Author Topic: Foobie and their effect on production  (Read 10091 times)

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Puddington

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Foobie and their effect on production
« on: April 01, 2010, 02:52:58 PM »
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Jason posted this in the April MT thread.....

"Just remember, every foobie you buy is one less reason for someone to make the proper car."

Something about this comment got me thinking.... now; I'll preface this with my bias; I completely disagree with Jason here; I don't think that a faux ______ CPR/PRR/ATSF boxcar stops someone from making a more prototypically correct version in the long run. It may stop them making one the next month; or; it may not.

But the question here isn't whether Jason is correct or not; there isn't a way to categorically prove him right or wrong; the question is; what would we do with out foobies ?

Imagine; somehow all of the sudden there is a wave of "proto-realit-itis" that sweeps the existing car mfg's. They "drink the proto kool aid" and swear off making any foobies... ever again.... what does that do for the hobby ?

Well; the obvious answer is that very few cars will get made; MT; Atlas; IM etc will have to stick to generics; and reduce the paint schemes they put on them. Would companies invest in tooling for anything but large run cars ( think PS2's etc....?) How would a company pay off their tooling costs; would a Trainman car be $ 25.99...?

OR

Would it be the birth of a massive shift to cottage mfg's... Five guys like Hell's Gate making copious numbers of PRR cars; another four making ATSF cars..... what would they cost ?; how good would they be ? What about the poor sucker modeling ACL; Mil. Rd (and their oddities) or, dare I say it the Canucks and their CC&F variations on everything.....?

If you subscribe to Jason's position or not; what is your take ? Are Foobies the impediment to prototypical cars he suggests or are they a non-issue... or it is something in between ?
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Mark5

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2010, 03:01:16 PM »
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I would think that there is a certain amount of truth to what Jason said. Big question is the weight placed on the "one less reason to make the proper car". Is it a compelling reason or a minor distraction?


It is likely that less than 10% of body styles (all) have been touched in the transition through modern era.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 03:05:41 PM by NandW »

bicknell

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2010, 03:19:24 PM »
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I think there are two categories of Foobie:

The made up car.  I'll pick on something like MT's president's series here, but this would include cars in realistic schemes that just don't match anything.  I agree supporting these likely draws resources from "real" projects.

The "close enough" paint scheme.  This is where they make the proper C&O caboose and then also paint it in to B&O, PRR, L&N, and others even though no one but the C&O had that exact model.  In this case I think buying the Foobie's actually HELPS to get the correct cars produced, because without people buying some of the Foobies there isn't enough market.

wm3798

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2010, 03:29:04 PM »
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I'll follow up Leo's comments, but I'll take a different tack on the "close enough" situation...

In the case of a C&O modeler, yes, the foobies are good for him, because the foobie sales do support the production volume to get that oddball caboose done. 

BUT, if you're a Western Maryland modeler, and you're hoping against hope that Walther's will not only re-do the Lifelike caboose, but that they'll do it RIGHT and WELL, you get a little discouraged because you were hoping that Atlas would have picked up your ball and run with it.  As it happens, Walther's has announced a new run of NE Steels, but the jury will be out on the level of quality until the thing hits the streets.  If Atlas had announced it, sight unseen, we could be reasonably certain of a well-done product.

If you don't care a lick about it, then you're just excited that you can get a reasonably priced WM caboose to pull around on your Unitrak Table Top and Mesa lines behind your WM Consolidation with your 90 T stone hoppers...

But cabooses are very specific models, not unlike locomotives.  Freight cars, on the other hand, get a lot more leeway.  Yes, there are some very particular cars, such as the Milwaukee rib sides, that are hard to disguise, but in a whole lot of people's eyes, a 40' boxcar is what it is, regardless of whether the door, end panel, or roof is "right"...  Having worked with Bryan on my Gondola project, I can tell you as exhaustively detailed as that car is, he's not above going out on a limb a little to print up something "close" (or a complete Foob like mine) to increase his sales volume.  F'rinstance, there's a tiny difference between the PRR G-26 and a very similar WM class of 65' mill gons.  WM is a very popular road name (at least at my house) and it looks good on a scale model.  The WM guys will probably make a note of the difference, but odds are they'll still make with their wallets.  So even with the rise of specific proto specialists, the foobies shall always be with us.

Do they hurt in general?  No.  I don't think there's enough of us out there that care to tip the scales one way or the other.  Do they hurt a very thin slice of the potential market?  Probably, but again, it's a numbers game.

