American Limited Tank Cars

HO Scale Tk-N and Tk-O Tank Cars by american limited

Reviewed by Bob Walz

After World War II, the Santa Fe needed additional diesel fuel cars and got 250 TK-N class tank cars in the spring of 1949.  They were nearly identical to the TK-M cars except the tanks and underbody were welded instead of riveted.  Numbered 101100 to 101349, they were equipped with AB brakes, Ajax hand brakes, and ASF 70-ton A-3 “Ride Control” trucks.  Running boards were diamond tread steel and dome platforms were of open grid steel construction.   A few years later in 1953, the Santa Fe needed even more and got an additional 200 cars of class TK-O. These were numbered 98000 to 98199 and near duplicates of the TK-N class.

Some of the 450 tank cars migrated into carrying other liquids and the bands around the tank on the right end of the cars were appropriately repainted.  In the 1980s some migrated into maintenance of way service.  Most that survived were equipped with roller bearing trucks and whether in maintenance of way or revenue service had the running boards removed and the latest safety appliances applied.

[click on the images to get a better view]

American Limited Models has produced a much needed, superb rendering of these two classes of Santa Fe tank cars.  The detailing in each version is exceptional with full brake gear, handrails, grabs and so forth.  The roller bearing trucks have separate caps that rotate with the axle.  Extra caps are provided as the caps can come loose and fall off.

Each class has been produced in two versions, as-built and as-rebuilt in the 1980s with modern safety appliances and without running boards.  Each class has been painted in three schemes with the appropriate band to denote the commodity hauled.  Each scheme has six car numbers accurate for the paint scheme.  All told there are 36 different models produced.  As far as I can determine, the as-built versions are painted correctly for the 1960s and 1970s.  The rebuilt cars are correctly painted for the 1980s and 1990s.  Paint is opaque and all lettering is clear and sharp.

My only criticism is that as far as I can tell, there are no versions modeled in the as-built paint scheme of either class.  So, modelers of the 1950s are out of luck in trying to acquire totally accurate versions.  However, with a little black paint and Microscale Santa Fe tank car decals you can come fairly close to the as built appearance.    All told these cars are a must for any Santa Fe modeler who models the late transition era to the 1990s. For a more extensive review see Harry K. Wong, “Incredible New Tankcars,” in the January 2019 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, p. 24.  Shown are five models in various guises.

Review date:  March 21, 2019