CB&Q P.S. Hy-Cube Box Car Chinese Red #19874
…of Ukiah, California, have been around for a while creating innovative details sets such as very resilient, unbreakable UV resistant paintable rubber material air hoses for HO and O scale models. They market highly detailed accessories for correcting, scratchbuilding, and modifying model railroad locomotives and cars. In addition, Hi-Tech Details (HTD) produces line side items and model kits of complete cars, the subject of this review.
Hi-Tech Details also makes models and accessories for N and O scale.
Hi-Tech Details website is hi-tech, too! Many of their sets and kits feature click-to-access how-to features and instructions.
Pullman Standard 40-Foot Hy-Cube Boxcar
Box cars changed from the ubiquitous general-purpose AAR design to specialized cars in the early 1960s. Pullman Standard built these 40-foot Hy-Cube (also “High-Cube” or ‘Hi-Cube’) box cars to carry appliances. Appliances could be triple stacked due to the increased internal height. When Hy-Cube cars got bigger and longer these 40-footers came to be called “baby” Hy-Cubes. Popular in the West and Midwest where height clearances were not a concern, small fleets were acquired; vivid liveries were the fad at the time and Hy-Cubes really jazzed up freight trains of standard size cars.
CB&Q Pullman-Standard Hy-Cube Box Car
HTD offers 13 P.S. 40’ Hy-Cube box cars in three roadnames plus an undecorated model. This injection molded model is packed in a two-piece top and tray box. The basic box car is built with separate sides, ends of Pullman-Standard style, a floor/frame, and a roof. Each part is attached to sprues. There are no sink or ejection marks, seam lines or flash, with the following exception. One end of each side has a bit of flash; the styrene is neither soft nor brittle so the flash easily came off with a few light passes from my hobby knife. Each side has a Youngstown door molded on. Sealed in plastic bags are five sprues of detail parts. HTD molds the 52 parts for this model in color except for the silver painted Pullman-Standard roof. Couplers (not included) are conventionally mounted in boxes molded into the floor. The one-piece underside features basic frame detail including bolsters.
Unremarkable plastic wheel sets equip nicely detailed plastic trucks; HTD made a packing mistake and this kit arrived with both a Barber S-2 roller bearing truck and an Archbar truck. Low ladders and a low mounted hand brake date this car as built post-1966, as the car lacks a running board, outlawed on new cars and required to be removed in the 1970s.
HTD pre-drilled small (I needed a .073 drill to open one up) mounting holes to hang ladders and end walk platforms -- very nice! Air brake equipment, underbody cross members and other fittings also have holes or slots to assist mounting. No brake piping, train lines or brake rods are included.
Certainly plenty to keep you busy! Over 52 parts are provided for super detailing. Not all are used for this model.
The finesse with which all these parts are molded is amazing! See the photos of the parts next to the ruler. I used sprue nippers and sharp fresh blades to remove the parts. Fine individual side ladders and stirrups are separately applied. Both end ladders and connecting railing are each molded as single parts. To support the end walkways are eight thin individual brackets. All are thinly molded, if not exactly to scale, then very close.
The air brake system includes the reservoir, cylinder, and triple valve. Very tiny forks to attach the brake rods to the brake levers are included, as are the levers. No instructions for mounting these is in the kit.
The hand brake consists of a gear box, chain, rod and an AAR standard wheel.
Surface detail is fine rivets and latches and fittings. Look closely – you can read the cast data on the trucks including Barber S-2
. Curiously, Hi-Tech Details did not include any of their famous rubber air hoses in the kit.
These are simple: a standard-size sheet with 12 assembly steps and a brief history of the “Baby Hy-Cube” (including the roadnumbers of the five main railroads that owned them) on one side, and photographs of the parts placement on the other. No diagram for the plumbing and rigging of the air brake system is included. In fact, no mention is made of the brake rod forks or most of the other parts.
Hi-Tech Details’ printing is the sharp, opaque, high-quality work that is becoming the norm. All data stenciling and printing is legible. Reflective squares adorn the sill. As the model is molded in color, CB&Q Chinese Red, there isn’t anything for you to finish, aside from weathering. The printing includes Hydraulic Cushioning
as the prototype featured a Hydroframe 40 to cushion lading against shock.
