Author Topic: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...  (Read 4407 times)

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C855B

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2014, 12:19:17 PM »
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Ha, thought I was the only one... I got a SCL Verti-Pak with an order not to long ago.  I'm a modern guy, so what the heck do I do with this thing? 
...

It's not modern, yet it's not transition, it's... uh... blah. The Vert-A-Pak existed in that form (the non-SP variant) for maybe five or six years, from 1972 through mid-1977. Why anybody would choose to commercially produce a prototype with that tiny of an operating window mystifies me. It's an interesting car, but "interesting" doesn't make a market for it. It does happens to just hit the tail-end of my personal modeling period, so I s'pose I can put it on my rails without having to explain myself. ;)

I'm trying to recall Blaine's exact words, but the gist was like I said, the N scale market is difficult, and they won't be doing anything new in the foreseeable. He impressed me as deeply technical and a dedicated modeler, and in reading the person and the moment I can understand his defensiveness when confronted online, and that he would take it personally. But that ER is backpedaling on N is out there. Additional thought - he said a couple of things in passing at the conference that lead me to believe he's not the money man. The N scale production decisions may not be his, yet he's in the unenviable position to publicly defend them. It is entirely possible that he personally wants ER to have an N future, but the guy with the spreadsheets sees the numbers generated by repeated missed targets and is clamping down. It could be a touchy issue, as the TO response tends to confirm.
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2014, 01:06:21 PM »
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A postscript - I just looked at ER's site to see if they were still selling the Vert-A-Paks. The SCL and FEC versions (only) are there, but indicated as both "sold out" and "announced". Seeing that I received one last week, my guess is the remainder has been withdrawn from active inventory and they're disposing of stock to folks like us who are buying multiples of other cars. I was also bemused by their statement that the prototype period was "1970's to 1980's". No, the Vert-A-Pak was gone from the rails in 1977*, when the Vega and its derivatives were taken off the market, so the model-specific superstructures were removed. Only the flat cars remained, some repurposed into conventional auto racks.

* - Unless you want to count being stored in sidings or unused branchlines while awaiting the torch. ;)
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

Spikre

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2014, 02:05:33 PM »
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 :?
   so makes one wonder which was the bigger failure,the Vertapak,
   or the Vega/Monza/Astre series ??
  a Correct series of ATSF or FGE Reefers could have done well in N.
  as could have many other cars they do in HO,or plan to do.
  this could be a wait and see situation,Athearn didn't lite up N originally,
  but seem more focused to N realities now.
      Spikre
       ;)

C855B

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2014, 02:35:53 PM »
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...so makes one wonder which was the bigger failure,the Vertapak,
   or the Vega/Monza/Astre series ??...

The Vega platform was the bigger failure. Even after GM solved the rust and cooling system issues after the early cars, the reputation killed the model. There was also a lot of competitive FUD about the new alloy engine that didn't help matters. Vert-A-Pak worked, although maybe not on the balance sheet because the RRs were expecting the Vega, etc., to last long enough in the market to amortize the investments in the custom RR car. It was an interesting lesson in partnerships that left the RRs wary of tightly-engineered customizations.
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

Kisatchie

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2014, 02:40:09 PM »
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...The Vert-A-Pak existed in that form (the non-SP variant) for maybe five or six years, from 1972 through mid-1977.

quote from Wikipedia:

"The first production Vert-A-Pacs entered service in April, 1970, the last ones in January, 1973. Besides Southern Pacific, the B&O, BN, D&RGW, FEC, IC, L&N, MILW, MP, PC (MDT), RI, SCL, SLSF and Southern Railway operated Vert-A-Pacs. All were withdrawn from service at the end of the 1977 Vega model year and were reracked with conventional tri-level racks."


Hmm... If I were shipped
like the Vegas, I'd have
Vert-A-Go...


Two scientists create a teleportation ray, and they try it out on a cricket. They put the cricket on one of the two teleportation pads in the room, and they turn the ray on.
The cricket jumps across the room onto the other pad.
"It works! It works!"

sirenwerks

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2014, 02:53:20 PM »
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I'd hate to see the 4427 tooling go away.  For those modeling the 60s and beyond, it's an important car.

I gotta wonder... Modelers and manufacturers both beef about the paint scheme fray.  Modelers want the paint scheme important to them and manufacturers, sometimes rightly so, resist because they know a particular scheme won't sell.  So why don't manufacturers push the business model a bit and work with decal manufacturers to get the schemes available ala DIY and offer undec models.  Modelers can put up or shut up and more (undec) cars get sold with minimized risk. With Exact Rail, I was kinda wondering about the three road numbers of the lease scheme 4427s, whether that was a wise idea.  Railroad schemes I can see doing in multiples, but the billboard schemes maybe not so much.

As for Blaine's re-alignment statement, it seems those decisions should have been made at the start of the product line.  Folks complained about the paper boxes when Walthers and Life Like used them, so why'd ER do it?  Body mount would have been a marketing-plus from the get go, etc.  Sounds like some poor choices in product development may have effected sales and cost the company extra to correct.  Can anyone say sour taste?
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

C855B

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2014, 04:31:44 PM »
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"The first production Vert-A-Pacs entered service in April, 1970, the last ones in January, 1973. Besides Southern Pacific, the B&O, BN, D&RGW, FEC, IC, L&N, MILW, MP, PC (MDT), RI, SCL, SLSF and Southern Railway operated Vert-A-Pacs. All were withdrawn from service at the end of the 1977 Vega model year and were reracked with conventional tri-level racks."

