Details, When Are They Too Much?
When are details too much? This is a question that has been bouncing around my head for a while now. I like details. Grab irons, ladders, brake lines, etc. do make cars look great. However, at what point to they become an impediment to operating the car or locomotive.

My models are meant to be run. That is why I have a layout. I want to see trains running. As a result, my equipment will be handled. I will admit at times I can be a member of the Big Clumsy Finger Club. Perhaps that is why most of my fleet of cars are Athearn, Roundhouse, Accurail, and Atlas. There are some others such as Intermountain, Red Caboose, and Proto2000. 

The Athearn, Roundhouse, Accurail, and the majority of the Atlas cars are rock solid. Granted they may lack details but I can usually operate and handle them with little worries of something being damaged or fall. The only exception is some of the Atlas Master Line cars particularly the tank cars. Some of the parts on them are so delicate they break when touched. The couplers on the last batch I got were terrible. They were I think McHenry and the type used on tank cars that prevent uncoupling in the real world (I can’t remember what they are called). Every car had at least one coupler fail/break when the car was being used. I finally had to replace all the couplers with Kadee #5’s which was a chore. Access to the coupler pocket was restricted by delicate details and just figuring out how to hold the car so the work could be done was a challenge. Needless to say many detail parts had to be repaired.

Intermountain and Proto2000 cars are better. They have the details, but I have few problems with them. Granted I only have covered hoppers, boxcars, and gondolas. I have been able to weather them and run them with very few problems. I don’t think I have had to repair any details on the Intermountain and the few I have done on the Proto2000 cars were the results of clumsiness.

This brings me to Red Caboose. Their ready to run cars are beautiful with a plethora of details. However, they are delicate as China dolls in my opinion. Every time I take one out or run it something falls off or breaks it seems. In addition, for all the high-end details they use McHenry couplers! Changing the couplers is an exercise in frustration and patience as you have to navigate several delicate details to access the coupler pockets. While I like the look of the cars I do not think I will buy any more due to the delicate nature of the cars.

Thanks for listening to my rant.
Silence is golden but Duct tape is silver
Ridley Keystone & Mountain Railroad
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Hello Tom,

one of the questions is: "Which details will survive rough handling and which will not?"

A other one: "Which details i will be able to observe when the car is running on my layout?"

My thoughts to it:
As example; when you runnng a large layout with trains about to reach 100+ cars, you will watching this train running from a point of a more far away distance. 
[Image: dsc02501xpsur.jpg]
Did you see every detail? Are you able to differ from this distance if the 10th car is Walthers Mainline or Walthers Proto? Atlas Trainman or Atlas Master? Accurail or Intermountain?

On the other end my relative small switching layout:
[Image: dsc03186v3jxb.jpg]
Because the cars are switched directly just before my tip of the nose, i am able to see any detail. And because you are able to see this fine details, therefor i use the better detailed cars only. Of course, they require a gentle handling by the 0-5-0 finger crane.
And i need no 100+ cars. About two to three dozen cars only to make sessions.

At least it is a queston of $ vs $$$$.
For a small layout i am able even with a small $ budget to buy the better detailed (and more expensive) cars because the quantity is low.
For a bigger layout i am able to keep the costs relatively down by purchasing the simplier cars only, which are also not so cost-intensive.

my 2 €ents

I mostly run my cars as they come out of the box. Whatever details are there are fine.

When i build a car or engine I just go by what i want vs how much work I want to put into it.
I don't put grab bars on and I stop detailing when I decide the car is done.
I don't stress over fine details because it's frustrating when I built something that took hours and something breaks on it.
~~ Mikey KB3VBR (Admin)
~~ NARA Member # 75    
~~ Baldwin Eddystone Unofficial Website

~~ I wonder what that would look like in 1:20.3???
While running trains is my objective I do admire well detailed cars. Many modelers on this forum are way beyond my capabilities to detail cars so I will admire them and the attention to details. I want to do some detailing but time is marching on and with each passing day I get more and more content with what I have done and thank God I am able to do what I can. 
This reminds me of a walk around a full size passenger car with my FRA inspector 20 years ago. We were on the way to a cup of coffee and passing the B end of the coach and  out of the blue he says "you are going to change that aren't you?".  I replied "Harold, what the hell are you talking about" and his reply was "that cotter pin is illegal".  Now said cotter pin was in the pin holding the brake rigging to the truck and was probably 50 years old. Now the replacement cotter pin has a little wedge that slides up to lock the pin and I can't even find a picture on line to show you, but I did find a cotter key and I did replace them. Actually I am guessing he was messing with me because he probably knew those cotter pins had never been replaced because there was no way he could have seen it just by walking by. Did I mention he was an ornery old cuss. This man had 30 years on the railroad before he went to the FRA and he had 27 years with the FRA when he retired in 2004. 
So I really believe in the "it is your own little world so do what is right for you" way of thinking, and no good person will think any more or less of you for the way you do things, and we don't have MFRA inspectors.  Icon_e_biggrin
What makes you happy, what pleases you? That should be where the bar is set for everything with this or any other hobby. If you want extreme and accurate details on anything be it a loco, car or structure, and you do your best to get it, that's all you need. Try your best and do a mediocre job, so be it, you did your best and that's all anyone can ask. Don't care about details just as long as everything runs, that's OK too. Not willing to work on details but want them and are willing to pay the price, fine. How many times do you need to remind yourself that this is a hobby and hobbies are suppose to be fun to work at? Too many or too few details for some are just right for others.

If I did painting for the pleasure of it, I'd want details in what I paint. There are "impressionists" whose paintings give the illusion of detail, and then there are those that just splash paint on a canvas and sell their work for millions. Regardless, if you're pleased with whatever level you choose, in whatever hobby it is, that's all you need to be concerned about.
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
I was in a group of model railroaders that used to operate on a members layout once a month.  On my layout the one thing that was changed was replacing the couplers with Kadee #5's and later with 148's.  Most cars had the wheel sets changed over to metal wheels.  I had a few cars that had coupler lift bars and brake hoses but found that with manual uncoupling they tended to get broken off if the operators got a little careless.  The same if there was a derailment or a little too aggressive shifting maneuver.  Since the group disbanded I have been adding extra details to some cars and it does enhance the overall look.  As others have said it's your layout and you should do what makes you happy.

My 2 cents Misngth ... I have a whole mish mosh of car makes, some better then others, but like Lutz said, on large consists its so hard to really tell what cars are better, honestly, the only time I really care is when I take pictures, and then 95% of the time I'll notice something broken...AFTER i have posted the pic Nope . 

Sure I like operations, and have great fun doing it from time to time, but really I am more of a "Railfan" so watching the trains run across the layout gives me the most enjoyment. The very first thing we see is the engine, after that most of the cars details are not so noticeable to me, so I have always spent more time on the engine details then the cars in my fleet. 

All the nice equipment I have is great, but for me the engines are most important for details, the cars detailing counts most for me in pics, I guess thats my take on it Icon_cool  .
[Image: sig2.jpg]-Deano
[Image: up_turb10k_r.gif]
I used to be more into details until my eyes went bad. Now i can barely tell if a grab iron is cast in or freestanding unless i put on my close up glasses. I dont wear my close up glasses when i run a train.
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