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 The funny thing about preprots...
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Author Previous Topic: Second batch of preprod locos posted... Topic Next Topic: TYCO pre-production red CP Rail box car  

spiderj76
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 Posted - June 23 2011 :  10:50:28 PM Link directly to this topic  Show Profile  Add spiderj76 to Buddylist
...is they almost raise as many questions as they answer.

Yes, I became aware of Bob's listings on "the site", only after the whole lot was up (missed that, phooey). I'm sure some of you recall the mild controversy I raised when some of these items were posted here in 2008 - my intent was to be objective and find out as much as possible without being overly personal, and I hope people realize that. Especially now that I've taken the plunge and put my money (more than I should have) where my mouth was / is. Bob is a nice guy to deal with, even if we had some disagreements in the past.

So that said, I corralled quite a few items of personal note, and they have been very interesting. I plan to divulge all once everything is in hand, but here's a preview of what I'm working on. And it pretty well illustrates my take on authenticating these items. It's such a shame the original employee who parted with these could not have provided more history or background behind them. Nonetheless, there is some real artwork in the stash....

I plan to make a lengthy article on my site once I know what I'll have to work with for narrative and comparison. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the following preview....

~~~~~~~~

NOTE: The context of the word “prototype” could become somewhat confusing here. In scale modeling, “prototype” usually means the real-world, 1:1-scale item being modeled. In manufacturing and production, “prototype” usually points to test shots, prove-outs, rough-drafts and mockups of engineering and design concepts as a product is nurtured from napkin to store shelf. When considering mockups of mass-market model trains we can literally have prototypes of prototypes, which is far too meta for clear discussion. “Preproduction” is too lengthy... so I’m going to coin the shorthand “Preprod” and use it from now on to mean “the preproduction prototype of a model which may or may not have been released in standard production, with or without any fidelity toward an actual real-world prototype”. Whew - "preprot" is a lot shorter, see?


OLIVE PENNSY GG1

In the realm of authenticating preprods and legitimate oddities, the easiest ones to authenticate are the ones that are fully dressed in factory-quality paintwork: in most cases this means a minimum of decal films and crude paint masking. If a standard production release was made with paint-stamped and tampo graphics, a preprod with these traits is hard to dismiss. And here’s the perfect example:



Tyco released several various colors of Pennsylvania GG1s, but olive green was not among them. The PRR istelf never rostered a GG1 in this color; Pennsy “Brunswick Green” was famously more black-hued. Yet one simple glance is all it takes to realize this baby-yark behemoth is not a crude mock-up, or even a skilled repaint of dubious taste. The green hue is indeed questionable, but adorned atop is the very same screen-print striping, lettering, and road number Tyco used on the standard run of black or tuscan Pennsy GG1’s. They’re not decals, and they’re not hand-painted, meaning it’s not the handiwork of a mere hobbyist, or even an R&D employee - it went through the same finalized production process as all the standard units.

Most likely it was part of the first run of GG1s, to test the masks after they had been green-lighted for creation toward ultimate use in mass-production. Perhaps green was initially approved only to be given the axe once the first few samples were produced - supposedly there were just 6 green GG1s made. Note the “fuel tank” (a Tyco anachronism on an electric locomotive) between the trucks is unpainted, unlike the standard release Pennsy GG1’s. Had green been approved for final mass production, a batch of fuel tanks surely would have been sprayed to match.



You couldn’t clone this one, or fake another “what if” of a different color, because you can’t get the striping, lettering, and road numbers applied in the same factory process. And that’s what makes this a certified, indisputable rarity, regardless of how it fits in the “preproduction” process timeline.


SOO LINE GP20


For the other end of the spectrum, here’s an example of a preprot of dubious pedigree.



This Soo Line GP20 is a plausible case: Tyco released an Alco 430 in Soo Line paint, so this could have been proposed alongside, or even at a later date. The paintwork is heavy but clean and unlike other mockups, it’s decorated on both sides. Unfortunately the decal work is somewhat shoddy, as a gross excess of film has betrayed itself in the yellowing of age and one of the roadnumber digits has even fallen off. One wonders why Tyco didn’t simply use the mask from the Soo Line 430 on the long hood, and stamp the ubiquitous “5628” from any other GP20 roadname? Perhaps, if this indeed was pitched alongside the proposed 430, those masks hadn’t yet been created; this particular GP20 is the older MU-2 drive version, contemporary to the actual release of the Soo Line 430.

But, lacking the hallmarks of full factory paintwork, this has all the appearances of a model that any Soo Line fan of reasonable skill could make - and that’s a problem. Take any dime-a-dozen Tyco GP20, repaint with the standard colors and decals of your road of choice, and you’re done. Given the crude, unfinished appearance of other Tyco preprots, a hobbyist is arguably more likely to install the handrails and paint the motor-mount lugs as shown besides. So how can you prove its provenance as a factory preprod item? In this particular case, one trait in favor of this argument is the shell being an original undecorated example, as opposed to repainted overstock a modeler would have had to use. But even so, the paint is thick enough that there could be something underneath.



Certainly, the sum collection this particular loco came from could seemingly boost its own provenance, but I have personally made some compelling “what-ifs” of my own - lacking such disclosure, how would those items be considered when combined in a collection with all the authentic preprods I just obtained? And as the original collection has been forever busted apart, scattered hither and yon, that sum collective provenance is even less than it was before. So this particular loco, attractive and compelling and plausible as it is, merits a more specious eye than the others.

