Topics

Attitudes of kit producers


Manfred Lorenz
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "bierglaeser" <bierglaeser@y...> wrote:

BTW, as far as the Germans know, apparently the UP is the only RR in
the US.
I like to differ. We know the other railroad is the Santa Fe!

Manfred


Bruce Smith <smithbf@...>
 

BTW, as far as the Germans know, apparently the UP is the only RR in
the US.

Gene Green
Well, no, not anymore. Unfortunately, Trix has also decided to pick on
the PRR. Their latest loco release is (another) GG1, listing for $550
with a sound decoder. It is hard to find any features on this loco that
aren't on the BLI GG1 (that lists for half the price) and to make matters
worse, the photos of the loco Trix is showing have a grossly incorrect
DGLE 5-stripe paint scheme. Sheesh, even if BLI messed up the colors, at
least they got the stripes in the right place!! And so much for German
engineering - the body of the loco looks to ride far too high above the
running gear.

In this set of planned PRR releases is also a totally bogus set of PRR
boxcars (as far as I can tell) and an N5c cabin car.

I'm pretty sure that no aid from the PRRT&HS was sought by Trix for these
projects <G>.

Regards
Bruce

Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL


oliver
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "bierglaeser" <bierglaeser@y...> wrote:
Märklin/Trix is a toy manufacturer...
I think that sums it up well. They are a company that is more
concerned with maintaining their market of rabid enthusiasts who will
buy anything as long as it says Maerklin on the box. Prototype
fidelity doesn't play much of a part in this. That is why Roco did so
well for so many years in Europe.

It is unfortunate that they alienated many valuable contributers to
this list who were prepared to share for the sake of a better product!
IMO they also underestimated the intelligence of the average North
American modeller, who surely would have supported a superior product,
as evidenced by the continuing efforts of Mr. Lofton and Mr.
Westerfield et al.

Oh well, given the current sad state of the German economy I think
they will soon find their market niche drying up as well. So, the rest
of us will scour the shelves for more resin kits and pick up the Trix
product when it is dumped in a last ditch effort to salvage sales.
cheers
Stefan


Tim O'Connor
 

Richard Hendrickson wrote

A few of us held our noses, bought Trix box cars, and replaced the
roofs because they're the only otherwise accurate models of UP ACR
steel box cars ever offered in HO scale.
Not quite. Don't forget the Sunshine B-50-32/33 cars. Also, Tom Madden
cast some B-50-24 A.C.R. sides years ago. (Very nice replacement sides
for the IMWX.)

But anyway, don't get caught up with Trix. I'm sure you can think of
many examples of models that didn't sell well, yet the manufacturer
blamed it on the choice of road name when perhaps that wasn't the
root of the problem...

Tim O'Connor


Spen Kellogg <spenkell@...>
 

Denny Anspach wrote:

Mike Brock opines-



Very few USRA engines were NOT
modified by the late 40's early '50's time period. Hence, most USRA models
aren't really well suited to the serious prototype modeler...unless they
intend to bash it.

Mike has THAT exactly right. I would judge that most railroads with
USRA engines soon modified them in significant ways to conform to
company culture and patterns of operation.

Ted Culotta (yes, that Ted Culotta - mandatory freight car reference) is
in the process of modifying a Spectrum USRA Light Mountain to duplicate
NH #3330 as it appeared in 1947. He has a clinic on this, which I have
seen, and the final product is going to be outstanding. He had the work
in progress to show at the clinic. If I understood him correctly, it may
appear in print someday. I understand he is taking the clinic to
Naperville this year.

Regards, Spen Kellogg


Ed Hawkins
 

On Friday, September 23, 2005, at 04:04 PM, bierglaeser wrote:

The fellow at Märklin who developed the Märklin/Trix freight cars is
a friend of mine.  He just totally doesn't get it.  Nice guy but not
a clue.  Believe me, I've tried to wise him up as to where to go to
get accurate information.  I don't wish to malign a fine gentleman
but you all would be astounded to learn to whom Märklin went for the
information to do the UP box car.  Märklin/Trix is a toy manufacturer
and they can't think outside that box.

