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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A friend gave me this batch of old HO freight cars rescued from an estate close-out. I've figured out that they are early MDC/Roundhouse items.

The frame, body parts and roof-walk are all die-cast parts. The boxcar frames all have the number FB-101, the gondola frame shows FG-101. These frames all have three air brake components applied as separate castings underneath. Ladder bottom rungs at the car corners are wire, ladders up the sides and ends are cast on. The paint jobs appear to be original factory jobs. Some trucks and couplers have been changed/updated. The die-cast construction makes the cars rather heavy for HO items.

My question is, what is the time frame for all-die-cast MDC/Roundhouse cars as shown above?

When did MDC/Roundhouse transition to plastic body shells?

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The transition to plastic occurred in the 1950's. I've seen a 1953 catalogue that appears to be all plastic. MDC continued using cast metal floors with three cast metal details well into the 1980's. These were all mad from kits. The exposed surface was factory painted. Parts came wrapped in paper to protect them. Scratches and missing paint places were common. Most modelers would touch them up. Weathering was not something that was done in those days.
Yes they are heavy. The other kits on the market were mostly wood with possibly the metal shells or sides. If your going to convert them to Kadees, #4's work with the pockets.
Clearly not as detailed as cars you can get today, but they are likely 70 years old. They really look great.
 
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