I had family working for SP at the time. The SP developed this business initially, with the competing non-SP Vert-A-Pacs (ER's version) not appearing until '72. The SP's cars were smooth-sided and didn't have the indented panels the later cars did.
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

Kisatchie

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2014, 04:46:36 PM »
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I had family working for SP at the time. The SP developed this business initially, with the competing non-SP Vert-A-Pacs (ER's version) not appearing until '72. The SP's cars were smooth-sided and didn't have the indented panels the later cars did.

Ahh... Well, that settles that.  :D


Hmm... why doesn't Kiz
know all this...?


Two scientists create a teleportation ray, and they try it out on a cricket. They put the cricket on one of the two teleportation pads in the room, and they turn the ray on.
The cricket jumps across the room onto the other pad.
"It works! It works!"

ljudice

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2014, 06:49:12 PM »
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I always thought highly of ER - they listened about things that serious n-scalers wanted like bodymount couplers, metal wheels, etc. They tooled and produced more stuff than the "leaders" for a couple of years.

But they CONSTANTLY produced stuff that other people made - the UP reefers, the modern 53' gons, etc.  etc.   In some cases they duplicated ROAD NUMBERS!

And now a days they have so little N-scale buzz that I bet they can't sell stuff using their online model (which is probably working great in HO where there is a constant pipeline of product.

The money guy at ER is a data mining,  CRM genius - so my guess is his view is "we have no data on n-scalers, so just forget them". 


C855B

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2014, 06:59:37 PM »
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Ahh... Well, that settles that.  :D

[chuckle]

Yeah... it was 1970, after all. SP was smarting from bad publicity due to Ben Biaggini's bad-mouthing of long-haul passenger service capped by a swipe at getting rid of SF Peninsula commute service, too. That last move made a lot of people mad, including their own middle management. So SP was trying to make positive press with the GM partnership, attempting to paint themselves as "modern, progressive". So we heard and saw entirely too much of the Vert-A-Pac program. Oh how I wish I had kept copies of the SP Bulletin, the official employees' newsletter... the Vega program was the cover story for several months... or at least it seemed that way. :|
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

Chris333

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2014, 07:17:28 PM »
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So where did the Vert-A-Pac happen?  They made Vegas in Lordstown, Ohio about 3-4 miles from me. Seem odd that SP did something for a plant in Ohio?

C855B

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2014, 07:26:18 PM »
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So where did the Vert-A-Pac happen?  They made Vegas in Lordstown, Ohio about 3-4 miles from me. Seem odd that SP did something for a plant in Ohio?

I don't recall why, exactly. GM and SP had a close relationship due to plants in the east SF Bay area as well as Los Angeles. I can conjecture that the engineers for the project might have been attached to an SF Bay area office, but I don't know that as an absolute.

Thinking back on the era, however, you also have to bear in mind that California was the center of the smaller car revolution (pre-oil embargo), so easily it could be that it wasn't the manufacturing end SP was thinking about, it was speeding-up and reducing the cost of delivery for what may have been the biggest initial market for the Vega. We're stretching my recollection a bit, but the little bit of text I remember with the nice pictures ( :D ) did frequently mention the fast unloading process.
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

jmlaboda

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2014, 08:00:04 PM »
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Quote
Agree with the others that duplicate work between MFG's never helps anybody.

I don't know that I can completely agree with this statement... a certain caboose type produced by two different manufacturers did a lot of good for both one manufacturer as well as a number of modelers who, like me, saw some major flaws in the way the other company did the caboose.

unittrain

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2014, 08:03:40 PM »
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One thing I can tell from this is that there must be fewer people modeling mainline operations where one would need several or more of one car I do collect some HO but could not even imagine modeling more than a simple switching operation at those prices, I mean come on one 42' flat car $45 that's insane I draw the line at that point, I would pay that for a caboose or similar car that is only needed in small numbers but flats and hoppers ect that you need tons of them that just gets way to expensive. Like it has been pointed out on here that if they would actually produce something no one else is doing maybe it would sell, these guys need to put half as much thought in their model selections in N as they do in developing models with every nut and bolt in place that no one sees anyway sheeesh :facepalm: I just dont see N getting a fair shake with these guys. But at least we have a lot of great N scale producers making top shelf models.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: ExactRail Announces UP GSC 42' Flat - HO... but...
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2014, 10:47:29 PM »
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I think that most of their N models have hit the mark just right in terms of price and quality, so they seem to have a pretty good read on that.  The Vert-a-Pac was an anomaly, and the duplicate models were unfortunate, but hopefully their data miner knows how to calibrate those data. 

I do think they over-reached a bit on their last offering, the bulkhead flats.  First, they were too light; second, the added details were often poorly applied.  I rejected 3 out of the 4 I received and they sent me replacements without asking for the originals in return.  (They are still very nice - and much needed models!)   I could guess that they took a bath on this one, and the business office may be letting them know.   Still, they've had a lot of hits in my book, and I hope to see more.