Saw some late in the day at the Timonium train show. Didn't have them in my
hands, but saw them sitting on a display case. What I saw was absolutely
gorgeous. Best HO passenger cars I have ever seen.
I'm still waiting for the Pere Marquette-painted kits to arrive at my
dealer, but I picked up an undecorated kit over the weekend. I hope to
assemble it this week.
Some first-impression comments: * The first thing you notice is that the box is considerably larger in
all dimensions than the typical HO kit box. On opening it, I have to say
that I have never seen a kit with so much tissue paper inside. It does a
great job of keeping the sides and the window glazing from getting
* The kit appears to be well thought out- there's a lot of detail, but
there doesn't seem to be an excessive amount of work required to
assemble it. It's not Athearn-style "shake-the-box", but is in the same
class as a Red Caboose or Intermountain kit. * On first read, the 4 double-sided sheets of instructions are very
clear. Branchline even calls out steps that you can skip if you're not
interested in having as much detail in the finished model.
* This kit is COMPLETE- interior, knuckle couplers, diaphragms, steam
lines and optional truck chains are all included, as are plastic
couplers with coil knuckle springs. * The window glazing is provided as four dozen pieces which mount into
recesses insides the sides and ends. I'll mount these using clear
silicone RTV so I can cleanly remove any excess. My luck using liquid
cement in such installations hasn't been very good in the past.
* The trucks require assembly, but the kit's designers obviously were
familiar with the complaints about the kit-built trucks in the Eastern
Car Works kits. The Branchline kit's trucks are designed in such a way
that it will be easy to assemble them squarely. They are made of styrene
bolsters and side frames with acetyl inserts for the axle ends. The
wheelsets are Branchline's usual metal wheels with plastic axles. Like
the rest of the car, you can choose how much detail you want to apply to
the trucks. * No push-pins here- the trucks mount using 2-56 screws.
* Couplers are mounted to arm assemblies to accommodate sharper curves.
By carefully choosing which details to apply, you should be able to get
these cars to run around 22" radius curves. If you build a
fully-detailed car with truck chains, you'll need a 28" radius.
I'm looking forward to having a free evening later this week to assemble
this car. This kit looks like it will be very enjoyable.
Webmaster of the Pere Marquette Historical Society, at
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