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Quick Look: Accurail HO combination-door boxcar kit

Read this review from the December 2017 Model Railroader
Accurail HO combination-door boxcar kit
Cody reviewed a two-pack that included two Accurail boxcars decorated for Northern Pacific.

Price: Single car, $17.98; two-pack (one Metallic Brown, one pre-Burlington Northern merger green), $34.98

P.O. Box 278
Elburn, IL 60119

Era: 1959 to early 1980s (as decorated)

Comments: Accurail has released an HO scale 40-foot combination-door boxcar kit decorated for Northern Pacific (NP). The model features a one-piece injection-molded plastic body and a plastic underframe with modeler-installed brake appliances.

Northern Pacific used its 40-foot combination-door boxcars to serve the lumber and grain industries. In lumber service, the 14-foot door opening made the cars easy to load and unload. For grain shipping, the plug door would be closed and the 6-foot opening coopered with a grain door.

Our sample is decorated as NP no. 8759, part of the railroad’s 8450 through 8849 series. More than 1,100 full-size cars were built by the NP at its shops in Brainerd, Minn., between 1958 and 1960.

The lettering placement mostly matches prototype photos found in Todd Sullivan’s NP Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books Inc., 1995). The reporting mark, road number, and related data should be moved to the left about 1⁄16".

I compared the car to a prototype drawing from the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association website ( The Accurail model is a decent match for the NP prototype. Most of the dimensions were correct or within a few scale inches of the prototype. The biggest differences were the distance over the strikers (a scale 6" too short) and the wheel centers on the trucks (a scale 5'-9" instead of 5'-6").

The door stops for the plug door were left off. The model has a riveted diagonal-panel roof, but it should be an overhanging diagonal-panel roof.

The 33" plastic wheels are correctly gauged. The body-mounted Accumate couplers are at the correct height. At 3.6 ounces, the boxcar is .2 ounce too heavy per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1.

The Accurail boxcar isn’t a spot-on match for the NP prototype, but it does capture the flavor of the full-size car. The kit would also be a good starting point for adding railroad-specific details.

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