This review is from Classic
Toy Trains, July 1999. Reprinted with permission of Kalmbach Publishing Company.
Atlas O's Interlocking Tower Kit
by Terry Thompson
The first product in the new Atlas O structure line,
an interlocking tower, is actually a blast from the past for me and the many other
modelers whose hobby wanderings have taken them through HO scale.
Though the Atlas kit is new to O, its design follows that of the HO scale Atlas tower,
a perennial favorite of scale modelers. Thats no bad thing, since the Atlas tower
has a realistic, generic look that allows it to fit well on layouts with a variety of
Injection-molded plastic pieces, cast in a variety
of colors, comprise the bulk of the kits contents. Atlas includes preprinted clear
windows and decals for several different place names. The parts are crisply molded with
virtually no flash.
For the most part, the kit is well engineered. The
one-piece hip roof is a real plus, avoiding seams in this most visible of places, and the
kit parts fit together well after removing them from the sprues with either a hobby knife
or rail nippers and filing any remaining burrs smooth. The rooftop chimney, however, did
require considerable filing to fit into its hole, and my kit arrived with a broken light
fixture, which I fixed using some steel wire.
The instructions, a series of exploded-view diagrams, are acceptable for most steps.
The only exception here is the suggestion that the modeler cement the window frames into
the walls and then insert the windows from behind. This procedure will work, but not if
you cut the windows along the printed lines, which will make the lower-floor windows too
large to insert from the back. I chose to cut more or less along the printed lines, then
insert the windows into the walls, and then cement the window frames into the walls using
liquid plastic cement. Be aware that if you choose this approach, some of the windows will
be a bit too short if you cut along Atlas lines.
Once the windows are in, though, the printed shades
add to the structures realism. The levers and chimney that are included to detail
the upper story also add realism (though Atlas molded the levers in several colors, they
really need a coat of paint in order to match). O scale railway worker figures, chairs, a
desk, and other details items would be easy to find and fill out the interior of the
If you like the colors the kit comes in, -yellow and red plus some brown and gray-you
dont need to paint it. To give the kit a retro look, though I painted its upper
floor white and its windows green (Southern Railway Sylvan Green) to make it resemble a
post-war Lionel structure.
I also used a wash of thinned white paint on the brick walls to fill in the mortar
lines and painted the roof flat gray. After weathering the brick walls and the roof a bit
with chalks, I sprayed those pieces with Testors Dullcote to seal the weathering.
I spent between 10 and 12 hours on my tower, but you
could assemble it in an hour or two if you didnt paint it and used CA (cyancaerylate
adhesive) and a spray accelerator such as Zip Kicker to join the parts.
The Atlas O kit was fun to assemble and customize and it looks right at home with Atlas
Os other kit, the Suburban station.