Author Topic: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?  (Read 2315 times)

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daniel_leavitt2000

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Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« on: June 05, 2010, 12:59:48 AM »
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Atlas, Bachmann, Model Power, and Roco all produced various forms of the popular ACF 5250 quad covered hopper. All of these models are stuck in the early 70's in terms of tooling, even the Atlas version that was tooled in 1990's. The market is saturated with fantasy and real paint schemes. Its unfortunate, because the prototype is a quintessential modern freight car. I could use a few to mix in with the 5701, 5800 (and god willing a Trinity at some point when manufacturers realize ACF is not the only car maker). The models look so poor (hello end angle frames?) that they stick out.

Now lets take another ACF hopper, the 2 bay 2970. Atlas made theirs first in the late 1980's or early 1990's. This was a mediocre car with the same gross detail and missing parts as the 5250. But Intermountain AND MTL produced very high quality versions shortly thereafter. The MTL cars even had round or elongated hatches. Athearn's recent 2970 is simply one of the best n scale freight cars on the market now (seriously, buy a few).

Will we ever see a high quality 5250?
You've crossed the walls, excelled
Further along through their hell
All for my heart, I watch you kill
You always have, you always will
Now spread your wings and sail out to me

SkipGear

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2010, 01:58:06 AM »
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(and god willing a Trinity at some point when manufacturers realize ACF is not the only car maker).

Tony Hines

bbussey

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2010, 09:04:05 AM »
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Years ago, the very first issue of N Scale Magazine featured an article on upgrading the original Atlas centerflow with scratchbuilt end cages, etched roofwalks, etcetera, and the cars looked incredible.  I'm sure the same techniques could be applied to the current Atlas model, which would yield an even better-looking car than the ones in the article. 

Or, you could adapt the end cages and other details from an undecorated MTL center flow to the Atlas body and have a better-looking model as well.
Bryan Busséy
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ljudice

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2010, 08:35:23 AM »
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I'd hope  we get a new one - but frankly I'd rather see some of the other prototypes done, like the PD-series cars.

I picked up a pair of Walthers PD5000's - really not as bad as I remember - except for the roofwalk and the end ladders. There are decals out there for these as well, but I am thinking of making a set for Grace Davidson Cracking Crystals...


Hyperion

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2010, 09:21:50 AM »
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I could use a few to mix in with the 5701, 5800 (and god willing a Trinity at some point when manufacturers realize ACF is not the only car maker).

Is there some reason why Exactrail's or IMRCs Trinity 5161s doesn't count?  Or are you talking about just quads?
-Mark

sundowner

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2010, 03:57:42 PM »
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Best bet for this is Athearns. There two bay are nice.
Which ever side of the track I am on is the right side.

asarge

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 12:26:07 PM »
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Never say never, but not in the near future. They have not been big sellers overall and there are a bunch of other projects we'll probably see come out first.

Mark5

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 12:47:21 PM »
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The Trainman Atlas 5250 is post 1971 (era) according to Atlas:

http://www.atlasrr.com/NFreight/n5250.htm

So if I wanted a 1960s built version I'd need to find an older tooling version and try to "pretty it up" eh?

Mark

For fun I checked a Bachmann ACF in EL (rd #20122):


Proto 20102:
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/frt/el20102.jpg

Almost not a foob!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 02:47:52 PM by NandW »

Denver Road Doug

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2010, 05:12:52 PM »
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Never say never, but not in the near future. They have not been big sellers overall and there are a bunch of other projects we'll probably see come out first.

Do you mean the ACF 5250's or the newer Athearn ACF 2-bay cars?

I've noticed some shops running bottom-dollar clearance sales on the Atlas 5700/5800-series cars, which astonishes me.  Our LHS only ordered about two I think (which is pretty typical)...fortunately my normal pusher came through with all I pre-ordered (also typical, which is nice!)....but some of my fellow modelers have been trying to find more and they don't seem to find them.  By the time I've let them know they're on sale via e-tailers they're all sold out.  So there's some kind of major disconnect somewhere.

Do you guys get national sales figures on cars, or is it just...you know what doesn't sell by what shows up in the distributors "hey we still have these" list or sale pile?

