Author Topic: MTL & Joe ... Are You Listening ?  (Read 1827 times)

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MTL & Joe ... Are You Listening ?
« on: April 18, 2007, 01:13:16 PM »

Seriously Now...

For me I am the classic "upset at the collecter for driving up the prices and making things hard to obtain" kind of "N" Scaler !

I model the Pre BN roads GN-NP-CB&Q-SP&S and I am frustrated as a guy can be, when trying to obtain what are/were the common cars and paint schemes for some of these roads !

Take Northern Pacific for instance:

While it is with a certain amount of jealous pleasure that MTL keeps crankin' out the 8000 to 9200 series 40' Plug & Sliding Door car, as HO doen't even have this body style ...

MTL HAS NOT RELEASED A SIMPLE 40' Boxcar in The Large Northern Pacific Billboard Lettering scheme ! Why Not ?

There may have been upwards of 10,000 (or more) of these on the rails in the late 1950's/1960's/1970's; THE ONLY WAY to obtain these MTL's is in a "Special Run" 5 Pack that they did for the NP Historical Society almost 10 years ago. IF YOU CAN FIND this collection, and that is IF... STARTING price is at $100 for the set!

This was/Is THE Common Boxcar paint for NP Boxcars for over a 25 year period, and with MTL not producing ANY, the collecters make even that set impossible to obtain ! And if so, well the sky is the limit on price ! 

Recently Deluxe did a very limited run of this dramatic and standard NP paint scheme and ZOOM ! - They all disappeared ! Hmmm... I wonder if there is a correlation ?

A re-run of this set with different numbers would be a PERFECT Northern Pacific "Runner" set.

Will MTL do this Very Common NP Car ?

Or how about The Great Northern;

Their 'bread & butter" 40' car for 1950's/1960'/1970's, was the 40' Double Door Boxcar.

OK so go find, if you can - the 6 car NSC set of GN 40' Double Doors, in all the appropriate paint schemes. IF YOU FIND A SET, IF... The starting price is at $175 to $200. A common guy like me doesn't stand a chance in the face of this situation. This was "THE STANDARD GN BOXCAR ! And THE "Classic" car in the pack, the vermillion red car with the large Slant Sariff Billboard Paint that has the "G" and the "N" on the right Hand door, is so sought after, it's just IMPOSSIBLE ! A Very - very common and heavily used GN car ! ... Nowhere to be found ...

You might as well have some teeth pulled with no novacaine !

And GN's other 'bread and butter' 40' Double Door cars, the 40' Plug and sliding door cars, came in all of these same paint schemes, yet MTL has only done ONE GN PAINT SCHEME in 20+ YEARS, on this car !

(Slumps in chair at thought of this)

These 2 cars alone, made up over 20,000 of the Great Northern's 40' Boxcar fleet (Yes - that's 20,000 of these 2 car types alone!)

Instead, the (miniscule in real time) GN "Circus' boxcars are everywhere. Almost all of those cars were quickly repainted into the standard GN Paint Schemes after a very short time, so we have more GN 'Circus' cars out, than were ever seen by human eyes.

YET MTL, Refuses to release (or re-release) the (Again) 40' STANDARD Double Door Boxcar's - in GN's STANDARD Boxcar paint schemes, on either Body Style.

This befuddles me into a contortioned cartoonist state; "Aaahhhh - What's Up Doc ?"

How about "The Burlington" ?

CB&Q repainted thousands of cars in the Pre BN merger Green Paint scheme in the late 1960's... MTL has done a lone BREX Reefer, BUT what about ALL of the thousands of 40' and 50' Boxcars and Gondola's done up in the Pre BN Green Paint ?

