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Monday, August 22, 2011

Modeling SP tank cars-update

In May of this year, I posted a description of how I model SP tank cars in HO scale from the Athearn models. Here’s a link to that earlier post:
     I have since been asked about Athearn parts and availability of them. (I assume from those who don’t want to buy an assembled car at a swap meet, or one of Athearn’s contemporary ready-to-run cars, as sacrifice bodies to obtain dome tops.) I can offer the following information: first, Athearn parts for the tank car are entirely available and should continue to be, into the foreseeable future. Second, here are some part numbers and prices:

Three-dome tank car body, part 14990, 1 piece, $4.98
Manways for tank car domes, part 15511, 6 pieces, $3.98
Placard boards for tank cars, part 15506, 12 pieces, $3.98

All other parts of an Athearn tank car kit, whether three-dome or single-dome, are also available at comparable prices. The three-dome body, of course, is your source for dome tops to extend the height of the single-dome model to its correct size.
     Athearn recommends that you buy these through your local hobby shop if possible. But if need be, you can order them direct from Athearn, and a $10 shipping and handling fee will be imposed regardless of order size (for domestic U.S. shipments). Shipments outside the U.S. will be priced at actual shipping cost. You can order by mail, e-mail (to or phone to (310) 763-7140, extension 122. More on their parts list can be found on their web site: .
     A second question I’ve been asked is to show a better photo of my models of the “aluminum end stripe” fuel scheme, and the “liquid sugar” scheme. Here is a possible improvement on the photos previously provided, showing a better view of the end lettering on the aluminum end stripe. The sugar service car really has little of note as far as lettering, and is visible pretty well in this view. Click on it to enlarge.

That said, I expect to show fairly soon some photos of the Archer rivet versions I’m now working on, including Class O-50-9, which had the elbow safety valves on the dome side. The new detail part for this use, long needed in HO scale, is from Jason Hill. I have only a sample, but expect that the part will become commercially available in the near future. Jason expects his concern will be called Owl Mountain Models.
Tony Thompson

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