Re: Foobies

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>

--- In STMFC@..., Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...> wrote:

Keeping projects quiet is one thing; an obsession with secrecy is
another. If the project is going to succeed, the small business
needs trustworthy prototype consultants. A number of us on this list
have acted as consultants to numerous manufacturers and have provided
essential information, drawings, and photos (Ed Hawkins, Ted Culotta,
Tony Thompson, and Jerry Stewart come immediately to mind, as well as
myself) and none of us have ever, to my knowledge, spoken out of turn
or spilled the beans prematurely. It's never been hard to find out
who can be trusted to provide accurate information without talking
out of turn. Gould's fascination with detailed drawings, combined
with his ignorance of prototype history, were his undoing. Notice
that he followed the non-existent USRA tank car with a model of an
AC&F flat car - again, because the Cyc drawings were superb - which
had exactly three owners: NC&StL, SP&S, and FEC. Hello? Another
fine model, but how many of us need even one, let alone several of them.
I hate to be put in the position to argue that prototype authenticity didn't matter, but looking back at the landscape as it was in the late seventies / early eighties, it didn't. No much, anyway. There were those, Richard Hendrickson and Al Westerfield who were working to change that, but they were the exception, not the rule. And, who knew who could be trusted, since outside of the brass importers, very few of the manufacturers did extensive research, or any research at all. Most of what had come before was single prototype cars; Atheran's 40' boxcar really only has one prototype, as did their wood side box. Most of the MDC cars had no prototype at all, and the Train Miniature line was a mix... they started with a couple real cars, then mixed and matched the mold inserts to make more, modifying dimensions at will to make everything fit. There wasn't even the wealth of information available on the prototype; it was common for the average modeler of the time to take the position that whatever the model, somebody must have had them, and it was impossible to ever say for sure that no one did. Remember the mantra, "there's a prototype for everything"?

Against that background, Bob Hundman surely looked like a good expert adviser; he had worked for PFM before starting Mainline Modeler, and was an excellent draftsman. Who in the heck were these other guys?

Looking to hang a date on the Gould tankcar, I ran into this biography of Bill Gould:

It appears the work he si doing is head and shoulders above anything done in the model railroad hobby, as are the commissions, I'm sure. That, I recall, is why Bill eventually sold out; there is really no money in this hobby, and you end up running production, with all it's risks, rather than locking in those big bucks commissions.

It's a shame that he didn't stay with the hobby; it's our loss.


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