Author Topic: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?  (Read 755 times)

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ednadolski

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Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« on: November 22, 2021, 09:31:22 PM »
+1
I reserved a few of these a while back because I really wanted to try weathering something that had the factory-painted 'ghost' lettering (which would otherwise be hard to do by hand).  After now getting a few, it's a bummer to learn that Athearn's "primed for grime" paint job on these models doesn't come close to matching any prototype.  I looked thru just about all the pics I could find on railcarphotos.com and rrpicturearchives.net but could not find any of the FMC prototypes having the ghost lettering.  The ones having the ghosted lettering are actually for PCF prototypes, which does not match the model. Despite this, Athearn numbered the models for the FMC series.  Even more glaring tho (since it would not be too hard just to re-number them), Athearn's paint-out patterns don't match any of the prototypes having the ghost logos, nor do their 're-painted' combo doors match up to the prototypes with the faded lettering.

I totally get that they can't possibly tool up all possible FMC and PCF carbodies, but even so it seems that it should not be too much to expect that they make the graphics patterns more consistent than this -- esp. if the selling point is to save modelers some of the work it takes to make a realistic weathering job.    :facepalm:








Even the 'new' logo (that is not ghosted) doesn't match up to its prototype at all  (yes, it is the same side of the car)....






(MT has done a great job with their factory weathering, so I'm not sure why it should be too hard for Athearn.)

Ed

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2021, 09:51:29 PM »
+4
Ed, I think you might be over thinking this a bit. For example, 50407 photo is over a decade old. It could have been repainted in the past decade due to graffiti or rust.

Athearn, like Atlas, has a massive private photo collection to call on. They could have a photo of a car in a state of paint that would only have been valid for a few months.

They may also be using patterns designed for their HO cars with number adjusted to match the tooling they have in N scale. Honestly, I'm ok with this. MTL sometimes uses the wrong type of car entirely on their weathered models. Is this any different?

We are never going to be able to model the exact cars that were used on a specific date at a specific location in the exact paint scheme that they were in. It's just impossible. What we can do is buy model that convey the feel of used equipment, which this does.

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ljudice

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2021, 12:46:32 PM »
+1
Happy with mine...



sundowner

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2021, 06:37:57 PM »
0
This are the old MDC tooling with improvement. I have both run of the prime for grime ABOX cars and they are both nice. The only mod needed I did to them was put blma trucks for the fine scale wheels.
Which ever side of the track I am on is the right side.


basementcalling

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2021, 08:22:30 PM »
0
I was just happy to get a set this time. The original run sold out faster than you could blink.

With so many variations over time, these could be based on a proto photo, but then again, maybe not. They aren't going to be perfect models anyway because they are the old MDC tooling.
Peter Pfotenhauer

Missaberoad

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2021, 08:32:46 PM »
0
Here's the basis for the late scheme car.

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/rbox/abox50569y03.jpg
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ednadolski

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2021, 09:20:30 PM »
0
Not exact but slightly ghosted...  :D

Thanks, I did look those over, tho that does show the issue:  in order to get close, I would have to "un-ghost" the factory lettering with decals (which hopefully would fit properly)....  and even then, the combo doors would be wrong, since Athearn did them as re-paints (which BTW would not be nearly so rusted).

I'm not looking to go all proto-police mode, but it would take a lot of layering work to capture the look of all the grime/rusting/grafitti/etc on these cars.  I'm finding it pretty hard to justify that level of effort, knowing the end result still will be a pretty conspicuous mismatch. 


Here's the basis for the late scheme car.

Precisely -- they just could have done that number, no reason not to.


They aren't going to be perfect models anyway because they are the old MDC tooling.

It's not about the tooling.  The FMCs and PCFs are actually a pretty passable stand-in for each other.

I don't expect Athearn to be like a ScaleTrains or Tangent (except for their HO Genesis line), but I do think they had the opportunity to do a lot better here with only a bit more attention to detail.

Ed
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 09:35:28 PM by ednadolski »

kiwi_bnsf

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2021, 04:08:20 PM »
+1
I share the frustration when manufacturers don't bother to research cars that are the best match for their tooling, or don't bother to get decoration that matches a prototype.

For me, the tooling matters too. In this respect at least the Athearn FMC Combo boxcars are much more accurate than the Micro Trains cars (which are squished more than a foot vertically).


There are obviously a lot of RailBox build series to choose from, but it's not that hard to find a number range that closely matches the available tooling.

The sill / step cut-outs are quite distinctive and recognisable between PCF and FMC lots, and MicroTrains are just as guilty of choosing ranges for their weathered cars that are inaccurate for their tooling.

Exhibit A:  Micro Trains Weathered Runner pack…

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

… but the RBOX 20400-20899 series is a PCF car with narrow step cutouts:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

All Micro Trains had to do was find some representative cars in the RBOX series 37750-38749 built by FMC that have the correct wide sill cutouts:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]






« Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 04:11:57 PM by kiwi_bnsf »
--
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ednadolski

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Re: Athearn ABOX FMC Combo Door Box -- not even close?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2021, 11:58:51 AM »
0
Curious:

Quote
http://www.athearn.com/Articles/Article.aspx?ArticleID=2723

We’ve taken the time to research locomotives and other rolling stock from actual photographs

I sure do wish there was a way to see the actual photos that they used for these cars, because I would be more than happy to follow them.

Overall I still give Athearn kudos for offering the Primed for Grime option, since it can be (when done well) a great path to saving work and getting good results. Those MT cars being a foot too short were always a non-starter for me (and they have the wrong doors). Ditto for that cartoonish grafitti, but MT is getting better at that.

Ed