Re: Flat car underbody question

Tim O'Connor


What straw man would that be, exactly?

Richard wrote: "... it is pointless to model underframe details
which are invisible when the car is on the track"

I responded to that. In my English language, Richard's statement
is crystal clear. When house cars are on the track, in MOST cases
you cannot see the crossbearers, bolsters, center sill, draft gear
(except for the ends of the draft gear). They are invisible.

This is true even when you are looking at the car from the side,
unless you are actually looking UP at the car's underbody, which is
quite rare on most layouts, although it may be true on Richard's

As for your CHOICE not to install the rods etc, truthfully I do
not always install those details. But I already said that. I have
done the lead weights in the center sill of flat cars (Sunshine),
and other such cases. And some models preclude proper underframe
details (e.g. Tangent and Proto 2000 gondolas), because the vendor
has already made the choice to omit a proper underframe for you!

I know Richard adds these details to most of his models -- hence
my consternation that he would make such a broad statement! He's
a very influential guy, and if Athearn or another manufacturer read
what he wrote they could EASILY interpret it as literally as I do.

Cars that do conform to Richard's statement include all of the old
Model Die Casting 50 foot FMC box cars for example. The underbody
on those models is basically a slab of plastic, sans detail. Please
let's not go back to those bad old days!

Tim O'Connor


As happens from time to time, Tim creates a straw man and then
kicks the stuffing out of it. <g> Richard most assuredly did not say
he ignores underframes, and if Tim had had the pleasure of seeing a
bunch of Richard's freight cars, he would know that Richard DOES
include brake rigging on any car for which a side view makes it
visible, and also includes complete piping on cars where it can be seen.
I would not like to see freight car kits (or RTR) with detail-
less underframes, but on house cars I too often omit brake PIPING if
the only way it can be seen is by inverting the car. I do generally
add all brake levers and rods, because usually they can be seen. And
on fishbelly-side-sill cars, I may only install the reservoir and
cylinder. For me, it DOES depend on the individual car.

Tony Thompson

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