Date   

Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


Robin Rails was Bill Glass, also of Bev-Bel.
I thought BevBel was Irv Belkin, named after his wife Beverly. Bill Glass may have done the printing under contract, but I don't think he had any ownership stake.

Bill's earlier company name was E&B Valley Railroad... He claimed he changed the name to Robin's Rails to get the FRA to stop calling to schedule an inspection :-)

He contracted with Fred Becker
(of Front Range fame) to produce the tooling.
I believe Becker only did the 50' PS-1. Bill's earlier product line was a couple flat kits for narrow gauge passenger cars; I don't know who tooled them. After getting hosed by Fred (as did most who did business with him) Bill hooked up with Patal Die and Mold, and had Pat 'n Al do that horrible clubby cement car. Patal also did the passenger cars, which weren't half bad. I don't know the exact details of the demise of Robin's Rails, but it was Patal that was selling the tooling that eventually went to Eastern Car Works.


> I seem to remember Mc Keen [sic] coming to market about this time and the

As far as I know, McKean (spelled with an A)was slightly older than E&B Valley / Robin's Rails, dating to at least the early eighties. Bill McKean (another Bill) had initially offered two sixties era coal hoppers, models with molded on grabs and a level of detail on par with the Athearn models of the period. McKean Models was never any more than an office and a pile of money. The Hopper tools were built by a commercial tool shop in Omaha, and production was contracted to the molder that owned Train Miniature. The double door boxcar that has been mentioned was also tooled in Omaha during this period, as a set of inserts designed to run in the TM moldbase. When the TM line was sold to Walthers, it left Bill with no way to have the kit run; Walthers was not willing to do production for Bill, and Bill wasn't willing to sell the tool inserts for what Walthers was willing to pay, so the kit dropped off the market.

It just so happens that I corresponded with Bill at this time... It was before my involvement in the model railroad industry, but I recognized that the double door car had the correct roof and ends to model a post war AAR boxcar, and I wanted McKean to offer it as a plain boxcar with six and eight foot doors, because I wanted to model some of the Soo Line homebuilt cars that had unique paint scheme variations that never made it onto the WWII era cars that could be modeled with the Athearn car. I suppose this was the beginning of prototype modeling for me. I even sent Bill drawings of the doors. His reply was a coffee mug (still got it, somewhere) and a note that he would have his "new toolmaker" look into it. The new toolmaker turned out to be Fred Becker at Front Range.


Then right behind Mc Keen was Front Range
> with kits with a one piece body with separate parts like the Mc Keen kits.
Bill would later grouse that Fred had taken all his ideas and incorporated them in Front Range products.


I thought that Front Range (Tap Industries) predated McKean? I've had stories
(not from Bill Glass) that Mr McKean was taken to the cleaners and that's why
he eventually dropped out of sight.
It did, but not with a kit line. The original Front Range Products offerings were white metal replacement frames for Athearn Locomotives, and turned brass flywheels. Meanwhile, Fred Becker was organizing TAP Industries to be toolmaker to the industry.


The Front Range mode of operations was to charge for the tool, then charge for production. They'd then do production all out of proportion to the sales, but keep billing. When the oner of the tools refused to pay, they'd seize the assets as payment for the outstanding bills. That's how Front range became owner of the McKean PS_1, and some other items.

Essentially the same thing happened between Bill McKean and Concor, who was running the hoppers, and the former McKean hoppers were added to the Concor Line.



> ACCURAIL came along somewhere in here picking up the Mc Keen and Front
> Range dies, spinning one of the boxcar kits tools to Red Caboose IIRC.
Front Range got itself in trouble with the IRS, and was forced to seek the protection of the bankruptcy court. Fred Becker bought the tooling assets at the bankruptcy auction, and started doing business as McKean models. Bill McKean had no involvement with this, the poor guy had been duped out of the rights to his name, too.

Fred's toolmaker up untiil this point was the talented Fred Brummet(sp?), (another Fred). As the Tap Industries / Front Range Products bankruptcy was looming Mr. Brummet jumped ship and joined the just forming Intermountain.

Bankruptcy will not keep the IRS at bay forever, when employee withholding payments have been misappropriated they will not be deterred. Somebody is personally liable for that corporate decision, and somebody will make restitution. Fred Becker had to sell the combined Front Range / Mckean Models assets to raise the cash, and he sold them to a consortium of investors in Evansville, IN doing business under the name Sky Lim.

