Vintage N Scale B&M Rolling Stock #11
Arnold Rapido 40 Foot Boxcar –
Today I offer one of the very first B&M N scale items for your consideration. This box car was marketed by Revell here in the U.S. and manufactured by Arnold-Rapido. Other than the English Lone Star Treble-O-Lectric B&M box car (which I am still trying to get my hands on) this may very well be the earliest N scale B&M rolling stock ever produced (1). Consulting www.spookshow.net we find that this particular variation, with non-detailed metal underframe and cast on roofwalk and brake wheel, was manufactured during the 1960-1964 time frame. Detailing is pretty poor by today’s standards and tolerances are a bit loose. Apparently this car has the general appearance on a 1937 AAR Standard box car, I can’t really attest to that but most N scale rolling stock produced until the 1980s really only loosely matched any real prototype. Typically companies would simply offer the same old car in a different paint scheme or road name rather than further improve authenticity by investing in new tooling to produce a more accurate model. I’m not bothered by it, at that time major manufacturers just seemed to focus on producing at least one model of each major type of North American rolling stock (i.e. 40 / 50 ft box car, tank car, caboose, gondola, flat car, open / covered hopper) you get the picture.
Lone Star set the bar low in terms of detailing and paint scheme authenticity on their B&M box car and this Arnold example didn’t really attempt to leap it. As I said above, detailing is really basic and the paint scheme is really just some ink/paint stamped on the shell which was cast in a sort-of B&M blue plastic. The road number (19405) does not belong to any of the 1937 AAR box cars B&M owned which seem to have been numbered in the 73000-73199 range, and I cannot be sure that any of the 1937 AAR cars survived long enough to be repainted into the McGinnis scheme. Yeah, other than being similar to a car type used by the B&M, this car appears to be another early N scale fantasy.
As I have already said, detailing is poor and the paint scheme is a complete fantasy as far as I can tell. On a positive note, these can be had for not a lot of money, I paid around $6.00 USD shipped for mine… frankly, I might have overpaid at that price. These were available for a decent length of time in several road names so, even if you aren’t a B&M collector, there might still be some interest there to pick one up at the right price. No early N scale collection (B&M or not) would be complete without one of these very early Arnold cars, beyond that I am not sure there is much use in owning one.
If this car was meant to resemble the 1937 AAR prototype then it would be appropriate within the general scheme of B&M rolling stock but, as mentioned, the road number should fall within the 73000-73199 range and it would have most likely been a variation of boxcar red for the duration of its use on the Boston & Maine.
(1) Lone Star’s Treble O Electric stuff really wasn’t “N scale” per se but rather ran on 9mm track and was marketed as OOO (hence Treble-O). If I understand the progression correctly Lone Star started out with push toy trains which ran on non-powered 9mm track and eventually decided to power them. Functioning equipment pops up on auction sites from time to time but it is fairly basic and not compatible with other true N scale equipment (at least in North America) due to European style hook and loop couplers.