Re: Accuracy of paint schemes...


Richard Hendrickson
 

On Mar 27, 2006, at 10:34 AM, Anthony Thompson wrote:

Jared, MRIA has never touched the topic of accuracy or any other
discriminator among products. The only organization to do that was the
NMRA, and under today's timid management, it ain't likely to ever
happen again. How about a committee of RPM? <g>
Well, de facto, that's what we have now. Those few manufacturers who care about getting it right consult on a regular basis with a number of the subscribers to this list about steam era freight car painting and lettering schemes, and some of them also follow the list discussions on this topic, either as "lurkers" or as active participants. And those of us who act in this capacity are in frequent communication with each other, so in a way we have a committee already.

The problem isn't that the manufacturers don't have access to comprehensive and accurate information, it's that some of them don't care (because they think most of their customers don't care). Also, as I've noted here before, there's ongoing in-house tension at some model RR manufacturing companies between the R&D guys, who usually do want to get things done right and who know where to get the information to do so, vs. the sales guys, who are willing, nay eager, to produce bogus models if they think they'll sell well (and who often have strange opinions, and almost no hard data, about what buyers actually want).

Bottom line: despite our best efforts, there are still a lot more toy train bozos in the hobby than prototype modelers. The bozos will buy anything if (1) it's painted and lettered, however incorrectly, for their favorite railroad(s) or (2) it catches their fancy, especially if it's colorful (e.g., Boraxo covered hoppers). Even prototype modelers are not entirely immune from these tendencies, as we have seen in recent exchanges on the STMFC list. So it's pointless to blame the manufacturers for making what sells. While we may feel that they're pandering to the bozos, they're in business to turn a profit so they can stay in business and (if only occasionally) produce something that's prototypically accurate.

Our best course of action here is to vigorously support those like Kadee, Branchline, and Proto 2000 who make a strong and ongoing effort to do things right and to spread the word as widely as well among other, perhaps less well informed, model railroaders about what's accurate and what isn't.

Richard Hendrickson

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