Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling



thanks for taking the time to share your answer to my curiosity. I hope others found it enlightening as well. Someone mentioned that about 1 in 10 modelers are not content with the status quo - the "toy" trains. Perhaps about 1 in 100 do what you did? You basically gave up your own modeling and launch an endeavor that benefited many, many others. Thanks You. I do know what that feels like.

I think something else is missing from this discussion that is paramount to Prototype Modeling. This would be the time spent doing the research whether to produce a one-of-a-kind scratch build or a highly detailed and accurate kit. It is nice when you can buy a book or half a dozen books and sit down and bring everything together. But someone had to collect, analyze, and assimilate all of that information. That 1 in 10 ratio really widens when it comes to that aspect of prototype modeling. And there are those out there with piles and piles of photos, papers, drawings and other documents that have never gotten as far as the printing press. They've built some incredible models but it isn't just because they are "talented".

I went to a NMRA regional meet in 1990 with an O scale narrow gauge side dump cinder car. I sat through the awards ceremony and was quite disappointed when the MOW category came and went with no mention of my car. I almost got up and walked out because it wasn't just a completely detailed and accurate model of a prototype. It was an introduction of a series of cars no one had any knowledge of (for that particular RR). I discovered it during my long hours of research. I discovered it and I spent a great deal of time bringing all of the bits and pieces (there were but a few fragmented photos) together as a drawing and then as a model. I'm glad I didn't walk out because it took best of show. Eventually MR published an article.

Is that an earth-shattering story? No. I'm sure many of those 1 in 10 can tell one similar. But what is important, at least to me, is the dedication those few offer that makes it possible for the rest of us to do what we do.

I appreciate the RPM movement. I did not grow up in the path of HO Standard gauge. I looked at the toy trains and caricature layouts and found history and the prototype far more fulfilling (in the form of narrow gauge). Within my limited knowledge both then and now the fine scale kit of the 3000 series box car offered by Rail Line in HOn3 blew away anything in HO SG at that time. It was almost unbuildable. If that wasn't an RPM kit I don't know what would have been. It seemeds to me the percentage of prototype modelers was far higher in NG than in SG at that time. Probably still is. But I've come to realize or perceive that perhaps the torch is passing. In the last several years I've walked into conventions and RPM meets and seen the ordinary box car looking as good and perhaps even better than the diminutive little wooden cars that one might see at a Narrow Gauge meet. I like that. That's why I'm here. The dedication and craftsmanship attracts me.

Derrell Poole

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