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First Look Review
40' Single Dome Tank Car
Union Oil Single Dome Tank Car, 10082
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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HO RTR 40' Single Dome Tank Car, Union 76 #10082
Item: ATH76671
Retail Price : $17.98

Tank cars
Today tank cars are the second most numerous type on our rails, second only to covered hoppers. Tank cars have been around since the 1860s. The designs of today dates back to World War I, and have evolved dramatically. Open wooden casks on flat cars were enclosed; casks became metal tanks; capacities of 100’s of gallons now approach 50,000 gallons. Constructing the tank with rivets has given way to welded tanks, with the structural integrity to do away with underframes. Tank car history includes a diversity of design, lading, size, rosters and fleets, and livery. Tank car history fills books and websites, too extensive for this review.

40-Foot Single Dome Tank Car
The model is packed in a form-fitted cradle with a fitted clear lid. Athearn models are packaged in a yellow and blue box that displays the model through a cellophane window.

Athearn lists 89 tankers in more than 29 roadnames. Most roadnames have several road numbers.

Key Features

    • Fully assembled and ready for your layout
    • Razor sharp printing and painting
    • Weighted for optimum performance
    • Machined RP25 profile 33" metal wheels
    • McHenry scale knuckle spring couplers installed

Athearn appears to have designed this model after General American designs of the era, with visible bolster ends, modern AB brake components, and a low expansion dome.

This model is a basic RTR (Ready-To-Run) tank car of Athearn “Blue Box” linage tooling. In fact, a recent internet search found that Athearn made this model in cast metal long ago. According to Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website:

    Athearn took their 40 foot triple dome car and cut off the first and last dome. Now each dome is supposed to represent a certain percentage of the total capacity for expansion purposes, and the single dome is too small by itself. Also, the gallonage is gigantic for steam-era days, where the 8,000 gallon car was the most common. The closest prototypes to this kit are the loco fuel oil cars used by such western roads like Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, and Union Pacific.††

It is molded well with no flash or visible ejector marks, but with soft, over-scale details and light seam lines. Major components of this model are the center sill, an underframe with running boards, tank bottom sheet, the upper tank body, steel weight, trucks and wheels sets, and the couplers. Detail components are molded on:

    • AB brake triple valve, reservoir, cylinder, actuator arm and levers
    • Tank retaining bands
    • Tank band anchors
    • Stirrups
    • Grab irons
    • Dome platform
    • Tank cradle (saddle)
    • Handrail mounting brackets
    • Expansion dome safety valves

Separate detail parts include a metal handrail encompasses the tank, ladders, manway cover, brake wheel and its gearbox stand, and four placard holders.

Underneath is basic molded detail. Your tank car rides upon plastic ASF Ride Control solid-bearing trucks mounting metal wheels. Also factory installed are McHenry knuckle couplers.

The model is 42 feet long sill to sill, and 46 feet long coupler to coupler. It weighs 3.2 ounces, light compared to the NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight recommendation of 3.9 oz.

Paint and Markings
Uncataloged Roadnames:

1. Alaska Railroad
2. BC Rail
3. Bessemer & Lake Erie
4. Department of Defense
5. Florida East Coast
6. General American Transportation
7. Missouri-Kansas-Texas
8. Nacionales de Mexico
9. Santa Fe
10. Seaboard Air Line
11. Shell
12. Southern Pacific
13. Union Oil
14. Union Tank Car
15. Uncataloged Roadnames (11 roadnames)

This is where the model shines. The paint and printing is excellent—see the photos. Car class labeling, build and inspection data, and builder information is easy to read. I am perplexed by the capacity stenciling, 10000 on the side and 8035 gal. on the tank heads.

Union Oil Tank Car
    Painted a dark, almost purplish blue with orange domes and white, black and orange lettering. Union was a California oil company, marketing mostly along the West Coast. This scheme (at least these colors of blue and orange) date back to the early '50's, although I'm not sure about the application to this car. Tony Thompson and Richard Hendrickson said that most Union Oil tanks were painted a more somber scheme of black with aluminum lettering or aluminum with black, and verrry few got the blue and orange scheme. †

OK, so this model is not the most accurate or authentic. What it is an affordable, beautifully decorated, RTR model nicely equipped with metal wheels and knuckle couplers. I am glad to have it.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here – on RailRoadModeling.
†, †† John Nehrich. NEB&W Guide to Athearn Tank Car Models. Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website. 30 November 2011. http://railroad.union.rpi.edu/index.php/NEB&W_Guide_to_Athearn_Tank_Car_Models#Single_Dome_Tank_Cars.
Highs: Excellent printing and finish. Knuckle couplers and metal wheels.
Lows: Many detail features are molded on, simplified, and over-scale. Conflicting capacity data.
Verdict: A modern ready-to-run update of a vintage tank car with catchy livery. A good starter tank car.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: ATH76671
  Suggested Retail: $17.98
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jan 21, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Athearn!
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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