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Read this review from the August 2018 Model Railroader
MRRPR0818_09b HO scale covered hopper
A Greenbrier (Gunderson) 5,188- cubic-foot-capacity covered hopper has been added to the HO scale Rivet Counter line. The modern three-bay hopper is offered in four body styles. It features see-through stainless steel running boards and crossover platforms, prototype-specific hatch covers and outlet gates, and American Steel Foundries Ride-Control trucks with rotating bearing caps.

The model is based on a prototype built by The Greenbrier Companies. The full-size car, first produced in 2007, features all-steel construction and trough-style roof hatches. A technical bulletin for the prototype covered hopper states, “Greenbrier designed and built this car for high-mileage grain services.”
The prototype cars are typically operated in unit trains. Railfans have dubbed BNSF Ry. trains “earthworms” or “worms” because of the cars’ color. Kansas City Southern trains have been dubbed “snakes,” as the Southern Belle color scheme is similar to the colors of the Texas coral snake. Individual KCS cars are called “Belle Hops.”

The Rivet Counter line covered hopper has a one-piece plastic body with separate roof and hatch cover castings. The end frames are individual parts with wire grab irons and handrails. The center sills are two separate triangle-shaped pieces; the end sill casting features the bolster, draft-gear box, and separate screw-mounted cover. The outlet gates are multi-piece assemblies, too.

Our sample is decorated as BNSF Ry. no. 487209, part of the railroad’s 487000 through 487999 series built in Mexico by Gunderson Concarril between January and July 2008. The model’s dimensions closely follow data published on The Greenbrier Companies website.

BNSF Ry. no. 487209 represents a version 3 carbody with 10 intermediate body panels of the same width and roping eyes attached to the car’s sill. offers Rivet Counter line BNSF models based on version 1 and 2 carbodies. Those cars have different features, such as two horizontal stiffening ribs and roping eyes on the underside of the bolster.

The BNSF Mineral Brown paint is smooth and evenly applied, and the lettering is opaque. Except for one stencil, all of the small lettering is legible under magnification. The lettering placement matches prototype photos of other cars in the series.

Test time. The model weighs 4.4 ounces, which is .3 ounce too light based on National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The 36" metal wheels are correctly gauged. The die-cast metal semi-scale Type E lower-shelf couplers are 1⁄32" low on both ends. However, the couplers performed flawlessly when I operated the car on our Wisconsin & Southern project layout. The covered hopper will negotiate 18" radius curves, but it will look better on curves 22" or broader. also offers the Green-brier 5188 covered hopper in its Operator line for $25.99. The model is available in one body style and has simplified detailing and printing, molded end frames, one outlet gate and roof hatch style, and drill starter points for wire grab irons. A detail kit for the covered hopper is $7.99.

The Greenbrier 5,188-cubic-foot-capacity covered hopper is a popular prototype with today’s Class 1 railroads. Whether you’re running earthworms, snakes, or a few Belle Hops, the Rivet Counter line covered hopper will look great on your modern-era railroad.
Price: $39.99 (Rivet Counter),
$25.99 (Operator)
7598 Highway 411
Benton, TN 37307
Era: 2008 to present (as decorated)
Road names: BNSF Ry., Arkansas-Oklahoma, Kansas City Southern (Southern Belle scheme), Union Pacific (gray with UP reporting marks or tan with CMO reporting marks). Up to 21 road numbers per scheme.
Features (Rivet Counter version)
• 36" metal wheels, correctly gauged
• Die-cast metal semi-scale Type E lower shelf couplers, 1⁄32" low on both ends
• Etched stainless steel running boards and crossover platforms
• Factory-installed and painted wire grab irons
• Trainline hoses and brake plumbing
• Uncoupling levers
• Weight: 4.4 ounces, .3 ounce too light based on National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1

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