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First Look Review
HO scale
40' Postwar Box Car 6' Door
Master® 40' Postwar Box Car with 6' Door
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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Postwar Box Car w/6' Door
Series: Atlas Master® Line
Mfg. ID: 20 001 385
Roadname & Nr.: CB&Q 35127

A vivid memory of my childhood is climbing the grade crossing in my hometown as the crossing guard flashed and rang warning against an oncoming train; not the 99%-usual black Illinois Central coal train plodding along - NO! - a flashy Burlington geep streaking past, running light, returning from a transfer run! I only encountered this a few times but those striking striped red, white, and gray racehorses ignited my fascination with "The Q".

Imagine my joy to receive this CB&Q box car! Read along as we inspect the Atlas Master® Line HO Postwar Box Car with a 6' door. This well detailed model boasts many separately applied parts and beautiful paint and printing.

40' Boxcar
    The 40' Boxcar is widely known as one of the most popular freight cars used by railroads as they transitioned from steam to diesel.

    Spurred by the postwar business boom and in an effort to replace worn out equipment, North American railroads built large numbers of 40' box cars to the AAR standard designs beginning in 1945. Prototypes were built with different combinations of roof styles, ends and doors. Our tooling includes many of the more common options for these details.
    - Atlas

These versatile and soundly designed boxcars witnessed the diesel supplant the steam locomotive through the 1950s and suffered the derailing of America’s railroads through the ‘60s and into the ‘70s. A few even survived, in non-revenue service, to witness the Staggers Act which resuscitated the industry in the 1980s.

Atlas Master® Burlington Postwar Box Car with 6' Door
The model is factory assembled and ready-to-run. Atlas securely packs these models in a form-fitted plastic cradle with another fitted plastic lid that snaps to the cradle. A soft plastic sheet protects the model from scuffing. This cradle is held inside an opening lid box with a cellophane window. The model comes with some loose parts that are in a baggie. No instructions, parts list or history is included.

These boxcars were 40 feet 6 inches long, 10 feet 4 inches wide, and 14 feet 5 inches high from rail head to running board. On this model the doors are Youngstown corrugated types, the roof a Murphy rectangular panel design, covering an AAR standard underframe, riding upon 50-ton Barber stabilized S-2 trucks. They had 3680 cubic feet inside. That gave them a load capacity of 50 tons.

This box car series was built at the CB&Q Havelock, Nebraska facility in their XM-32 class.
AAR Type: B105
In. Length, Ft.: 40 In.: 6
Ex. Length, Ft.: 44 In.: 3
Cap. Cu.Ft.: 3898
Load Lmt.: 127000
Lt. Weight: 50000
Gr. Weight: 177000
Plate: B

Atlas offers different components based on the features of specific railroad prototypes.

    • State of the art highly detailed tooling
    • Many separately applied details such as ladders, grab irons, etc.
    • 4 different end styles – 4/4, Early and Late Improved Dreadnaught or“Dartnot”
    • 2 different roofs – straight or diagonal panel
    • 3 different door openings – 6’,7’ and 8’ Superior or Youngstown doors
    • Seven or eight rung ladders
    • Fully detailed underframe
    • Free rolling trucks with blackened metal wheelsets
    • Carefully researched prototypical paint schemes

The injection molding is top-notch with crisp detail. No visible flash, sink marks nor 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 skillfully attached with de minimis glue spots. Unfortunately the doors are molded shut.

Underneath this 40-footer are the frame, bolsters, and "AB" air brake gear. It rides on 50-ton Barber S-2 trucks with blackened machined metal 33" wheels. These wheels roll with little friction when pulled by its AccuMate® knuckle couplers. These couplers and trucks can easily be replaced by removing a screw.

