G60 Class Tank Car
The G60K tank cars have been mass produced in China since the early 1970's. Many variants have been produced, but they are generally identifiable from most other tank cars by the half length walkways with ladders at one end of the car (there are some exceptions). The G60K is now possibly the most numerous of all the variants ('K' (or kuai) meaning fast, which equates to being fitted with fast running bogies). The G60K's have a maximum running speed of 140kph and have a capacity of 60 cubic meters or 51 tons.
Xing Xing has released so far two production runs of the G60 tank cars. As far as I'm aware there are a total of 9 numbers available; six silver/red stripe, two silver and one in yellow. Given that these were given a lot of criticism together with their high price tag, I decided to purchase only one unit to test prior to investing in a large rake of them. Unfortunately most of my worries have been confirmed. The box is a sturdy one piece topless cardboard affair with a thin cardboard sleeve that slides over. The car is supported by a two piece clear plastic clam shell, similar to the type used by Bachmann's later release freight cars.
The model is held inside a two piece plastic blister which sits inside a thick cardboard open box. A cardboard sleeve slides over the box.
First the good bits. These are very highly detailed models that look absolutely fantastic on the rails. The lettering is very sharp, the undercarriage is amazing and handrails are very well replicated. I love the tank straps, really very well done, although many of these straps are working their way loose shortly after leaving the factory. The walkways are pretty nicely done, if slightly uneven.
The filling cap lifts up (and off in my case due to a missing wire!) which will be good for filling station dioramas. Even the bogies have rotating journals! Clearly this was a car to impress the hell out of us.
The footsteps have been made out of some sort of rubbery plastic which I can only presume was done to prevent snapping off in the event of a derailment. The theory is good, but they bend severely inwards towards the center of the car and can't be teased out. On arrival, mine also had several pieces loose in the box and a fwe others that simply fell off as soon as I looked at it. Unfortunately, one of the handrails was not installed properly and appears to have been forced into one of the stantions, damaging it enough to make it never sit properly again. The yellow paint is actually metallic, while all the yellow tank cars I've seen have standard yellow paint. However having not seen a yellow G60K up close, I can't say for all certainty that this is incorrect.
The main problem with these cars is unfortunately, the performance. They run extremely poorly out of the box with the bogies creating far too much friction and making the wheels stick. The roller bearings, as cool as they are, are a further hindrance and running these cars is akin to running them with handbrakes applied.
These are fitted with a plastic knuckle couplers which should be compatible with others brands. Converting to Kadee's is a simple task, so long as you are careful not to snap any of the roof details off in the process.