Sky Lim, doing business as McKean Models piddled around for a year or two, racked up a mountain of debt, and went bankrupt. Accurail bought the assets of Sky Lim, including the McKean Models name, from the bankruptcy court.


Accurail has deep roots in prototype modeling in the form of Dennis Storzek.
I should put in a plug for my partner Bob Walker, a long time narrow gauger and author of a monthly column on scratch building in RMC. Narrow gaugers are prototype modelers, even if they only have two or three prototypes to choose from :-)

They did acquire the dies for 50 foot box cars and the 40 foot PS-1. I think
all of the 40 foot ACF box car tooling went to Red Caboose, who completely
redid them.

The tooling that Sky Lim had, all aluminum, was tired, and needed a lot of work to put back into production. Some was so bad (the Centerflows) that we decided not to do anything with it; hey, we already made a Centerflow. Some pieces, like the centerbeam flat, never made it to Sky Lim. The post war AAR 40' boxcar essentially duplicated a car we already made (based on the steel McKean double door inserts we had purchased earlier)so we just put it on the shelf. Red Caboose made us an offerwe couldn't refuse. I've never determined just how much is the original tooling, and how much they had to re-make.


Re: Poling Pockets

Charles Hladik
 

Armand,
It's "scratchbuilding", cut them from brass or styrene tubing.
Just a bit of fun there.
Chuck Hladik

In a message dated 5/13/2012 1:33:25 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
armprem2@... writes:




Does anyone know of a source for poling pockets for some scratch building
projects? Armand Premo






[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Poling Pockets

Armand Premo
 

Does anyone know of a source for poling pockets for some scratch building projects? Armand Premo


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

jerryglow2
 

That's as good as the stories I've heard of Bob Hundman's models that were painted/lettered on one side only as that was all needed to photograph them. We used to joke about "one sided" models for my friend's layout as it had no reversing loops. If an error was made or damage occurred, that was designated the "wall side"

Jerry Glow
http://home.comcast.net/~jerryglow/decals/

--- In STMFC@..., "Al and Patricia Westerfield" <westerfield@...> wrote:

I’ve heard it said that you could tell which roads Bill Glass was producing by checking the color of the bushes at his house. He supposedly had a fake air conditioner that was actually the exhaust from his paint spray booth. â€" Al Westerfield


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

derrell
 

Al,

thanks for taking the time to share your answer to my curiosity. I hope others found it enlightening as well. Someone mentioned that about 1 in 10 modelers are not content with the status quo - the "toy" trains. Perhaps about 1 in 100 do what you did? You basically gave up your own modeling and launch an endeavor that benefited many, many others. Thanks You. I do know what that feels like.

I think something else is missing from this discussion that is paramount to Prototype Modeling. This would be the time spent doing the research whether to produce a one-of-a-kind scratch build or a highly detailed and accurate kit. It is nice when you can buy a book or half a dozen books and sit down and bring everything together. But someone had to collect, analyze, and assimilate all of that information. That 1 in 10 ratio really widens when it comes to that aspect of prototype modeling. And there are those out there with piles and piles of photos, papers, drawings and other documents that have never gotten as far as the printing press. They've built some incredible models but it isn't just because they are "talented".

I went to a NMRA regional meet in 1990 with an O scale narrow gauge side dump cinder car. I sat through the awards ceremony and was quite disappointed when the MOW category came and went with no mention of my car. I almost got up and walked out because it wasn't just a completely detailed and accurate model of a prototype. It was an introduction of a series of cars no one had any knowledge of (for that particular RR). I discovered it during my long hours of research. I discovered it and I spent a great deal of time bringing all of the bits and pieces (there were but a few fragmented photos) together as a drawing and then as a model. I'm glad I didn't walk out because it took best of show. Eventually MR published an article.

Is that an earth-shattering story? No. I'm sure many of those 1 in 10 can tell one similar. But what is important, at least to me, is the dedication those few offer that makes it possible for the rest of us to do what we do.

