1:24 SCALE D&RGW FREIGHT TRUCK
Manufacturer: Ryan Equipment Company, Inc.--Railway Products Division, 749 Creel Drive, Wood Dale, IL 60191 Price: P-101 (LGB/One Gauge) Truck and P-102 (1/2-inch, 3 foot gauge) Truck $15.50 per pair plus $3.00 postage and handling. P-101-B LGB/One Gauge Brake Hardware $5.75 per pair plus $3.00 postage and handling.
ED RYAN'S TRUCKS have been around for a while but he felt a review would be right up OR's alley. So here's the lowdown:
The venerable Cliff Grandt did the tooling to his usual exemplary standards and Ryan has the parts cast in black DuPont Delrin plastic. Those parts consist of the sideframes, bolster, and journal box lids. "Assembly" consists of press-fitting the lids onto the sideframes. If you also use the brake beams, you'll have to slide the brake shoes onto the beam. Oh, yes. You'll need a knife to cut the lids and shoes off their plastic sprues and to remove the rare bit of flash from an occasional casting. The quality of those castings is quite good.
The plastic is tough but you can still break it. The most vulnerable areas are on the brake assemblies: The little rings on the top sides of the brake shoes and the slot where the brake shoes slide onto the brake beams. The trucks themselves also have an Achilles heel: If, for any reason, you should remove the sideframes from the bolster (the top part of the truck that screws onto the underframe of the car) be careful when you re-attach them. It is possible to break the retaining tabs off the bolster.
Fundamentally, the trucks are a scaled-up version of Grandt Line's On3, Sn3, and HOn3 products. Ryan probably produced them with the indoor modeler in mind because they are less rugged than, for example, LGB, USA Trains, or Delton trucks. But they do work well outdoors. Honorary OR staff member Bob Uniack has repeatedly run Ryan trucks on various layouts with no problems. On the other hand Ryan trucks have more detail and fidelity to the prototype than the trucks from most other manufacturers; they are virtually perfect scale models.
I make that statement only after having whipped out the old scale rule to compare the trucks with Rio Grande blueprints. Bad news if you like to pick nits; every dimension and detail is correct right down to the little cotter pins on the brake shoes.
Delton boxcars and reefers cry out for Ryan trucks. They are accurate 1:24 scale representations of 30-foot Rio Grande rolling stock but they sit on grossly oversized, non-prototype trucks. Delton makes them that way to bring its cars closer to the height of larger scale LGB cars, but the concept fails. Discriminating modelers, such as Uniack, remove the Delton trucks, drill out the pivot hole on the Ryan truck bolster to the diameter of the Delton bushing, screw on the Ryan trucks, and exult in the dramatically improved and realistic appearance of the cars.
Unfortunately the finescale profile of Ryan wheels is incompatible with LGB track, but Ryan is planning to make correctly scaled, LGB-compatible metal wheels available as an option fairly soon. If he procrastinates, OR will run an article on how to modify Gary Raymond one-inch metal wheels to fit Ryan sideframes.
Ryan trucks are for hobbyists focusing on unadulterated 1:24 scale modeling or on adulterated 1:22.5 scale modeling (they're about seven percent undersize for G scale). If that describes you, Ryan has the trucks for your next project. They are very, very accurate.--RR