Critiquing Pre-production Models? (Re: "The Great Unwashed" ... Educatable?)

Brian Chapman <cornbeltroute@...>

Also, as modelers get pickier, the market shrinks, thus making it less attractive for a manufacturer to invest in tooling for a given model. <
I think many of us don't believe this. It's been said for a long time the cost to make a model right is the same as making it wrong. "Pickier" might refer to details but in most cases it cost the same to cut the molds. <<
So, what are the best ways available for manufacturers to "get it right"?

Assuming that a manufacturer (I'm imagining a small, cottage-type business with a limited R&D budget) has done a fine job collecting published data and documentation, it seems nevertheless that accuracy errors are inevitable (particularly if real life examples of the subject matter aren't available for inspection).

Do such manufacturers attempt to plug into the expertise residing on sites such as this one (and the MFCL and modelintermodal lists, as further examples)? Could not the STMFC and similar sites populated with highly knowledgeable modelers and railroad historians have an enormous impact on the hobby's models?

Say that a small-business manufacturer has 3D art, or better yet, a pre-production model of a steam-era freight car. Would those here with specific knowledge be willing to critique the model for accuracy if artwork were uploaded to the Photos / Files sections?

Rather than make it a hit-or-miss affair, might there be a way to formalize such critiquing work? Such as a certain type of message subject header to create a unified thread, for example: PROJECT EVALUATION: NYC's offset twin hopper

Sanction by and support of the list owner and the moderators, it seems to me, would be crucial to making this a successful process.

The bottomline, it seems to me, is to find the best route possible to correct profound freight car errors before they reach production, avoiding much of the meltdown that so often occurs after the release of a model (see: MFCL discussion of recent ExactRail covered hopper release).

Some manufacturers will not reveal project information in advance of production. Others, though, might be willing to give critiquing a try -- at least on a one-time basis to test the process, particularly if the design work on a model is so far advanced that the company will reach production before it can be overtaken by a competitor's product.

So, is their a way to tap into modeler expertise, and to do it in a way that's methodical and accepted?


Brian Chapman
Evansdale, Iowa

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