Re: Accurail DDR 40’ Boxcar Prototype.

O Fenton Wells

Thanks for taking the time to go through that.  Much appreciated.  It reminds me of when we were developing new products at work.  All the starts and stops.

On Tue, Jan 4, 2022 at 2:30 PM Dennis Storzek <dennis@...> wrote:
I'm coming in on this discussion very late... my excuse is a day of "grandpa duty" watching a six year old.

Others have covered the prototype question, so here's a history of the tool. It was built about 1979 or '80, several years before Bill McKean became disastrously involved with Front Range. The cavity work was designed by a professional modelmaker named Jim Allen, IIRC. I have no idea what he used for prototype data; remember, in that era it was hard to get a complete data package, and easy to accidentally mix attributes from two or more different lots of prototype cars. The body inserts were designed to be run in the Train Miniature of Illinois master mold base, while the floor and details were in their own mold. At the time the new kit was priced at $6.95, while the Athearn boxcar was still selling for $3.50. At the time I was interested in the car as it had the the fifties era attributes not available elsewhere, and I wrote Bill suggesting he do alternate single door sides. He wrote back that he was looking for a new toolmaker and he would look into it. In 1985 Walthers purchased the TM of I tooling, and Bill could never come to an agreement with them to either run bodies for him or purchase the body inserts, so the kit went off the market.

By the time I became involved with Accurate Finishing (later Accurail) in 1986, Bill had reached an agreement with the owner of Front Range Products to develop and run tooling for him. Their first joint project was a 40' PS-1, which made use of the 40' boxcar floor tool. However, the double door body would not fit any Front Range mold bases, so that model remained off the market.

Meanwhile, Accurate Finishing had become interested in developing its own line of kits, so we purchased the double door body inserts. I knew that there was the basis for a generic fifties era single door boxcar there for only the cost of new side inserts, so we paid to have a mold base created. Since Front Range was using the floor mold for the McKean PS-1, we also had to build a tool for the floor. We released our version of the double door car under the Accurail Name in 1989 or early 1990, and the single door boxcar about a year later. Both have been in continuous production ever since.

Dennis Storzek
Accurail, Inc.

Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374

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