We're fans of the Sunshine Models approach, where Martin would select a given prototype and produce many variations of the cars. Westerfield also takes this approach, and just announced a bunch of cars I like - Santa Fe Fe-Q/R/V Channel Side Automobile Cars (although I think they were off the road before my era...have to do some checking).
Most companies producing RTR plastic cars will do one specific car, or maybe a couple of variations. They'll add another variation or two for a second run, and continue to do that as long as sales are good.
However, there's a downside to this approach. Sometimes the sales aren't strong enough to warrant a second run, so those variations don't get produced. Because of the cost of tooling, it's also not uncommon for more obscure variations to not be offered.
We are approaching this with the intention of doing all of the variations we can in a single run. There is no intention to do a second run, as we'd prefer to work on new projects going forward. This will be a now-or-never (or find it on eBay) release.
Furthermore, we're producing these with modelers in mind. So you will be able to purchase these as RTR, undecorated kits, and also parts. We are even investigating the feasibility of decorated kits. Undecorated kits will come with all of the parts for a particular body core.
To give you an idea of the scope of the project, we'll start with a list of some of the major parts we think you'll be excited about. All of these will be available for purchase separately:
- Dreadnaught: 3/4 (indented) plus extended height variations with a blank panel, or an extra corrugation; and 4/5
- Hutchins: 4+1 rib; and probably a 4-rib variation too
- Hutchins Dry Lading
- Murphy Outside Metal
- Murphy Rectangular Panel
- Murphy Solidsteel
Although some of these parts (such as the brake appliances sprue) will most likely be used for future models, there is no guarantee of a re-run of any of these parts either. In general, the factories don't like to pull one piece of tooling from a project to run some extra parts. The preference is to do an entire run of models, plus some parts.
And for the first of several prototypes that will be part of this project, I'd suggest that you take a closer look at my last post. If you haven't already figured it out...