Lee
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 03:35:22 PM by wm3798 »
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Nato

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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2010, 04:07:53 PM »
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  I have been an N Scaler for so long 1965, that I came to accept Foob's over the years as a GN paint scheme ,to use an  example, on a wrong 40 foot car might have been the only available GN steel box car in the early days of N so we took what ever we could get. Now with more proto specific models ,ready to run and kits out there and more of us becoming Rivet Counters or in my case a Semi-Rivet Counter (car could be lacking two rivets and one brace), but otherwise correct we have come to want "Yea Verrly Expect" proto correct cars when possible. I still have many cars some which operate in regular ops on  my layout that are close stand in's which I will probably replace if a model  or models are produced and the cost is reasonable. Real Fantsy Foob's like Walt Disney Tinker Bell cars or most commorative cars with some exceptions do not appeal to me,just like "The way they should have been" paint schemes on covered hoppers offered by N Scale Collectors Group. That does not mean I do not have some Con Cor Christmas Passenger Cars,I tend to be more selective,espicially in this day and era of Foobie's.                Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2010, 04:12:34 PM »
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Good subject!

I'm definitely in Leo's camp on this one. The big manufacturers are never going to produce models of low obscure low volume cars unless they can boost sales with foobies.

All we can do is let the manufacturers know which specific models we want so that hopefully they will choose it.

Of course, that will only work with those manufacturers that actually listen .........

From a personal standpoint, I'm not against 'close enough' foobies, life's too short to try and scratch build every obscure model I might want, or wait on the off chance it will be made 'one day'.

Cheers,

Kev

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2010, 04:16:08 PM »
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I think there are actually THREE categories of foobies.

1. There's the completely made up stuff (maybe I wouldn't call these foobs, more fantasy though).
2. There's the "accurate model, but not remote for my road" kinda thing, like the exact-rail 40' gons painted for CR.
3. There's the "almost accurate model, but not spot on", type. The MTL 40' boxes with the "door thing" come to mind here.

There's a LOT of gray area between those last two though, but I think it's worth noting that there's a spectrum there.

I feel like I'm a lot more inclined to buy things in the third category than the second.

For example, I'd buy a 50' gon if it was a model of a Thrall car, even if the real CR one was made by Berwick, but if that gon's 40' and has a fishbelly, then forget about it.

DaveB

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2010, 04:31:50 PM »
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I don't know how many manufacturers would stay in business if they could only make prototypically accurate models.  By definition, costs would be spread over a smaller number of sales, and my guess is that it woud be very difficult to make the money to keep going.  Looking at it another way, the number of road names available would likely shrink. 

BTW, Atlas over the past few months has started putting out Magor (C&O) cabooses for roads that never had them, many as standins for NE cabooses.  That didn't stop Walthers from bringing back the NE cabooses.  (I draw the line at buying an Atlas Magor or a Kato caboose in Western Maryland paint, which is easy to do with the Lifelike's available.)

Bob Bufkin

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2010, 04:47:45 PM »
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Gotta go with Ed's reasoning.  There is no way you ever going to get all the exact cars you want unless you got the tools and money to do them yourself.  The MT car, even thou completely wrong, is a good enuf standin for me.  Nothing personal but I think some people are just too darn pickey on these things.
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pfs

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2010, 05:12:08 PM »
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...Freight cars, on the other hand, get a lot more leeway.  ...


Lee


Opinions vary....greatly.


I agree with the statement at the beginning of the thread.

If only accurate cars were produced, all the buyers who would gobble up 'close enough' or ' PRR Dash-9s' ...would...unknowingly...gobble up proto cars instead, and merrily run them.



With that said, will that happen? ...Never.
And yes, I...like all or most of us, own many 'foobies'. And I still cannot always tell if something is 'right', but I do enjoy researching if it is...that is my way of learning more.


Regardless,  I highly doubt sales would be any 'less' by making the model (sans paint) accurate. I can respect/understand that companies need to make money (don't we all) but you can always paint a Thrall 2743 or Trinity 5161 in PC and still sell it, just try to make the plastic accurate please.


NOTE: In defense of Lee's statement; he may of meant that there is sufficient variation within prototypes...such as where Evans used various sills within a single boxcar design or produced a kit that was assembled and possibly modified by someone like ITEL, who modified it to fit need/what was on hand at the time etc. Or I could be wrong and he just likes foobies ;)

« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 05:17:28 PM by pfs »

wm3798

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2010, 05:17:54 PM »
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I think most of us adhere to the philosophy that for our home roads, we like to strive for accuracy, and support that with our own personal research... But on the run through and interchange stuff, A) we don't care as much and B)we don't always have the reference material at our fingertips to bother looking it up.

For instance, I could give a rat's patoot that Athearn used 17" lettering on the N&W hopper release, but Mark's ready to take up armed rebellion.  Likewise, lots of guys probably really like their MT troop sleepers in WM silver, while it gives me the dry heaves.

That's what I meant by the statement above...

Lee
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bbussey

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2010, 06:13:53 PM »
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Well, I guess I'll chime in here ...

