The Art of the Body (Style)

Published: 2016-04-02 - By: gdm
Last updated on: 2021-07-21
visibility: Public
Image courtesy of Micro-Trains

Creating new body styles is the key to keeping this database usable so please put some thought into it when you do it.

Since you are now and admin, when you create a new item you will now see two new buttons under the body-menu-pulldown. These are ‘Create New Body’ and ‘Edit Body XXX’

Either of these will move you over to the body editor.

The body editor has a number of fields, none of which are documented (until this email) and some of which are critical. Let me walk through them.

First is the body name. The body name will read something like K_GN60THRALL This means "Kato, Gondola, 60 Foot Thrall". Since the bodies are listed in alphanumeric order so it is important to be consistent so regular users can find the body styles they need when they are creating a new item.

The manufacturer prefixes are A for Atlas, K for Kato etc. Try to be consistent with the names already in use. If you are introducing a new manufacturer, please use a prefix that hasn’t already been used.

After the _ I use a two letter code for the type of item. DE for diesel engine, ST for Steam engine, GN for Gondola, CH for covered Hopper, OH for open hopper, FC for flat car, SC for stock car, CN (I think?) for containers and container cars, AU for autoracks etc. Look to see what is already there on the body styles page for consistency.

I have made many mistakes here as I have been learning so 100% consistency is hard.

Next after the K_GN you can put anything you like that will clump similar things together (remember the sort is alphanumeric) so you will see a lot of A_40BC entries for all the different 40 foot box cars from Atlas.

An exception is MTL. Those are set to the three-digit code at the start of every micro-trains product SKU. Those are already populated so you shouldn’t have to add any new MTL body styles.

Next is Class. Much easier. ‘Rolling Stock’, ‘Engine’, ‘Container’, ‘Vehicle’, or ‘Trailer’.

Default Image. This should be the URL to a manufacturer generated image of any one model of this body. It should be the best image you can find. TroveStar has written permission to use EVERY MAJOR MANUFACTURER’s stock imagery (except Athearn but that is only because they don’t answer email). I will eventually copy the image over to TroveStar so that if the manufacturer moves their images around that it won’t affect TroveStar visitors.

Description. This is a lot like the body name and works in the same order except it is in English. Example "Kato Gondola 60 Foot Thrall"

Era. For European models mostly. They have their own epoch/era system depending on the historical period during which the prototype was operated. It is optional for North American prototypes.

Properties. Same as description but does not mention manufacturer and is separated by commas. Example "Gondola, 60 Foot, Thrall". This field exists so visitors can find all 60 Foot Thrall Gondolas by all manufacturers for their collection.

Region. North America, Europe, Japan or Other.

Review. Optional Write your own review or get permission from someone who has written one to use their text or create a link over to Spookshow. Mark at Spookshow has given us permission to use a minimalist section of his text. If you do, keep it to a sentence or two and include a link to the full review.

Type. Engine, Box Car, Covered Hopper, Trailer, Flat Car, Reefer, Open Hopper, Container Car, Passenger Car (including baggage), etc etc etc

SubType. Again kind of tricky. Try to look at what already exists. I use length for Box Cars: 40 Foot, 50 Foot etc, bay-count for hoppers (3-Bay, 4-Bay etc), style-period for Passenger (Heavweight, Streamlined, Amfleet etc) length for Gondolas and Flat Cars.

Variety. This is whatever attributes differentiate it from other similar offerings from the same manufacturer. For example, MTL has over a dozen different body styles for 40 foot box cars. Examples might be ‘single-door with roofwalk’ ‘plug door’ ‘double door’. If the manufacturer only makes a single kind of 40 foot box car, just use ‘standard’. FYI I still cant figure out the difference between an 029 MTL and an 040 MTL body.....

Vendor. Name of company the made it. If the Brand it is sold under is different, you don’t worry about that here.

After all that, you hit create.

When you make a new car of a certain body style, many of these fields can be overridden by the individual item. Some (such as review and region) cannot.