I appreciate the RPM movement. I did not grow up in the path of HO Standard gauge. I looked at the toy trains and caricature layouts and found history and the prototype far more fulfilling (in the form of narrow gauge). Within my limited knowledge both then and now the fine scale kit of the 3000 series box car offered by Rail Line in HOn3 blew away anything in HO SG at that time. It was almost unbuildable. If that wasn't an RPM kit I don't know what would have been. It seemeds to me the percentage of prototype modelers was far higher in NG than in SG at that time. Probably still is. But I've come to realize or perceive that perhaps the torch is passing. In the last several years I've walked into conventions and RPM meets and seen the ordinary box car looking as good and perhaps even better than the diminutive little wooden cars that one might see at a Narrow Gauge meet. I like that. That's why I'm here. The dedication and craftsmanship attracts me.


Derrell Poole


PRR and MILW USRA SS Boxcars (was Re: New PRR models from F&C)

Benjamin Hom
 

Clark Propst asked:
"I have a Tichy undec single sheathed box car. Would it work for a Pennsy X26? If I change the doors?"

Yes, with the caveat that most Class X26 boxcars received minor rebuilds in the mid-1930s, giving the cars Hutchins roofs, truss reinforcements as necessary, and steel replacement doors in most cases. Some cars escaped this rebuilding and continued in service with the original Murphy XLA roofs through the 1940s.


"If so, are decals available?"

You might have to do some digging. Good sets include C-D-S 310, Westerfield D3306, and the Speedwitch PRR CK boxcar set D116.


"Nah, I may do it Milwaukee. I think I have enough leftover Westerfield stock car decals to letter it."

MILW is a good choice - they received the second-largest allocation of these cars (4,000 cars; PRR received the largest number with 9,900 cars). Westerfield also offered these decals separately.


Ben Hom


C&BT Car Shops -- Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

SUVCWORR@...
 

C&BT was founded in 1986. Dick Schweiger was an avid East Broad Top modeler and found the available hopper cars wanting. Not being able to purchase cars for the EBT in quantity or quality which satisfied him, Dick made the decision to manufacture his own. Thus C&BT was born.

The first car was an EBT hopper in HOn30. To keep the company viable, Dick moved on to HO boxcars. The first boxcar was produced in late 1987. The tooling for these cars was designed so that the ends, roof and sides were interchangeable. 10 and 12 panel sides with 6,7, 8, 12, 14, and 15 ft doors, flat, rectangle. panel and diagonal panel roofs, and 3 different ends were eventually tooled. These were followed by the SFRD reefers in several body versions. Only the floor and underframe detail were the same on every car.

When he finally scaled down the business, tooling for the PRR X29b was nearly complete. Only the floor needed to be cut. Unfortunately, this car never came to market. At least not by C&BT.

Originally the boxcars (which Dick termed 1944 AAR cars) had separate details and trucks with two part wheel sets. Two halves of each wheel set were joined by a brass wire core. The wheels themselves were a plastic core with a metal rim which was press fit over the plastic center. The wheels proved to be problematic and were replaces with solid axle wheel sets. Along the way several well know modelers (at least one of whom is now deceased) convinced Dick that separate parts would never be accepted, It was "too much work" to build a fleet of cars this way. The result was the tooling was re-cut to included molded on ladders, grabs etc.

At one point during the early - mid 1990's C&BT shops was the third largest HO freight car manufacturer behind Walthers and Athearn.

Dick's health eventually required him to scale back his activities and the business faded. C&BT shops was for the most part a one man operation. Friends volunteered to help paint cars, pack kits, and ship orders for the comradery, car kits and mistakes. It was not economical to try to reclaim cars with paint runs or misprinted lettering etc -- mistakes. These bodies with the mistakes were donated to local clubs.

Rich Orr


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Al and Patricia Westerfield <westerfield@...>
 

I’ve heard it said that you could tell which roads Bill Glass was producing by checking the color of the bushes at his house. He supposedly had a fake air conditioner that was actually the exhaust from his paint spray booth. – Al Westerfield

From: Tim O'Connor
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2012 3:27 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling


Greg Martin wrote

In the evolution of things IIRC correctly along came Robins Rails with
their PS-1 50-foot boxcar.
Robin Rails was Bill Glass, also of Bev-Bel. He contracted with Fred Becker
(of Front Range fame) to produce the tooling. Bill was active for a while on
the old Usenet newsgroup rec.models.railroad (June 1996) and those old posts
are easily found on groups.google.com which acquired the archive. Bill was
no fan of Mr. Becker!

I seem to remember Mc Keen [sic] coming to market about this time and the
Prototype momentum billing. Then right behind Mc Keen was Front Range
with kits with a one piece body with separate parts like the Mc Keen kits.
I thought that Front Range (Tap Industries) predated McKean? I've had stories
(not from Bill Glass) that Mr McKean was taken to the cleaners and that's why
he eventually dropped out of sight.

