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Tangent HO scale GATX 1952 tank car

Read this review from the October 2019 issue of Model Railroader
Tangent's HO scale GATX 1952 tank cars feature prototype-specific domes
The cars are equipped with metal grab irons, see-through running boards, and Kadee scale magnetic knuckle couplers.

Tangent Scale Models has released an HO scale model of an 8,000-gallon General American Tank Lines (GATX) 1952 general-service tank car. The finely detailed, ready-­to-­run model represents a plentiful prototype seen on practically every railroad in the country.

According to the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) (Railway Equipment & Publication Co.), GATX, one of the nation’s big three tank car leasing companies, had 45,632 tank cars on the rails in 1953. In addition to oil and gasoline, these cars carried corn syrup, fertilizer, liquefied petroleum gas, bleach, acids, and wine, among others.

Tangent’s model represents an 8,000-­gallon, uninsulated, unpressurized carbon steel tank car, designated by the Department of Transportation as DOT class 103W. The “W” indicated a welded tank. These cars typically carried ladings such as fuels, oils, solvents, caustic soda, and alcohol. The model’s major dimensions matched those listed in a General American Transportation Corp. data sheet in the 1957 Car Builders Cyclopedia (Simmons-Boardman).

One of our samples was painted in a Dow Chemical Co. billboard scheme, replicating one worn by cars that served the Dow plant in Pittsburg, Calif. These cars carried caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) to paper, textile, soap, and petroleum processing plants nationwide. The paint is a smooth satin black. The yellow printing is opaque, crisp, and legible on the tank, the center sill, and even on the side of the air reservoir.

Our second sample is painted for Cleveland, Ohio-based Diamond Alkalai Co. The white paint is smooth and even, and the printing is crisp and legible. The seam between the tank body and the end caps was more visible on the white car. Like the Dow car, these could be found on any railroad across the continent.

The models bristle with fine details, including wire grab irons, see-through running boards and dome platforms, etched metal tank straps, and accurate hazardous material placard mounts. The two cars have different fittings to match their prototypes.

The blackened metal wheels are in gauge and ride on American Steel Foundries (ASF) double-truss trucks. I was pleased to be able to read the embossed lettering on the sideframes. The metal Kadee scale knuckle couplers are mounted at the correct height.

The cars rolled freely on our HO scale Virginian project layout and had no problems negotiating its 18" radius curves and no. 4 turnouts.

Tangent’s new model needs only a hazmat placard and maybe a bit of weathering to look right at home on any transition-era or later HO scale layout.

Price: $44.95
Tangent Scale Models
P.O. Box 6514
Asheville, NC 28816
Era: 1952 to 1990s
Road names: General American Transportation Corp. (GATX reporting marks, 1959 Diamond Chemicals and 1964 Dow Chemical Co. schemes, four road numbers each) and Vulcan Materials (UCLX reporting marks, two numbers).
• Blackened CNC-machined 33" metal wheels, in gauge
• Flexible engineering plastic underbody details and platform railings
• Kadee scale knuckle couplers, at the correct height
• Prototype-specific valve arrangements
• See-through running board and dome platform
• Weight: 3.6 ounces (matches National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1)
• Wire grab irons and details

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