Earlier I made this statement and I should clarify something...
I have had a long standing (sometimes very trying) personal and business
relationship with Bob. But in my most humble opinion (and I have never beat
around the bush and would tell him to his face) Bob made several business
mistakes during the life of MM. The first in my opinion came in the summer of 1994,
when Jeff was editor of Mainline. Jeff wrote a commentary regarding issues of
manufacturers and their practices of offering freight car kits with molded on
details and one manufacturer in particular that when backwards with his
molds at the time and Jeff was critical. It came to an argument at the NMRA
Nationals in Portland when Jeff was "ambushed" by more than one, I was there at
the time with Jeff. It was not pretty and Bob became aware and Jeff was soon
removed. MISTAKE #1"
The commentary Jeff wrote was directed at C&BT Shops for their retooling of
their kits from kits with separate ladders and so forth to molded on parts.
I was as much to blame for the commentary as I was the one who got Jeff
fired up. Remember Jeff at the time was actually an O Scale modeler. But my point
was that Bob backed away from Jeff in his commentary which I suppose was
what any businessman would do when a manufacturer felt he/she was "under attack"
by his editor. As we all know this causes "soft reviews." We all respect the
perceived markets that manufacturers target, and we often make chicken soup
from chicken poop, but to be successful in one market then take an about face
was just down right ignorant in my humble opinion. Jeff and Bob are good
friends today, perhaps better friends than coworkers as is often the case in
life. I just saw the move on Bob's part as short sighted with the direction the
market was headed and besides Jeff took his lecturing from several folks at
that convention standing tall.
Some of my favorite articles were the diesel paint and lettering schemes and
in particular Dave Messers article on New Haven RS-3's. Another on the
freight car side was Jeff English's article on the rebuilding of the flat kit PS-1
(Kratz Kit I believe) into a six foot door version of the NYC car. I believe
someone told me Jeff has moved into S Scale? Jeff's article to me was
cutting edge and then he did re-detailed the CB&T 40-foot boxcar into a smashing
UP car! I could always count on something from Mont Switzer in freight cars.
To me the drawings were nice, but the accuracy of the cars was always a
concern, but what can you expect for about 5 bucks? I wasn't scratch building
then, but my brother did and he would pick up on the errors.
Like Tony says, much of what we were doing then is offered to us today in