If manufacturers of injection-molded products were to release only 100% prototypical schemes on 100% prototypical models, the products would cost a fortune and the manufacturers would not stay in business long.

As long as the 100% prototypical models are produced along with the foobies (that keep the costs of the prototypical models in the ballpark), why does it matter if foobie models are produced?  Getting prototypical models to market is the primary goal, and how that process is supplemented shouldn't be a focus.  It's not as if producing foobie schemes restricts manufacturers from producing prototypical schemes.  If Atlas releases twenty faux schemes on the Magor caboose so that the three or four prototypical C&O schemes can be produced economically, that's a great thing.  If MTL releases Halloween-themed murals on heavyweight RPOs so that prototypically-accurate heavyweight parlors and sleepers can be had, I hope the Halloween cars sell by the boatloads.

ESM strives to produce as many 100% prototypical models as possible.  But with moving into the injection-molded RTR market, coupled with the focus on models of railroad-specific prototypes means that there will have to be some less-prototypical schemes produced in order to finance the prototypical ones.  That's happening with the mill gondolas now.  It will happen with the XIH starting with the third release.  It will happen on future tooling as well.  While those schemes won't be total fantasy and will be based on prototypes that are close to the model, they will be produced so ESM can afford to continue tooling some of the more esoteric yet popular prototypes.
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2010, 07:25:37 PM »
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Wow, there are so many subleties to this argument that it's hard to even explain a point of view on this...

I'll say that it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If a foobie is close enough that it will truly impact sales of a "proper" car, then perhaps that is the definition of "close enough".  As the foob-factor increases, then the number of folks that will hold off--or purchase with the mindset of dumping the second the proper car appears--will naturally increase.  And of course price factors in....a $20 way-off foobie probably won't be competition, whereas an $8 generic Trainman would be a safe play until something better comes along, but a closer car in the $14 range might be your worst nightmare.

Personally I wouldn't fault any manufacturer for a reasonable foobie...they gotta make money.  But, I do think they have some responsibility that if they do produce a certain car or locomotive, they need to produce the legit schemes on the front end or at least a reasonable ratio.  And by the same token, as a model railroader you're gonna have foobies on your roster, and a lot of them if you are trying to get anything close to resembling the variety of freight cars seen on the prototype.

Life is too short...if you don't like people buying foobies, get off your duff and do something about it.  (yes, that means you, Jason, and Robbman and his Autofloods and whatever else he has up his sleeve)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 07:30:52 PM by Denver Road Doug »
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Dave V

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2010, 08:33:17 PM »
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Interesting discussion, and one I probably precipitated by my excuse of MTL to which Jason was likely alluding.  I'd often thought of starting a thread on this topic myself.

I'm in the Lee Weldon camp here...  I'm more demanding of my own road's accuracy than I am of the foreign road cars.  I'll run a Trainman Santa Fe car without really caring too much how accurate it is.  It isn't that I can't or won't do the research on car body and detail (I actually do so I can find an example of the prototype's weathering), but that it's not my focus.

However, that said, I'm not averse to fleshing out the home road (whether it's PRR, PC, or CR) roster with slight foobs.  For example, a true PRR X29 re-build (the ones with the higher sides and inset sills) has never been produced in N scale.  Yet I have a few MTL cars labeled as X29 subclasses, presumably rebuilds.  The same goes for Atlas' near X26C rebuild.  Not quite proto, but very nicely done.  So on the road they go.  I would rather do this and enjoy my trains than to lie in the mud and cry until the exact body style is produced.  If I felt that strongly I would scratchbuild or kitbash.  The only place I've been pushed to the "to hell with waiting, I'll do it myself" stage is in Pennsy steam.

When it comes right down to it, I take my foobs on a case by case basis.  If the car is beautifully rendered I might take more liberties (case in point; Athearn's awesome new bay-window caboose) than if it's a relative turd.  A worst-case scenario for me is the ExactRail Gunderson gon.  It's a beautifully detailed and molded car; a low-riding corrugated gon (which I desperately want).  BUT...  It's waaaay too short in its current form to look even close to a CR gon, and then add to that the incorrectly rendered CR can opener logo.  So I eye it every time I'm at the LHS.  I pick it up.  I consider it.  Then I put it back.  The effort to splice a pair to be an almost-CR has not yet proven worth it to me and I currently have other higher-priority modeling projects on the list.

I suspect each one of us has a unique ruleset for foobies, but I imagine the power spectrum of foobies here at the Railwire follows a roughly Gaussian distribution centered somewhere between Ed's points 2 and 3.
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wm3798

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Re: Foobie and their effect on production
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2010, 09:26:25 PM »
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Succinctly put, Dave... The Doctor is in da HOUSE!
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