As a lifelong Model Railroader who now has spent a longer time than my first in my second career (25 years and counting) in the Model Railroad Industry, I’ve heard the comment about labeling era on product for years.
Having worked in R&D for a number of importer/manufacturers I know how difficult it is to assemble and digest the information on the myriad range of eras, railroads, road numbers, paint schemes and variations thereof to make the product in the first place and would not care to try to distill that onto a label that will protect the consumer from making catastrophic wrong purchase decisions. And that assumes that within the company hierarchy the marketing people in charge of putting together packaging and advertising actually listen to the R&D people in the first place.
The problem as I see it is that the people who care about freight cars (this group representing a large percentage of them) likely would know better or how to determine the approximate dates that a given car or paint scheme would be running the part of the rail network that they are interested in.
I think it is better to let the consumer educate themselves to the level that they need….I could see hours of additional research on every product number to try to determine if AB&C #143233 in the mauve scheme ran under that number in that paint job with the particular stenciling applied…..if such information can even be had. Would such information on a product cause people to buy more or give them an excuse not to make a purchase? What would be next…..rejecting product as being “out of era” because COTS stenciling on brake equipment or reweigh dates are out of range?
Yes, a few of us model on a tight range of dates (or even ONE day…Hi Jack!!) and those likely don’t wait for the label to say its okay to buy something….they do the work and justify the purchase within their own guidelines.
I just hope that California doesn’t get the idea that this needs their protection. When I was at Kato we spent days on adding the legal notice to packaging because the brass used in flywheels contained a very small percentage of lead to make it machinable which was a big threat to the denizens of the Golden State who apparently eat their trains or throw them away in leaching landfills.