Operating tip: The Atlas Front runner cars are on the light side. There isn't any room to add weight to the car, but adding a little weight to the trailer it hauls helps a great deal. I generally run mine with either a Container mounted on a Walthers metal container chassis, or with a trailer which contains an EOT device.
I should point out, the Front Runners do run at least as well as the prototypes. These cars ended up having an "end of train" restriction on them, which is part of the reason none of them survived 20 years in revenue service.
The July/August 1997 Issue of N-Scale Magazine describes how to body mount a MicroTrains 1019 coupler on these cars.
Several individuals on the Atlas forum have reported success with body mounting MTL 2004 couplers on these cars. This is done by gluing and/or screwing the coupler to the walkways, OR by installingTruck Mounted MTL Couplers:
The truck pins supplied with these cars are not capable of holding a MicroTrains truck to the body. If you expand the hole in the bolster to 5/64 of an inch, the truck pins supplied with the MicroTrains trucks fit snugly. Use the original hole to center your drill bit. I also use one of the supplied washers to keep the trucks from binding.
I was informed by Jim Bence (Sswjim@aol.com) that the correct microtrains
pin for the original hole is MT #1039
John Sing has created a nice page detailing how to use MTL1035 trucks to achieve close to prototypical trucks spacing. John's website can be found here.
Appearance tip: Doug Gieger offers detailing tips in the July 1996 Model Railroading Magazine. This article has been reproduced in Highlands Station's Intermodal Modeler's Guide Volume 2.
Appearance tip: On both the articulated and stand alone Walthers Thrall double stack cars, there are more details on these cars than the factory paint job brings out. The biggest flaw in the paint job is the walkways. The elevated walkways on both ends of the stand alone cars, and both ends of each well in the articulated cars, are painted a silvery color. The walkways at the A and B ends of the car, and also the small walkways on all four corners of the wells, are painted to match the body color. I first painted these walkways with Model Master Steel, which is slightly darker than the factory silvery color on the elevated walkways. I toned down the factory silver by first drybrushing the same steel color on them, and then washing them with a diluted flat black paint.
Submitted by JLOBnsf@aol.com: "The Walther's articulated set is also nice, as mentioned, but needs the Gold Medal Models detail set for the walkways at each end." [Gold Medal Models also makes detail sets for the Walthers stand alone thrall cars, the ConCor All Purpose Husky Stacks, and the MDC/Roundhouse Husky Stacks. -- Paul]General Operational Tips:
Submitted by JLOBnsf@aol.com: "[The MDC/Roundhouse Husky Stacks] suffer from being too light. The solution is to add weight to the containers. However, I also like to run mine empty to show the lacy framing. I've found that metal wheelsets have helped keep these light cars tracking properly." [This is good advice for all of the all plastic well cars. -- Paul]
I haven't tried this, but another solution for adding weight to empty plastic well cars (From the Atlas forum) is to try adding a piece of glass to the bottom of the wells when they are empty. I don't think this has to be very thick.
I have created a seperate page detailing methods for connecting cars with drawbars.