In-Box Review
N scale
GA 3500 CF Dry-Flo Hopper
GA 3500 CF Dry-Flo Hopper Master Line
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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This N scale Ready-To-Run 3500 Cubic Foot Dry-Flo Hopper from Atlas is the second release of this member of the Master Line series. The first release was in February 2016. This review, decorated for Quaker Oats, is Item# 50004025.

Atlas' description of this model is:
    The 3500 Cubic Foot Dry-Flo Covered Hopper was a commodity hauling backbone for over 40 years. In 1959, General American started producing Dry-Flo covered hoppers in response to customer demands for larger hoppers capable of handling bulk commodities. Covered hopper innovations during the 1950s proved valuable to shippers; they wanted covered hoppers that could handle larger quantities of specialized commodities such as oats and malt. These models were designed to match the prototype - down to the last detail! Engineered from prototype blue prints, the N Scale Dry-Flo will feature an accurate attention to both body and paint detail as you've come to expect from Atlas!

General American Transportation Co. was once America's largest lessor of freight cars, and also built freight cars in East Chicago, Illinois, and Warren, Ohio. General American ceased building cars c.1975. This 3,500-cubic-foot-capacity covered hopper was launched in 1959 and they could be found in revenue service into the 1990s. (Further information about General American Transportation Corp. can be found via Click here for additional images for this review, below.)

Technical Trivia
    Type: Covered Hopper
    AAR Class: LO: A permanently enclosed car, other than a box car, regardless of exterior or interior shape, for handling bulk commodities, with or without insulation and provided with openings for loading through top or sides with weather-tight covers or doors. Car may be provided with one or more bottom openings for unloading, with tight fitting covers, doors, valves, or tight fitting slide or gate to prevent leakage of lading. Car may be provided with facilities for discharge of lading through openings in top or sides and may have one or more compartments. Mechanical or other means may be provided within car to expedite loading or unloading.
    AAR Type: L352
    Detail Info: Special Type Cars, Gravity-Pneumatic Unloading, Cubic Capacity: 3,000-4,000 cu ft

The Model
Atlas' GA 3500 CF Dry-Flo Hopper began life as a BLMA Models model. Atlas bought BLMA in 2016.

This handsome RTR (Ready-To-Run) model features:
    Injection-molded plastic one-piece body
    Fine-scale detail
    Separate brake detail
    Separate brake wheel
    Etched-metal running boards and brake platform
    Wire corner grab irons
    Prototypical ride height
    70-Ton ASF Ride Control trucks
    33" metal wheels
    Body mounted scale coupler
    Separate center sills, end sheets, and hopper bays

The model is securely packed in a form-fitted top-bottom cradle held inside a clear jewel case, protected from scuffing by a soft plastic sheet.

No parts sheet is included.

Dry-Flo cars were built with a single interior compartment, loaded through 10 loading hatches, and emptied through six vacuum discharge outlets. The exterior has 14 panels and a straight sill. This model accurately reflects the design.

I did not risk pulling the car apart to examine the model components.

I do consider this model as having fine-scale detail. Comparing the model with photos of 1/1 GA 3500 CF Dry-Flo cars, the end posts and ladder rails look to-scale. The rungs are to big but that is a reasonable compromise between accuracy, affordability, and fragility.

Nice air brake equipment is mounted in the porch of the A-end.

Other qualities I see (with magnification) are side posts tapering inwards along the sill, very fine U-channel mounts for the air brake apparatus, simulated handles and fasteners on the hatches. Those photo-etched running boards and brake platform greatly enhance the model.

Paint and Markings
Atlas' finish still amazes me. The stenciling is legible. They even stenciled information on the exterior of the end slope sheets.

Covered hoppers are usually not the most ostentatiously painted rolling stock on the rails and this one is no exception. It is painted gray with black lettering. Period. That said, the paint is opaque and does not obscure detail. It screams for weathering.

This second release of the GA 3500 CF Dry-Flo Hopper features an undecorated model, and these road names:
    Burlington Northern (Green/White)
    Monsanto (Gray/Black)
    Quaker Oats (Gray/Black)
    Pennsylvania (Gray/Black)
    Union Pacific (Silver/Red)

Each road name is created with three road numbers.

N scale modelers of c.1959-1990s should want several of these ubiquitous covered hoppers on their layout. Atlas Master Line boasts another good looking model with this GA 3500 CF Dry-Flo Hopper. It features a high level of detail covered with excellent paint and printing. The model is greatly enhanced with photo-etched running boards and brake platform.

I have no complaints about this marvelous model. Recommend.

Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad for this sample; please tell vendors and manufacturers that you saw this model here on RailRoadModeling!

* RR Picture Dry-Flo Hoppers. [] 6/21/2017 7:32:12 PM

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: High level of detail. Excellent paint and printing. The model is greatly enhanced with photo-etched running boards and brake platform.
Lows: Nothing meaningful.
Verdict: Modelers of c.1959-1990s should want several of these ubiquitous covered hoppers on their layout. It is a marvelous model.
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50004025
  Related Link: N 3500 Dry-Flo Archive
  PUBLISHED: Aug 28, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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