Monday, August 29, 2016

A Pair of True Line PSC Cabooses

Once upon a time, there was a project of making a RTR HO PSC caboose... then a bunch of stuff (evil and not so evil) happened and as any tale, there was a happy ending. And fortunately and not so fortunately, I was sitting in the front row from the beginning. But eh, you faith can move mountains isn't it?

One Sylvan Scale (weathered) and two True Line Trains (at right)

That said, I recently got my pair of Pointe Saint-Charles cabooses two weeks ago. I won't start nitpicking, I think everything was said about these cars over the last few weeks. But generally, they are quite nice and an improvement over my Sylvan Scale resin kit built in my college days when I thought CA glue was the hottest thing in town.

Unfortunately, the True Line model share the same despicable defect Rapido's Angus van had: the dreaded greenish Martian interior lighting. I don't know if I'm alone to fundamentally hate interior lighting, but someone has to make them realize bad lighting is worst than no lighting at all.

The amount of lighting inside that car compete with Belgian expressways!

First of all, I'm young, but old enough to have seen countless PSC cabooses running in my hometown 4 times per day over a decade. While I have vivid memories of these little orange cars, I certainly don't remember them to be lighted in such a way. Most of the time, they were dark and during night time the lights were faint as if it was some haunted house from Scooby-Doo.

The problem is True Line and Rapido lighting is overkill. When the model is under daylight conditions, you can still see the windows glowing in their caricatural greenish hue. I didn't try with lights turn off, but I guess they cast shadows like my childhood Bachmann F9. For the anecdote, let's recall the headlight of my dear F9 burnt out when I was a kid. My older brother, who was already an avid electronic freaks replaced it with a Christmas tree light bulb. The bulb was originally green but he carefully scrapped off the green translucent paint. Unfortunately, the glass kept a certain amount of green and thus the locomotive started to glow in an eerie green hue... Now, to my delight, both manufacturers bring back some childhood memories in the form of expensive piece of rolling stock. Imagine my dismay.

But seriously, I understand the idea. It would be neat if the light wasn't so green and if they dimmed it like it should. That would be truly great. But I'm sure many people already modified their caboose to dim the light.

And if you ask me why I nitpick on such a subject, it's because I have nothing to say against the caboose and it was a good occasion to bring back dear memories! Now, I have a few months to gather my courage and weather them!


  1. I too have problems with that light. I'm not sure why they bothered. A dark interior would've been better. But then again, I'm not a manufacturer: I can only assume they know their market better than I do.
    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64, where none of the vans has interior lighting)

    1. Lighting on layout is always a matter of balance between not enough and far too much in a Christmas tree fashion.

      Most people I talked to appreciate caboose lighting and they even went as far as adding more (the ditch lights in particular). Both Jérôme and I will get rid of them. On the other hand, the directional red marker lights are definitely a useful feature during operation. This is the kind of lighting I certainly welcome.

      Given the trouble to install a decent lighting system in a detailed shell, I guess it's easier to turn off the light for people who don't want them.

  2. Salut Matthieu

    C'est parce que le wagon de queue (PSC Caboose) a été conçue par Rapido, donc meme construction, meme detail sous le chassis, meme lumière etc.

    This is because the TLT caboose design and tooling was originally done by.....Rapido. Then bought out by TLT during the evil stuff. You will notice the construction, lights, underbody details, trucks design etc. are identical to CP Angus Van.


    1. Salut Sylvain, oui, je me rappelle de l'horrible saga qui a mis au monde le projet! La ressemblance avec le fourgon Angus est assez directe en effet.

      Pour ma part, il ne reste plus qu'à trouver assez de courage pour faire le weathering!

  3. I had to smile at the mention of a Bachmann F-9 relighting - I did the same with a 12V GOW bulb and still have that locomotive in storage - can't let go of some things - with an unsightly melted bulge above the bulb....