Went shopping for model RR stuff the other day, the first time in a looooong time; ended up buying some cheap cars on sale at a small local shop. One of the things I got was a Varney boxcar, for $3. Thought it might tickle some of the old-timers here to hear about it.
My reaction, then and now, is this: it looks pretty damn good. What attracted me to it in the first place was that it was obviously made of metal when I first saw it, and then picked it up and saw the wooden floorboard and cast metal underframe.
Now, I'm not claiming that the detail is anywhere near as good as even the current Athearn stuff. I'm guessing this is from the early '60s (the build date on the car is 8-64). A couple of things cry out for fixing, mainly the gap below the side sill on one side that the wood bottom shows through. But with a little weathering, and in the middle of a consist on a layout, this car would look pretty damned respectable. The details, all metal except for the underfloor stuff, is very good; the ladders look quite believable.
It's a weird one: "GAEX", green w/yellow lettering, with a big yellow stripe with "DF" on it. I have no idea what the prototype might be.
By the way, for those in the Bay Area, the store is Tinplate Junction, an interesting little shop in West Oakland (visible from BART), with a lot of O stuff as the name implies, but a fair amount of HO and N. Not the greatest store in the world, but worth checking out.