At 01:03 PM 5/9/2012 -0400, you wrote:
long after, the Storzek Soo Line and Rutland DS box car kits in resinI first became interested in accurate freight car modeling in the early 1980s. I had a friend who was a college student and he couldn't afford to build locomotives, so he built freight cars - a fair number of them. He kitbashed Athearn and other cars, and used a lot of decals. He joined us in our NMRA show displays and I was floored at how much better the whole thing looked with accurate freight cars instead of the generic Athearn stuff everybody had... and this wasn't lost on the public either, we received a lot of positive comments about Bills freight cars.
I said that's when I became interested... but, in spite of having been a charter member of Richard Hosker's FCL (one of the only indie mailing lists formed before my diesel list) and charter members of this list as well as the MFCL, I didn't really start building freight cars in earnest until 2006. As far back as the mid 90s I started trying to pay more attention and do my homework before buying RTR models, but I still ended up with lots and lots of foobies. I'd love to say that hasn't happened lately but.... anyway, I think I've spent as much on books and photos as I have on kits and parts just in the last 18 months. And found an ORER appropriate to my time frame and learned more or less how to use it. Even so I'm relying heavily on the generosity of those on this list and others to provide reliable information and photos and things are progressing at a snail's pace.
In the end, I hope for my freight car fleet to be 80% accurate, 15% good stand-in or a minor era fudge, and 5% unexplainable foob. But it's not likely more than 25% of it will be built - it will be mostly RTR or deco kit built but again hopefully with foreknowledge. Good example - the forthcoming alternate standard 2-bay hopper from Intermountain. I've ordered up a bunch in NKP and Erie, and a few undecs.
So I'm a slow learner, but I've been busy doing other things....