ACCURAIL came along somewhere in here picking up the Mc Keen and Front
Range dies, spinning one of the boxcar kits tools to Red Caboose IIRC.
Accurail has deep roots in prototype modeling in the form of Dennis Storzek.
They did acquire the dies for 50 foot box cars and the 40 foot PS-1. I think
all of the 40 foot ACF box car tooling went to Red Caboose, who completely
redid them. And Dennis extensively redid the 50 foot tooling, producing a
very beautiful ZU-eave diagonal panel roof and an excellent underframe.

Somewhere along about 1994 CB&T fell away form the mainstream supporter
(like due to the Reefer issues maybe) and re-tooled the ladders and grabs
back onto the boxcar and I remember questioning Dick Swagger about that...
C&BT deserves a lot of credit for trying to cover most of the 40 foot postwar
10'6" box car variations, although with the modular approach he eventually went
a little too far and produced car bodies that never existed on the prototype.
But C&BT is still the only source for 12 panel, 10'6" box car bodies. I think
Dick got sick and that may have had something to do with the demise of the
business. It's a shame about the C&BT reefers -- the sides were very well done
but the roofs were terrible, and the underframes & details weren't much better.
He did at least 4 or 5 physically different SFRD bodies inluding plug door cars.

Tim O'Connor





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Tim O'Connor
 

I haven't seen any mention of Quality Craft, which offered kits for
a good number of contemporary freight cars (in the 1960's-1970's) but
suffered from choice of raw material (wood). But these kits were all
very well executed and highly accurate in most respects. Many of the
kits had custom metal castings.

Also Diamond Scale produced a single modern 1960's freight car, also
in wood and metal castings. This was an SP wood chip hopper, the FMC
1965-built G-100-12, which was one of Exactrail's first offerings in
their new line of freight car models!

Prototype modeling has been made far more practical thanks to many
decal manufacturers, one should not forget them! The "RPM" revolution
(as well as computers) resulted in vast (but incremental) improvements
in the prototype fidelity of decals from the 70's to the 90's.. Sadly
this trend seems to have petered out in the last 10 years thanks to
the flood of RTR models from China.

Tim O'Connor


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Tim O'Connor
 

Tom

I definitely remember them. My Dad built one lettered Buffalo Creek and
I remember the silk-screen lettering was awesomely crisp and opaque compared
to the awful pad-printed stuff Athearn was doing in the early 1960's. I also
remember the kit had no weight!

Tim O'Connor

Don't believe anybody has mentioned the old Kurtz Kraft HO PS-1 boxcar plastic kits of the late 1950's. They were years ahead of their time with pretty much all add on details. Sold for something like 89 cents. Believe all the kits had correct lettering which was well done-another novel feature for period.
Tom Dill
tomedill@...


Re: Santa Fe Bx-120 class box car

Tim O'Connor
 

Charlie

Have you contacted James Kinkaid <JAKinkaid@...>?
He has posted over a thousand P-S builder photos to the MFCL photo
archive, from the 1940's onwards.

Tim O'Connor

I know this request is outside this list coverage, and for that I apologize. I am looking for a Pullman Co builders photograph of the Pullman Lot 9204-K-4 Santa Fe Bx-120 class 60 foot box car number 37560 for publication in a book for the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society on "Modern Box Cars" for their rolling stock reference series of books. If anyone out there has this photo and is willing to submit it for publication please contact me.
Charlie Slater
atsfcondr42@...
(661) 665-9692 H
(661) 342-0496 C


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Tim O'Connor
 

Greg Martin wrote

> In the evolution of things IIRC correctly along came Robins Rails with
> their PS-1 50-foot boxcar.

Robin Rails was Bill Glass, also of Bev-Bel. He contracted with Fred Becker
(of Front Range fame) to produce the tooling. Bill was active for a while on
the old Usenet newsgroup rec.models.railroad (June 1996) and those old posts
are easily found on groups.google.com which acquired the archive. Bill was
no fan of Mr. Becker!

> I seem to remember Mc Keen [sic] coming to market about this time and the
> Prototype momentum billing. Then right behind Mc Keen was Front Range
> with kits with a one piece body with separate parts like the Mc Keen kits.

