Re: LaBelle F&CC kits

John Stutz


I am not surprised that a LaBelle D&RGW coach differs from a Blackstone one. There is about 50 year's difference in their initial production dates. They were designed to accommodate different customer expectations for prototype fidelity. And they represent an extreme difference in manufacturing technique.

What I was referring to is the differences between two LaBelle kits, labeled as being D&RGW and D&FW prototypes, but both coded HOn3-20. And I did not find any difference when I paired the sides together. So far as I can tell, they are exactly the same kit, just with different names on the box.

I suspect that one of the previous owners of LaBelle started down the same road that MicroTrains attempted a few years ago: attempting to amortize production costs by labeling a single product for several railroads. And while that can work for prototypes like a Pullman PS-1 box car, its a dead end for sales to knowledgeable modelers of an era where railroads demanded and got customized products. Fortunately for us, LaBelle has survived, and is still available, despite the number of unbuilt kits on our shelves.

I say fortunately, because it is much easier, and less financially painful, to bash a LaBelle passenger kit into something other than a D&RG prototype. The D&RGW's passenger stock either dated from the early 1880s, or was modeled on stock that did date from that era. Hence their remarkable uniformity. Later passenger cars built for other roads differed significantly, generally longer with narrower window pillars, My focus is the White Pass & Yukon, and prior to 1969, when they started buying steel passenger cars in quantity, they were running wooden cars dating from 1876 to 1918. Of a passenger stock of 40 plus cars, I don't think they had more than four that were initially identical. And those were the ex. Stony Clove and Catskill Mountain RR parlor cars, #218-224(even), with three sizes of side windows and an offset door and picture window in the observation end. Which on the White Pass, ran with three styles of sheathing (paneled, matchboard, & faux heavyweight steel) and now have double width windows. So I appreciate having the LaBelle kits available.

John Stutz

On September 1, 2020 at 1:29 AM "Robert Bell via" <ionhoss@...> wrote:

I think they aretwere different.  I have one of the F&CC coaches that I started building when I was in high school and have not finished yet.  It is longer than my Blackstone coaches, and looks different.  If I get a chance later, I'll take a photo and post it.

Rob Bell


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