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From: "Paul R DOT Tupaczewski" paultup AT optonline DOT net
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 21:04:33 -0500
Subject: Athearn 65' gons... A brief review
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They're here... The Athearn 65' mill gondolas!

These cars are meant to represent the EL 14700-series of cars (here's a
prototype photo from George Elwood's site:
As these are "Ready-to-Roll" models, and not the "Genesis" series, they may
not be 100% correct for each of the prototype models, but by and large are
very close. In this car's case, the model deviates from the prototype in
three areas that I can see:

- The lower body "taper" is longer than the prototype (5 panels to drop
rather than 4)
- The prototype has an L-or C-channel reinforcing piece along the top edge
- The prototype has a wood floor (Athearn's is a steel floor)

Now that we got those nits out of the way (feel free to refer to the photos
attached to see what you think), now we get to the review!

Athearn's model is a neat (and much-needed) car. It follows rather
unorthodox model construction - the floor is one molded metal piece that the
sides attach to (not sure how - whether it's pins or what - but the
instructions strongly advise that you hold the model from the lower part of
the sides so that you don't "bend" the sides inward - and I agree!). The
advantage of doing the sides this way allowed Athearn to mold some tie-down
hooks into the interior walls, a nice touch. There is a drop-down end door
on each end that you might want to put a small spot of white glue to hold in
place, as they're quite loose and fall from a vertical position fairly
easily. The underframe is fairly spartan (this isn't a Genesis model,
remember), but sufficient for operation on a layout. The major details on
the body (drop-ends, brakewheel and housing) are all nicely done, and the
car feature separate wire grabs, another plus. The lettering is crisp and
accurate, and even includes the Greenville Car builders logo, and all the
lettering is legible. Nice!

The "circle-W" symbol was wisely left off this model due to the steel floor
it comes with. I plan on adding a laser-cut floor (or alternately, take a
photo of a laser-cut floor and print it out on photo paper - the steel floor
leaves little room to put something on top of it) and putting a circle-W
decal on the car to make it more accurate. The metal floor does give the car
a good amount of weight, though admittedly, I haven't weighed mine yet.

The photos show the cars from various angles. Yes, the paint is shiny, like
most models, and I plan on Dullcoating the models very shortly, as well as
adding a coat of road dust. Gons were never clean for that long!

The cars are available in two numbers - 14788 (part #93608) and 14741 (part

- Paul

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