I thought that Front Range (Tap Industries) predated McKean? I've had stories
(not from Bill Glass) that Mr McKean was taken to the cleaners and that's why
he eventually dropped out of sight.

> ACCURAIL came along somewhere in here picking up the Mc Keen and Front
> Range dies, spinning one of the boxcar kits tools to Red Caboose IIRC.

Accurail has deep roots in prototype modeling in the form of Dennis Storzek.
They did acquire the dies for 50 foot box cars and the 40 foot PS-1. I think
all of the 40 foot ACF box car tooling went to Red Caboose, who completely
redid them. And Dennis extensively redid the 50 foot tooling, producing a
very beautiful ZU-eave diagonal panel roof and an excellent underframe.

> Somewhere along about 1994 CB&T fell away form the mainstream supporter
> (like due to the Reefer issues maybe) and re-tooled the ladders and grabs
> back onto the boxcar and I remember questioning Dick Swagger about that...

C&BT deserves a lot of credit for trying to cover most of the 40 foot postwar
10'6" box car variations, although with the modular approach he eventually went
a little too far and produced car bodies that never existed on the prototype.
But C&BT is still the only source for 12 panel, 10'6" box car bodies. I think
Dick got sick and that may have had something to do with the demise of the
business. It's a shame about the C&BT reefers -- the sides were very well done
but the roofs were terrible, and the underframes & details weren't much better.
He did at least 4 or 5 physically different SFRD bodies inluding plug door cars.

Tim O'Connor


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Tim O'Connor
 

Rod, that is a deep background on some of the story! I like how Fred Becker
(Front Range) is never mentioned by name... :-) (Is the Voldermort effect?)

Tim O'Connor

The seminal styrene kit I think it could be argued was the "Innovative
Model Works" 1937 boxcar kit. When was this kit introduced. Does anyone have
any good stories about the development of this model by Jerry Porter they
can send me?
Here is a pretty complete history AFIK, read all of it to get
the IMWX history:

http://sscale.org/426/volume-1-no-2-the-prs-story/

Rod


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Tim O'Connor
 

lol, much earlier than that. The Egyptians were consumate model builders.

Many years ago, on a visit to the Greek island of Crete, I saw what
amounted to a scale architectural model in clay of a structure that
was apparently built exactly as shown by the model. So prototype
modeling goes back at least to the third century BC.

Richard Hendrickson


Re: Possible boxcar

Brian Carlson
 

Mark, the Branchline car would be a good start. Cars with Despatch ends were
post war, the Athearn car is lacking, but YMMV



Brian J. Carlson, P.E.

Cheektowaga, NY



From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Mark
M
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 7:32 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Possible boxcar





Purchased a boxcar on eBay and the car is athearn 40' with all the ladders
and grabs removed with replacement ends. The ends appear to be Branchline
Despatch! Would this be a good start for a NYC car?

Mark Morgan


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Armand Premo
 

Sorry 'bout that folks.Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: Armand Premo
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:00 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling



Guess it's about time for 'Night".Day was another dull one.Started as usual Skip's etc.Puttered mostly,achieved little.Rinsed off the car.Nothing really big planned for tomorrow,hang and rattle I guess.Phone didn't ring once.Getting thoroughly bored.Need something exciting.Any ideas?Talk to you whenever.Have a good night and try to get some rest.Glad you honked.LU
----- Original Message -----
From: Anthony Thompson
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 7:30 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Armand Premo wrote:
> Can't help but think that the arrival of prototype specific motive
> power encouraged one to abandon ficticious free lance model
> railroads.Very few prototypical engines were available. Importers
> like PFM, Akane, LMB and others were bringing in more realistic
> brass models.With these available it made it easier to model a
> specific railroad thus creating a demand for more realistic freight
> cars.

I think Armand makes a good point. I can recall those magazine
articles about how to file off the Belpaire firebox on the cast-metal
English PRR engines.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Possible boxcar

Mark
 

Purchased a boxcar on eBay and the car is athearn 40' with all the ladders and grabs removed with replacement ends. The ends appear to be Branchline Despatch! Would this be a good start for a NYC car?

