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McKean Models?

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  • Member since
    October, 2010
  • 41 posts
McKean Models?
Posted by matt56 on Sunday, March 06, 2011 4:49 PM

I recently got back into the hobby and even though I know the names of some old companies I had never come across McKean Models.  That said, I recently made a purchase off ebay where I got two McKean ACF 2 bay covered hoppers in Great Northern markings for a total of $10.  From the pictures the buyer provided the unbuilt kits appear to be of similar quality of Athearn blue box kits. They looked good and them being only 10 bucks together I felt OK taking a chance on them.

I'm just wondering if anyone out there has had previous experience with McKean kits and if I made a good buy

Modeling the C&NW in northcentral Wisconsin, late summer 1976

  • Member since
    September, 2002
  • From: North Carolina
  • 1,497 posts
Posted by csxns on Sunday, March 06, 2011 4:53 PM

I think they are ok,had several before.


  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, March 06, 2011 5:31 PM

McKean Models has been gone from the scene for some time now.  I think it is fair to say that the word on the street is that while McKean himself had a good sense for interesting prototypes that would make a good and desirable model, the kits are highly variable in quality -- by which I mean, parts fitting, cars running well when complete, that sort of thing.  Some of the kits seemed to have gone together OK; people seem to have had few problems with.  For others, it is rare to see a running example on a layout.  Some of my McKean kits had a strange variant on styrene - don't know how else to express it but it was not the usual stuff.

I think there are still some cars McKean came out with that nobody has done since.  I have no idea who has the tooling or what it would take to make some of those kits actually go together as intended.

Dave Nelson 

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    September, 2007
  • 569 posts
Posted by ratled on Sunday, March 06, 2011 7:20 PM

Those cars for that price was a good buy.  Some of the kits can be a bear to get together though. 


Modeling the Klamath River area in HO on a proto-lanced sub of the SP “The State of Jefferson Line”

  • Member since
    February, 2007
  • 302 posts
Posted by Odie on Sunday, March 06, 2011 7:23 PM

Their centerbeam flat car kits were complete junk. The parts did not fit, and if you tried to persuade them into place, the brittle plastic would shatter. If the cars are already built, then I would say you would have better luck.

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: eastern Nebraska
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Posted by binder001 on Monday, March 07, 2011 10:31 AM

Bill McKean was a model railroader who started a modest line of freight car kits.  His first efforts were Greenville 15-panel and 12-panel three-bay 100-ton hoppers.  These molds went through several owners and are now marketed by Con-Cor.  McKean also had a 40' double door boxcar that, for its time, was much nicer that the Athearn boxcars.  As mentoined, they had a center beam lumber car that was a nice car IF you could get the beam assembly done right.  They produced a decent (for the time) PS1 boxcar and some ACF covered hoppers.  Generally not bad for the 1980s.  McKean got out of the business and some of the kits lived on under other names. 

  • Member since
    February, 2007
  • From: North Aurora, IL
  • 466 posts
Posted by ho modern modeler on Monday, March 07, 2011 1:21 PM

I have had similar McKean experiences as the previous posts. I want to say their's was the first plastic (?) Centerbeam car. More specifically the base went together in 2 layers, with the tie-downs (oversized) sticking out 12-15 on each side, the ends and middle were fine, but the top was the wrong size. Much filing and modifying for me at 16-17 yrs old. And the plastic/NASA Polymer/rubber/bakolite whatever would not accept any of the model glues (way before ACC). I think I used Kibri Plastik Kleber and it was ok until the air tank hit a grade x-ing.

I know the original post was for hoppers, please query us before you order stuff that was off-brand from before 1990 someone surely will respond on the quality issue.

PS anyone find the same plastic issue with early Walthers Well Cars, Spine Cars when they were first out as kits?

Mine doesn't's at the station!!!


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