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First Look Review
40' Outside Braced Box
RTR 40' Outside Braced Box, MKT #76814
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

RTR 40' Outside Braced Box, MKT #76814
Scale: HO (1/87)
Item: RND85704

Roundhouse is known for their models of early rolling stock from their late subsidiary Model Die Cast. This is their RTR 40' outside braced box car decorated for the storied Katy. It features razor sharp printing and painting, knuckle spring couplers, and metal RP25 profile 33" wheels.

Roundhouse 40' Outside Braced Box Car
The model is packed in a form-fitted cradle with a fitted clear lid. Roundhouse models are packaged in an olive box that displays the model through a cellophane window. Roundhouse offers 15 models in eight roadnames. Most roadnames have more than one road number. Key Features are:

    * 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

This model is a basic RTR (Ready-To-Run) box car of Roundhouse linage. As such it is well molded with sharp detail, no flash or visible ejector marks, but with over-scale details. According to Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website:

"Truss Side" Box Car The 40-foot truss-sided box car is closest to the Santa Fe's Bx-13, with a 7-panel hat-section Pratt truss pattern.

A 7-panel Pratt truss car is fairly rare. (The prototype favored Howe truss cars even though their combined efforts produced a Pratt truss design for their ARA standard in the 1920's.) Since the MDC car is the only known plastic model of a 7-panel Pratt, it has to stand-in for all these prototypes, the tall 10-foot inside height auto cars and the low ARA cars. (Another choice would be to represent the ARA cars with the Walthers/Train-Miniature or the Accurail "6-panel" car, despite the reverse orientation of the diagonals.)

The kit has composite sides, but shares the ends and roof with their other 40-foot box cars, which gives the car a 10-foot inside height and a crude representation of a Dreadnaught end. The Santa Fe cars were about half a foot lower, (so the diagonals don't extend to the top of the side) while many other prototypes that MDC tries to represent were much lower 8 ft. 7 in. ARA type cars, even with Howe truss bracing, and with earlier types of ends. (In other words, ANY 40 foot or shorter single-sheathed prototype with 7 panel sides is fair game to MDC when choosing the schemes they put on the car.)

And the (Superior-type panel) door shares the same gross door claws shared by all this series of kits. The Superior door first started appearing c. 1940, at a point when single-sheathed box car construction was all but dead.

As with other kits from this period, the manufacturer simply added single-sheath relief on top of the sides of a double sheathed steel car, making the model too wide. MDC compensated by making the relief of the braces too shallow.

This model is engineered with a floor/underframe upon which is secured a metal weight. Underneath are secured the couplers in pockets and the trucks. Upon the frame is a single piece body. The doors are can be slide open. Tack boards, brake gear, fittings, plates, and over-scale ladders, grab irons, and stirrups are molded. A separate wood running board is applied to the roof, as is an Ajax brake wheel on the end.

Underneath is basic molded detail. Your box car rides upon plastic Bettendorf double truss trucks mounting metal wheels. McHenry knuckle couplers are factory installed.
Paint and Lettering
Roundhouse offers 12 models in eight roadnames:

    1. Burlington Northern
    2. Canadian Pacific
    3. Great Northern
    4. Missouri-Kansas-Texas
    5. Penn Central
    6. Seaboard Air Line
    7. Seaboard Coast Line
    8. Southern Pacific

The paint and printing is excellent—see the photos. The only possible complaint is the color: Sloan Yellow (named for MKT President Matthew S. Sloan).

The model does not seem bright enough for Sloan Yellow of the steam and early diesel period. Otherwise, printing is excellent, including legible date and dimensional data.
If you want an affordable RTR single-sheathed with steel ends, this is a fine model. While the detail is oversized and simplified, it looks good. Molded-on detail is a drawback but this is an entry-level model, after all. The model does have metal wheels and knuckle couplers and that is good. Recommended.

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

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Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad
The Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (reporting mark MKT) was incorporated May 23, 1870. In its earliest days the MKT was commonly referred to as "the K-T", which was its stock exchange symbol; this common designation soon evolved into "the Katy".

The Katy was the first railroad to enter Texas from the north. Eventually the Katy's core system would grow to link Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Temple, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Galveston, Texas.[1]

Katy suffered when infamous rail baron Jay Gould got ahold of it. Gould plundered the property of everything new and useful to buoy his Missouri Pacific. A 1950s history of the railroad tells of brand new rolling stock arriving on the property, only to be swapped for worn out equipment from Gould’s favored railroads. The new equipment would be quickly re-lettered for the receiving road, and the junk would be repainted for MKT.

In 1896, as a publicity stunt set up by William George Crush, the Katy crashed two locomotives, pulling heavily loaded trains, at a site that came to be known thereafter as Crush, Texas. The collision occurred before over 40 thousand spectators, three of whom died (and there were several injuries) when the exploding boilers sent debris flying. Ragtime composer Scott Joplin, who was performing in the area at the time, commemorated the event in "The Great Crush Collision March" (which he dedicated to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway).[2]

Katy survived until being merged with Missouri Pacific in 1989.

†. Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website. NEB&W Guide to Model Die Casting Single-Sheathed Box Car Kits. 25 August 2011.

[1], [2]. Wikipedia. Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad . 1 March 2012.

Katy Railroad Historical Society. KatyRailroad.org. June 22, 2009. http://www.katyrailroad.org/

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Razor sharp printing and painting, knuckle spring couplers, and metal RP25 profile 33" wheels.
Lows: Molded detail.
Verdict: A nice RTR mid-steam era box car.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: RND85704
  Suggested Retail: $19.98
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 02, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Roundhouse Trains!
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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