This tooling for this AHM offering originates with the Cox line of the mid-1970s. Cox's 50-foot Gondola was made in Hong
Kong and offered in Boston & Maine only. The model's tooling was based on Athearn's 50-foot Gondola. Pictured is a Cox Boston
& Maine example, AHM's Union Pacific, and Athearn's red Burlington model. Cox exited the HO-scale model train market around
1978-1979 and its toolings soon re-surfaced in a number of product lines.
For AHM, its Hong Kong-made 50-foot Gondola is very similar to Cox's offering. On the Cox model, the trucks are secured with
a plug. AHM's version includes a pair of prongs that pinch together and fit into the underframe. Beyond this revision, comparison
between the two yields no differences. The brakewheel is a separately applied and non-painted detail. The shell is a single
piece, often cast in color and not painted with lettering stamped on the shell. The undeframe is black plastic and held to
the gondola shell by two plastic tabs per side, same as done by Cox. Trucks are friction type with X2F couplers mounted to
the truck sideframes.
This gondola model appears first in AHM's 1981 product catalog. That year a collection of former Cox toolings arrives, including
a 50-foot plug door box car, 4-bay offset side open hopper, extended vision caboose, plus former Trainscape series Big Pine
Lumber and Dockside accessories. The UP example manages to find itself illustrated and likely included in many early 1980s
train sets from AHM. For 1982, this gondola model joins the military with its inclusion in AHM's U.S. Army releases. It
also is packaged in an AHM Action Car accessory in UP paint. By 1984, and near AHM's end, this model is found in a Fire Fox
II train set offering as a Fire Fighter Transport car filled with miniature plastic firefigther figures.
never manages an appearance among AHM's 1980s separate sale freight cars. Examples examined show it in a generic silver AHM
package that lacks labeling for the model, thus no stock numbers are known for these releases. The UP example, yellow with
red lettering, is the most commonly found. A Burlington Northern also exists and may be AHM. This model managed to guest
in some Life-Like sets of the early/mid 1980s and later with revisions and improvements is found in today's Walthers Trainline
Among AHM prior gondola offerings is another 50-foot outside braced example made by Lima in Italy. This model's tooling differs
from the 1980s Hong Kong model.