Branchline Yardmaster construction review

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mhdishere, May 22, 2004.

  1. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    Feb 27, 2003
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    I posted this in RR-line too, if this looks familiar that's why!

    Well folks, I just built the first of my Yardmaster boxcar kits, so I thought I'd tell you about it.

    I got four of these at a train show last Sunday and on another thread I said how nice they looked, but I hadn't yet built one. Here are my impressions after the first one.

    The kit is a USRA boxcar, lettered for Erie. The sides are boxcar red and the roof and ends are black. I don't know if this is prototypical for this car or not.

    The basic car shell is a box consisting of the floor, two sides, and two blank ends that the ends are attached to. Everything gets attached to this box.

    First you attach the couplers to the underframe. I just press fit the coupler boxes, but one of these days I'll probably drill and tap it for a screw. Put the underframe on the bottom of the car, the trucks hold in place. It took a little trimming of the cross members to make everything fit, but no big deal. There's also a spot on the center of the bottom where a sprue was cut off unevenly, I had to file and sand this a bit to make the underframe fit flat. I ran "the tool" thru the trucks and inserted the wheelsets (metal wheels), the trucks are nice and free rolling. It looks like Branchline used to supply little plastic pins to hold the trucks, but now they supply screws. I probably should have reamed out the holes a little and tapped them, but I just screwed them in. The underframe also has nice brake rigging molded in place, lines and all. Nice for lazy folks like me!

    A departure from the directions here. Branchline says to install the two nuts they give for weight next, then install the ends. The ends are easier to get in without the nuts there. Since I held mine in with double-sided tape (since that's what I had handy) it wasn't a big deal, but if I'd used contact cement as they recommend it would have been harder. I didn't bother cementing the ends, they fit tight and shouldn't come loose. Cement the brake wheel to the proper end. Then attach the roof walk (I had to ream the holes in the roof a little to make the pins fit) and attach the roof. I didn't cement the roof either, it's a tight fit and I wanted it loose so I could detail the interior sometime in the future.

    Now for the doors, they move! Before you have visions of oversized door tracks, let me tell you they have a little bracket that you cement to the back of the door which engages a track on the floor and the top of the door openning. I suspect they might be a little delicate, but you can also glue them in place if you're so inclined.

    Total construction time, less than a half-hour, mostly because of trimming the underframe to fit. The next one will probably take 15 minutes, about the time it takes me to build a blue-box. In fact it is pretty similar to a blue-box style kit, but much better detailed.

    I think I'll be getting more of these cars, and I really hope Branchline comes out with more cars in this line, hoppers, gons, flats, maybe passenger cars too! For the effort of building a blue-box or MDC kit you get a really nice model.
  2. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Thanks for the heads up. RTV Silicone is much better than contact cement for sticking metal weights to plastic IMHO. FRED
  3. NYC-BKO

    NYC-BKO Member

    Jun 6, 2004
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    Thanks for the review,
    I bought my first kit yesterday.
  4. mykroft

    mykroft Member

    Nov 15, 2002
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    I normally ream out the end-holes and glue them in, rather than press-fitting.

    The Blueprint series use the same basic design, just with individual grabs and brake detail. Lovely kits and well worth the assembly time. Some kits will need a ream & tap for the truck screws, and you may run accross older kits that still use the pins. I always keep a supply of #2-56 screws for these older kits.

    I consider the Yardmaster kits to be the nicest Shake-the-Box kits on the market, and the Blueprint series are IMHO the best kits in plastic out there. About 2/3rds of my 50 pieces of rolling stock are Branchline.

    NOw if they'd just start doing more in the way of freight cars than boxcars and reefers. I'd love to have some Blueprint quality Gons, flats & hoppers.