This review was taken from the February, 2001 issue of Model Railroader Magazine and is reproduced with permission of Kalmbach Publishing Company, Waukesha, WI.
Review by Marty McGuirk, Associate Editor
Iím sure this new HO roundhouse from Atlas will find a good home on many layouts, as it has that railroady, big roundhouse feel, yet can still fit on a small layout. Roundhouses and their associated turntables are without a doubt among the most ďrailroadyĒ of structures, and many model railroaders choose to include them, despite the fact that they often take up a great deal of precious space.
This kit is based on a number of Delaware & Hudson prototypes, although it looks like any one of hundreds of roundhouses built during the golden age of steam. With its concrete trim and foundation and brick walls, the building looks like a small Class 1 roundhouse, not something used by a rinky dink short line.
Although the model nicely captures the flavor of the prototype it certainly isnít a true scale model of the D&H house that inspired it. Itís been shortened considerably and the stall angles have been adjusted to match the Atlas 9Ē turntable.
The kit is typical of most plastic structure kits and can be easily assembled in a long evening using some basic modeling tools. I used a pair of sprue nippers, a hobby knife, needle files, and liquid styrene cement applied with a small brush.
Since the parts are precolored, painting is technically optional but will add greatly to the appearance. I airbrushed my model with Polly Scale paints prior to assembly. The brick walls are Boxcar Red, the concrete parts are Aged Concrete, and the wood components (doors, trim, windows) are Dark Green. I then painted the rood sections Grimy Black.
After the pain dried I assembled the model. The instructions do a great job of walking the modeler through the assembly sequence, and I didnít encounter any problems.
I chose to use the three box vent hoods instead of the round exhaust blower housing since I wanted my model to represent a steam-era roundhouse. If youíre modeling the diesel era you can substitute the blower housing. Also, although I glued the smaller front roof sections in place I left the larger sections loose so I could access the interior.
The model has a large foundation with slots for installing standard Atlas sectional tack or flextrack. Since most roundhouses had the area between the rails flush with the rest of the floor this would be a nice detail and an easy-to-add one using plain sheet styrene cut to fit between the rails.
My model is the standard three-stall version, but you can combine two or more kits to create a larger roundhouse. Thereís an extra set of interior bracing included with the kit that should be substituted for one of the side walls when building a larger structure. Due to a packaging error this extra bracing was left out of some of the earlier kits (like our sample). If you need one, contact Atlas directly.
Adding the separate office section at the rear, as well as the smaller details like steps, handrails, and ladders, completed assembly.
I weathered my roundhouse with powdered black and brown chalks. I added the most weathering to the roof because itís the most visible part of the model.
The finished structure, while by no means huge, is still a respectable size requiring a 14Ē x 16Ē footprint (including the office, which can be placed in various positions). The interior length of the stall tracks is 8Ē.
This modelís biggest strength is that itís made to match the Atlas turntable. Ironically, thatís also its biggest weakness, though itís possible that with some clever cutting and fitting the basic building could be altered to accommodate a different turntable.
This kit is a winner simply because so many model railroaders would like to have a roundhouse and because so many of those Atlas turntables have already found places on layouts over the years. Iím sure this very convincing and well-made roundhouse will find a home on many model railroads.
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