Re: Model Kits and the evolving New Reality

Andy Carlson

Armand, not a thesis, just an observation. "Kits don't sell" doesn't mean that none sell, that is preposterous.

Intermountain sold 10s of thousands of kits per year in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Now they sell 10s of hundreds. Red Caboose sold thousands, now down to hundreds. Branchline also sold thousands of kits, now none, and even now I believe Atlas is thinking of abandoning Yardmaster kits. Walthers and Athearn each sold more than the above combined, and now? NONE! The few hundred kits made in resin has never been a big player in the absolute percentages of freight car kit marketing.

I would wager that even in this rareified air of this STMFC group, more RTR freight cars are purchased than kits.

I am not passing judgement as if this is good, or bad; it simply is what is happening out there in this industry which supplies us with our fixes.

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

From: Armand Premo <armprem2@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality

Andy,I couldn't disagree with you more.If your premise were true ,how do you account for the success of resin kits?.The sad part is that the higher prices tend to keep many newcomers from entering the hobby.I am concerned about the lack of accurate decals.An other argument against your thesis is the availability of so many excellent after- market items.Armand Premo
----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: Steam Era
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:24 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality

Many of the members on this list probably remember a decade ago when the wholesale transfer of scale model train production went to China, allowing the some of the first offerings of Ready to Run freight cars, many from models previously only available as kits. Many lines dropped their kit offerings, focussing only on RTR. I decried the situation, and when manufactures such as Intermountain claimed nobody was buying kits, I was skeptical.

Turns out that kits do not sell well after all, and now they might be entering the next new reality, scarce and more expensive. I have been able to stock Intermountain kits for years as Intermountain did a fine job of keeping most undecorated kits available in stock, though painted and lettered kits were dropped. To Intermountain's credit, they also keep the old retail prices on the earlier kits unchanged which after a few years made some incredable bargains (such as the 1937 AAR box cars and 8 & 10 K tank cars). As new products hit the market, Intermountain priced these at $20.00 which was in line for the increasingly higher development costs.

Now we enter the the next "New reality", as kits remain out of stock, often for over a year. Now the former good price advantage IMRC's early kits has been eliminated, as all freight car kits are now priced at $20.00. So in addition to being hard to find, these classics are now more expensive. And since I now have come to recognize that the leaders were right--kits don't sell, and that we can expect difficulties in even purchasing them at the new, higher prices.

Not a rant, I just recognize that the business models we get accustomed to are subject to changes, as everything else seems to be.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

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