Re: Modeling pre-transition era freight cars

Max Robin

Ben made the comment that it made better economic sense for companies to
make transition era cars than early 1900 - 1912 like Bowser's PRR GS
flat. Thhat may very well be true, but then there would be essentially
NO cars from Al Westerfield and far fewer available from Sunshine, to
name just a few "Quakity" manufacturers. Those of us who model
pre-transition era, whether it be 1905 or 1938 may not be the most vocal
group in the world, but we sure as hell care quite a bit.

In the mid '80s, my friend Gerry Futej ("The Futej Foundery") and myself
("Cheat River Coal and Lumber Co.") took the time to measure and make
complete engineering drawings for ACF 1910 - 1920 era wood flat cars.
We then produced and marketed a craftsman kit which included a custom
cast metal frame and the brake staff pawl/rachet assembly for a
fall-over 90 degree brake staff (made by Walker Model Service from my
patterns), Cal-Scale and Grandt Line detail parts and appropriate
styrene components. Neither of us were modeling pre-WW II at the time,
but we recognized that if we didn't do it while there were some intact
full scale cars to work from it was not likely to ever get done.

Nearly 20 years later Bachmann, in the person of Lee Riley, asked for
permission (which we gladly granted) to use our Copyrighted work to
produce the cast pewter flat cars which they brought out in two versions
(1905 - 1935 and 1935 - 1960 variants) to go with their then new HO
scale 3 truck Shay. Yes these cars are a bit eclectic (and expensive),
but they have sold thousands of them because they were the right product
for a significant chunk of their potential Shay customers.

I can think of at least a half dozen prototypes which I would rather hae
seen produced than Kadee's PS-1. But instead of complaining about it
and writing the model off, I appreciate that it raised the bar of what's
"doable" at a specific price point. And yes, I have made it a point to
help get some of those "other" prototype made available (WM Beth. built
1937 double door 40' Auto Box from Sunshine for instance).

The point I'm trying to make is that just because you
think/believe/"know" that a particular model, representing a specific
time frame/owner/paint scheme is a "better" product, doesn't mean that
there aren't other folks, who are willing to put money, time and
heartache into a totally "wrong" project (by your definition) which they
perceive a "need"/market for. I think we all tend to lose sight of the
fact that there is no single PERFECT FOR EVERYONE freight car to model.
But ALL of us on this list want to see high quality, accurate as
possible products produced.



smail: Max S. Robin, P.E.
Cheat River Engineering, Inc.
23 Richwood Place / P. O. Box 289
Denville, NJ 07834

voice: 973 - 627 - 5460 / 973 - 627 - 5895
mobile: 973 - 945 - 5007

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