Re: Prototype info from model mfgs

Jim Betz


I guess I must live some where in outer space ... so here's an
opinion from left field ...

I don't think it's the mfgrs responsibility to spoon feed us all the info
we need/want. I think it's more our responsibility to provide it to them -
and to each other. We're the experts. We know what's right - and what
isn't. And if prototypical accuracy is important to us then we can demand
that - with our billfolds - and they'll fall in line.

What I think we really need is mfgrs who -listen- ... and act. My
"perfect world" would be one where a mfgr gets input from the experts
out here in hobby land. The true experts. They do exist ... and in
fairly high numbers ... there certainly are enough of them that are
ready and willing to share their expertise.
WIBNI - wouldn't it be nice if - some RTR mfgr out there decided that
they were going to do a new reefer ... and they called Tony to check
with him on the details? Etc., etc., etc. I'm sure Tony's been
consulted - and Richard - and _____ ... but probably not very often
by the mfgrs who are responsible for the majority of the RTR models.
And there are even some that do "get it right" - mfgrs for whom
if they have an error on one of their models it is almost always an
error of ommission rather than commission - and even that usually
resulting from consciously leaving those details out.


However - the reality seems to be that the 'culture' of the ready to
run mfgrs is to "produce stuff and see what sells". I'm not sure they
are ready to change - I'm not even sure it makes economic sense for
them to change ... and I'm speaking of both sides of the economic
fence (their side and ours). If they took the time to make all of
their RTR stuff "correct" - would we be able to afford it? And would
we notice it? (See the next paragraph.) Or is it OK that we can
buy enough grain cars to make up something that looks and feels like
a real grain train? Maybe we can't have accuracy - and RTR affordable -
and have web sites that already have all of the research we want on
them - provided by the mfgrs? Well, of course we -could- ... but maybe
its more important at this point in time that the RTR mfgrs focus on
other stuff such as making it easy for us to use the coupler of our
choice - or god forbid actually including the "good couplers" on their
entire line from now on? (And why do they still feel they have to
include a package of horn hooks! In my perfect world the guys who
are still using horn hooks should have to buy them. I'm even willing
to sell them a bunch. *G*)
Personally I'd rather have web sites that have the info - and that
are created and maintained by the modeling community/experts. It
has a better chance of being both up to date and accurate.


I operated at one of the truly great layouts on Sunday. Otis McGee's
"SP Shasta Route". Otis's freight cars are true eye candy ... -very-
nicely weathered ... in fact I'd have to say "stunning to look at" ===>
because they blended into the scene and weren't 'in your face'. I have
to admit I have no idea how prototypically "correct" they were (I
didn't actually check - I was much too busy running trains!).
I'm certain there were no 'post STMFC era cars'. The layout is firmly
placed in the early transition with about 90% or more of the power being
steam. Although the stated date is 1952 the look and feel is like it
is some kind of "very interesting day in 1952 when there was more
steam in that area of the world than you would expect". The freight
cars and power and cabeese and passenger trains were all "in accord
with each other and with the theme of the RR". And I'm certain that
the owner has taken care to select his rolling stock so that it does
"fit the theme". But if there had been a box car in my train that
had a re-weigh date on it of 1957 I certainly wasn't going to notice!
Yes, I would have noticed if there was a 40' box car that was built
in the 40's but wearing a late 60's paint scheme ... and I would
have felt it was "out of place". But I didn't object to working a
car lettered for the "Sue Line" ... because it looked like it was
built and painted in the correct era.

I guess I'm more interested in "the look and feel of the layout"
than I am in the "prototypical accuracy". But I started this
saying that I'm from left field ... so nobody's surprised! *G*
- Jim

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