at the time. Most of the paint schemes offered were post-steam ones. I'll try to identify which ones are correct for the earlier time period.

Ed Hawkins had an article in the March and October 1993 issues of
Railmodel Journal, in which he showed how to upgrade the McKean model. The McKean roof lacks the raised panel stiffener in the end sections. PS-1's built after 1949 had the stiffeners in every panel. He added these from shaped sections of 20 mil styrene.

The side gussets have to be reshaped to match the most common versions. Hawkins showed how to make a template to make this easy when doing a number of cars.

The McKean model also has a generic underframe, taken from their double-door kit no. 300 and in this article, Hawkins showed how to modify the kit to get an accurate PS-1 underframe.

The kits include the Pullman-Standard door, introduced around 1956, and Youngstown doors, but not the Superior doors, in five-, 6- and 7-panel versions.
[1] When McKean folded, the dies were sold to Accurail and they eventually recut a single-door variation. [2]

I will mainly let the photos do the talking. I do not have another of this kit, although I have some other McKean kits.

McKean packed their models in red and white standard top and tray boxes. Components are molded in a grimy brown styrene for most components, and black trucks and wheels. Notice how sharp the molding is. While this particular kit has molded ladders, grabs and stirrups, my other McKeans have pre-drilled body shells for separate ladders and grabs! Nice kits.

The kit represents a 10-panel car with improved dreadnaught ends and a peaked roof. A roof walk and separate laterals are provided.

There are four posts. I don't know what they are and they do not seem to be guides for the doors.

Non-working knuckle couplers are provided, to be held in pockets with plastic plates. The underside has nice detail and the frame is a single piece with bolsters, cross members, air brake system including the reservoir, cylinder and triple valve, and air lines.

Note the 50-Ton AAR Bettendorf trucks have molded brake shoes. You must insert the wheels by gently squeezing the end of the trucks -- be careful of the brake shoes! -- and snap them in.

The styrene takes paint well. I decorated this boxcar as a Jackson Purchase & Texas Railroad 59,000-class car. I used Floquil brown. Polly Scale washes dirtied and rusted the roof. Decals are custom printed by Don Manlick, MMR.

McKean made a nice model. Tooling and molding is high quality. The molded detail is good but obviously McKean decided separate ladders and grabs are better.

All in all these models were a step above most of the mainline model makers' products of the time. Recommended.

Enjoy this review. And check back, the doors will be on eventually!

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

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[1], [2] NEB&W Guide to McKean Rolling Stock Models. 40-Foot PS-1 Box Cars . http://railroad.union.rpi.edu/index.php/NEB&W_Guide_to_McKean_Rolling_Stock_Models. 25 September 2011.
Highs: Good detail.
Lows: A generic underframe. Molded ladders, grabs, etc.
Verdict: These models were a step above most of the mainline model makers' products of the time.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Suggested Retail: $4.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 01, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

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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