Check the details

Posted by Bob Keller
on Monday, February 22, 2021

I thought I was getting a more detailed no. 30-7712 caboose (left) but I got a totally different car, the 30-77342 (right) with much  more detailing.

I had a surprise recently when I received a caboose I’d ordered. It was a good surprise, not bad, which, frankly, will happen from time to time on eBay.

I’ve been slowly accumulating New York Central cabooses. As I’ve written before, I’m a tightwad, so I’ll come up with a price range I’d like to pay and simply wait.

I saw a listing for an MTH RailKing bay window caboose in an interesting “prevent loss & damage” livery. Not so typical for the Central, the car was brown and had some pretty exotic graphics as well. It had the Road to the Future slogan up top, a New York CentraLERT System oval, and a large stylized signal lantern. 

The car also featured an add-on catwalk, tall ladders on each end, deck tread, and yellow handrail detail. Cool.

Now, I didn’t really look that closely at the car. I figured it was just a bit better detailed version of my other RailKing bay window caboose. Boy was I wrong.

The first MTH product I bought was a 1997 freight set from the 1997 Vol. 1 Catalog. The set, headed by a Mohawk, had a few freight cars, and a caboose. This outfit was very nicely priced and did not include track or power supply.

The no. 30-7712 caboose was pretty Spartan. Five windows on each side, cast-in sun shades over the side windows with plastic panes, and interior lights. Add-ons were limited to corner grab irons, brake wheels, and a chimney. I didn’t count the windows, so I thought I was getting an upgraded version of the original.

The 30-77342 caboose, from the 2019 Volume 1 Catalog, has three windows on each side, while the bay window has three windows, one of which has two panes. There is interior decoration, which the 7712 lacks. The corners have side and platform grab irons and you’ll find grab irons for roof access.

But wait, isn’t there a ladder on each end? Yep. The rails lead up and over to the catwalk, which is an add-on piece. There is also a tall chimney.

I was very pleased with by surprise. I only have one other Central bay window car, a jade green version from K-Line. This is my favorite Central hack, and size and detail wise, they are both equal.

So it is still possible to be pleasantly surprised with an online auction, when you think you already know what you are getting! I'm actually happy I didn't pay attention to the details! – Bob

This has a pretty eccentric livery, but will look great on the end of a freight!

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