Monday, June 26, 2017

The new Tangent insulated tank car

A major announcement and new car release took place at the St. Louis RPM meeting this past weekend, concerning a new HO model by Tangent Scale Models. It is an insulated 8000-gallon tank car on a 1917-design General American underframe (called “Type 17”). It is a superb product and like nearly all Tangent releases, was kept secret until now. And I should say at once that these new cars, like all Tangent tank cars I have seen, are truly excellent models.
     I could not resist buying two of them, which I show below. Both are noteworthy in different ways. The Warren Petroleum car has a gray tank, which is exactly right prototypically, despite the many models over the years represented as aluminum-painted tanks. Richard Hendrickson campaigned tirelessly for gray Warren tanks, and finally here is one. The Roma Wine Co. tank car, leased from GATX, is also noteworthy, as it exactly matches a prototype photo, which I will show in a moment. But first, the models. You can click to enlarge the image.

Note that the insulated jackets do have riveted seams, as was typical before World War II.
     Here is the prototype photo of two leased Roma cars, from the Richard Hendrickson photo collection. Date of the photo is 1935. Note here that the initial “R” in Roma is accurately reproduced on the model, as you can see by comparing this photo with the one above.

     As we have become accustomed to seeing on Tangent models, the lettering is excellent, both sharp and complete. To illustrate, here is the end of the Warren car. Also note in this view the nicely rendered two-rung sill steps typical of General American practice.

The same quality extends to the normal lettering on the center sill and AB reservoir. The Warren emblem on the dome is also well done.

     The brake gear is suitably chosen for the era of each car (AB or K brakes.). Shown below are the AB brake parts on the Warren car. As you can see, the system is fully piped and has all brake rods also.

     The Roma car lettering is likewise very well done, and follows what can be seen in the prototype photo above. For example, here is the lettering at the right of the car side.

     The dome top is interesting, as it has a screw-top type of manway cover, entirely appropriate for a commodity like wine, and a frangible-disk safety vent, along with the usual spring-loaded safety valves. The safety valves could have already been in place on an older tank car converted for wine service, as this car must have been (when it was built, Prohibition was in force). There was no need to remove safety valves with the change in cargo. But the prototype photo above does show that the safety valves had been removed on GATX 4584 and 4588, so I will do the same on my model.

     This is a most welcome release by Tangent (not least because we have not had a good 8000-gallon insulated tank car in HO scale), and shows them taking advantage of the Type 17 underframe they had already created for their prior release of circumferentially-riveted tank cars awhile back. Possibly we will see additional bodies on this underframe, which is certainly to be hoped. But for now, congratulations to David Lehlbach and his team at Tangent, for another terrific model.
Tony Thompson


  1. Well Tony, you've gone and done it to me again! I saw these and that was all she wrote. The mailman just delivered them. They're beautifully done, but then I've never had anything from Tangent that wasn't. That being said, do you have any advice for those of us who have a relatively large component of tank cars on the roster as far as color goes? I have had one or two discussions about this with other modelers and my opinion so far is that they would be predominantly black with silver or aluminum being the next most common color. A quick scan of Kanimsky's tank car book shows many black cars. I'd be inclined to feel that if you look at your tank car fleet and see a rainbow you're probably overdoing it with the brightly colored paint schemes. Any thoughts? If an industry on your layout had a bright scheme, that's the prototype, but there are always through trains and so forth. Should most tankers be black?

  2. You have stated it exactly right, Alan. Some kinds of industries did receive lots of chemical tank cars, which could have bright paint schemes; others, like oil dealers, did not. For mainline trains, the conventional wisdom of mostly black tank cars is fine. But for local situations, it all depends.
    Tony Thompson