Single 6-foot Youngstown 5/6/6 sliding doors with molded tack boards and roller lift levers are attached on each side. The 10-panel riveted body is riveted to 4/4 Dreadnaught ends. It also has that odd intermittent sill that hides the underframe cross bearers and cross ties, and some of the brake gear. Capping the body is a Murphy rectangular panel roof. Across the roof is an Apex Tri-lock metal running board. All details look good and close to scale.

My inspection finds the model struggles in conformance with NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices, with RP-25 wheels and couplers at acceptable height. It weighs 3 ounces which far less than the RP-20.1 Car Weight ideal of 3.8 oz. End to end it’s a scale 41 feet 3 inches long, and 45¾ -ft from coupler to coupler.

Still, this is an impressive model. One end has separate hand brake rod and retainer pipe parts; hand brake wheel is separately attached as is the platform underneath it. On the corners are separately applied 8-rung ladder/stirrup parts. Grabs are applied on opposite corners. Both ends have separately attached ladders and tack boards. Up top are molded walks: laterals with wire grabs plus a running board.

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.

Finally, unattached details are two train lines with air hoses and angle cocks, and a pair of cut bars. Those are molded with slightly springy plastic. Those attach into predrilled holes in the body. The pieces are small and the pin / holes smaller, in fact the holes are smaller than the pins. A touch of CA secured the parts. However, the air hoses dangle low enough that they touch the top of the rails, which may cause them to break away when passing over turnouts and diamonds.

Paint and Markings
Amazing! 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.

Burlington Route Chinese Red/black/white 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 2 inches high even in HO scale! Some of that detail includes the built date of 7-47, and data including "PREMIER LUB RPKD 10-61 KC CB&Q", "1-W-STEEL WHEELS", etc..

The blackened wheels are satisfactorily dark and reasonably lusterless.

Atlas Master® offers this model in twelve roadnames and variants, with three car numbers per roadname, plus an undecorated version:

1. Burlington (Red/Black/White)
2. Burlington (Green/White)
3. Canadian National (Brown/White)
4. Canadian Pacific (Brown/White)
5. Chicago & North Western (Brown/Yellow)
6. Erie (Brown/White/Black)
7. Erie Lackawanna (Brown/White)
8. N de M (Brown/White)
9. Northern Pacific (Brown/White/Black/Red)
10. Santa Fe (Brown/White)
11. Spokane Portland & Seattle (Brown/White)
12. Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo (Yellow/Black)
13. Undecorated

This model is a good representation of a CB&Q XM-32 box car. It is beautifully molded, finished, and impressively detailed, with sharp printing. I prefer the doors to be positionable. Previous models I have reviewed have blackened metal wheels that are shiny. These are much better.

If you want to freelance and kitbash, it might be troublesome to cut the doors off for repositioning. Replacing the roof running board with an older wooden type is no more difficult than popping off the kit part and gluing strip wood up there. There are many model railroad companies issuing aftermarket parts and decals to modify models.

Knuckle couplers are the standard today and no well-dressed model would dare to dust the rails without them.

The model is not perfect and there are some glue spots which, honestly, I doubt I would have spotted had I not been looking. If NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices is important to you the weight will disappoint you.

Happily recommended.

Our 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. Master® 40' Postwar Box Car with 6' Door. Atlasrr.com.

TM 55-203. Technical Manual Maintenance Of Railway Car. Headquarters, Department of the Army. [PDF.] August 1972.

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

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Beautifully molded, finished, and impressively detailed, with sharp printing. Knuckle couplers and metal blackened wheels.
Lows: The doors are molded shut. Too light per NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices.
Verdict: This model is a good representation of a CB&Q XM-32 box car.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 20 001 385
  Suggested Retail: $27.95
  Related Link: 40' Postwar Box Car New Paint Schemes!
  PUBLISHED: Feb 19, 2014
  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.


That fine detail is impressive! I still remember cars costing $8, but clearly modern models look quite real, so $28 isn't implausible (and there are always sales or discounts to be found). Thanks for posting, Fred! -Sean
FEB 19, 2014 - 01:43 AM

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