Tangent Scale Models X58 Boxcars

Here’s a shot of the North Tonawanda switcher bringing two empty PRR X58 boxcars into the International Paper plant on Tonawanda Island.


These are the new from Tangent Scale Models. Mine arrived from Action Hobbies Kingsville on Monday. They’re really nice models, but that comes as no surprise to me; Tangent has established the highest standard of quality.

I have two of the now out of production Rail Yard Models resin kits for these cars. The Tangent RTR model is of equal quality, perhaps slightly better in a couple of small details. The Rail Yard kits took many hours (80?) for me complete, and they cost me about the same amount of money. I’ve created a “category” in the menu on the right side of the screen, so you can click on that to see my posts about X58 boxcars by both Rail Yard and Tangent.

The Rail Yard kit was superbly designed, and mine built up into the best models on my layout (until now). I happened to buy mine the month before Rail Yard closed, and I was quite disappointed when to learn that I wouldn’t be able to find more without paying upwards of $120 on ebay. Given the fact that the Tangent RTR model buys the hobbyist a ton of free time to work on other projects, I expect to see the used market value of the Rail Yard kits to drop substantially. And on that note, I’ve budgeted to buy a few more Tangent X58s, but if you’re one of those people who has hoarded away a stash of Rail Yard kits that you can’t sell and will never build, do be in touch with me. I’ll rid you of the burden ūüėČ



Tangent GATX 8000 Gal. Acid Tank Cars

A few weeks before the holidays, I ordered and received a pair of 8000 gal. acid tank cars from Tim at Action Hobbies in Kingsville. ¬†These cars are by Tangent Scale Models and, like the rest of their product line, are very nicely detailed and finished. ¬†I dare you to click on the link to Tangent’s web site and not be overcome by¬†the urge to buy at least one model.

Models like these are expensive, by any measure, but one of the benefits of building a small layout is that I can put more resources into each model.  The paint scheme on the two cars I bought represents cars from a GATX lease fleet.  You may have noticed them in a photo from my December 29, 2014 post celebrating the installation of an NCE DCC system on my home layout.  Here is a shot of GATX 24941, off-spot at International Paper (on my layout, of course).


A keen eye will reveal that the car in the photo above is lettered for a pool of cars assigned to haul phosphoric acid, a food additive that provides tanginess. ¬†As they stand, these models are out of place at a paper plant. ¬†By default, my plan is to cycle these cars into the consist of trains¬†TF-2/FT-1, COJ-32, or any of the CASO trains once I build the North Tonawanda yard across from the paper plant. ¬†However, I’m exploring another possibility.

According to my limited understanding of the paper making process, sulphuric acid¬†is used to manage Ph levels of the digested¬†pulp as it passes through the washer and thickening machines. ¬†It’s also used to make chlorine dioxide to bleach fine paper products to a brilliant white. ¬†I’ll definitely need some sulphuric acid tank cars for my paper plant at Tonawanda Island.

Sulphuric acid is very dense, and is therefore moved in tank cars of¬†relatively small volume, by modern standards. ¬†At 8000 gallons, the prototype for these spectacular models by Tangent are approximately the right size¬†to have been in pool of cars assigned to haul¬†sulphuric acid. ¬†I’ll have to do some research and reach out to my friends who are more knowledgeable about the details of freight car useage to figure this out. ¬†The best-case scenario would have me undertaking some minor relettering to repurpose these two models. ¬†I’m hoping that will be the case, but if not, these cars are fine addition to the various through trains that will be modelled in the next phase of the layout.


TH&B 70 Ton Hoppers Part 6 – Trucks

In his response to my previous post on this topic, Chris Mears asked about the trucks that came with the Stewart model I used for my TH&B hoppers. I’ve put together a short post in response to his question.

Because I mentioned the ill-fated attempt at using¬†True Line¬†trucks in my previous post, I want to expand on this first. ¬†True Line has had their fumbles, and the masses have subsequently beaten them with suitable vigour. ¬†I think it’s safe for us to leave that debate to the various online fora. ¬†I’ll celebrate the fact that they’ve survived the lashings, and they continue to make a go of it. ¬†I own a number of their models and I especially like their slab side covered hoppers. ¬† I’m in line for a pair of their upcoming SW1200RS models, and I’m hoping for another run of their CP and CN vans and the slab sided covered hoppers. ¬†My experience with their freight car trucks was a disappointment. ¬†They should never have let those parts get into a package and onto store shelves. ¬†One pack of bad trucks would be a fluke, but I bought two packages and both were unusable. ¬†In the end, I was refunded my money, but I that’s beside the point. ¬†It’s inconvenient for me to get to a store that has the parts I need for the hobby. ¬†I want to support bricks and mortar stores, but when I get there and put my money down, I should not be performing quality control for any product I purchase, especially if that product carries a premium price, and is not labelled as a factory defect or second. ¬†There; I can move on.

As I wrote in my previous post, I wanted to move the project forward. ¬†Chris’s question was whether the Stewart sideframes are good enough to keep if the wheelsets are replaced. ¬†Let’s go through some photos and figure this out.

Here’s a photo of a truck on the prototype car.


Next is a series of photos of the stock Stewart trucks from my models.




You’ll have to ignore the compression that took place when I took the prototype photo with a telephoto lens, and the expansion that took place when I took the model photos with my iPhone set to wide angle. ¬†The Stewart model appears to have the correct proportions, despite these distortions.

The Stewart part is missing some finer details on the journal doors, the openings at the ends of the frame, and the insides of the bolster openings.  The lip around the opening in the truck frame is too pronounced.  The overall dimensions seem appropriate for a 70 ton truck.  The detail that bugs me the most is the area under the springs on the frame.  That looks different from the prototype.

I suspect that Stewart was aiming at representing a 70 ton capacity ASF A-3 Ride Control truck (with solid bearings, obviously). ¬†I don’t know the origin of the trucks on the TH&B car. ¬†Maybe they were cast by National Steel Car themselves, and are therefore going to be slightly unique from the ASF trucks. ¬†Maybe my spotting is off. ¬†I’m hoping someone can enlighten me on this.

Tangent Scale Models builds a much nicer model of a truck that represents the same prototype as the stock Stewart truck. ¬†This is still not an exact match to that on the TH&B car (again, my spotting could be off). ¬†Here’s the Tangent model (image is from their website).


There are some other quality representations of the ASF truck available in HO scale, but the photo of the Tangent model illustrates the improvement in quality that’s taken place over the past two decades. ¬†My options, as I see them, are to equip the stock trucks with replacement wheelsets, or buy something like the Tangent trucks. ¬†The stock trucks with replacement wheelsets will certainly work. ¬†Whether they match the level of detail on the car the way I’ve modified it is a question I’ll wrestle with over the next while. ¬†I’m leaning toward the Tangent truck with semi-scale metal wheels.

Thanks for the question, Chris.  What would you do?