Thoughts on N scale passenger kits

PolishFinnish Dec 21, 2020


What passenger train would you like to see first in kit form? (Pick 2)

Poll closed Dec 28, 2020.
  1. "400" - by CNW

  2. "49er" - by CNW, UP & SP

  3. "Challenger" - by CNW, UP & SP

  4. "1941 City of San Fransisco" - by CNW, UP & SP

  5. "Denver Zephyr" - by CB&Q

  6. Other

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. PolishFinnish

    PolishFinnish TrainBoard Member


    I was wondering what passenger train would you like to see first in kit form?

    >> If other please reply to what you would like to see. (forgot to add that in the poll choice)

    Also, when building the kit would you prefer molded-in handrails or separately applied etched handrails?
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
    BarstowRick and Mark St Clair like this.
  2. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

    Either etched handrails or drilling dimples for wire.
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  3. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    Molded separate handrails.
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  4. Thomas Davis

    Thomas Davis TrainBoard Member

    I am wondering what kit form you are considering. Many of the cars (perhaps some of the entire trains) in your list have been available as kits or sides for 2 to 3 decades. I am thinking of the excellent kits for SP and CNW cars from Des Plaines Hobbies, and sides from Union Station Products (and M&R if Roberto makes more) and others. How are you intending to improve on those?

    And did you mean the 1936 Denver Zephyr articulated train (I might be mildly interested) or a later 40s 50s version (which I would think could be done with existing Kato and Con-Cor cars)?

    In terms of my "other" vote, I would rather see some roads/cars that have never been represented in N scale. In terms of trains/cars I might actually buy: Monon's cars rebuilt from WWII hospital cars (Thoroughbred, Hoosier and/or Tippecanoe) , and Wabash and Erie modernized coaches, and ATSF later Budd diners, are about the only cars that come to mind that I want but can't build from sides and kits I already have. I realize that all of those are "niche" products at best. If I were in the model train business, I think I would opt for such neglected trains as Rock Island Rockets (in various forms), or the ACL Champion.

    I would much prefer etchings over plastic parts for grabs and railings. Molded on is OK if you can do Kato level quality, and the car is a stainless steel car. For any car needing a paint job, the grabs and railings need to be separate parts.
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  5. PolishFinnish

    PolishFinnish TrainBoard Member

    I was thinking those trains because some are missing cars like the 400's observation car or they skip the unique motive power. I also notice theres been a shortage of in USP core kits for some time which is abit annoying.

    Preferably I would design the whole train possibly but I'm still tinkering with the idea in different areas.

    I was refering to the 1936 Denver Zephyr. (my appologies the holidays are abit hectic) I have the floor & elevation plan for that & the 1936 Nebraska Zephyr. I prefer the earlier streamliners like the Green Diamond or 1936 City of Denver. There was so much variety out there in those early days. I just wish these larger companies lift them up but its not profitable via traditional means.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  6. Mark St Clair

    Mark St Clair TrainBoard Member

    Here are the two I am working on:

    1947 GN Empire Builder
    1948 NP North Coast Limited

    It is certainly possible to put together respectable consists from existing cars. Getting the specific details right still requires bringing together multiple sources and scratch building a few cars or making compromises.

    I would prefer separate etched handrails. (And other similar details for that matter.)

    Stay safe,
  7. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    Where is the category that says "None of the above"?
  8. PolishFinnish

    PolishFinnish TrainBoard Member

    Sorry I forgot to add that, its too late to edit. I also should've added I prefer my models to be Ready to Roll Only. Good thing this isn't my career Haha
    ogre427 and Mark St Clair like this.
  9. Mudkip Orange

    Mudkip Orange TrainBoard Member

    Gotta be NCL
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  10. J Starbuck

    J Starbuck TrainBoard Member

    1948 North Coast Limited

    Drill dimples for separately added wire grabs.
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  11. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    For me, a different thing would be better . A put it together core with conplete underframe, cast on and glue on as necessary.Grabs and failings fine wire of course
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  12. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

    I would like to see the cars for the B&O Capitol Limited versions of the 1950s.

    There are some unusual cars in that, particularly the dome car, which had a very unique dome profile that no available model can look "right" as a stand-in. There were also some head end dormitory lounge cars that nothing is available for look-alikes. And, the diner was either a 7 (instead of 6) window single car or an articulated kitchen/diner pair. And, I don't think anybody is making the 10-6 sleepers with the correct window arrangement for B&O (and some other railroads).

    Because those cars were used elsewhere in later years, I think they would have more than the B&O modelers (who aren't that rare) as potential customers.
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  13. PolishFinnish

    PolishFinnish TrainBoard Member

    I agree with you there. I remember a few years back I talked to a Walthers rep at Trainfest about making the CNW Twin Cities 400 in HO. Unfortunately, he said it's unlikely because the demographic changed. Not many people desire large trains because most people don't have the layout to run them with the exception of hardcore modelers who are in a club or are fortunate enough to have a large layout. It wasn't cost-effective due to tooling in their eyes. This is why we see them re-releasing the Super Chief or other trains they've already produced with refined features instead of new trains. Lighting & new paint schemes at a higher price point for the hardcore modelers.

