Re: UTLX tank cars


Richard Hendrickson
 

1 Tichey has had his tank car on the market for 15-20 years and never
did sell very many of them because of an unfortunate choice of
unprototypical accuracy. He also does his own tooling on the cheap and
I'll bet you he still hasn't recouped his out-of-pocket on that kit. He
sells the underframes relatively cheap to get something out of it, but
since he doesn't have much in to begin with, they're cheap. Probably
cheaper than the Chinese would charge.
Byron is essentially right about this (aas about the other practical issues
involved in producing and marketing tank car parts), but, just for the
record, let's correct his oversimplification of history here. The
now-Tichy tank car was originally tooled by Bill Gould, whose knowledge of
prototype history was as defective as his die-making skills were superb.
(And, just to make sure blame goes where it should, even at this late date,
Gould was egged on by Bob Hundman who then, when the nonexistence of the
prototype was pointed out, tried to rewrite history rather than admit he
was wrong). Gould made some other unfortunate choices of prototypes to
model, sales of his kits fell far short of his expectations, and he
eventually sold all the tooling for the Gould kits to Tichy, who has
produced them ever since. No way to know what Tichy paid for Gould's
tooling, but it's a pretty safe bet that he paid a lot less than it cost to
produce, and probably a whole lot less than it would take to duplicate it
today.

Those of us who are into building kits (especially resin kits), kitbashing,
etc. are prone to forget how few of us there are, and what a miniscule
market we constitute for manufacturers. I have it on good authority that
the Life-Like and Intermountain built-ups go out the front door as fast as
they come in the back door while the kits languish on dealers' shelves. As
for kits like the Gould/Tichy cars, with all those little pieces that have
to be assembled and then - saints preserve us! - painted and lettered, I
happened to be in a large hobby shop in Southern Calif. when the Gould tank
car first came out. A modeler whose name is still regarded with great
reverence by the NMRA crowd came into the store to see what was new and the
owner handed him a Gould tank car kit. He opened the box, looked at all
those itty bitty styrene parts, blanched visibly, and blurted out, "Oh, I
could never build anything like that!" That was a long time ago, but, if
anything, there are more "model railroaders" like him today than there ever
were.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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