NX17K/AK Class Flat Car
The NX17 flat cars were introduced in the late 1980's as an improved N17 class. The N17 flat car was a single purpose car, but with a massive increase in containers around this time, container mounts were added to create a dual purpose flat car. In NX17K, 'N' refers to 'pingche' (flat car), 'X' refers to 'xiang' (container), 'K' refers to 'kuai' (fast) and relates to the bogie types used which are rated to 120kph. The NX17AK is another improved version, which had a bogie redesign and had the ability to install side panels, almost converting into a gondola.
CMR Line have produced for Train Garden, the Class NX17k & NX17AK, the second manufacturer to have done so after Beijing Wanxuda's woeful effort nearly a decade ago. Technically they were made in conjunction with the type 99A main battle tanks, however as both are available separately, I have in turn made separate reviews. A total of 32 versions have been made, 16 of each class with a range of bureaus (not that there's anything on the car itself to distinguish one bureau from another). Asides from the car classification printed on the side of the car, I've found absolutely no physical differences in the models to tell them apart from the K and AK versions, although perhaps this is correct.
The NX17K and NX17AK cars from Train Garden come in a thin brown cardboard box with display window. Inside here is an instruction sheet, optional detail parts and the model itself which is wrapped in a thin plastic sheet and supported in a clear plastic clamshell.
Details are excellent on these cars, although you'll have to add most of them on yourself - and there are lots. I thought it was odd that such a relatively simple freight wagon would be supplied with an instruction sheet! It is in Chinese, however the blow up diagram is very clear to assist with adding these details. The parts you'll need to add (if you feel inclined to do so) are :
2 x side foot steps
2 x air hoses
8 x container lugs
20 x horn cleats
2 x end ramps - while not functional, CMR have thoughtfully provided two types - one in extended (flat) position and one in the folded (raised) position.
Good details pre-installed on the car are end footsteps, full under carriage components, uncoupling rods and some really nice side mounted handrails.
The cars are in a semi-matte black finish. All lettering is white and extremely sharp.
These cars roll beautifully with all the steel wheels on my units spinning very freely. They are quite weighty as well which adds to their good rolling properties.
The couplers are metal copy KD type couplers. The heads are the same size as KD #5's. Those who wish to convert them to the genuine KD's should go for #58's (scale heads) or #158's (scale heads/with whisker springs).