BTW, as far as the Germans know, apparently the UP is the only RR in
the US.
Gene,
I probably dealt with your friend when helping Trix with the AC&F Type
27 chlorine tank car. Being totally naive as to what would follow, I
energetically provided the company with prototype drawings from the
AC&F collection at the Museum of Transportation, many photographs, and
paint specs from the original bill of materials. After seeing the
pathetic excuse of a model that was ultimately created, I wrote a
letter stating they should quit pretending (and deceiving the buying
public) that they make scale models in HO and stick to making "toys."
Never again!
Regards,
Ed Hawkins

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


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Richard Hendrickson wrote:
. . . I sent them some general information, a copy of the AC&F
drawing in the CBCycs, and scans of a whole bunch of photos. I didn't
hear anything more for several weeks, and then I got a peremptory
e-mail from an R&D guy in Germany demanding detailed drawings at once,
as he was traveling to China in a week to contract for the production
of the models.
Ah, the old classic "keep 'em in the dark and throw BS on 'em . . ."
I'm forced to confess I know a few Germans who are so much in the mold of Central Casting Germans that I occasionally wonder if they are putting me on. Of course that's how these stereotypes get started.

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@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Richard Hendrickson
 

On Sep 23, 2005, at 7:05 PM, Ed Hawkins wrote:

On Friday, September 23, 2005, at 04:04 PM, bierglaeser wrote:

The fellow at Märklin who developed the Märklin/Trix freight cars is
a friend of mine.  He just totally doesn't get it.  Nice guy but not
a clue.  Believe me, I've tried to wise him up as to where to go to
get accurate information.  I don't wish to malign a fine gentleman
but you all would be astounded to learn to whom Märklin went for the
information to do the UP box car.  Märklin/Trix is a toy manufacturer
and they can't think outside that box.

BTW, as far as the Germans know, apparently the UP is the only RR in
the US.
Gene,
I probably dealt with your friend when helping Trix with the AC&F Type
27 chlorine tank car. Being totally naive as to what would follow, I
energetically provided the company with prototype drawings from the
AC&F collection at the Museum of Transportation, many photographs, and
paint specs from the original bill of materials. After seeing the
pathetic excuse of a model that was ultimately created, I wrote a
letter stating they should quit pretending (and deceiving the buying
public) that they make scale models in HO and stick to making "toys."
Never again!
Ed's account is only part of the story. Before he became involved in
the research for the chlorine tank cars, I was asked to provide
information about these cars (sooner or later, I would have asked for
his help in any case, since he has ready access to the AC&F archives).
It was my understanding from the American Märklin/Trix reps that they
were still in the process of deciding whether to go forward with the
project, so I sent them some general information, a copy of the AC&F
drawing in the CBCycs, and scans of a whole bunch of photos. I didn't
hear anything more for several weeks, and then I got a peremptory
e-mail from an R&D guy in Germany demanding detailed drawings at once,
as he was traveling to China in a week to contract for the production
of the models. I decided at that point that I wanted no more to do
with it (a wise decision, as it turned out) and referred them to Ed
Hawkins. What happened after that is described above. Word of these
events has spread among those of us who commonly do research and
consulting for manufacturers, and by now I would be very surprised if
M/T could get any well qualified prototype researcher in North America
to do any work for them.

Richard Hendrickson


bierglaeser <bierglaeser@...>
 

The fellow at Märklin who developed the Märklin/Trix freight cars is
a friend of mine. He just totally doesn't get it. Nice guy but not
a clue. Believe me, I've tried to wise him up as to where to go to
get accurate information. I don't wish to malign a fine gentleman
but you all would be astounded to learn to whom Märklin went for the
information to do the UP box car. Märklin/Trix is a toy manufacturer
and they can't think outside that box.

BTW, as far as the Germans know, apparently the UP is the only RR in
the US.

