|InterMountain cylindrical hopper car kit: Hard|
to put together (for me, at least).
There was a time, not so long ago, when model railroad rolling stock—and most locomotives—came as kits.In most cases, there really wasn’t much to do; for cars, you just had to attach the floor and body, screw on the wheel sets, add the couplers and maybe the brake wheels. For some locomotives (e.g. Athearn Blue Box and Kato), you had to add the handrails and details.
And then there were the real kits, not just shake-the-box. These were kits where parts had to be cut from sprues, flash scraped off plastic, and things glued together.Some kits were easy to put together; some drove you crazy.
There’s a discussion going on at the Atlas HO forum about the hardest kits to put together. A number are mentioned, but two keep popping up: Front Range/McKean center beam bulkhead flat cars and Intermountain cylindrical hoppers.
|A McKean center beam car: Another |
I have built both. Well, that’s not exactly true. I built a cylindrical hopper, then swore I’d never build another. I never finished the McKean center beam bulkhead flat.
The Intermountain car was just plain hard to make—lots of delicate, finicky parts. I don’t have big fingers, but I found it very hard to attach the pieces. After spending hours making the car, I calculated my time at an average hourly wage and concluded that, even at between $35 to $40 per car (Canadian), buying them all put together and ready-to-run was worth it.(In fact, I almost never paid that much for the many cylindrical hoppers on the M & M Sub.; they could often be found on sale, or for much less used at train shows.)
As for the McKean car—well, that’s the only kit that has ever defeated me. I tried to put it together. Really, I did. But it resisted every effort. Parts were warped. Parts didn’t fit. Holes were too small, pegs were too big.
I repeatedly put it aside, thinking that one day I’d come back to it and finish it. It never happened. So, one notable day, I threw it in the garbage. I immediately felt better.So: What’s the hardest kit you’ve ever put together?