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First Look Review
N scale
50’ FMC Double Door Box Car
50’ DD Box Car FMC Centered Northern Alberta Railways No.050120
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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Athearn N 50’ FMC Centered Double Door Box Car
Roadname:Northern Alberta Railways (NAR), No. 050120
Prototype Manufacturer: FMC Corporation
ERA: 1970's - 1990's
Item: ATH24257

Athearn N offers this new ready-to-run 50’ FMC double door box car. It features knuckle couplers, good printing, and metal wheels.
Fifty-foot box cars became prominent on railroads after the Second World War. They were mainly for automobiles, lumber and furniture. After WW2 more 50-ft box cars were built for greater capacity.

FMC Corporation built railcars in Portland, Oregon and Charleston, West Virginia from 1958 through 1984. FMC built numerous types and varieties of railcars and other transports such as barges. The company was bought by Greenbrier and rebranded as Gunderson.
50’ FMC Centered Double Door Box Car
The model represents an FMC 50-foot 5428-cubic-foot box car with centered dual 8-ft sliding Youngstown 5/5/5 doors, affording 16 feet of access to the interior. The box car has 12 posts per side, non-terminating ends (overlapping sides) with corrugated ends, straight sill with squared-off ends, an X-panel roof, and rides upon ASF 70-ton Ride Control trucks. I think this model was originally a product by Roundhouse, which is now part of Horizon Hobby, Athearn’s parent company.

Packed in a jewel box for great display and storage opportunities, the box car is nestled in a clear form-fitted cradle with a lid. No parts diagram is provided.

Molding is sharp. No flash, sinks, elector marks, nor noticeable seam lines mar the body. Underneath the detail is a bit “softer” and does have ejector circles. Except for the AAR standard handbrake wheel, all detail is molded on. This includes ladders, grab irons, stirrups, power brake housing, door latches and tack boards. Although prototype construction of these welded cars leaves little structural surface detail to model, the doors look ‘busy’.

While the trucks look good, all air brake and under frame detail is cast on -- not that you can see any past the sill.

Key Features

    • Fully assembled and ready for your layout
    • Screw mounted trucks for accurate tracking
    • McHenry knuckle spring couplers installed
    • Machined metal wheels

This model measures 51 scale feet end to end (57' from coupler to coupler); interestingly, the data stenciling hows the car's inner length as 52' 6". The model weighs 1.1 ounces, almost spot-on per NMRA RP.20.1 Car Weight recommendation of 1.08.
Paint and Markings
Northern Alberta Railways ocher and blue livery is painted smooth and does not cover up any detail. The roof is silver to represent galvanized metal while everything below the sill is black. The wheels are blackened, except for the edges of the rims – which looks odd. Printing of the AAR mechanical code, built date, capacity data, consolidated stenciling, dimensional data, load limits, Plate C clearance stencil, reporting marks, road number, roadname and herald, weights, and reflective diamonds and slogan are sharp.

Athearn N offers this model in four roadnames with three car numbers per roadname:

    1. British Columbia Railway
    2. Burlington Northern
    3. Northern Alberta Railways
    4. Western Pacific

Athearn N offers a good model of a very common modern box car design. Their tooling and molding is sharp, as is the 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. The drawbacks are nitpicky: molded detail. Injection molded ladders and grabs in N scale can be achieved, though the model would be very susceptible to damage, and the cost would skyrocket. I really can’t see the difference. My main critique is that if the wheels are to be blackened, why not blacken the rims, too?

Overall this is a very nice model for your modern N scale layout. Recommended.

Thanks to Athearn and Horizon Hobbies for this sample; please tell vendors and manufacturers that you saw this model here – on RailRoadModeling!
Highs: Sharp molding, paint and printing. Metal wheels and knuckle couplers.
Lows: Molded detailing.
Verdict: Overall this is a very nice model for your modern N scale layout.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: ATH24257
  Suggested Retail: $17.98
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 18, 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.


Metal wheels are a must if you intend to run it on a layout. If you just like to paint modern freight, then metal wheels and those magnetic de-coupling wires are not necessary. Nice looking car BTW, esp at N scale
FEB 18, 2012 - 02:13 PM

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