Gene Green

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Richard Hendrickson
<rhendrickson@o...> wrote:
On Sep 23, 2005, at 11:57 AM, timboconnor@c... wrote:

A big reason why I often dispute the "conventional wisdom" of
manufacturers in regards to road names is because their sales
(or lack thereof) are often a result of their own mistakes or poor
choices....[an] example would be a Union Pacific B-50-24 box car
painted as a Rutland PS-1! Did the Rutland fans swoon? They did
not. So now I'm sure Trix thinks "Oh, nobody wants to buy Rutland
freight cars!"
Tim, you're missing the main point of the ill-fated Trix/Märklin
venture into the North American market. Even when correctly
painted
and lettered for the Union Pacific, a box car model with an
incorrect
roof and an outrageously inflated price won't sell. A few of us
held
our noses, bought Trix box cars, and replaced the roofs because
they're
the only otherwise accurate models of UP ACR steel box cars ever
offered in HO scale. Most other modelers stayed away in droves,
especially from the models with bogus paint and lettering. And
what
Trix seems to have concluded from this experience is that the
stupid
Americans have no appreciation for superior German design and
engineering. All of which tells us (including other model railroad
manufacturers) nothing useful about the realities of the
marketplace.

Richard Hendrickson


jaley <jaley@...>
 

On Sep 23, 2:48pm, Richard Hendrickson wrote:
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Attitudes of kit producers
A few of us held
our noses, bought Trix box cars, and replaced the roofs because they're
the only otherwise accurate models of UP ACR steel box cars ever
offered in HO scale.
Plastic. You left out the words "injection-molded plastic". This is
unrelated to the point you were trying to make (and made quite well).
Nonetheless, I believe Sunshine has ACR box cars in HO scale resin.

Regards,

-Jeff

--
Jeff Aley jaley@pcocd2.intel.com
DPG Chipsets Product Engineering
Intel Corporation, Folsom, CA
(916) 356-3533


Richard Hendrickson
 

On Sep 23, 2005, at 11:57 AM, timboconnor@comcast.net wrote:

A big reason why I often dispute the "conventional wisdom" of
manufacturers in regards to road names is because their sales
(or lack thereof) are often a result of their own mistakes or poor
choices....[an] example would be a Union Pacific B-50-24 box car
painted as a Rutland PS-1! Did the Rutland fans swoon? They did
not. So now I'm sure Trix thinks "Oh, nobody wants to buy Rutland
freight cars!"
Tim, you're missing the main point of the ill-fated Trix/Märklin
venture into the North American market. Even when correctly painted
and lettered for the Union Pacific, a box car model with an incorrect
roof and an outrageously inflated price won't sell. A few of us held
our noses, bought Trix box cars, and replaced the roofs because they're
the only otherwise accurate models of UP ACR steel box cars ever
offered in HO scale. Most other modelers stayed away in droves,
especially from the models with bogus paint and lettering. And what
Trix seems to have concluded from this experience is that the stupid
Americans have no appreciation for superior German design and
engineering. All of which tells us (including other model railroad
manufacturers) nothing useful about the realities of the marketplace.

Richard Hendrickson


Tim O'Connor
 

Regarding the NYC, it is rather mysterious. Certainly modeling the mainline
of the NYC in the steam era would be a daunting task -- with a hundred trains
a day or more, and at least half of them passenger trains! I went to college
right near the Michigan Central tracks (which were PC, and quickly become
Conrail) and found the scenery bucolic, the traffic interesting and varied, the
pace a bit more relaxed that you'd find on the NYC water level route... Is
this wonderful line not modeled, or is it just that those modelers don't write
articles for magazines? I dunno. I do know quite a few Conrail modelers, and
I have done several Conrail models too, and plan to do more. Around here,
we still call it the "B&A" and many people still recall the glory days of steam
and streamliners between Boston & Albany... and my favorite railfanning
spot in this area is Selkirk and the Mohawk River valley. (Have only been
back once since CSXT took over... ugh!)

Tim "closet Conrail fan" O'Connor

As an example of a strange situation, what is your take on the reasons
why the NYC has so few folks (and thank goodness, some of the few of
them are active on this list) actively pursuing NYC layouts, product
introductions, and information dissemination efforts? Or is this a
verboten subject? No, I am certainly not an NYC-hater! I am just
mystified.


Gatwood, Elden <Elden.Gatwood@...>
 

Tim and folks;

Actually, several manufacturers are asking. We even put in some "plugs"
for many of the cars that have been discussed on "want lists" over the
past several years. I happen to agree that we are reaching the point
that they will do signature cars and others that have less than
extensive numbers of RRs using them, as I am sure most of the more
"popular" cars have been exhausted.

Don't underestimate the power you have in writing or contacting these
folks. If you don't ask, you will not get it....

