Re: New Walthers USRA 55 ton hopper

Richard Hendrickson

Ted Culotta writes:

Apparently "Empire Builder" is no longer just a train. I can't wait to
see what other manufacturers they try to deep six. Predatory for no
good reason. In the not too distant future, we'll all be buying from
WalMart, er, Horizon, and Costco, I mean Walthers. Well, at least the
trucks appear to be something slightly different, even though they are
wrong for USRA hoppers.
None of this is new, of course. Years ago, when MDC was known to be
developing their 50' single sheathed auto car models, Walthers rushed their
own 50' single sheathed auto cars into production. The MDC cars, based on
WP prototype information, were more accurate and better detailed than
anything they had produced previously, while the Walthers models were
generic cars that sort of resembled some MILW cars but in fact weren't
accurate for any single prototype and were poorly executed (e.g., their
3-3-3 Dreadnaught ends can only be described as a disaster). When asked at
that year's Rosemont trade show why they had introduced an inferior model
knowing that MDC was about to hatch a near-equivalent of better quality,
one of Walthers' sales guys arrogantly declared, "we'll show 'em who's
number one." Obviously, things haven't changed. What Walthers products
lack in accuracy and quality will be made up for in marketing muscle, and
the hobby as a whole - at least, the serious scale modeling side of the
hobby - will suffer in consequence. Those of us who don't like it can vote
with our feet. I have long made it a policy not to buy Walthers products
if there's an acceptable alternative and not to be buy other manufacturers'
products from Walthers or their dealers if I can avoid it.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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