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Quick Look: Rivarossi HO scale 50-foot boxcar

Read this review from the January 2017 Model Railroader
Rivarossi HO scale 50-foot boxcar
Rivarossi HO scale 50-foot boxcar

Price: $19.99; four-pack, $69.99

Hornby Hobbies
3900-C2 Industry Dr. E
Fife, WA 98424-1829

Road names. Sliding-door car: Great Northern; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Illinois Central; and Louisville & Nashville. Plug-door car available in five road names.

Era: 1963 to 1976 (as decorated)

Comments: Hornby Hobbies has released newly tooled HO scale 50-foot sliding- and plug-door boxcars in its Rivarossi line. The models feature a one-piece injection-molded plastic body with a separately applied brake wheel and molded ladders, stirrup steps, and tack boards. The sliding doors are positionable; the plug doors are not.

Both versions of the boxcar use the same one-piece plastic underbody with molded details. A pair of steel weights above each truck are attached from the inside with screws.

The model is nominally an American Car & Foundry (ACF) 50'-6" Precision Design boxcar. I compared the model to prototype drawings in Edward S. Kaminski’s American Car & Foundry Company Box Cars, 1960-1981 (Signature Press, 2015). Most of the major dimensions follow the drawings. The length over the strikers is a scale 1'-2" short as the model doesn’t have a cushioned underframe. The model has 14 body panels; the ACF car has 12. Discrepancies between the model and the full-size Great Northern no. 39562 protoype are a different sill and grab irons on the sides and ends instead of ladders.

The model weighs 3.7 ounces, which is .8 ounce too light based on National Model Railroad Association recommended practice 20.1. The model uses .088" (semi-scale) metal wheelsets. Two wheelsets were tightly gauged. The plastic couplers were .040" too low.

I tested the car on our Wisconsin & Southern project layout, where it ran without incident. I also ran the car through Atlas code 83 Snap-Switches. Again the model performed well and the semi-scale wheels didn’t bottom out in the frog.

This model is aimed at budget-conscious modelers, and $19.99 for a ready-to-run car is hard to beat in today’s market.

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