Re: Cocoa Beach Prototype Rails - Low volume "manufacturing"

Tom Madden

Dave Evans wrote: write "What I want is to limit the customer base to those who don't need to be guided through the modeling process". In some ways, that seems counter to the desires of many in the room to expand the number of modelers who want to build "fine scale" models in an attempt to expand the hobby, or at least the population of modelers that are active in groups such as STMFC.
Joel Holmes wrote:
What happens when all the 'skilled modelers' pass on and we have not
helped younger modelers acquire the skills needed with technical help?
Our hobby will resort to nothing more than toy trains of very limited
quantity, variety and quality.
Guess I'm still not getting my point across. What I'm trying to do is limit the demand. I'll make 100 of anything, and maybe another 100 after those are sold. But I don't want to be making thousands. I'll sell those hundred to anybody, but they'll have to sell for enough to make it worth my time.

Here's the thing - I'm 75, and at this stage of my life I want to be doing things I enjoy. I enjoy designing and creating patterns, and I enjoy resin casting - to as point. But I do all of that on my own terms, at my own pace. The two insulated tank car projects I did last year were an attempt to test a particular marketing strategy: announce a product only after it exists, and accept payment only for the quantity that exists. Set up a wait list (but accept no payments) if there is additional demand, and notify those on it if/when more parts become available. It seems to have been successful.

I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car List the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll step aside as Passenger Car List Owner.)

So it's not a matter of denying younger modelers access to my techniques and creations, nor limiting the number of modelers who aspire to the skill level seen at RPM meets, nor trying to maximize my profit. (Trust me, I don't need the money.) It _is_ an attempt to maintain control of my time without becoming a prisoner of anyone else's schedule or production demands, or get involved in what Bill so wonderfully described as "anyone else's modeling drama".

Sorry if this all seems blunt, but that's what I hoped we'd discuss at CB.

Tom Madden

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