    The only company doing it right by offering new trains is Kato in N scale (it feels like one brand new train every year) & possibly MTH but they did a lot of models in a short time which is risky in HO. (but then again I never followed their release schedule - I could be wrong). It seems like there is a large gap that's opening in small-scale kit production in both HO & N. If it had a nice presentation with instructions & decals like Ravell kits I could see it being a good substitute to RTR. I have a few Fine N scale kits that are nice but the directions are a bit too wordy for me.
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  14. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Didn't vote, because I don't buy any N scale at all. But I sure could use a Santa Fe cafe obs 1509/1511 for my Oil Flyer.


    What was said above about long trains on short layouts is doubly true in HO. Lesser trains don't get enough love, IMO. The Santa Fe Tulsan and its competitor the Frisco Firefly, the UP's Butte Special, the Badger, Cincinnatian, Nebraska Zephyr, Sunbeam, Missouri River Eagle--these are great trains that tended to run a more manageable 6-8 cars long.

    Everyone loves the most famous trains, and with good reason. But serious modelers with limited space do love some of the less famous great trains.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I voted "Other". I would like to say a standard/HW Denver&Rio Grande in the pullman/coach green colors. I have Micro-Trains Silver, four lined, Aspen Gold livery. Pretty but have waited a long time for the other version. If you get what I mean

    Oh, I missed this the first time around. No Kits. I'm tired of messing with kits. I'm on the shorts and would like to see pre-fab train sets. So there! LOL
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
    Onizukachan and Mark St Clair like this.
  16. SF Chief

    SF Chief TrainBoard Member

    Like PolishFinnish, I also agree with Maletrain. I've been working for years on doing a decent 1950s Capitol Limited, have made "a respectable effort", but we're not there yet. I doubt Kato will ever go for a 1950s Capitol Limited because B&O was not a wealthy railroad and used a mix of cars, combining lightweight and rebuilt heavyweight cars, and corrugated cars with those painted in the classic B&O blue and gray. Kato seems to focus on trains that had a much more uniform look. True, they did their early Amtrak "rainbow" scheme, but that was based on cars already in inventory.

    If you can still find them, some of the Rowa passenger cars first made c. 1970 were prototypical for the Capitol. The Rowa models were state of the art for the time and are based mainly on C&O prototypes that the C&O also sold to others c. 1950 when it decided it didn't need as many as it had committed to buy. The B&O bought from C&O the Rowa-type corrugated 10-6 sleepers and the distinctive flat-end corrugated observation cars used on the Capitol Limited from 1951. Skipgear did a great job of painting up the Rowa observation car in B&O colors and displayed it on Trainboard some years back. I tried to copy that, with some success (only "some"). The B&O also bought 10-6 sleepers from the C&O before the corrugated fluting was applied and ran these on the Capitol, but as Maletrain notes, none of the available 10-6 N-scale models has the right window arrangement for these. Brass Car Sides and Union Station models make, or used to make, sides with the right windows in the right places, but I'm not sure if these are still available. I don't have them.

    The biggest problem with the Rowa cars is that their dome car is based on the B&O's distinctive dome built for the Columbian, but mostly used on the Capitol in the 1950s. Trouble is they made it corrugated, perhaps to match the other cars in their C&O set, but these dome cars were not corrugated in real life. (Nor did C&O ever own this type of car until it acquired these when it took over B&O in the 1960s.) That said, these weren't the only dome cars used on the Capitol. B&O also used Budd-built sleeper domes--the only sleeper domes used in the US. ConCor's corrugated dome car is not a bad stand in imho. I also use four Intermountain's beautiful 10-5 sleepers that were rarely used on the Capitol after about 1951, the Intermountain "Eastern diner", and a Microtrains "Heavyweight Parlor car" with a balloon roof as a heavyweight lounge car that ran behind the diner until B&O got newer equipment.

    So, this is a long way of saying I, too, would go for a Capitol Limited, and specifically 3-4 of the 10-6 smoothside sleepers, the two unit kitchen-dorm-diner, the head-end dorm-lounge. And, maybe, that distinctive smooth-sided dome Maletrain mentions. And maybe 1 or 2 of those Budd 16-4 sleepers with the offset windows that were named for birds. Rick
    Mark St Clair and BarstowRick like this.
  17. PolishFinnish

    PolishFinnish TrainBoard Member

    I've also been wondering what are peoples opinions on rivet detail for N scale?

    I understand both sides of the issue but which model would you prefer buying:
    1. No Rivets - just major details like roof joints, vents and Skirting detail
    2. Some rivets to somewhat represent the prototype
    3. I gotta have every rivet like the prototype - I'm a rivet counter.
    My experiments showed me it can be a bit tedious to get them right. Etching is the only way to go for super detailed kits. But if a plastic kit needs sanding, its much more difficult to avoid making a mistake if you have 100s of rivets to avoid.

    I can't remember where I read it but; a modeler should omit details that are too fine to be properly modeled. Do you agree with the motto?
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
    Mark St Clair likes this.
  18. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    I cant even SEE the rivets at my age...let alone COUNT them...:LOL::LOL::ROFLMAO:
    steve64d and Mark St Clair like this.
  19. PolishFinnish

    PolishFinnish TrainBoard Member

    Yea in HO there's a lot of people who complain if the model is short by a few scale inches or if the rivet detail is off by the slightest margin. I doubt this thought is the same in n scale haha just thought it would be best to ask before i start going crazy making a few models that are covered in rivets
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
    mtntrainman and Mark St Clair like this.
  20. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    OHhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...there are 'rivet counters' in n scale for sure. lol. We all enjoy the hobby in our own way. :whistle:
    Mark St Clair likes this.

Share This Page