Review: Rapido Trains CP Angus Shops Wide Vision Caboose

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47806
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Review: Rapido Trains CP Angus Shops Wide Vision Caboose

Postby 47806 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:13 pm

A high level of detail – without any effort

Rapido Trains CP “Angus” Wide-Vision Caboose (Algoma Central)

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Review by Thomas Blampied

Since my return to North American HO scale last year, I have come to expect that the level of detail (especially ladders and grab irons) has improved greatly. While detail on models is wonderful, this has also pushed the cost up significantly. As someone who once saved up for weeks to buy one Athearn boxcar kit costing $10, the new norm of $30 and up for a ready-to-run model still seems expensive. Often, these expensive models do not seem worth the money. This caboose is a shining exception.

For the last few years, Canadian company Rapido Trains Inc. has been releasing more and more products, all highly detailed and many are the first ready-to-run models of a particular prototype. Their first real success was with the complete Turbo Train, a model of North America’s fastest train which operated from the 1960s to the early 1980s for CN, VIA Rail and Amtrak. Canadian modellers have taken particular interest in Rapido’s products as the company places a particular emphasis on Canadian prototypes and railways. Rapido boasts that their products are “Museum Quality” and I would have to agree. However, quality does come at a price.

When Rapido announced that they would be producing a model of the CP “Angus” wide-vision caboose, I thought I might get one to see what Rapido quality was really like. The prototype was designed and built by CP until the early 1980s, less than a decade before cabooses were made obsolete by advances in signalling technology. As a life-long fan of Algoma Central, the choice of livery was also clear. I pre-ordered the model (Rapido just about requires pre-ordering to avoid excess stock) and a few weeks later, I collected my caboose and was immediately impressed.

Every detail seems to be present. There are brake hoses on the coupler, a fully-detailed interior, working interior and marker lights, the metal end platforms and steps are see-through and the cupola windows open. The parts list is a page long and shows that every brake pipe and handrail is an individual piece. The model is surprisingly heavy and runs smoothly on metal wheelsets. The printing is crisp and type less than 2mm high is perfectly legible. Prototype photos show that the model accurately captures the shape and the colours of the Algoma Central version.

The lighting is especially good. The minute marker lights glow a bright red (although not overly bright) and can be turned on or off using the Rapido “magic wand” to suit the direction of travel. The interior is lit with several bulbs and I cannot find see any light bleed. It is only when the model is lit that you can see the level of detail in the interior, including chairs and cabinets, even a textured floor! According to the instructions provided with the model, a capacitor is fitted so that the lights will not stutter over track joints. I found that this works quite well, but some stuttering still happened, especially over pointwork.

This is a delightful model and I believe that it will appeal to more than just the “rivet-counting” fraternity. Family members crowded around this model to marvel at the fine detail and all wished to have a full-sized one!

Detailed models have been around for ages and many modellers have done admirable jobs detailing their models to the same standard as this caboose. The genius of this product is to include that level of detail in a ready-to-run package.

In all, a very good model and a joy to behold. Even with all of the detail, this model is strong and surprisingly robust. Having said that, it is not a toy and mine is now residing in a display case. It truly is “museum quality”.

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Product:
CP Angus Shops Wide-Vision Caboose

Manufacturer:
Rapido Trains Inc.
140 Applewood Crescent, Unit A
Concord, Ontario
Canada
L4K 4E2

http://www.rapidotrains.com

Reviewed Model:
Algoma Central number 9609 (Product ID 110016)

MSRP:
$59.95 CAD
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Re: Review: Rapido Trains CP Angus Shops Wide Vision Caboose

Postby Zunnan » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:11 pm

I must admit that even with their high rrp, I was disappointed to miss out on the Cotton Belt version of this caboose, by the time I realised it was available it had sold out! The fidelity of US outline models of late has come as quite a surprise, and yet they are still rugged enough to withstand less than gentle handling, something Bachmann and Hornby should take note of! I assume you're familiar with ExactRail, a good bedfellow in terms of detail to the Rapido Caboose, their PS-2 4427 covered hopper has quite literally blown me away and their platinum series box cars and gondolas aren't half bad either.

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47806
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Re: Review: Rapido Trains CP Angus Shops Wide Vision Caboose

Postby 47806 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:24 pm

I was not aware of ExactRail, but having looked at their website I see what you mean. They seem to have a similar level of detail to the current Athearn R-T-R stock. Sorry that you missed out on the caboose of your choice. Pre-ordering has the problem of not being able to see a model beforehand. Rapido took out a full-page ad in Model Railroader a few months back to defend the practice:

http://www.rapidotrains.com/images/ads/ ... 010_04.pdf

I hadn't realised that such a small model could be so costly!
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