News & Reviews Product Reviews Staff Reviews HO scale Pullman-Standard 4785 covered hopper HO scale Pullman-Standard 4785 covered hopper

By Cody Grivno | June 14, 2021

A review of a Rivet Counter line car from the third production run

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Side view of HO scale Burlington Northern 4785 covered hopper.
Burlington Northern is among the road names in run three of the HO scale Rivet Counter line Pullman-Standard 4,785-cubic-foot capacity three-bay covered hopper. The ready-to-run car has photo-etched stainless steel see-through running boards, wire grab irons, and trucks with rotating bearing caps and raised foundry data. is back with a third run of Pullman-Standard 4,785-cubic-foot capacity three-bay covered hoppers. The Rivet Counter line model features prototype-specific details; see-through stainless steel running boards with wire corner grab irons; and Barber S-2 100-ton trucks with raised foundry data, truck-mounted brake beams, and rotating bearing caps.

Prototype background. Pullman-Standard (PS) produced the 4785 covered hopper from October 1967 to July 1972. During the course of the production run, 1,916 cars were built at the company’s plant in Butler, Pa. The cars were distinct in that they didn’t have full center sills. Instead, the cars had stub sills. The forces of the slack running in and out were transferred through shear plates.

Penn Central was the largest customer for these covered hoppers, with more than 1,700 on its roster. Though most cars were built with a contiguous trough hatch, 100 cars constructed for St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) had three separate trough hatches. Pullman Transport Leasing cars lettered for Lauhoff Grain were equipped with eight 30” round hatches.

Brake wheel end details of HO scale Burlington Northern 4785 covered hopper.
This view shows the B end of the covered hopper. The models is rides on 36” machined metal wheelsets and has vertical end plates and die-cast metal semi-scale Type E couplers.

Spotting features of the 4785 covered hopper are 16 exterior posts per side and a 2/5 rivet pattern where the corner posts attach to the carbody. Covered hoppers built from August 1971 to July 1972 had shorter stub sills than early production cars. Late-production cars also had vertical end plates.

Our sample is decorated as Burlington Northern no. 464275, part of the railroad’s 464601 through 464916 series [Not all cars in this number series were 4785s. – Ed.] The model is painted in the railroad’s early 1990s freight car scheme, referred to by some as the herald-over-three-lines scheme. Unlike other covered hoppers from that era, BN didn’t inherit the 4785s from its predecessor roads. Instead, the railroad acquired the cars secondhand. The covered hoppers are from PC’s 890101 through 890500 series built by Pullman-Standard under Lot 9593 in June and July 1972. The cars went to Conrail in 1976, retaining the same road numbers.

The model. The 4785 covered hopper has a one-piece injection-molded plastic body with a steel weight secured to the interior with two screws. The car is offered with round, three-piece trough, or one-piece trough hatches; the BN car has the latter. Similarly, there are three end frames to match the various paint schemes being offered. Our sample has the version for cars fitted with vertical end plates. An exploded view diagram shows the numerous other separate, factory-applied parts.

Though offers the BN car in four road numbers, each car has variations in data and data placement to match the prototype. Car numbers 464275 and 464864 have Miner Mark E-6929 gravity pneumatic outlet gates and Morton (stamped round hole) running boards and crossover platforms. Cars 464504 and 464308 are fitted with Keystone Portloc gravity-pneumatic outlet gates and U.S. Gypsum (diamond hole) running boards and crossover platforms. Other features on the BN cars include short center sills and as-built pressed steel trough loading hatches.

Top view of HO scale Burlington Northern 4785 covered hopper. offers the BN covered hopper in four road numbers. Cars 464275 and 464864 have Morton running boards and crossover platforms. These can be identified by the stamped round holes. The other two road numbers, 464504 and 464308, have U.S. Gypsum running boards and crossover platforms with diamond holes.

The model is neatly painted BN Cascade Green. All of the white graphics are opaque and legible. There were a few small voids where the herald wraps over the exterior posts. These would be easy to fix with some white paint and a fine brush. The placement of the lettering matches a prototype photo of the full-size car no. 464275, now lettered for Caldwell-Baker Co., that I found online.

By the numbers. The covered hopper tips the scales at 4.7 ounces, which is correct per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The 36” machined metal wheelsets are correctly gauged. The die-cast metal semi-scale Type E couplers are mounted at the correct height.

I compared the model to prototype dimensions listed for Penn Central 890101 through 890500 4785 covered hoppers published in the January 1973 Official Railway Equipment Register. The model closely matches all published data.

Underbody of HO scale Burlington Northern 4785 covered hopper.
The PS 4785 covered hopper has stub sills, just like the prototype. Burlington Northern cars 464275 and 464864 are fitted with Miner Mark E-6929 gravity-pneumatic outlet gates. Car numbers 464504 and 464308 have Keystone Portloc gravity-pneumatic outlet gates.

Then I tested the car on our Wisconsin & Southern staff layout. It operated without incident when being pushed and pulled through the layout’s no. 5 turnouts and 30” radius curves. Though the covered hopper will negotiate 18” radius curves, the manufacturer recommends 22” or greater.

Living up to the name. As a fan of granger railroads, I was glad to see produce the PS 4785 covered hopper. With railroad-specific details, etched- and formed-metal parts, and wire grab irons, the model certainly lives up to the Rivet Counter name.

Facts & Features
Price: $42.99
7598 Highway 411
Benton, TN 37307
Era: 1967 to present (depending on scheme)
Road names: Burlington Northern, Archer Daniels Midland (three road numbers), Caldwell-Baker Co. (Penn Central patchout with RFMX reporting marks), Central Soya, Conrail, Missouri-Kansas-Texas (two numbers), Penn Central (six numbers), and St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt). Four numbers per scheme unless noted.
• 36” machined metal wheelsets, properly gauged
• Die-cast metal semi-scale Type E couplers, at correct height
• Factory-installed metal grab irons and uncoupling levers
• Ladders with metal rungs
• Photo-etched stainless steel see-through crossover platforms and running boards
• Prototype-specific details
• Weight: 4.7 ounces, correct per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1

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