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Alan Curtis Container Chassis

Folks who enjoy modern intermodal modeling have lots of equipment to choose from. There are all sorts of containers, trailers, well cars, TOFC and COFC cars, and even some great intermodal terminal equipment available in both kit and ready-to-run form. However, one item of equipment where there is limited choice is the container chassis, particularly in the 20-foot and 53-foot lengths. A fairly new manufacturer on the N Scale scene, Alan Curtis Models, has a line of intermodal equipment that not only fills in the gaps, but introduces some new items as well. I'm not pushing his line of merchandise here, just giving you an idea of what one part of his line looks like. You can see his whole product line - including some 28-foot "pup" trailers that nobody else makes - on his website at

Alan operates from England and offers his wares in either kit or built-up form. I opted to try out his package of six assorted container chassis. The kit contains materials to make one each of 20, 28, 40, 45, 48, and 53-foot chassis. Photo 1 shows how the packages arrive, neatly packed in plastic bags and marked for the proper chassis.

Photo 1. This is how the components are packaged in the Container Chassis Kit Assortment from Alan Curtis.

For the most part, each kit has only ten parts. They are: chassis frame, rear bogie, rear bumper assembly, landing leg assembly, four (4) dual tires, and two (2) axles. All the parts are crisply cast with a minimum of flash cleanup required.

I chose to try out the 20-footer first. It was a little different than the rest because the rear bogie was molded as a part of the chassis frame, thus eliminating one construction step. Photo 2 shows the kit after attaching the rear bumper and landing legs.

Photo 2.  Here's a closeup of the 20' chassis kit after the landing legs and rear bumper have been applied. The second axle must have rolled off the desk for the photo, but I found it later during the assembly process.


Assembly is really very straightforward. It does take a little bit of filing to get the parts to fit seamlessly, but nothing that requires special tools or skills. I did find it useful to paint and decal the chassis and bogie and tires before assembling the tires to the bogie.

Speaking of painting, I brush painted the chassis with Grimy Black, the wheel centers with Light Gray Primer, and the tires with Engine Black. The decals came from the Microscale #60-640 CSX and CSL Intermodal 48' Container and Chassis set. A drop of yellow and red paint on the taillight and turn light "bumps" on the rear frame assembly add a little interest. Photo 3 shows the completed chassis.

Photo 3.  I think you'll agree that this makes a really handsome model.

While you are at it, you probably need a load and some motive power to complete this model. I dug out an Atlas Ford 9000 tractor and one of George Johnsen's deLuxe Innovations 20' Evergreen containers. After some touchup painting on the tractor and container and a decal on the tractor side, Photo 4 shows the result.

Photo 4. When hooked up to an Atlas tractor with a deLuxe Innovations container aboard, the effect is really startlingly good. And it was pretty easy!!!

All in all, the whole project took about four hours of modeling time over two days (to allow time for stuff to dry between sessions). It was time well spent and I will be doing more in the near future. You should consider adding some to your collection.

Happy modeling!