Elden

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
timboconnor@comcast.net
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 11:57 AM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Attitudes of kit producers


A big reason why I often dispute the "conventional wisdom" of
manufacturers in regards to road names is because their sales
(or lack thereof) are often a result of their own mistakes or poor
choices. For example, Proto 2000 did some SD9 SP units in a
very light gray color, and they didn't sell well. Duh! And then it
was 3 or more years before they finally did a Tiger Stripes version
which sold out fast. Duh again! Or another example would be a
Union Pacific B-50-24 box car painted as a Rutland PS-1! Did the
Rutland fans swoon? They did not. So now I'm sure Trix thinks
"Oh, nobody wants to buy Rutland freight cars!"

Athearn these days seems to be the most receptive to making
corrections before producing models, based on getting appropriate
and timely feedback on upcoming models. What a concept -- let
the customers TELL you exactly what they want, and then produce
it for them.

Tim O'Connor


I have heard similar descriptions of what roadnames sell (and
which don't) from a STMFC manufacturer. In fact, we were both in
Cocoa
Beach at the time. The point is that even current data shows that
there
are some roads that have a loyal following, and others that don't.



Yahoo! Groups Links


Tim O'Connor
 

A big reason why I often dispute the "conventional wisdom" of
manufacturers in regards to road names is because their sales
(or lack thereof) are often a result of their own mistakes or poor
choices. For example, Proto 2000 did some SD9 SP units in a
very light gray color, and they didn't sell well. Duh! And then it
was 3 or more years before they finally did a Tiger Stripes version
which sold out fast. Duh again! Or another example would be a
Union Pacific B-50-24 box car painted as a Rutland PS-1! Did the
Rutland fans swoon? They did not. So now I'm sure Trix thinks
"Oh, nobody wants to buy Rutland freight cars!"

Athearn these days seems to be the most receptive to making
corrections before producing models, based on getting appropriate
and timely feedback on upcoming models. What a concept -- let
the customers TELL you exactly what they want, and then produce
it for them.

Tim O'Connor

I have heard similar descriptions of what roadnames sell (and
which don't) from a STMFC manufacturer. In fact, we were both in Cocoa
Beach at the time. The point is that even current data shows that there
are some roads that have a loyal following, and others that don't.


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

Mike Brock opines-

Very few USRA engines were NOT
modified by the late 40's early '50's time period. Hence, most USRA models
aren't really well suited to the serious prototype modeler...unless they
intend to bash it.
Mike has THAT exactly right. I would judge that most railroads with USRA engines soon modified them in significant ways to conform to company culture and patterns of operation.

In Linn Westcott's Model Railroader Cyclopedia there is a fairly comprehensive set of "as delivered" photos of a pretty unvarnished Milwaukee Road L2 USRA 2-8-2 (and so lettered for the USRA). The irony is that literally the day these 100 locomotives were delivered (as in the photo) was the last day that they fully retained their "USRA" signature appearance. Of some 86/100 locomotives for which there are known subsequent photos, not a single one retains significant signature USRA details; and more so, all locomotives are significantly different from one another in how they have been modified! BTW, the entire fleet of 100 locomotives lasted intact right up to the end of steam c. 1953.

The problem for the prototype modeler is made worse because of the 86 locomotives recorded on photos, only a smaller percentage then have photos of both sides.

What does a prototype modeler interested in having a suitable locomotive to haul around his prototype Steam Era Freight Cars then do? Kit bash, or modify as Mike reports, or- if no supporting data is available, pick a locomotive number for which no photos exist and-------- :-) .

Denny

--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento


Tim O'Connor
 

William

The "median center" for the U.S. population has moved steadily
westwards from Indiana to Illinois in my lifetime. So your theory
of the population being concentrated to the northeast is wrong.

INCOME however, is not so evenly distributed, and the center of
gravity of that is probably a couple hundred miles east of the
population median point, and somewhat north as well. But even
that kind of thinking only takes you so far. Irv Athearn chose
mostly western prototypes, I think, because that's what he saw
every day...

Tim O.

1. Except for California and Texas the states with the highest
population (for example, look at any nighttime satelite photo of the
continental US and note where the largest areas of light concentration
are), and therefore potential modelers (market for models) is in the
northeast; and