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First Look Review
N scale
Master® N 40' PS-1 Box Car
40' PS-1 Box Car, Boston & Maine, 75015
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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Atlas Master® N 40' PS-1 Box Car
Roadname and Number: Boston & Maine 75015
Item: 50 000 948
MSRP: $26.95 (Undecorated: $21.95)

Atlas N Master® offers this new ready-to-run 40' PS-1 box car. It features knuckle couplers, metal wheels, separately applied ladders, etched metal roof walk, and great printing.

50-ft Box Car
The 40' Boxcar is widely known as one of the most popular freight cars used by railroads as they transitioned from steam to diesel. In particular the Pullman Standard or PS-1 design was one of the most popular and was widely used by North American railroads. These boxcars were built beginning in 1947 and share the same basic design, with certain elements such as door size, door style or roof type varying among the different railroads and production years. When production of these cars ceased in 1963, over 100,000 had been produced. *
Atlas N Master® 40' PS-1 Box Car
This model box car caught my eye with crisp molding and phenomenally sharp printing. Packed in a jewel box for safe display or storage, this box car is nestled in a clear form-fitted cradle with a lid. A thin plastic sheet protects it from scuffing. No parts diagram is provided.

    • Body Mounted AccuMate® Couplers
    • Barber S-2A 50-ton Trucks with Metal Wheels
    • Separately Applied Ladders
    • Etched Metal Roof Walk
    • 10 and 12 Stiffener Roof (used where appropriate)
    • Ajax, Equipco and Miner Brake Wheels
    • First run features 7', 5 panel Superior, 7', 7 panel Superior and 7' Youngstown Doors
    (Undecorated items will come with all three doors (7', 5 panel Superior, 7', 7 panel Superior and 7' Youngstown Doors) and all three brake wheels (Ajax, Equipco and Miner Brake Wheels).
The injection molding is top-notch with crisp detail. No flash, no sink marks or visible ejector circles. In fact, I can’t even find tiny burrs where components were nipped from their sprue! Detail is both molded on and separately applied. Separate applied parts are expertly attached without any smeared glue.

Underneath this Pullman Standard 40-footer are the frame, bolsters, and modern air brake gear. It rides on 50-ton Barber S-2A trucks with blackened machined metal wheels. These wheels roll with little friction when pulled by its AccuMate® knuckle couplers. Single 7-foot Youngstown 5/6/6 sliding doors with molded tack boards and roller lift levers are attached on each side. The 10-panel welded body is riveted to ends of Pullman Standard design. It also has that odd intermittent sill that hides the underframe cross bearers and cross ties, and the brake gear. Capping the body is a PS roof design. All details look good and close to scale. I can only imagine the technical challenge and resulting cost to mold everything to exact 1/160!

My inspection finds the model to be in conformance with NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices, with RP-25 wheels and couplers at acceptable height. It weighs 1.05 ounces which is almost the RP-20.1 Car Weight ideal of 0.98 oz. End to end it’s 40½ scale feet long, and 46-ft from coupler to coupler.
This little gem is a detail hybrid. For the superstructure, each side’s left-corner grab irons and stirrups are molded on, as are the hand brake rod and retainer pipe. At the other corners are separately applied 7-rung ladder/stirrup parts. Both ends have separately attached ladders and tack boards; the vertical geared-type handbrake wheel is separately attached as is the platform underneath it. Up top is an etched metal running board with wire grabs set in the laterals.

Underframe detail consists of a molded floor with board detail and longitudinal intermediate sills. Onto it is attached a single part representing the welded-steel underframe: body bolsters, center sill, coupler and draft gear pockets, cross bearers and cross ties; brake gear integrally molded in this part includes: brake cylinder, brake levers and brake rods, brake pipe and branch pipes, control valve, and reservoir.
Paint and Markings

First, a note about the photos. The box car looks warped in many photographs; this is a phenomena of a zoom lens and extreme close-up photography.

Boston & Maine brown and black livery is applied smoothly and does not cover up any detail. Printing of the AAR mechanical code, built date, capacity data, dimensional data, load limits, reporting marks, road number, roadname and herald, and weights are extraordinary! With my Optivisor I can read the alphanumerics which are all open and clear, making text legible. Keep in mind that much of this printing is 1 - 2 inches high even in N scale!

Atlas N offers this new model in eight roadnames, with two car numbers per roadname, plus an undecorated version:
    1. Boston & Maine (Brown/White)
    2. Buffalo Creek (Brown/White/Black)
    3. Cotton Belt (Brown/White/Blue)
    4. Lehigh Valley (Brown/White/Black)
    5. Maine Central (Brown/White)
    6. Milwaukee Road (Brown/White/Black)
    7. Rutland (Yellow/Green/Black)
    8. Western Pacific (Brown/Yellow)

Atlas N Master® series raises the bar between detail and economy. Parts approaching to-scale separate ladders and other details in N scale can be achieved, though the model is more susceptible to damage, and the cost goes up. Atlas N Master® offers a beautiful model of a very common modern box car design. Their tooling and molding is sharp, with incredible 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. Molded detail and nitpicky intangibles keep this from achieving 100% perfection.

Overall this is an exceptional model for your N scale layout. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad for this sample; please tell vendors and manufacturers that you saw this model here – on RailRoadModeling!

AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.

* Atlas. Atlas N 40' PS-1 Box Car. Atlasrr.com.

TM 55-203. Technical Manual Maintenance Of Railway Car. Headquarters, Department of the Army. [PDF.] August 1972.
Highs: Knuckle couplers, metal wheels, separately applied ladders, and etched metal roof walk. Incredible printing.
Lows: Some molded detail.
Verdict: An exceptional model for your N scale layout.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50 000 948
  Suggested Retail: $26.95 (*$21.95)
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 06, 2013
  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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