I shouldn't mention one of the first 5 packs that started the whole debate off (Collecter versus Runner) way back when, the Great Northern 50 Reefer car sets. No I don't want to buy 5 at a crack, with today's "starting price" on ebay of $75.00 to $100 - if and when they show up. Although I did score the Big Sky car set 3 years ago, at $65.00, BECAUSE they were Heavily Weathered - apparantly collecters don't like this ! Which was OK with me ! Today I can't afford such extravagances on cars that are at least 15 years old.

I simply wish MTL would release some of these more common Paint Schemes - on the more common Rolling Stock for the pre BN roads. Instead of the same old rehash's.

"I'm singing in the rain..."

Jeff Sauer



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Re: MTL & Joe ... Are You Listening ? Pt 2
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2007, 01:57:01 PM »
Hi Guys,

How about Part 2 ?

Just returning from Breakfast at Micky Dee's

I'll field some questions and hopefully give out some of my answers that will be sufficient for us all.

Here are some: One by one:


Intermountain or Red Caboose tried to do the large NP billboard 40 footer boxcar in the pre BN Green and really messed up on the fonts and lettering of "NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY" which in circles the 8' sized Monad on the right side of the car. It seems that digital transforming from pix to master for pad gets messed up in the mix as Branchline, & Accurail (too name a few) have had trouble with the reproduction of this part of the Billboard scheme. Even ATLAS, on their 50' Offset Boxcar has the entire herald too small, at approximately 6' large. It is supposed to be 8' large with the large NP letters on the left at 5 & 1/2 feet tall.

It is an open Forum indeed, and we have gracious hosts to allow us to discuss (almost) ALL things "N" here.

MTL wants input, well here it is ! Part 2 !

Yes I would love to see MTL or ATLAS put the large NP paint scheme on their 40' PS-1 Boxcars, even if, as stated by Andrew below, the NP had no standard 40' PS-1's.

But hey, both MTL & ATLAS have done many successful 40' paint schemes on their car, that weren't on PS-1's Take the GN, as an example. ATLAS' Red GN car with Slant Sariff font was never on a GN PS-1 car, but ATLAS is up to their 5th or 6th number in releasing it. It must be popular, and it is. Sometimes we "N" Scalers are just looking for a decent paint job on a decent car that is "Good Enough".

With the new Trainman series, they have just released an awesome version of the Glacier Green GN paint with Empire Builder type font on the right side of the car. This was, by the way, the last paint scheme applied to GN boxcars, right before the Big Sky era began, in 1967.

GN actually owned only 15 40' PS-1's !

This a rather odd purchase from an outside sourch, as the GN Shops in St. Cloud, Minnesota, were busy building and rebuilding the roads 40 footers in 500 and 1000 car lots. A uniquely bizarre small purchase indeed, AND ATLAS CORRECTLY paints those PS-1's in their Orange and Green "Loader" paint release. (Even those 15 cars are sub-divided into 8#'s and 7#'s - with one group getting DF-2 stenciling and another group getting STB stenciling. Each showing the type of load restraint that was in each car! All cars had standard 8' sliding doors.

GN's 15 40' PS-1 cars came from the Pullman factory in Brown paint with Great Northern lettering on the left and a large white Rocky on the right. They were then renumbered and received the Glacier Green paint (approximately 1960) that you find on the MTL 40' Glacier Green boxcar that features the large Multi-colored Rocky on the left of the car door and "Cushion Ride" on the right hand side. They remained painted this way for about a year and really only numerous promo pix's are to be found, as this paint was very-very rare in the grand scheme of GN boxcars. There may be a pix or 2 of that paint scheme "in service," which would be EXTREMELY Rare, as within a year of that paint, they ALL got the Orange and Green "Loader" paint.

So... The 15 40' PS-1's on the GN have a weird paint history. That original brown paint scheme, direct from Pullman Standard, was from a painting diagram almost 20 years obsolete - they wore that MTL Glacier green paint for less than a year (and were THE ONLY 40' cars so painted) and then got the "Loader" scheme with half of the cars equiped with The Sparten Tri-Belt "STB" restraints and logos and the other half getting the "DF-2" belts and devices and stenciling.

