Re: Consumer Prototype Protection

Charlie Vlk

If the information on the box label was limited to the data printed on the
car I don't see any major problems.
If the manufacturer is expected to hold out that particular paint job
existed for a specific period of time and that the carbody and all its
features are accurate (to somebody's standard) I don't think that is going
to happen....
First, the manufacturer has little need to do in-depth usage documentation
research (being more concerned with the L&P ...I am talking about releasing
paint jobs on existing tooling, not tooling a new car where the emphasis is
on the mechanical aspects of the prototype) and second is not going to
limit the sales of their product to a few dead accurate paint jobs because
others were on carbodies with different sidesills or door styles.
Of course some of this depends on the size of the manufacturer, their
production profile and capabilities as far as tooling, size of runs, and a
host of other factors.
BLI is advertising their stockcar as a PRR K7a which is what was used to do
the tooling. By inference the NYC and other paint jobs are on a PRR car.
Now I took pains to spec that the factory apply boards in the locations
necessary so that each road's car is as close to their prototype as I could
make it....down to creating custom fonts for all the stencil lettering on
each..... I find it hard to believe that the people on this list need any
further warning label on the box....
I agree with Craig's idea that manufacturers should cultivate a network of
assistance from RR Historical Societies and
individuals who have information and are willing to help. I am grateful to
those who have assisted me in my work at JMC/ConCor,
Kato, and now as Railroad Model Resources / Broadway Limited. But from the
manufacturers viewpoint it is not always a smooth
road. We have business pressures and deadlines to work on projects and
often you get promises and hints of information but it
doesn't come forth.....or the "expert" sends you a bad xerox of a MR
article. We've had this discussion before.
Competition is another subject altogether..... there is some cooperationn (I
don't believe that it is good form to find out what someone
else is working on and try to beat them to the market with a competing
model) but some head-to-head competition is going to be
inevitable in an environment where many of the logical prototype selections
(the ones you can get reasonably large variety of roadnames
and paint schemes off of) are already tooled decently. Some improved models
will take business from lesser models and sometimes
there will be a need to duplicate to round out a range of products offered..
(BLI doing F7s is an example of this). Many of the manufacturers R&D guys
do talk to each other and respect each other's work..... but there are some
mavericks out there who don't play well with others.
The Model Railroad Industry, at least in North America, works best when each
company finds a niche that they are best at and contributes product to the
Hobby that works with others..... LifeLike, for example, has made tons of
passenger diesels but not one Pullman or Coach to go with them...
if it weren't for Walthers, ConCor, Athearn and now Branchline they probably
wouldn't have sold so many DL109s, PAs, E6,7, 8&9s, and Erie-Builts if they
didn't have "competitors".
Charlie Vlk

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