Thursday, February 23, 2023

UTLX Tank Cars (Part 2) - Tangent GA Type-17 8k Tankcar Review

So this is a new purchase coming off last week's UTLX Tank Cars (Part 1) New Models on the Market.  This model is from the third run of General American Tank Car Company (GA) Type 17 8,000 Gallon Uninsulated tank car models from Tangent Scale Models.  While I've picked up some other Tangent tank car models in the past, this is the first "unboxing" of a very new released model that I've done in a while.

UTLX 72176 - GA Type 17, 8K Gal

Tangent Scale Models UTLX 72176 in the box

As with all the previous Tangent Scale Models tank cars, the model comes in a very good box with formed plastic cradle.  

UTLX 8K GA Type 17 unwrapping from box.

The car itself is wrapped in thin plastic sheet.  The details around the tankcar make it tricky to get it out without bumping anything.  I generally grab the front and rear (as considered from the tankcar's view) of the dome.  The sides of the dome have grab irons and put your fingers close to the dome platforms.

UTLX 72176 right out of the box on my layout.

The pad-printing quality on the model is excellent.  Multiple small data blocks are printed on the underframe and even the reservoir of the AB-brake system.

Underframe with AB-Brake system, brake rigging, and outlet pipe.

Remember that tank cars like this are loaded through the top hatch and then emptied by either siphoning out the load from the top hatch or draining from the bottom pipe.  If the bottom pipe is used the hatch still needs to be unsealed/opened to prevent the car pulling a vacuum as the load tries to drain.

Weathering & Tweaks

My first step in weathering is painting the wheel faces with Apple Barrel "Pavement" acrylic paint.  I'm planning to do some light weathering on the trucks and underframe, probably a bit of dust/dirt on top of the running boards.

UTLX 72176 with wheel faces painted.

Any tank weathering I do will probably be with my airbrush, and I'll cover all that later.  For now I just want a few basic weathering bits, mostly on the wheels where the bare chemically blacked metal was showing.

Closeup detail photo of 50-ton trucks, complicated stirrup steps, and the little poling pocket on the bolster right above the truck!

I am very impressed with the small details on the car.  The bolster even has the poling pockets (front and rear) cast into the bolster.  This was done on the General American tank cars, due to the thin walkways making the normal corner frame points non-existent on these cars.  Where as AC&F tank cars (Type 21 & Type 27) had solid frames outboard of the bolsters which were strong enough to handle being poled against.

Missing Spring?  No Worries, Not Defective!

Somewhere along the line the car lost one of the knuckle springs.  That might have happened when I was taking it out of the box or when it was coupled on the track for photo on my layout.  I'm not too disturbed when a spring pops out, as I have a supply of them with my various Kadee "Scale Head" couplers that I have to put in the kits I'm building for the Jawbone Branch.

Minor Problem for Myopic Modelers

This is the first Tangent tank car that I really looked at close-up since the 3-dome GA 6k gallon cars and the 8k Acid cars from 2016.  I did just notice that all of the GA Type 17 cars that I have have 'threaded' manway covers, which were generally phased out of tank car domes by the 1940s, replaced with "approved safety manways" which were able to be unsealed while still contained by the eight bolts to keep the manway hatch from violently lifting and striking the worker opening the manway.  Cars equipped with the safety manway were marked with a diamond shaped mark on the domes.

Early 'Threaded Manway' with "Approved Safety Manway" diamond mark pad-printed on dome?

All of the cars that I have from the GA Type 17 series have the pad printing for the "Safety Manways," but the models don't have the matching detail parts installed.  I went back to Tangent's website and checked various prototype photos which are available there.  Pretty much all of the photos of cars after 1940 show the "Safety Manway" on the cars. 

Approved Safety Manway with Diamond mark on P2K AC&F Type 21 8K gallon car.

Very distinctive with the eight bolts coming up through the edges of the hatch, even at low viewing angles.  I suppose I'll be doing some careful replacement of the manways with Tichy parts or scouting around for some other suppliers.  Maybe even 3d printing some.  (I'll cover this in a future post when I get to it.)

In Closing

String of various tank cars from RC Welded ICC-103W 10k gal, Atlas ICC-105A300W LPG 11k, Tangent GA Type 17 10k,  GA Type 17 8k, GA Type 17 Insulated 8k, and GA Acid 8K tankcars.

Overall these are great additions to the HO prototype tankcar market.  Yes, I'm late to the party for these 8k and 10k gallon GA tankcar models, getting in on the third run in 2022.  The lettering is very accurate and Tangent has put in the work to do the details in different materials, including bent wire and etched parts.  I'll be breaking out of the UTLX company mold, so I can cover some of the other Tangent tank cars in more detail in future posts.  The next time I'll return to the UTLX cars will probably be for either minor surgery to change the car to the "Approved Safety Manway" on the dome or other cars entirely.  Possibly Atlas's 11K gallon LPG tankcars from the early 2000s or Rapido's X-3 10k cars which will be coming out at some point "soon".

Edit 2023-02-22:
This week I've received the shipping info from Rapido that the X-3s are on the way!  So I look forward to 

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling Auto Boxcars (Part 1) - Walthers 50ft Double-Door, Single-Sheath Automobile Boxcars

Freight Car Overview Index Page - Linking to other freight car modeling articles on my blog

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