Mark Morgan


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Armand Premo wrote:
Can't help but think that the arrival of prototype specific motive power encouraged one to abandon ficticious free lance model railroads.Very few prototypical engines were available. Importers like PFM, Akane, LMB and others were bringing in more realistic brass models.With these available it made it easier to model a specific railroad thus creating a demand for more realistic freight cars.
I think Armand makes a good point. I can recall those magazine articles about how to file off the Belpaire firebox on the cast-metal English PRR engines.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Armand Premo
 

Can't help but think that the arrival of prototype specific motive power encourged one to abandon ficticious free lance model railroads.Very few prototypical engines were available.Importers like PFM ,Akane,LMB and others were bringing in more realistic brass models.With these available it made it easier to model a specific railroad thus creating a demand for more realistic freight cars.Armand Premo
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 5:52 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling





--- In STMFC@..., "lnbill" <fgexbill@...> wrote:

All of the commentary has been interesting but meanwhile I have received almost no help with the materials I requested.

Bill Welch
I think the problem is, Bill, this group has lost focus of what you are looking for. Most of the replies are applauding the kits with finer detail, not necessarily that that went out of their way to model a prototype. A case in point is the Innovative Model Works boxcar. This was a very nice kit, no doubt, but just another in a long line of models based on standard designs so that many roadnames could be run on the same basic body. It wasn't even a new design, since it was the Intermountain O scale car rescaled to HO. Neither version was particularly successful; I think this was the car that taught Jerry Porter that "Build it, and they will come" ain't 'zactly true. I know the O scale version taught that lesson to Frank Angstead.

"Prototype modeling" has been with us as long as this has been a hobby... there have always been some people who would go out of their way to build it from scratch so they could make it "right". The reality of the situation was that for every one of them, there were ten or twenty others who were perfectly happy to adapt the toy trains of the day and live with the discrepancies. It's still that way today; just look at the relative production numbers of any vendor who does runs for both O scale and Lionel compatible O gauge, or On3 vs. On30. The split is usually about 10:1 in favor of the toys.

Back at the time that I wrote my "Five Boxcar Improvements" article, I wasn't reacting to a lack of prototype... we all knew that the Athearn boxcar of the day was a pretty good rendition of some prototype, and were pretty happy to use it to model any Improved 1937 AAR car. I was reacting to the fact that an excellent model had been compromised with features to appeal to the toy market, most notably the operating doors with their oversize hardware.

As for models of actual prototypes, at the time resin kits held great promise, and that promise has been mostly fulfilled.

But I don't think you are going to find anyone to wax eloquently about the Rail Progress styrene stick hopper kits, or Roller Bearing Models. Those line were evolutionary dead ends...

Dennis


Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Kenneth Montero
 

According to the Model Railroad Warehouse website, the Kurtz-Kraft PS-1 boxcar was re-issued by Model Railroad Warehouse from the 1970's until recently (the dies were donated to the NMRA). Merle Rice also describes the history of Red Ball models on that website. I also built one of those re-issued kits, and it was fun to have sampled a bit of model railroad history.

Back in the 1980's, Model Die Casting (under the Roundhouse label) issued two mass-produced kits with separate detail parts. One of them was a contemporary ore car (separate ladders and the usual underframe parts). The other was a contemporary frameless tank car with separate laddars and dome parts, as well as wire handrails and the usual underframe parts. It showed that a major manufacturer of mass-produced kits could make and sell kits without cast-on ladders, and it predated Front Range, IMWX, etc., and was a contemporary of E&B Valley.

We often focus on standard gauge (4'8.5" between the rails) in this group, but we should also recognized several manufacturers of narrow-gauge cars: Grandt Line (On3 car kits), and Rail Line (D&RGW boxcar, stock car, flat car). Cliff Grandt and his cohorts were some of the earliest proponents of fine scale modeling (On3 has long used fine scale standards as a result). I think that Narrow Gauge and Shorline Gazette did an article about the history of Grandt Line - the best source would be its longtime publisher, Robert Brown.

Ken Montero

----- Original Message -----
From: "Al and Patricia Westerfield" <westerfield@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:15:58 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling






I built one of those when I was 16. It was really beyond my capabilities at the time and the result was rather sloppy. But I couldn’t pass up the price. – Al Westerfield

From: Tom Dill
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 10:39 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Don't believe anybody has mentioned the old Kurtz Kraft HO PS-1 boxcar plastic kits of the late 1950's. They were years ahead of their time with pretty much all add on details. Sold for something like 89 cents. Believe all the kits had correct lettering which was well done-another novel feature for period.
Tom Dill
mailto:tomedill%40frontier.com

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