Re: BLI vs. Walthers express reefers

Richard Hendrickson

On Sep 21, 2005, at 8:58 AM, Gatwood, Elden wrote:

In some of my recent interactions with manufacturers and sellers I am
also being told very disturbing stuff like "flat cars don't sell",
"gondolas don't sell", and "tank cars don't sell". Is this true?

If what they say, that boxcars and reefers are the only ones that
generate a good enough profit to interest them, is what is guiding
decision-making in regards to injection-molded plastic kits, then
realistically, we should probably not expect that any of them is going
to do anything BUT that in the future.

The question is; what is left in that realm that a major manufacturer
would consider worthy enough to do? If we can eliminate flats, gons,
and tank cars, what would a plastic maker consider from what is left on
the table?
Relax, Elden. Facile generalizations about what sells and what doesn't are worthless, regardless of where they originate. It's obvious that the manufacturers of injection-molded HO scale freight car models have used up most of the cheap shots like AAR box cars and PFE reefers, so decisions about what prototypes to model are now harder to make and involve a lot of variables (some of them not at all obvious to either retailers or consumers). But notice that almost all of the major manufacturers have produced models of flat cars, gondolas, and tank cars, and continue to do so (e.g., the forthcoming Athearn 65' mill gons and Life-Like insulated Type 21 tank cars). I can also assure you that all of them are hard at work on R&D for new products (some of which will surprise you) and are seriously gathering data on prototypes for possible future projects. The choices they will make aren't easy to predict, but common sense dictates that we won't get models of odd-ball prototypes owned by obscure railroads (e.g. BA&P wood sheathed box cars), nor will we get models of every freight car the Pennsy ever owned, as is apparently hoped for by some of the more dedicated (=deluded?) SPFs. However, barring profound changes in the economics of producing injection-molded scale models, you can count on it that there will continue to be a variety of new models, quality will continue to improve, and prices will continue to float upward.

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