I had a friend who sent me a picture of one of those rare PS-1's in Bismark, North Dakota, dated in the summer of 1980 ! Still in GN orange and green, it had just a simple re-stencil on the car number into a BN # ! Ten years post merger - 1980 !

15 40' PS-1 cars total ! On the GN...

Sure I would love to see MTL or ATLAS crank out 5 numbers on the Northern Pacific boxcar, in the properly sized large NP Billboard paint. It would be long overdue and a very - very Welcome addition to the overall "general" "N" Scale market !

ATLAS and/or MTL - Please do this NP 40' car !

P.S. Please ATLAS, spend $250 dollars and get a pad print master made with new - properly sized heralds for your next run of the NP 50' Boxcar ! Thanks - Jeff

P.P.S. THANK YOU for the Marvelous job you have done with the new PS-1's and prior releases too ! Wow, the new car's look Incredible !

Everyone still with me ?


I am not talking about current MSRP, in my piece up above. I am talking about trying to obtain these "rare" cars, made (sometimes MANY) years ago, that were the "common" cars on these railroads and can only be had via "the Unmentionable Sight - Ebay" or through the NSC Silent Auction - at huge re-price prices.

The MSRP's are fine with me, but (if you happen to find one) having to pay such extra "Bonus" cash for what are/were general, everyday 40' boxcars, on these railroads, is my point.

MSRP's are what they are. Like the recently released MTL Pan-AM car... what $35 or $36 MSRP and probably as we speak, sold out nationwide, all within a month or two. I don't care about the MSRP. I would gladly pay for that car...What a Beauty !

ANY Manufacturers items can do the same thing. ATLAS items can do the same thing. The original release of the ATLAS USRA cars are getting hard to find. And even cars like the dashing MKT car or the CNW/CM&O yellow & green car are zipping out of Retailers shelves. In a couple months you probably will be hard pressed to get these. I even noticed that the DM&IR 4560 ACF Centerflow car is going zip zip zip in many places !

I'm not talking about Retail prices...


Your points are well taken ! MTL already has the artwork for almost every car I have mentioned, as they have all been released at one time or another in all of those NSC "Special Run" convention Packs and/or other limited run's. They have the artwork, maybe even still the original pad/plates !

They've already done the cars.

Some of them (many) years ago. Some, more recently. Let's let go and get into the MTL artwork vaults and get some of this 'common road scheme' stuff released ! PLEASE ...

Sir Andrew,

Very True ! NP never had out and out 40' PS-1 single door boxcars... BUT the NP, more notorious than most other railroads, built their cars with about every configuration imaginable with regards parts, including within the same number groups. (This makes things very convoluted and unpredictable - A very bizarre practice indeed.) Probably they were being frugal and buying and building if and when needed along if and when the price was right !

Their lone 40' PS-1's were of course the 3000 series Pullman built Plug and Sliding door cars (8' plug & 6' Sliding Door) Boxcars. The MTL 40' supposed "generic" 40'Plug/Sliding door car that they number in the 8000 to 9200 series, is actually, more accurately, very close to the Pullman Standard built 3000 # series, except for a 7' Plug door !

In "HO" McKean Models/Via SkyLim attempted to do this PS-1 Plug and Sliding 40' car with Aluminum molds, and they got what they paid for. A poor mold, that showed potholes in the final product along with warped sides - All because Aluminum molds can't handle the heat and have zero life expectancy ! And you should've seen the NP paint that they put on it ! I shudder ! Ah what memories !

Now the old "original" Front Range, which employeed folks who went on into Intermountain and Red Caboose, and other MR Companies, way back when (approximately 1980) produced an outstanding generic 40' Plug and Sliding car. Remember at the time, they were on the 'cutting edge' of pushing Model Railroading, as a whole into more prototypical boxcars, with correct Ends and Sides and individual ladders and stirrups etc. ? Remember those times - approx 1980 ?

