Re: Athearn C&NW 65 ft mill gon

Richard Hendrickson

On Apr 18, 2007, at 9:15 AM, Mike Brock wrote:

I note that Athearn is producing a C&NW version of the 65 ft mill gon.
also note that the Athearn numbers:

Gondola, C&NW #95081 & 95156

do not match the numbers Richard reports in his article in Feb 2006
RMJ nor
do they match those in the '53 ORER [ which match Richard's ]. The
cars also have a '58 [ I think ] built date. Rather annoying for those
modeling the steam era. I suppose one could change the numbers. Does
know if these cars are correct for the late steam era? Wonder why
chose such a date...shutting out the transition era modeler?
My 10/58 ORER shows two groups of 65'6" mill gons with numbers in the
95000-95199 series and odd numbers in the 132001-132099 series. The
132000 series cars were built by Pressed Steel in 1949 and had those
numbers from the outset, as shown by a builder's photo in the 1953 Car
Builders' Cyclopedia, confirmed by the 1951 C&NW diagram book. The
95000-95199 series cars are not in the 1/53 or 1/55 ORERs, so the built
date on the Athearn models may be correct. Changing the numbers is, of
course, possible but the rest of the lettering should be compared to
the photo in the 1953 Cyc as there is no guarantee that the lettering
style and arrangement was the same on the later cars as on the earlier

As to why Athearn chose to model the later cars rather than the earlier
ones, I can tell you that they could easily have modeled the 1949 cars
because I provided Athearn's R&D people with both photos and data on
them. However, I will add my impression that product decisions at
Athearn are not made by, nor apparently even in much consultation with,
the R&D department. They are made by sales people. And most sales
people in the model railroad business are legendary for (1) their
ignorance of, even contempt for, accurate prototype data and (2) their
insightful market research, which consists mostly of exchanging
misconceptions with hobby shop owners who know even less about the
prototype than they do. No surprise, then, that the results often seem
baffling to us prototype modelers.

In short, go figure.

Richard Hendrickson

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