Re: AAR Standard twin offset side hopper with oval ends?

Richard Hendrickson

On Jan 24, 2011, at 6:52 AM, A. Premo wrote:

Is this a regional issue?
and, in another post,

I personally believe, and may be wrong, that there are more hoppers,
albeit less colorful, than reefers in eastern trains during the steam
and transition eras. Maybe the color is also a factor.

Armand, it IS a regional issue. The further west you went during the
steam era, the fewer hopper cars you saw. I have six or seven models
of them, and - since I model the Los Angeles area ca. 1947 - that's
about four or five more than I should have (I can, of course, rotate
them on and off my diorama so that there are only one or two at a
time). I understand why eastern modelers get all worked up about
this, but I usually put e-mail messages on the subject in the trash
without reading them because personally, as Rhett Bulter famously
exclaimed to Scarlett O'hara, I don't give a damn.

As for hopper cars being mostly drab, in contrast to reefers, of
course that's a factor. One car that steam-era modelers seriously
need, as its prototype existed by the many thousands and went
everywhere in North America, is the Union Tank Line X-3 tank car.
I've talked about this with just about every major manufacturer of
styrene models at one time or another, and they all say the same
thing. No matter how many prototype cars there were, the fact that
they were almost all painted dull black with only reporting marks,
numbers, and data means there is no chance they would sell well
enough to amortize the tooling. All the talk on the STMFC list about
AAR Alternate Standard hopper cars (whatever that term is understood
to mean) amounts to preaching to the converted. The great mass of
modelers neither know nor care about the differences between those
cars and other hoppers already on the market. Fortunately, we have
several members on the list who are manufacturers or who regularly
serve as consultants to manufacturers and they periodically yank us
back to reality. (Thanks, Dennis, Bill, Tom, Elden, et. al.)

I'll say again what I often say when I hear these claims that model
such-and-such would sell in vast numbers. If you believe that, put
up your own money to develop and tool the model and you'll find a
manufacturer who will do it for you. Then it's your $$$ at risk, not
theirs. But don't be surprised if you lose your shirt big time.

Richard Hendrickson

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