I actually did a 250 piece "Limited Run" of these cars for the NP Historical group, way back when, in 2 seperate numbers. They sold like hotcakes. Front Range went all out, taking the Picture right from (I think) the 1960 Car Builders Book, and they pad printed ALL of the tiny info on the (seperate - on the sprews) Plug Doors even! It was a true work of art. But even they got the big Monad undersized at just about 6' wide versus the real 8' wide.

There but for fortune... so long ago. 1980 ? That's 27 years ago ! gulp !

Back to today in "N" Scale.

The Roco/Con-Cor 40' Plug and Sliding car is almost dead on for the NP series 8000 - 9200, Improved Dreadnaught Ends, Roof etc. But that old bug a boo, the 7' Plug Door (versus) NP's real 8' Plug Door is there again. Industry Standard must've been that 7' door. I know GN had a bunch of 'em, along with 6' Plug Doors too ! Ah, who can tell what a mold makers drawings tell him ?

Sir Andrew I agree with you about both 2 Bay Hoppers as NP had a gazillion of of 'em. I think MTL has done 3#'s - maybe 4#'s ? If so, I remember one of the numbers, again because of high Auction value - is an expensive little piece to obtain.

Would'nt it be great if MTL came out with a Smooth side "CENTERED" 50' Double door car ? NP, SP, UP, ATSF, to name a few, could be road names they could put on the thing. SP with nice large yellow stripes on the Doors !

And again, I know NP never had generic 40' PS-1 boxcars, but generically speaking I WOULD LOVE AT LEAST ONE COMPANY OUT THERE TO DO THE LARGE BILLBOARD NP PAINT SCHEME on ANY Steel side 40' Boxcar, with more than a meager small production, ala Deluxe or encased in some $100 plus, 10 year old Collecters set.

Is Any Body Still With Me ???


PRR purchased 25 40' PS-1's in the exact same purchase order with GN's 15 40' PS-1s !!!

Again like the GN, PRR made almost all of their own cars in their own shops, and its is a bizarre oddity that these 2 large Railroads would do such limited buying from a) an outside source and from b) Pullman Standard !

All 40 PS-1's (PRR & GN's) were assigned for most of their career's to be a part of the nationwide Appliance Pool of cars, that were centered at Kankakee, Illinois. So... both of these cars ran all over the country in "The" pool. The Late 1950's / Early 1960's PRR Paint, would be appropriate for the 25 Pennsy 40' PS-1's.

Also some personnel favorites that I'd like to see ATLAS Or MTL do on their PS-1's; LS&I, Brown MNS with white Billboard lettering... Hey how about simply The C&NW. They had a little over a 1000 of them, and again, try to find a decent MTL 40' C&NW car for under $30 - $40 bucks. MTL produced that great C&NW 5 car NSC Convention set in 1997 - with all of the great C&NW (Proper) paint schemes. The very last set I saw was at $160 and is gone-gone-gone.

So ATLAS or MTL, how about a couple of decent C&NW 40' PS-1's, huh ?

And finally...


I know MTL doesn't do 100% correct for every paint scheme for every specific car, but like I said earlier, our "Retail" car bodies are limited. The Pre BN roadnames that I listed above as an example... some of the cars are very-very close to prototype, others are kind of close enough and others ARE Close Enough. For me anyway!

And I think, I speak for many "N" Scalers, with just these small examples (and some of the others that posters have chimed in with on the Forum) and vocally say (well type writtenly say) (is type writtenly) a proper word even?) ...

I'm trying to say; Manufacturers ; C'MON ! GN - NP - C&NW - CB&Q !

And you never know about 30 years from now. I just think back to that very first KATO/ATLAS colaberation and then look at where we have all come to today... C'MON !!!