Reason I ask is I've had manufacturers tell me at shows "those didn't sell".  Yet, they came, went, none on eBay, none in shops, none on clearance at Walthers, wiped off the face of the earth.  Just wondered if that is just the standard brush-off answer, and they only intended to get one run done and move on, or what.  Maybe they got enough orders to do run the minimum and decided to do it but not worth the risk of another...who knows.  I do know one instance where DI was doing a run of Hyundai 20ft containers and the company decided they wanted to buy nearly all the run to give their employees so only a few of them made it into the hands of modelers. (they eventually re-ran them...MANY years later)

Anyway, to get back on topic, I would love to see that N-Scale Mag article.  The "end cages" seem to be the trouble spots on most of these models so I might be up for converting one or two.
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

Mark5

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2010, 05:26:30 PM »
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Yeah, I'm very suspicious of peeps that loudly proclaim "_____ didn't sell well"

Mark

Today I learned that GN had the 1960s versions:

http://www.railcarphotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=57742

Rio Grande too (1971+ style?):

http://www.railcarphotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=44693

I think Atlas did this scheme last decade.

Also, 1971+, and just sqeaks by as fitting into my era (built 12/72):

http://www.railcarphotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=54766

Mark
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 05:32:59 PM by NandW »

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2010, 05:41:15 PM »
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Anyway, to get back on topic, I would love to see that N-Scale Mag article.  The "end cages" seem to be the trouble spots on most of these models so I might be up for converting one or two.

The article is probably out of date. As Bryan stated, its probably easier to use the end railings from Intermountain or MTL. You would still need to add the slope supports though.
You've crossed the walls, excelled
Further along through their hell
All for my heart, I watch you kill
You always have, you always will
Now spread your wings and sail out to me

bbussey

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2010, 06:13:51 PM »
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When Atlas came out with the two-bay Centerflows, I back-dated the model to the 1960s prototype by sanding down the top corrugations and adding the belt rail:



I'm sure the same thing can be done to the current Atlas 5250 and it would fit in just fine.

That Centerflow-upgrade article in the premiere issue of N scale in 1989, by Pete Thomas if I remember correctly, yielded some great-looking models.  But it was a lot of work, and it would be far easier to cannibalize the MTL or IMRC cars.  If I were working on one, I would take as many details off the MTL car and add them to the Atlas car.  Throw in an etched roofwalk and it should yield a quality model.
Bryan Busséy
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Mark5

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2010, 10:29:07 PM »
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I assume there is no need to "back date" if you simply start with one of the older Atlas or Bachmann models (they are not identical BTW).

Mark

Interesting that we've had many different (old tooling) versions of this car.

1960s Atlas(Roco):

http://www.visi.com/~spookshow/freight/atlas5250.html

Bachmann (1970s?)

http://www.visi.com/~spookshow/freight/bach56cf.html

Model Power (copy of the Roco?):

http://www.visi.com/~spookshow/freight/mpacfhopper.html
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 10:45:45 PM by NandW »

bbussey

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2010, 11:07:08 PM »
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I assume there is no need to "back date" if you simply start with one of the older Atlas or Bachmann models (they are not identical BTW)...

True, but the detail is less clunky on the newer Atlas model.  You can use Plastruct semi-circular or triangular styrene strips to simulate the upper belt rail.
Bryan Busséy
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asarge

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Re: Will we ever get a quality ACF 5250?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2010, 08:30:57 AM »
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Quote
Do you mean the ACF 5250's or the newer Athearn ACF 2-bay cars?

Guys, the 5250 is what I'm talking about. Every run we've ordered of the 5250's have sat around for awhile, we may still ahve a few and it's been over 2 years last the last batch was delivered. The 2970's haven't sold like I thought they would....at least not as well as the 2600's in our shop. In our situation that probably is just because of the roadnames offered vs. the roads our customers model or collect. Several of the first runs are still available at Horizon however, so except for the CNW's the other roads are still available, so maybe it wasn't such a hot seller. MAYBE because we donlt have a decent cement plant model or they weren't colorful, who knows.

The ACF 5700/5800's do not appear to have done well either. They are nice cars! We still have a bunch. Again, maybe it's the lack of a n industry to model that could be affecting sales or whatever. As far as not seeing them on ebay. I don't know that I would use that as a barometer of a models success as there are several factors that may affect what get's on ebay. I usually factor in how long they remain available at the distrubutors more than what sells in any one shop. The 5700/5800's have been put on clearance at one distributor or another before, so thast may be a barometer. It could also be the manufacturer's runs have gotten smaller because the sales on the initial releases took longer to sell out. That could also be a reason why it takes longer for new runs to get done.......unless you're Walthers of course.