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PC: [Fwd: Bowser PRR/PC/CR N8 Caboose (Cabin)]

Hi all: Mike Bradley , Who most of you already know, sent me his
observations on the upcoming Bowser N8.  I would hope that this test
shot is not the finished product...It's not what we've come to expect
for a $30.00 item  Mark Kerlick
--- Begin Message --- Mark,

During a recent visit to English's Model Railroad Shop, I happened to take a close look at what must have been a test shot of the new PRR/PC/CR N8 caboose that was sitting on a display track above the little operating HO and N gage loops.

I was hoping to see the new cabin since several test shots of the earlier models that Bowser produced have also been displayed prior to being released.  First I must say that only the body (less roof and cupola), handrail sprue and glazing were displayed.
Actually two bodies were displayed.  One had the handrails, grab irons and glazing installed and the other did not.

Let me address each of the parts that I saw.


I could not tell how close the body was to prototype dimensions as I had neither drawings or a scale rule.  The rivets were quite fine, similar to the earlier N5C and N5.  Looked good to me.  The body had the vertical handrails at the very end of the side and the two adjacent small notches on the sides at floor level-nice.  Window openings appeared to be correct with the rain drip above the window.  The one thing that immediately jumped out at me when I saw the first body (before I saw the handrails) was the size of the holes for the cast handrails.  They were quite large, perhaps .035 and reminded me of the large holes that KATO has on the sides of their cabs for the handrails.  This is true for the sides and ends.  Then I saw the handrails.......


My heart sank a bit when I saw the yellow handrails and grab irons.  One nice touch was that they appeared to be cast in yellow, but they appeared to be between two and three times thicker than the prototype.  Going to separate handrails is great move, however, after the N5C and N5 had cast on handrails that were very fine is somewhat puzzling when the separate parts seem to be very heavy.  It's like cast on = close to prototype, separate = too thick.  What gives here?  In my opinion, the thickness of the handrails needs to be reduced by close to 50%.

Widow Glazing

The one N8 body that I saw had glazing installed and my impression of the glazing was a cross between transparent and translucent.  Kind of like the glazing that Bowser offered as an aftermarket part for the N5C's and N5's.  The one thing that I couldn't help notice (and I realize that this was only a test shot) was that either the glazing was misapplied or that it was not the correct size as there was a gap about .010 on one side of the windows.  Hopefully this will be corrected.  (Actually, I would hope that American Model builders will provide an after market laser cut glazing package.)

What I Didn't See

One thing that I didn't see was any undeframe details.  My recollection was that it appeared that the underbody/underframe was an integral part of the body.  It also appeared that there will be separate draft gear covers and that the only other underbody details will be the typical three pieces.

I also didn't see the roof or cupola and they will be critical to the cabooses overall appearance.  I always thought that any attempt at an N8 (especially by Bowser) would end up in the $29.95 range, especially if it had separate handrails/grab irons, and glazing.  BUT and a very big BUT is this.  I believe that any caboose with this price tag should have a fairly well detailed cast brake system with brake lines as Branchline, Intermountain, Red Caboose have done with their freight cars.  The handrails and grab irons should be much finer and the glazing should be pretty decent.

I had ordered six of the N8's and quite frankly, unless the production runs incorporate some changes/additions, I'll probably only get one or two.  In my very humble opinion, Bowser has produced some nice kits that were aimed at the middle of the road modeler for a very fair price.  (Oh how I wish the round roof boxcars/livestock service cars had separate ladders/grabs.)

But when you move your price up to the $30.00 level, the level of "expectation" rises as well.  Some guys will be ecstatic with the N8 as it appeared.  Why not go a little bit farther (detailed brake system and finer handrails/grab irons) and please all but the very fussiest modelers?

Well, there it is, just an opinion.  Oddly enough, I haven't seen any other posts regarding this caboose and it has probably been on display for at least two weeks.  I'm curious as to what others opinions are out there.

--- End Message ---

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