Jeff Sauer

I hope that this has been informative and educational for Someone out there in "N" Scale Land !
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 02:04:48 PM by jeffsauer1957 »


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Re: MTL Joe are you listening. (For Modelers)
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 03:34:25 AM »
     Intermountain manufactured a model of the most common 40 Ft. steel box car used by Great Northern, which wasn't a PS1. This steel box car features 12 riveted side pannels. IM offered them first as kits then later RTR in freight car brown (mineral red) color, Vermillion Red with Empire Builder style  white road name to left of door, circular Rocky goat herald on right side of door ,with white relfective frame edge delinator dots, Glacier Green with white San Serif slant road name to right of door and delinator dots. IM also offered the 12 pannel box car in SP FReight Car Brown as they like GN had a huge fleet of 12 pannel box cars. The GN kits could be built with roof walks removed if wanted on cars with later paint schemes . Brooklyn Locomotive commissioned a special run (ecch here we go again) of 12 pannel cars as a 2 pack one in Sky Blue scheme and one in a rare for GN Glacier Green scheme with the white simplified goat in circle markings of the blue cars. The IM 12 pannel cars are still very easy for modelers to find who want to have a large fleet of what I believe atleast was the most common steel box car on the GN at reasionable prices.                                                                                             Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake,Utah .


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Re: MTL & Joe ... Are You Listening ?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2007, 10:12:49 PM »

This is (VERY Thankfully) True ! Intermountain did an awesome job on this practically unique GN car and both in "HO" and "N" - It IS SUPERB !
Except my point with the GN cars IS the 40' Double Door car ! - In both the double sliding and the Plug / Sliding version. GN had Thousands of these. I remember as a kid seeing whole trains of nothing but Double Doors, heading East on the Minnesota Transcon Mainline (probably loaded with Lumber) in every paint scheme imanginable. Yet MTL has all of those paint schemes locked up in the special NSC Runs that have been made through the years.

There is one GN DD 2 pack that was only available at the 1997 Tacoma Convention, and I doubt many have EVER even seen this thing, except the 150 or so folks who were there.

Then there is the 6 pack of GN 40' DD's that feature 6 different paint schemes, that was commisioned by someone close to the 1997 Tacoma Convention, and it is only available everyonce and a while on eBay - maybe once or twice a year, at horrendous prices, usually starting at $175 to $200 !

NP never had ANY standard 40' PS-1's and GN only had 15 of 'em.
These 15 cars, by the way, are being accurately done by ATLAS - very beautiful looking cars !

My point is that in the "Good Enough" subjective category, which a majority of modelers fall into, and to which MTL has painted their 40' boxcars into, I would love to see the NP 40' car done in the LARGE NP Billboard scheme! Gosh, they did a 5 pack of these about 10 years ago, in 1998, again as a Special Run 5 pack for The NP Historical Society, and they have never put another one out! C'mon !

And like I said, the majority of the common GN Paint schemes that showed up on the GN Double Doors, are tied up in that 6 pack NSC run from 1997. Again - C'mon !

I have tried to do as much research as possible about these and other cars s possible, and it all wound up in two rather long posts.

But why stop at these two Railroads and "N" Scale car releases ?

At the Chicago NSC convention, again about 10 years ago, MTL did a 5 or 6 car NSC run of C&NW 40' single door cars. C&NW had approximately 1000 PS-1's. It was a great set, as it included all of the C&NW paint schemes that appeared through the years on the cars. I last saw a complete set for $160. IF and that is if you find a parceled out car, opening bids start at $35 to $50, with the car that has the large "C&NW" on it, much higher !

Just go looking for a 1950's / 1960's era 40' boxcar in "N" for the C&NW. Try it ! Search. See what you come up with .

And like I said, there are NO late 1960's / 1970's CB&Q cars. No 40' or 50' boxcars or Gondola's.

Those of us who remember this time frame, will remember the precursur CB&Q green cars a lot. Where are they today in "N" ? Nowhere.

I'll stop my rambling now...

