P64K Class Boxcar
The P64K is a variant of the very common P64 class of box cars used throughout China. The K, abbreviation for 'kuai' (or fast) relates to the bogies which are rated to 120kph. The early P64K's had a fairly flat roof with a slight angle, but before too long it was changed to a curved design, the comparison of which can be seen in the photo to the right. They can be found in black and brown liveries, the former being a much more common freight livery in more recent times. CMR Line's P64K is based on the earlier P64.
CMR Line have produced a total of 32 variants with their P64K's, with 50 of each produced. They are packaged in a thin cardboard windowed outer box with a one piece folding plastic shell. They are sold as either four packs (with the same colour/bureau) or separately. The body is a one piece shell with non-operating doors. The floor is plastic with two metal weights screwed into the floor and the chassis presses into the floor. Wheels are metal and are chemically darkened.
By far the greatest disappointment is the quality control - or blatant lack of it. This doesn't seem to be an isolated occurence, but uniform practice across an entire batch. All of my black cars appear to have been assembled by an orangutan with premenstrual tension using hammers or stone tools. The floors have been pushed up so far inside the body shell, most if not all of the footsteps have snapped off, the undercarriage is bent beyond recognition in places and the floors are warped - bowing upwards by between two and four millimetres, causing a slight wobble as it rolls down the track. There are also a lot of careless superglue stains with visible finger prints in various spots. We pay good money for these models and CMR must do better to uphold the high standards that we've come to expect from them.
The cars come in individual two piece plastic clam shells. The cardboard outer box is very thin cardboard with a display window. It works well enough, but I can imagine these could be very easily damaged in the mail or in long term storage. If using the original boxes for storage, make sure the brake wheels are to the right of the box or you will damage some of the undercarriage.
Details are on my sample are only average, which is disappointing given the excellent look of CMR's previous freight car releases. Ladders are plastic and a fraction on the thick side. A number of the smaller plastic components have flash left over from the manufacturing process. Uncoupling rods and roof handrails are now microscopically fine. The car bodies are moulded with pre-coloured plastic, so there is no paint work per-se which gives them a much more plastic look, more so on the brown versions.
On the plus side, the undercarriage detail is excellent and appears to be identical to CMR's earlier P62 type box cars. The lettering is also sharp. Air hoses are included to be added by the modeller. Curiously, they are in the same color as the body - i.e. black cars get black air hoses, brown cars get brown ones!
The brown cars roll very freely. My black cars have a wobble, which is attributed to the chuckle heads who assembled them. After repairs, they roll quite well.
CMR have used metal KD clone couplers which work quite well. For those interesting in converting them to KD's, use medium shank type whisker couplers with scale heads #5, 58 or 158.