Re: Kits? Yep...they're still with us

pullmanboss <tgmadden@...>

Tony Thompson wrote:

Another point worth making is that there really wasn't all that
much scratch building 50 years ago or so. You just made do with
what you could get. Layouts were full of Athearn and Ulrich metal
cars, Varney plastic, and some paper-side cars. You could visit
layouts all over the country and see the exact same freight cars
(and structures and passenger cars and . . . ) because anything
else was far too much trouble.
Which is why many of us who were interested in scratchbuilding
gravitated to narrow gauge. The sort of detailed prototype
information we now take for granted began surfacing for Colorado
narrow gauge half a century ago. MR articles by Len Madsen, RMC
plans by Al Kamm and the availability of John Maxwell's drawings
from the newly-established Colorado Railroad Museum gave narrow
gaugers a leg up on serious prototype modeling. Plus the prototype
equipment still existed and was accessible for measuring and

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of Len Madsen's landmark March
1957 MR article on scratchbuilding a D&RGW narrow gauge drop bottom
gon. That, and his article on scratchbuilding the Chama coaling
tower a couple of years later were responsible for pulling me into
serious HOn3 modeling for over 25 years. When I tired of the "quaint
and decrepit" factor in the mid-80's, Dennis Storzek's article
on "Seven Improvements to Athearn Box Cars" and Richard
Hendrickson's WestRail conversion kits were there to greet me and
demonstrate that the detailed information we took for granted in
narrow gauge modeling was coming to light for standard gauge. More
than anything, it's the availability of good prototype information
that makes good modeling possible.

To close the loop on the thread title, I was in Caboose Hobbies on
Wednesday. There were dozens of Red Caboose and InterMountain cars
on the shelves, but not one RC or IM kit.

Tom Madden

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