|Hartford, ca. 1947, Kent Cochrane photo|
The long-awaited UTLX X-3 tank cars from Rapido Trains have shipped from Rapido and retailers. Given the other UTLX tank car models and kits I have (including X-3s) I only ordered one undec. Here are my very initial thoughts. These sentiments will no doubt evolve as I build my model.
|Courtesy of Bill Welch from Howard Ameling collection|
The Rapido model represents the 10,000 gallon, single compartment X-3 variant produced in 1919-1920, with over 8,000 total cars produced. This car is characterized by narrow spacing of the two valves on the dome, built-up 6-rivet bolster design, straight-shaped end sills, and 54" diameter domes. For more details, UTLX Steam Era Tank Cars by Stephen Hile is a highly recommended resource and is the "bible" on the UTLX tank car fleet.
|Fayetteville, North Carolina, December 2, 1951, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo|
I have included several photos of the model to highlight some of the details. The overall impression is of a high degree of fidelity to detail, with many finely rendered small parts including many in metal. The undec model does comes partially preassembled, as shown in the general photo. Finer details are left to the modeler.
The ladder on the Rapido car is of the "abbreviated" style, terminating at the handrail. Contrast to the "full" ladder shown on UTLX 35552, with ladder extending to the underside of the dome step. Also, note that like on most X-3s, the step is located only on the left side of the car. The photo of UTLX 37430 illustrates the lack of a ladder and step on the car's right side.
The Rapido model reflects a car fitted with AB-schedule brakes. The placement and details closely match those shown on UTLX 3552. The cylinder and reservoirs are quite nice replicas, while the AB valve is a bit simple, a shame given that it is the part most prominently seen on a model under typical conditions.
The trucks are well-detailed and match those of the prototypes well. Compare to those on UTLX 36907 in the photo of New Haven Y-3 0-8-0 3406.
Rapido has also done a good job at capturing two of the most distinguishing traits of these X-3s: the tank supports/saddles with the trademark triangular web and the wood platforms at the ends of the tanks between the end and stub side sills.
The details to be added by the modeler, including grabs, uncoupling devices, placard holders, etc., are secured separately in tiny zip bags for safe keeping. The placard holders match the style used on almost all UTLX tank cars, a nice touch
I will be detailing and lettering this model over the coming months using the decal set from National Scale Car. Follow this blog to be notified of updates.