The new AMS 0n3 & 0n30 Short Cabooses (Cabeese?) came and went this week.
Only about four years after they were supposed to be ready but finally arrive they did. I had twenty arrive and nineteen of them were spoken for before they got here. The 20th one is the subject of this initial mini review.
The review model is: –
AM53-0133 Short Caboose in D&RGW Flying Grande Livery numbered 0501 and is 0n3 gauge
First up is new packaging compared to the earlier releases with a plain white card box with just one end label.
Simple, plain and no frills but can be a pain if you want to get it all back in the box once you have part two of the packaging out.
Gone is the expanded polystyrene inner of old in favour of the clam shell type clear plastic inner so many are using now.
It does hold the model really well whilst isolating it from shocks to the outer box. It is a real pain to get back into the card box and get all the flaps shut though.
First impression are that its a nice model and whilst I haven’t checked it to drawing it looks about right although one or two bits do seem a bit over sized but I suspect that is a manufacturing compromise.
One to watch for when you take it out of the box are the four bits of foam pressed into keep the bogies from rattling about in transit.
I thought I might have to slacken the bogies off to get them out but they pulled out with a pair of tweezers. Once out the bogies are free to rotate.
When you look at it more closely you start to realise its too clean. I am sure that when it came out of the shops all that white work may have been shiny white and squeaky clean but that wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.
That said its the work of moments to tone it down
Now this is me getting nit picky. Actually maybe its just me expressing personal preferences but some parts of this model won’t survive if it does stay on my roster.
Couplings: 0n3 and 0n30 couplers are quite different in size as the usual 0n3 item is properly scaled for the model and set higher than an 0n30 one whilst the 0n30 coupler is basically an HO one at the HO standard height.
The industry standard is the Kadee with a different one for each scale
AMS have decided to try and produce one coupler that does both and what they have come up with isn’t very good in either. It couples and stays coupled but doesn’t look right and doesn’t auto uncouple reliably. Its not very good at coupling either as the jaw and centering spring is way too strong. They also protrude from the end of the car to allow sufficient clearance on train set curves.
For reliable operation I’d change it for a Kadee 148 in HO or a 803 in 0n3. If it stays this one will get San Juan EVO couplers. The overscale and rigid representation of the air hose will be replaced with a San Juan rubber one as well.
Clearly this model has to be a compromise between fine scale model and practical survival on a model railway and to that end some of the details are a bit beefy and over scale.
The handrails appear too thick and could be replaced with wire but I think some judicious weathering will do the trick
This last photo is a comparison between the AMS car to the rear and a San Juan version to the fore (which I should have dusted before taking the picture). The San Juan car is one of the limited edition ready to run versions of their kit.
So which do I prefer? Well, I think it would have to be the San Juan one for the finesse of the details but I spent a lot of time getting it to run reliably. Then they’re not available today and would probably cost a lot more. The kit would be about 85 quid at today’s exchange rate.
Price for the AMS version? The first batch arrived at £79 but that was the pre vote price (see my other post on exchange rates). We’re estimating the next batch imported will be £90.
So, will I keep this one? Probably. I am thinking, EVO couplers, decent brake pipes, a Soundtraxx SoundCar decoder, speaker and keep alive. That will also provide interior lighting and marker light and then a battered look paint job. I have no idea when this might happen though
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