A delurk of sorts (was Prototype info from model mfgs)
--- In STMFC@..., "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@...> wrote:
Most manufacturers do not maintain a website that shows all past models and they have little economic motivation to do so.
There are some N Scale websites and lists that are doing just that. One reviews Micro-Trains monthly releases (giving a narrative description of each car, and often times correcting the fairly extensive description that M-T provides on their boxes, and much ORER and other research (citing chapter and verse of where photos appear in books, articles, internet) and attempting to piece together the range of dates possible for the paint scheme presented.
Who is THAT nut? Oh, wait, that's me!
I suppose this is as good a time as any to "delurk" however briefly. I am the author of The Unofficial Micro-Trains Release Report which I've been offering as a monthly e-mail-- "free and worth at least that much" since 1996. The UMTRR is, as Charlie noted, my attempt to provide review and commentary on the compendium of Micro-Trains' monthly releases in N, Z and more recently HOn3.
I've been a member here principally because this is among the best online forums available for prototype information, often not discussed anywhere else.
As much as I'd like to own every publication out there, or at least every one referenced on this list, the fact that Micro-Trains can and does release a very wide variety of rolling stock based on prototypical cars necessarily makes me a generalist at best in terms of what I can research. As Charlie noted, one data point I strive to find-- and do not always reasonably come up with-- is the "Approximate Time Period" in which the prototype on which the Micro-Trains model is based actually operated.
So given that there is a limited budget for hard copy materials, supplemented by subscription revenue of zero dollars per year, most monthly issues contain at least one citation of the information discussed on this list--with proper credit, I hasten to add. While I can't be sure of this I certainly hope my references and recommendations to STFMC have steered readers and perhaps even some contributors over to this venue. But in any case, please know that the scholarly discussions of freight cars that occur here are very much appreciated and properly referenced in the bytes of the UMTRR. On behalf of the entire "UMTRR Gang" my thanks to everyone here.
I don't post here since I find myself very much in the category of "you guys have forgotten more than I'll ever learn" in the area of Steam Era Freight Cars. (It probably doesn't help that I was born after the end of the STFMC date span.) I have certainly used the list archives, as was the case last month when Micro-Trains released a steel gondola in the red and white "Koppers Coke" scheme that was discussed here several years ago. (My summary: "stand in" for various reasons, the degree to which I leave up to the reader after providing a comparison to the prototype.)
Charlie mentioned also that there's no real incentive for manufacturers to post images of releases which are no longer available, and that's certainly understandable. Fortunately, Micro-Trains has given me permission to post the images of all their releases which I've done for all years back to 2001 on the UMTRR's companion website. I also did a fair amount of pushing of Micro-Trains to publish an all time database of their releases, and helped them get that off the ground; they are one of the few manufacturers I know who make that available for free online.
Speaking of websites, feel free to have a look at mine:
...but only if you promise not to laugh. OK, not to laugh too hard, anyway.
I'll close, and return to lurking, by saying that I have a great deal of respect for what you do both here on STMFC and in the other work you have done to advance the cause of Prototype Model Railroading. While I agree with Charlie that the majority of model railroaders won't attempt to approach the level of dedication to the prototype that is evidenced here (and that includes my readership base), there is no question that the work of the STMFC has greatly helped to raise the bar.
The Unofficial Micro-Trains Release Report