Railroad Model Craftsman Product Review

San Juan Rio Grande Hopper Decals in HO

San Juan Rio Grande Hopper Decals in HO

Railroad Model Craftsman October 2016Reviewed by Tony Cook

Known for its line of decals for narrow gauge prototypes, San Juan Decals recently expanded to standard gauge subjects. The first release to tackle a standard gauge prototype is Rio Grande coal hoppers. San Juan Decals now offers a set for 17000- and 18000-series hopper cars.

Rio Grande purchased more than 500 new open hoppers in the 1950s and 1960s for handling coal shipments. The cars were 70-ton triple-bay examples and made up the backbone of the road’s coal-hauling hoppers until the mid-1960s arrival of 100-ton prototypes. The 17000-series hoppers (17000–17199) came from Bethlehem Steel and General American. The 18000-series hoppers (18500–18899) came from Pressed Steel Car. These cars originally saw use in Utah coal service and in later years often hauled limestone for Geneva Steel.  San Juan Rio Grande Hopper Decals

The HO San Juan Decals set provides a number of options for creating various prototypes that served Rio Grande. This set includes complete lettering for 17000-series hoppers in service through the 1960s, as well as a 1970s revised typeface on data and the inclusion of stacked COTS panels. The 18000-series lettering provides additions to the data on these hoppers following a 1967 overhaul. You can also produce accurate examples for repaired and dismantled prototypes. San Juan Decals did its homework on these coal hoppers, and this impressive set will work for many hobbyist’s needs.

For Railroad Model Craftsman’s review models, Terry E. Cook began with a pair of Bowser’s HO-scale undecorated 70-ton, 14-panel triple hoppers (#691-10900). These easy-to-build Bowser kits presented for this review are mostly stock with the only addition being Kadee’s scale-head metal knuckle couplers. The models received a coating of Scalecoat II Black (#S-2010). You’ll find San Juan Decals: Rio Grande hoppers Scalecoat I and II paint and related supplies now from Minuteman Scale Models. The coat of Scalecoat II provided a glossy smooth surface ready for application of decals.

San Juan Rio Grande Hopper DecalsIn the decal process, Microscale’s Microsol was used to snug down the placement of San Juan’s lettering and data. Testors’ Model Master semi-gloss was the final step, and this airbrushed coating sealed the decals and provided a satin finish that dulled the shiny appearance of the original gloss paint layer.

San Juan Decals’ HO-scale Rio Grande set (#SJD-901, MSRP: $7.95) includes enough material to produce two models. Rio Grande 17125 presents a 1970s version with stacked COTS and 1974 servicing, while 17189 shows the earlier example with 1957 build date. For O-scale modelers, San Juan Decals offers this same set in 1/48 scale (#SJD-902, MSRP: $8.95).

Rio Grand Standard Gauge Decal Sets
No. SJD-901 17000/18000 Series Hopper
MSRP $7.95

San Juan Decals
860 Oriole Drive
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Railroad Model Craftsman October 2016This review appeared in the October 2016 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman

This article was posted on: October 12, 2016