[HO] Custom-decorated freight car models?

I'm looking at ideas for a custom-decorated freight car project from the small RR historical society I belong to. We're most likely looking at an HO
model (kit or even possibly RTR), the initial production run would be somewhere between 100 and 300 cars.
Any suggestions for companies which do this work, either directly by the manufacturer or by a third party?
So far, we've identified: Accurail: http://www.accurail.com/accurail/48cars.htm Athearn: http://www.athearn.com/Products/Custom/Default.aspx Bowser: http://www.bowser-trains.com/hoother/Custom%20Work/Custom%20Work.htm Greenway: http://www.greenwayproducts.com/a_custom_clubs_orgs.shtml
Other ideas?
Any comments on the comparative quality of their work?
____ Mark Mathu The Green Bay Route: http://www.greenbayroute.com/
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Mark Mathu wrote:

The majority of club/society cars that I own have been made by Accurail and Athearn. They are specially decorated standard kits, so your first job would be to identify kits for your prototype, or kits that can be good stand-ins, ie "close enough.". The quality of the decoration depends entirely on the quality of the information and art work you supply.
If you want an accurate car, you would have to buy from someone like Westerfield, who make accurate models of a wide range of cars. Problem is, these are resin kits, which are _not_ easy to build, and they cost about 3 times as much as the plastic kits, which would reduce your market. Greenway does special runs of cars and locomotives decorated for roads not offered by the manufacturers. Some of these are exact models of the prototypes, but most of them are of course merely "close enough", just like most commercial offerings.
However, keep in mind that a large segment of your potential market is collectors, not "serious modellers." If your railroad figures in some tourist line, then you may be able to partner with that line. Gift shops need merchandise. FWIW, a local modeller paints and decorates standard issue cars for a local tourist line, and both he and they do a modest but profitable business with them.
Good luck.
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Mark Mathu wrote:

Mark, Atlas is missing from your list: <http://www.atlasrr.com/special.htm
You might also want to talk to the SLHTS folks. They've done a number of cars, some of which use modified versions of the manufacturer's original car: <http://www.sooline.org/models/index.html
HTH, Stevert
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This sounds like a job for Mark Mason. ;-)
"I'm looking at ideas for a custom-decorated freight car project from the small RR historical society I belong to. We're most likely looking at an HO model (kit or even possibly RTR), the initial production run would be somewhere between 100 and 300 cars.
Any suggestions for companies which do this work, either directly by the manufacturer or by a third party?"
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On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 22:52:14 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote:

You should be spanked for that.
--
Steve

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On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 22:52:14 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote:
This sounds like a job for Mark Mason. ;-)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That made my day! Now if I can only stop laughing.
Bill
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Ok, as soon as I stop laughing we can take care of that! *8^)) Paul
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There used to be a company called something like "Third Rail Graphics" and I think they were in the greater New York area. I have some old NKP boxcars that they did quite some time ago.
dlm
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I see that Kadee does custom runs of 300 cars or more: http://www.kadee.com/ca/custom.htm
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Dan Merkel wrote:

Mrklin <http://www.maerklin.de or <http://www.marklin.com/ have a program for custom wagons (or locos). They make a _lot_ of promotional material in HO and Z scale.
Contact the US office about pricing. I imagine that the items could be made to US spec (RP25 etc...) through their Trix subsiduary.
Cheers, Damon
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Go to www.kmrhs.org and contact Mark Tomlonson. He is the one who designed and researched the cars. We are on our third club car. They were all from Bowser. We used local companies except for the grain car. That is an industry on the CP&E (club railroad)
--
Frank Rosenbaum
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You used local companies for *what*... the prototypes of the models? ____ Mark
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Yeah, sorry bout that. The green car is based on the Checker Car Company that was based in Kalamazoo. The Cooper Grains car is an industry on the club railroad and the Kalamazoo Stove company did exist in real life. I don't know about the coal hopper.
--
Frank Rosenbaum
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