1:22.5 SCALE CABOOSE
Manufacturer: LGB of America, 6444 Nancy Ridge Drive, San Diego, CA 92121. Price: Ready-to-run 43650 C&S bobber caboose $117.95 suggested list.
EVER SINCE LGB introduced the 2019S Colorado & Southern Mogul, modelers have longed for a matching offset cupola bobber caboose. LGB's earlier center cupola model represented caboose number 1002, the only center cupola caboose the C&S owned. So LGB's new 1:22.5 scale 43650 offset cupola version should delight thousands of hobbyists.
As with all LGB models, the caboose is entirely high quality plastic except for its brass grab irons and marker lamp handles, the screws holding together its major sub-assemblies, and its steel axle centers. All detail is sharp and crisp, as you might expect. The new caboose improves upon various aspects of the old. For example the siding's scribe lines pass through the graphics; no longer are the emblem and lettering on smooth plastic "platforms". The end ladders now have roof extensions. The cupola grab irons are brass rod instead of raised plastic ridges. The roofwalk has better detail. The model includes a bag of detail parts including tools, boxes, a bucket, and a broom. And the end doors open to reveal a very complete interior. As usual, the overall quality, workmanship, and graphic clarity are topnotch.
If you prefer to run your rolling stock pretty much out of the box, we'll tell you right now the product is excellent and you may stop reading here.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy kitbashing, please be aware that LGB has designed the caboose only to convey the impression of its prototype; it is in no way an accurate scale model. I point that out now so you will interpret the rest of this review in the proper context and so nobody will accuse me of "nit-picking".
Over the years, the C&S modified and rebuilt its cabooses to the point that no two were identical. Their lengths ranged from 13 feet to 14 feet 10 inches. The size, shape, and placement of the windows varied. In short, even though all were similar in appearance, they exhibited little standardization.
Even considering that, LGB's caboose will need some work before it begins to approach the "model" category. The most obvious change would be to the paint. The real caboose was boxcar red; LGB's caboose is bright yellow-orange with a silver roof, black underbody, end platforms, and hardware, white window framing, and shiny brass grab irons. For some reason the car number is offset; it should be in the center of the car side, directly beneath the "C&S" lettering, and a little higher.
But that is of little consequence in light of other discrepancies. The small side windows on LGB's caboose more closely reflect C&S number 1005 and, on that caboose, muntins (the horizontal framing across the middle of the window) are inappropriate. So if you want to model number 1005, you may want to modify the windows. While you are considering that, you should also think about enlarging the cupola windows and, if you do that, you also may want to decrease the length and height of the cupola. As it comes, the cupola is incorrect for any C&S caboose.
Before you modify the side windows, though, you should also consider the model's dimensions. Caboose number 1005 was 13 feet long. The LGB caboose measures 14 feet 9 inches in 1:22.5 scale so its body really is far closer to the 14 foot 10 inch length of number 1003 (also 1000 and 1009). Its width appears to be only about two or three inches wider than the prototypes' 7 feet 6 or 7 inches. All the longer bobbers had side windows much taller than those on LGB's model. The end windows will also require modification or removal. If I have made any dimensional or factual error, I'm sure you'll find a correction in the next issue's LETTERS.
The underbody comes from LGB's European passenger cars so it and the end platforms are completely wrong. The journal box/leaf spring castings are close, though. If you work at it, you could modify the underbody to approximate that of a C&S bobber. You could also drive yourself crazy changing and adding countless other details.
The point, though, is the big picture: If you want a perfect model, build one from scratch. If you want a model capturing the spirit of a C&S bobber, make whatever modifications you consider essential (new paint may be enough) and admire it as it brings up the rear of your freight train. The result will be a personalized Colorado & Southern bobber consistent in quality and proportion with any piece of LGB motive power or rolling stock you may own. That alone makes it a model worth owning.-RR