Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Facebook Suggestions

So for those that have joined us on Facebook, we have a page specifically to focus on conversations around what models you'd like to see produced. This is not just for our benefit, the idea is that by creating a place for people to discuss the models they'd like to see, that any manufacturer can see what you (we) all want.

We'd like to see more, but even better, we'd love to see some discussions about the prototypes suggested. For any manufacturer to consider a given prototype, they like to see that there are a lot of people interested in it, not just a couple.

So what sort of models are people suggesting?

Car Types

Just about every type of car has been mentioned, here are a few highlights.

For ATSF, B&M, BAR, DRG&W, LV, MEC, MP,  NYC, PRR, and WP.

This is something that I hadn't really considered myself. Being a NH modeler, where we have the major post-war classes available in plastic (with some issues), and the remaining classes available in resin and brass, I think I assumed that larger roads were already well represented. I knew about the NYC/Rutland cabooses, although American Model Builders released a great looking wood kit for those a few years ago, but I guess I didn't really realize how many cabooses haven't been made readily available.

The second most requested type of car so far are hoppers. B&O, IC, LV, RDG, SP, and WP. I know that in my own research there are a lot of hoppers that need to be done, although in my era Funaro & Camerlengo are filling a lot of those gaps with fantastic one-piece-body resin kits. But the requests also mention more modern hoppers, such as the SP H-100 classes. And a very interesting hopper that I've never seen, IC 2-bay hoppers rebuilt from gondolas.

Tank Cars
There are also holes in the tank car rosters, with the UTLX X-3 and X-5 requested by a number of people. They are high on my list, and a persistent rumor for several years now is that somebody may be producing them in the future. But less common variations have been mentioned too - such as Helium Cars.

Box Cars
Box cars, of course, are well represented, with ATSF Bx-12 with the raised roof (available from Westerfield in resin), SP rebuilt box cars with a yellow stripe door, WP 50' Single Sheathed box cars (the MDC tooling is great for these cars, but they do have molded on parts).

FGEX and MDT reefers are wanted, along with later PFE mechanical reefers (50'). Intermountain has covered the steam era PFE reefers very well, along with some other kits from Tichy, Red Caboose, etc., but the later era still has some gaps.

Flats, gondolas, covered hoppers, and some passenger cars have also been mentioned.



The steam/transition era is still the most represented in the requests so far, and most of those cars were built pre-WWII. Cars built in the '50s and '60s are a smaller group, and a few built in the '70s and later. Personally, we think there are a lot more "modern" modelers out there. We'd like to see more suggestions for later eras too.


We were surprised by the number of SP and WP suggestions. The mix so far has been a lot of western roads, followed by northeastern roads, with some of the midwest mixed in. No requests for southeastern roads yet.


What Does it all Mean?

Well, nothing really. Yet.

The sample size is very small, so it's really just fun for us at this point to find prototypes that we aren't as familiar with. To make this useful we need a much larger number of participants and, more importantly, more conversation around the suggestions.

For example, one suggestion was a series of Pressed Steel Car 40' flat cars that were built in the early 20th century, but ran for decades. Examples that were provided were DRG&W, PE, OSL, SP, and UP. They are the type of car that stands out because the pressed steel sides are rounded along the bottom.

Here's an early ad from the Schoen Pressed Steel Co.:

Of course, the B&O N-8/9 classes and the Pennsy GL-class hoppers were nearly identical to the PB&LE car pictured. The flat car looks like a 36' far, maybe less, but the 40' cars had a similar look to them.

Josh Bernhard points out that the SP F-50-3 are an example, along with UP/OSL gondolas built on the same frames, and SP tank cars built on the flats.

Perhaps even the hopper underframes are similar enough to utilize parts from the flat cars, it wouldn't surprise me if they shared parts.

What sort of interest is there for 40' Pressed Steel flat cars? What about the other cars mentioned? Join the conversation and jump in on the threads for any cars you're interested in.


  1. Not on FB, but my vote is for the SP et al G-50-9 through -12 GS gons. I'll buy the first 6!

    1. Those are interesting cars. Outside of resin or brass I'm not sure anybody has done gondolas with the angled bottom behind the door operating mechanism since the metal Ulrich models.