But with that said, I think I like it more than the 430...

Edited by - spiderj76 on June 25 2011 11:51:54 PM
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Alco Fan
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 Posted - June 24 2011 :  8:26:39 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add Alco Fan to Buddylist
Interesting thoughts, thanks.
Congrats on the "olive GG1 and the SOO Geep!

Alco Fan
Edited by - Alco Fan on June 24 2011 8:27:03 PM
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shaygetz
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 Posted - June 24 2011 :  9:03:49 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add shaygetz to Buddylist
Only you, dude...only you...nice find
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DaCheez
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 Posted - June 25 2011 :  03:09:12 AM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Click to see DaCheez's MSN Messenger address  Add DaCheez to Buddylist
Very interesting. I can't wait to see what else you managed to get your hands on.
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Alco Fan
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 Posted - June 25 2011 :  12:13:33 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add Alco Fan to Buddylist
How close are the snoot and rear SOO decals to matching the Alco prototype? It would be an other way of verify a pre-production test shot if the decals match.
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spiderj76
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 Posted - June 25 2011 :  11:55:55 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add spiderj76 to Buddylist
quote:
How close are the snoot and rear SOO decals to matching the Alco prototype? It would be an other way of verify a pre-production test shot if the decals match.

Originally posted by Alco Fan - June 25 2011 :  12:13:33 PM





That's a good thought. I'll let you guys be the judge but to me they look different - the 430's seems "squished" (not tall enough).





Questions aside, I have since confirmed two of my other specimens as the *actual* ones used in catalog photos, so that's kind of exciting.
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Alco Fan
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 Posted - June 27 2011 :  08:40:33 AM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add Alco Fan to Buddylist
From this angle the SOO on the sides of the big hoods look close in size. I wonder it that might be an indication of some photography work to make a decal if a tampo wasn't available. Also look at how many times the 4301 fonts changed over the years.

I'm very interested to see your other specimen.

Alco Fan
Edited by - Alco Fan on June 27 2011 7:31:06 PM
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spiderj76
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 Posted - July 03 2011 :  6:51:23 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add spiderj76 to Buddylist
I have updated this post into a page on my site, with new info...

http://www.goingincirclez.com/TycoTrains/Guide/Preprods

Here's a teaser picture. More is still yet to come.

/tyco/forum/uploaded/spiderj76/20110703185022_TriBatch.jpg
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microbusss
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 Posted - July 03 2011 :  8:27:58 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add microbusss to Buddylist
The City of New Orleans shark resembles a Rock Island's early 1970s scheme
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Alco Fan
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 Posted - July 05 2011 :  8:07:44 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add Alco Fan to Buddylist
Congrats Tony!! Looking forward to what's next.
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romcat
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 Posted - August 09 2011 :  10:25:48 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add romcat to Buddylist
Any body even heard from tony in a while. I just came a cross an odd Tyco kit in original box. A typical GP-20 Santa Fe EXCEPT it's a for real kit in that original kit box! Kinda thing he'd likely want to add to his collection.

Anyway I suppose he'll pop up at some point...

-Gareth

"A is A"
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Mike
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 Posted - August 10 2011 :  12:36:28 AM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add Mike to Buddylist
Ummm, Gareth, Tony has been back and thankfully posting for a while now...

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romcat
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 Posted - August 10 2011 :  07:09:55 AM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add romcat to Buddylist
I meant the last few weeks... I meant I have seen a post from him in several weeks...

-Gareth

"A is A"
-Aristotle
Law of Identification

Edited by - romcat on August 10 2011 07:16:14 AM
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spiderj76
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 Posted - August 10 2011 :  10:28:04 PM Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Add spiderj76 to Buddylist
"Thankfully"?? ha ha that's probably the first time that's been said, but I appreciate the vote of confidence



Let's see... 2011... 2011... "discombobulated" about sums it so far. Been inside-out busy with work, travel, kids, family & domestic distress and other issues... trains have taken a back seat. The STC is even in a packed state at the moment. Have lurked enough to snag some of the Bob Beers collection recently against my better sense, and that's about it. I've even had to delay and/or turn down commissions that some have sought, but hope to pick those up again soon if things shake out OK. It's just been a rollercoaster of a year. I do have some exciting model RR related developments to "brag" about, but more on those in time... maybe.


Gareth, you can PM me if you like. I might be interested, but if you need quick cash I might need to pass as things are kinda tight / allocated right now.
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