review is from Railroad Model Craftsman, April 2003.
Reprinted with permission of Carstens Publications Inc.
E: O SCALE
Atlas O is
continuing to produce models that exhibit extraordinary
detail, and the International Car Company standard cupola
caboose is an example of one of their fine models.
often unique to individual railroads, as each had its own
ideas about them. To address that market, the International
Car Company developed a modular system for cabooses. Windows
and cupolas could be placed where the railroad wanted them.
Interiors were also customized.
two-rail model nicely captures the look of this popular
caboose with a model that matches International’s designs
and dimensions. The body has nicely-executed, welded side
seams, roof panels and rivet detail and sharp molding on the
see-through running boards, steps and end platforms. Ladders
have scale-size rungs, real chains span the gaps in the end
railings and the handrails are separately applied with
appropriate fasteners molded on the body.
The end doors
operate. A strong spring keeps them closed, but it is
possible to prop them open. Only the most detail conscious
will want to sand off the cast-on brake wheel chains and
replace them with real ones. Inside, the model features a
detailed interior molded in appropriate colors. I did not
take the review sample apart (instructions with the caboose
explain how) but through the windows, I could see desks,
chairs and two crew members. The conductor sits at a desk
with a book in hand, while a brakeman sips coffee and keeps
a watchful eye on the train from a seat in the cupola. The
caboose has a light in the interior, powered through wipers
on all eight wheels, and both ends have flashing rear end
lights. A switch on the underframe allows the modeler to
turn this light on or off.
underframe includes “silhouette” brake rigging. In other
words, it has a cylinder, triple valve and reservoir, plus
enough pipes, rods, hangers and other details to be
convincing when it rolls past on a train. The underframe and
Barber-Bettenforf caboose trucks are made of metal for a low
center of gravity. The car comes equipped with Atlas O’s
own couplers, which may be easily replaced.
My sample was
painted in Burlington Northern green with a silver roof an
window frames, yellow end platforms, yellow and white
railings, black underframe and white lettering. The paint is
evenly applied and breaks between the colors are crisp.
Lettering is also well-done and is opaque and sharp.
This is a
superb model of a common prototype that’s been designed,
built and finished to the standard that modelers in several
scales have come to expect from Atlas. The standard cupola
caboose is offered in Northern Pacific, Maine Central,
Montana Rail Link, Norfolk & Western and Burlington
Northern. Two numbers per road name and two different paint
schemes on the Main Central version are offered.
is also available undecorated and in three-rail versions.
The suggested price for the two-rail version is $64.95. – Trevor