My Best Regards, and Thanks for the Reply,

Jeff Sauer


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Re: MTL & Joe ... Are You Listening ?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2007, 03:17:24 AM »
 Jeff,If you have not already joined "The Great Northern Railway Historical Society" you should consider becoming a member $30.00 for membership within the U.S. and Canada. Their Monthly publication "The Great Northern Goat" is a great referrence tool, the individual reference sheets have allowed me to re work MT wood cabooses into better looking GN cars with correct markings, re detail and UP Grade Con Cor GN Smoothside Passenger cars and learn a great deal about the railroad. This is in addation to all the Great GN books that have been published by Four Ways West Publications. The GNRHS annual convention this year will be held in Minot North Dakota-July 15 to July 18. Lastly their current president is Duane Buck a long time GN Modeler,mostly HO who continues to edit and write their Modelers Page. Of course you may already be a memmebr. Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.


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Re: MTL & Joe ... Are You Listening ?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2007, 07:43:49 AM »
Dear Nate,

Thank You for the replies.

I have been a member of both the GN and NP Historical Socities, also CB&Q and SP&S all through the late 1970's, the 1980's and 1990's. I was even in the Charter year of the BN group, and then they changed their name! I had all the books, tons of researched photo's, alot of BN Stuff that the Company put out, and alot of items that the BN Lovers - those guys who were the original nucleus of the Layout Design SIG, put out. These are also the guys behind Modelers Choice, and were also the nucleus of the Grand old Batavia Club. I've helped just about every manufacturer with pix and drawings of cars from these Pre BN roads (BN & BNSF help also). And I have attended several of the Conventions. Wow, it has been an interesting 30+ years !

I was involved in doing "HO" special runs, to help both GN & NP groups, back in the 1980's and between production problems, and my undisciplined life, I lost a lot of money and many people became - rightfully so, angry with me. While that was going on, I had major surgery, lost the big job, the nice house out in the country - right on a BNSF mainline, all an unpleasant mess on my side. But back then, the infighting with these groups was horrendous. When they are workin' fine, they are GREAT. When not... eh?   :'(   Approximately 5 to 6 years ago, after selling off almost everything to support myself - while in transition, just about everything was lost. I still reel at the memories of this time... (Said in wise old NY Jewish man's voice) "Ah, the stories I could tell you !"  :-*

It's great news to hear that Duane Buck is back and is President of the GN group. When I left, it seemed that there was war, as with the NP group too. I was looking for relaxation and just didn't have the heart to continue. It seemed like a mess when I left, AND I was a mess when I left.

I am now married and living in a one bedroom apartment with my wife Katy, and our two cats; C.J. and Toby - named after our favorite characters from the TV Show "West Wing." Just doing Model Railroad or Railfanning with her at my side, fills and heals a lot of what those old days wrought...

Most everything resource wise, what I have left, is what is stored up in the old noggin. And even that is a bit "hazy" as I'm getting older and also have a great potpouri of med's to help that haze. But as you can see I still have some kick left in me.

Onto some "N" Scale modeling information;

MTL has communicated that they are very interested in the contents of my Posts, and we may actually see those GN & NP & CNW & CBQ "N" Scale items!

It still blows me away that, say, you can't find a 40' C&NW PS-1 Boxcar in "N" because MTL has them all tied up in that Chicago NSC set FROM TEN YEARS AGO - which had all of the correct paint schemes that the 1000 or so Northwestern 40' PS-1's wore... Or that the exact same situation exists with GN 40' Double Door cars, none of the 6 paint or more schemes, not released because of a 10 year old NSC set... Or that there is no NP 40' Single Door Boxcar of any type is readily available, or no 40' or 50' CB&Q Pre Merger cars aren't out. Things like this make me "batty."

So again, Thanks for the suggestion, but right now, I can't afford the extra $60 for the membership to the 2 groups, and it's probably best that it stay that way, for now anyway.

Peace and Regards,

Jeff Sauer