Roadnames available are:
• Chicago Burlington & Quincy
• Milwaukee Road
• Rio Grande
Each roadname features several road numbers.
First, you want to use the sharpest hobby blade you have, and preferably a sharp flush sprue nipper. Initially I used non-toxic liquid glue. It works well with this plastic. However, it did not dry fast so I reverted to CA (Cyanoacrylate glue) for some assemblies.
Hi-Tech Details instructs you to clean up the parts by removing the flash from the side ends, and the sprue attachment stumps from the edge of the sides. If you do not the little lumps may interfere with seating the roof. HTD tells us to clean it up with a file.
HTD guides us to build the superstructure upside down, one side and end at a time. This could be tricky as the door guides extend above the top edge of the sides, which could result in the top edges of the ends being too high, and the bottom not seating flush with the floor. Next HTD tells us to put on the roof. I varied from the script and started by attaching all the parts to the floor. HTD warns that the sides might have a slight bow from the injection molding process and that you can smooth it with your fingers. I did, it was easy. However, the end edges did not mate completely flush with the side edges. I clamped everything and the parts mated.
Next, HTD instructs us to apply 4 ounces of weight over the bolsters and attach the floor. Afterwards you add the ladders, end brackets and platforms, and brake wheel assembly. Be very careful now, the ladders are delicate, the plastic being the semi-soft type that allows quite a lot of flexing. The ladder rungs are very thin, about 2 scale inches. While nipping them off the sprue the sprue cutter causes the ladders to bow inward some. One ladder split right down the middle, and another split the lower two rungs. Only after processing the photographs I discovered one rung was already split while on the sprue.
Work in a well-lighted area and keep away from caffeine; attaching these ladders requires a steady hand. First, the semi-soft plastic is slightly slick and they kept escaping my tweezers. The main trick is aligning the fine posts with the fine pre-drilled holes. HTD engineered every ladder with two mounting posts at diametrically opposite ends of the ladder; these two posts insert into the mounting holes while shorter tabs on the other ends are only long enough to seat against the raised bolt detail on the exterior of the box car. I tried forever to first cleanly dry-align the posts and holes, finally reverting to the potentially messy method of putting a drop of glue on the post (or in the hole) and then carefully plugging in the ladder. I noticed that the ladders prototypically hang away from the sides enough that I was able to lay the car one the ladders while the glue cured. When the mounting posts were dry I carefully applied glue to the short tabs that touch the raised bolt detail. I had to use a drill to open a couple holes up.
You will have the same need of finesse assembling and mounting the end platforms. First you attach four tiny individual brackets to the bottom of the ends. When dry you mount the walks on the brackets. This completes the body structure.
Now add the brake system components and underframe cross members. At this point HTD advises the wire sizes ‘for the adventurous types’ who care to detail the underbody with piping and rigging. Again, no mention is made of some of the plastic parts included.
Although no couplers are included, cover plates to secure them are. Next you are guided to install the trucks; a 1/16 drill is required to enlarge the bolster hole to accept the metal screws that attach the trucks. Finally, add the stirrups.
Voila, your baby cube is ready for your layout!
Despite only completing three other models in nearly five years, from first cut of a sprue until snapping on the coupler covers I spent about 7˝ hours building this Hy-Cube. Some time was taken trying to line up the ladder mounting posts with the holes, and trying to fix the split ladder rungs. Until I used CA to bond the sides and ends to the floor, aligning the pieces took a while, too.
Hearkening back to the days of craftsman kits, Hi-Tech Details has produced a fine kit of these box cars. With crisp molding and fine detail it compares well with ready-to-run models of the bigger model makers. Over 50 fine detail parts allow you to build an impressive model. Printing is very good.
On the debit side are plastic wheels, no couplers, no brake line or rigging information, and molded doors. The doors and lack of couplers aren’t that big of a deal to me as many modelers prefer the finer detail of a fixed door, and to choose their own couplers. Lack of information concerning the extra brake system detail is disappointing.
The model assembles well. It is straightforward and you need only be careful with the delicate parts. Unless you desire this to remain a static model, replacing the wheels with a metal set is almost essential.
You can build a very good model of a P.S. 40’ Hy-Cube box car from this model, and I recommend it to modelers who can handle the delicate parts.
Thanks to Hi-Tech Details for providing this model!
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here – on RailRoadModeling.net