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First Look Review
O scale
8,000 Gallon Tank Car
O ACF® 8,000 Gallon Tank Car
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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O ACF® 8,000 Gallon Tank Car
Item: 9681, 2-Rail; 8681 3-Rail
Retail Price :3-Rail MSRP: $69.95; 2-Rail MSRP: $74.95

Tank cars
Today tank cars are the second most numerous type on our rails, second lonely 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.

    The ACF® 8,000 Gallon Type 27 Tank Car was one of the most popular standard design riveted tank cars of the first half of the twentieth century. ACF® built more than 1,800 of these cars for a wide variety of customers in the petroleum, chemical, and food industries. Virtually every bulk liquid or gas of the era was shipped in these cars (and its similar 10,000 gallon brother). Typical products included petroleum, acids, alcohol, propane, ammonia, molasses and vegetable oil.

Deep Rock
Deep Rock Oil Corporation was a corporation whose business was that of producing, refining, and selling gasoline, oil, and other petroleum products from lands located in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Arkansas. Deep Rock was organized in 1919 to take over the properties then being operated by one C. B. Shaffer. The corporate name was Shaffer Oil & Refining Company. This was changed in 1931 to Deep Rock Oil Corporation. Deep Rock was owned and controlled by Standard Gas and Electric Company which had investments in various utility properties, but had never been interested in oil. Eventually Deep Rock brand appeared on over 1000 stations in 16 Mid-Continental states.‡

Atlas O ACF® 8,000 Gallon Tank Car
Perfect not only for model railroaders and quarterscale diorama modelers of the era is Atlas O Steam Era Classics series. This fully assembled model is securely packed in a form-fitted Styrofoam cradle, protected from scuffing by a thin plastic sheet. The cradle has indentions for your fingers to help grip it for removal from the package, and holes to poke the model out of it; although the fit is tight I had no trouble working the model out of the cradle. It is packed in a card carton with a clear celluloid viewing window.

Atlas O offers this tank car for both 2- and 3-rail 'Hi-Rail' operation. Atlas O scale couplers are used on both 2-rail and 3-rail versions.

I am impressed with the quality of this model. It is free from visible mold marks, ejector marks, and glue stains from assembly. There is no flash but there are visible seam lines on several parts, such as the air brake components and the frame-molded tank retaining bands. The model is molded and cast in both styrene and metal. Scale rivet and bolt detail enhances the surface.

Atlas O offers 24 tankers in 7 roadnames and an undecorated model. All roadnames have several road numbers.

Features Include:

    -Die-cast chassis
    -Metal grab irons, handrails and stirrups
    -Detailed body
    -Accurate painting and lettering

This model is RTR (Ready-To-Run). Major components of this model are the metal center sill, a cast metal underframe with running boards, tank bottom sheet, the upper tank body, sprung trucks with metal wheels sets, and the couplers. The cast metal parts give weight to the model.

The wheels are in gauge and the couplers do not sag. The tank car weighs 15.3 ounces, slightly heavy compared to NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight recommended weight of 14 oz. It is 36 scale feet from sill to sill and 41 feet from coupler to coupler. Atlas lists the minimum turning performance as O-31 for 3-rail, and a 2-rail minimum radius of 24".

There are plenty of good separately applied detail parts:

    • AB brake triple valve, reservoir, cylinder, actuator arm and levers, and wire brake rod
    • Stirrups
    • Grab irons
    • Dome platform
    • Tank cradle (saddle)
    • Handrail mounting brackets
    • Expansion dome safety valves
    • Expansion dome manway cover
    • Metal handrails
    • Ladders
    • Brake wheel and stand
    • Angle cocks and air hoses
    • Four placard holders.

Detail that is molded /cast on is:

    • Tank retaining bands
    • Tank band anchors
    • Running board wood grain
    • Air line

A glaring omission are cut bars on each end.

Underneath is a good air brake system, even though the train line is cast on the frame and the push rods to the brake hangers do not go all the way to the trucks. Atlas O's tank car rides upon metal ASF Ride Control solid-bearing trucks mounting metal wheels. The sideframes look pretty good but seem too thick, and those springs are far too sprung. Real springs were usually so compressed that you can’t see much through them. Unfortunately, the cylinder and reservoir have seam lines that are noticeable even to my old eyes. And the tank retaining bands have noticeable gaps between the top and bottom half.

Happily, knuckle couplers are factory installed.

Paint and Markings
This is where the model shines. The paint and printing is excellent—see the photos. Plenty to see, build and rebuild dates, appliance test dates, repack dates for the journals, capacity data; type and model of draft gear, couplers, triple valve, and more. Atlas O offers 24 tankers in 7 roadnames and an undecorated model:

    1. Deep Rock (with new roadnumbers)
    2. Gulf States Creosoting
    3. Jones & Laughlin Steel
    4. Koppers
    5. National Refining
    6. Shell
    7. Union Oil Co.
    8. Undecorated

Four numbers are available per road name except for Gulf States Creosoting and National Refining, which have two.

My research reveals this as an accurate and authentic model of an ACF 8,000 gallon tank car. It boasts high detail, excellent paint and sharply printed data and markings, it rolls nicely, and is equipped with metal wheels and knuckle couplers. The missing cut levers, the seam lines, thick truck sideframes, and the gaps in the tank retaining bands detract from the overall appearance. Still, you can enjoy this excellent tank car.

I include photos of the car with 1/48 figures so you can better visualize this tank car on your layout scene or diorama. Whether you plan to use your 8,000 gallon tank car on an O scale layout or in a 1/48 diorama, this is an impressive model. Highly recommended.

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

† Atlas O, LLC

‡ U.S. Supreme Court. [Web.] Taylor v. Standard Gas & Elec. Co. - 306 U.S. 307 (1939). N.d.
Highs: Highly detailed with exceptional paint and lettering. Suitable for O scale layouts and for 1/48 model dioramas.
Lows: Seam lines, no cut levers, gap in the tank retaining bands.
Verdict: An good model of a ubiquitous tank car.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: O Scale (N
  Mfg. ID: 9681
  Suggested Retail: $74.95
  Related Link: O ACF® 8,000 Gallon Tank Car Series
  PUBLISHED: Jan 26, 2012
  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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