PRODUCT REVIEW: 1:29 SCALE FREIGHT CAR KITS
Manufacturer: ARISTO-CRAFT TRAINS/Polk's Model Hobbies, Inc., 346 Bergen Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07304. Price: ART-46000K undecorated boxcar kit and ART-46100K undecorated stockcar kit $29.95 each suggested list.
ARISTO-CRAFT'S BOXCAR and stockcar kits are so similar to their reefer kit, most of the same comments apply. As we pointed out in the review of the reefer in the last issue, the resulting models will be as good as, even potentially better than, ARISTO-CRAFT's decorated rolling stock. Better because you may perfectly fit and align each part. And, if you prefer to body mount Kadee« couplers, you may install them no concern about marring a delicate finish since the models are gray injected plastic.
As last time, I assembled my kits with no modifications. Each required about ninety minutes including some picky sprue mark clean up, and I was able to assemble both without so much as looking at the exploded drawing in the instructions. Unlike the reefer, all the solid brass grab irons fit the boxcar and stockcar perfectly so the kits went together without a hitch. Where necessary, I bonded the plastic parts with Tenax liquid cement. Construction was easy and satisfying.
Each car measures a scale 40 feet 9 inches over the end sills, 10 feet 6 inches wide, and 11 feet 10 inches high from the bottom of the end sill to the top of the roofwalk. As we have pointed out before, the boxcar dimensions are almost perfect for the AAR prototype the car represents. ARISTO-CRAFT identifies no specific prototype for its stockcar and, as with the reefer, I suspect the similarity of its dimensions to the boxcar reflects economy in manufacturing. Coincidentally, the dimensions of some of my HO scale stockcars are also identical to boxcars from the same manufacturer.
As with all ARISTO-CRAFT cars, the boxcar and stockcar are mostly plastic. The only metal parts are the solid brass grab irons, wheel axles, springs, and screws. The Bettendorf trucks are crisp castings with working equalization springs. The sliding doors and their latches operate. The flooring has simulated wood grain, the underbody detail is good, and all the body hardware consists of separate press-on parts.
I will paraphrase the conclusion of last issue's review: ARISTO-CRAFT's boxcar and stockcar kits build into neat, good looking, durable models. Even without modification, the addition of paint, lettering and, maybe, weathering will turn either into an eye-catcher. They are very good products.-RR