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N Scale - Roundhouse - 8857 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, FMC, 5347 - North Louisiana & Gulf - 5505

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N Scale - Roundhouse - 8857 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, FMC, 5347 - North Louisiana & Gulf - 5505 Image Courtesy of Steve German


Stock Number 8857
Brand Roundhouse
Manufacturer MDC Roundhouse
Body Style MDC Boxcar 50 Foot FMC Single Door
Prototype Boxcar, 50 Foot, FMC, 5347 (Details)
Road or Company Name North Louisiana & Gulf (Details)
Reporting Marks NLG
Road or Reporting Number 5505
Paint Color(s) Green
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Injection Molded Plastic
Kit Complexity Easy-Build
Kit Material(s) Pewter Metal and Injection Molded Plastic
Release Date 1979-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Boxcar
Model Subtype 50 Foot
Model Variety FMC Single Door
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 1958 - 1978
Scale 1/160


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Model Information: Single Sliding Door Rib Side Without Roofwalk FMC. Originally designed by MDC Roundhouse. This tooling was acquired by Athearn in June of 2004 and re-released under the Athearn name. The MDC releases referred to this tooling as "FMC 50 Foot Boxcar - Single Door". Athearn refers to them as "FMC 5347 Box Car(sic)", but they are the same model.

The MDC Roundhouse releases typically came as kits (though some later releases were RTR) with an unpainted pewter underframe and truck-mounted couplers and blackened low-profile metal wheels. The Athearn releases have a nicer set of wheels (also low-profile). The Athearn models are always Ready-to-Run (RTR). The Athearn models have painted (black) underframes that are also metal (likely pewter or whatever MDC used). Athearn moved the couplers to become body-mounted and changed the coupling system from Rapido to McHenry. After inspecting them closely, I am not sure they can be swapped for MTL couplers without filing off part of the underframe, but I could be wrong. This presents a problem as McHenry couplers don't always play well with other couplers on long consists where that is a lot of force on each coupling point. The body has remained unchanged with the only detail part being the brake wheel.

The newer releases of this body style (as of 2017) market this boxcar as specifically modelling the FMC 5347 prototype.

Prototype History:
It was the mid 1970s, and the incentive per diem box car boom was just beginning. New, brightly painted box cars seemed to appear overnight. Many were lettered for various short lines. FMC (Food Machinery Corporation) was a significant builder of many of these cars. The 50’ outside post, non-terminating end box car, became the foundation for new per diem cars built in the 1970s. The 50’ FMC cars also varied in door configuration and style to better suit each customer. These cars can still be seen today at work (2017) on many ralroads.

The main difference between the 5077 cu. ft cars built by FMC vs the 5277-5347 cu. ft cars built by the same manufacturers is the overall height of the car, the smaller 5077 cars were Plate B while the larger 5277-5347 cars were Plate C.

Brand/Importer Information:
MDC Roundhouse was founded in California and relocated to Reno Nevada due to statewide restrictions on painting. MDC Roundhouse was a producer of both RTR (Ready-to-Run) and kit versions of N Scale rolling stock as well as RTR locomotives. MDC Roundhouse was purchased by Horizon Hobbies in June of 2004 and merged into their Athearn line.

Unlike many of their contemporaries which contracted with European firms to produce their products, MDC made their own toolings. They made several popular body styles and produced them for road names that many other vendors (even Micro-Trains) wouldn't touch. This made them popular with modelers. Also, their un-assembled "kits" permitted a lower price point so they were popular with "runners" as well as "modelers".

Of particular interest was the attention given to modern 50 foot steel boxcars. They made some attempt to accurately mold the differences into distinct models to represent each of the major prototype manufacturers products. They have distinct toolings not only for the different products from FMC, BFF and PS, but also multiple models for each of these manufacturers including "standard" vs "Youngstown" doors and "waffle" vs. "rib" sides. In total they produced 13 different versions of the 50 foot steel boxcar.


Item created by: Steve German on 2016-04-02 19:29:42. Last edited by gdm on 2018-04-04 07:22:15

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