I recently found out that MTH's club program for 2013 was still available, so I subscribed. This car is part of the 2013 membership. About a week and a half later, February 21, 2014, I got the car in the mail. After opening the mailing box, this is what was delivered. First impression: very nice box. Clearly indicates our favorite modeling scale.
Here's the side of the box which provides all the necessary model details.
Opening the box reveals a foam cradle holding the model (which is wrapped in a plastic bag), and the warranty card, also wrapped in a plastic bag.
And here's the car! MTH only sells freight cars with the hi-rail wheels and claw couplers. I will be replacing those in the near future. First impressions: the doors open; neat! The car looks and feels just like the kind of product that the former S-Helper Service company would have produced. I have, since originally posting this page, been told that SHS would never have used this paint scheme, because apparently it is not prototypical. However, the overall build quality and detailing is virtually identical to SHS' quality. Nicely detailed, sharp painting and printing.
An overall view from a different angle under some different lights.
The brake end details. Everything looks neat, clean, and in order.
The next three photos show a close-up of one side of the car, so you can see the decals.
Here's a close-up of the fine print next to the door.
The roof looks good. I did notice a little bit of flexing of the roof above the door, so these are delicate models.
Here is a close-up of the roof, showing the simulated wood grain in the roof walk boards. The corner grab irons look really nice with very fine details.
As I said, the doors open. Cool! The interior floor has simulated wood grain as well.
Here's an overall shot of the underside of the car. Comparing it with one of my S-Helper Service box cars, it looks to like it is the exact same under-body detailing, probably from the same tooling.
Here's a close up of the major components.
Overall, I think this is a winner. I am very impressed, and very happy to have MTH creating S-scale products.