Prototype Junction Crowd Funding - Only one week to go

Steve and Barb Hile

I was excited to learn about the project that two of our list members, Randy Hammill and John Drake have launched.  The chosen prototypes are interesting and varied while sharing some characteristics.  Something from the group would be appropriate for eras from the late 1920's into the 1970's.
See their website for more details
What I see as most unique is their approach to financing the project using a crowd sourcing model.  I have not seen this used in the Model Railroad hobby before, but it is a well accepted process for developers of board and video games, among others.  Sadly, at this point they don't seem to be nearing their goals and that risks this project being started as well as bodes poorly for similar funding of model railroad projects, as well.
Please take a look at their Indiegogo page at for other details.  Near the bottom of the page are some listings of names that you might recognize from this list that have already supported this project.
Consider adding your name to this list to support this project.  If the project fails to get enough support the deposits will be returned.
Steve Hile

John Drake

Steve, thanks so much for waiving the flag for us!  Randy and I appreciate it.  And time is running out fast for our crowdfunding campaign for the single-sheathed boxcar and autocar project.  It ends in four days, on March 9. 

Also, I encourage you to check out the latest post on our website,, in which Randy gives an excellent overview of the process and the estimated costs associated with creating a highly detailed ready to run injection molded model freight car.  I think you will find it interesting.

Thanks all!

John Drake
Prototype Junction 


Jim Betz

  In all of the documentation I've encountered so far on this project - I
have not seen anything that provides the date built/painted.  How do I
decide whether or not I can use (want) one or more of these cars?
Have you provided that before and I just don't remember it?  
  Have you considered what the costs are for doing an unassembled
cars?  Perhaps that reduces the cost per car enough to get the
project made?
  I know quite a bit more than most about the process of building
plastic molds because I know a guy who was a mold designer for
projects such as the Oakley sunglasses.  That part of the industry
is targeted to very high volumes compared to what is needed for
much lower volumes such as model railroading - and so the few
guys who do it get paid really well for what they do (and justifiably
so).  A lot of them are independent contractors who don't work for
just one company so today they might be doing the design of a
mold for parts for a miter saw and tomorrow for one of our box
                                                                                     - Jim  

Bill Welch

Unassembled kits are planned for the 1% of the Model RR'ers that want to build a freight car kit.

Bill Welch

John Drake

Jim, these are excellent questions.  While Randy and I thought we have addressed these in either the Indiegogo campaign write up or in a post on our website, sometime we are not as clear as we intend to be, so thanks for bringing these up.

The intent of the crowdfunding raise is to obtain enough capital that we can make all the variation of the boxcars and autocars as we have described, all at the same time.  If we raise the our campaign goal, all of the models will be made. Period. The amount is pledged determines how many cars you get, depending on what perk you picked (e.g., 1 car at a 5% discount, 6 cars at a 20% discount, etc.).  At the time you pledge, you are solely indicating how much product you want initially.  It doesn't matter which car, which paint scheme, which number, ready-to-run, kit or just parts.  If we make our campaign goal, then we have enough capital to pay for the project and cover all of its costs, fixed and variable.  Check out Randy's most recent post at for a great overview of our analysis of the estimated costs of the project and setting the campaign goal level.

Now to get to your question, once this project is funded and begins production, the models in many ways are made to order.  We would be soliciting input from the campaign supporters for desired paint schemes (there weren't that many variations, but some), lettering features and numbers.   As we are get close to the final production phase, that is when the supporters make their final selections.  That is the time you choose which cars, which paint and lettering schemes and which numbers.  This may be 9-11 months after the funding campaign closes.

Keep in mind, as production steps are completed, we would provide copies of the CAD drawings, photos of pre-production models, etc.  Of course, during this time, the supporters can add to their pledge and new people can also place orders, though not at the discounts offered during the funding campaign. 

With regard to a pricing difference between kit and ready to run, we decided, at least for the time being to keep the prices the same.  That's not to say that could change depending on the end result of the project.  But again, if we did ultimately decide to differentiate the kit & RTR prices, we would do so prior to requesting final product selections, so one can put their pledged funds toward any of the products they want. 

I hope this helps Jim!  Thanks again for asking these questions.

John Drake
Prototype Junction

Randy Hammill

John answered most of your questions, but regarding build dates:

I have posted info here, and there are pages on our site for each prototype group, as well as on the IndieGoGo site. But there’s a lot of info so I’ll summarize here:

All of the cars in the project were originally built 1929-1931, depending on the specific car.

PM began rebuilding some of the auto cars starting 1940.

ATSF started rebuilding the Bx-11 and -12 classes with an 8” raised roof in 1941.

ATSF switched to a 12” roof extension in 1943.

ATSF began rebuilding the Bx-13 class with steel sides in 1951, and the other classes would follow in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s.

Some of the ATSF cara remained in their original configuration into the ‘60s, so starting in 1950 the original, 8”, 12”, and steel side rebuilds were all on the rails. In addition, the PM didn’t rebuild all of the auto cars, nor did the C&O repeater all of the ex-PM cars (after they acquired PM in 1947). So the PM and C&O cars were also seen in both configurations during the ‘50s.

Some of the 12” raised roof cars lasted into the ‘70s, as did some of the steel side rebuilds

we will be doing the major paint schemes for all of these cars, so if you’re modeling the ‘50s, you have a lot of choices:

ATSF Bx-11, 12, 13 as delivered (although any in interchange would have received AB brakes)

ATSF Bx-11, -12 with 8” roof extension

ATSF Bx-11, -12 with 12” roof extension

ATSF Bx-13 rebuilt with steel sides

RI SS Box car

CGW SS Auto car

L&N SS Auto car

PM SS Auto car

C&O SS Auto car

PM SS Box car

C&O SS Box car

That’s 15 unique prototype running in the ‘50s

Don’t forget that parts (roofs, ends, doors, trucks, etc) will also be available.

You will choose your specific cars shortly before we go to production. But there are more prototypes in the ‘40s, the most in the ‘50s, and then in decline through the ‘60s, with the auto cars in decline first. I’ve included more roster information at, just click on the tab near the top for each prototype for more info.


Randy Hammill
Prototype Junction

Modeling the New Haven Railroad 1946-1954