Re: Sunshine Response to Request for Replacement of Wrong Parts in Th...
> I wonder if she'd entertain selling the molds to the railroad historical societies for their respective
> freight cars? I know she'd rather sell the entire lot but she'd at least see some profit coming in
> and the historical societies could see this as revenue stream.
> The obvious barriers would be the histirical societies finding someone to do the castings and
> having decals made again but it would be nice to see them back in production.
Molds are only good for 30 or so castings, so used molds are useless without the patterns. Martin had most of the patterns made by others, and one of his patternmakers tells me he (the patternmaker) retained ownership of his patterns. This surprised me, considering one of the things that rankled Martin was losing the rights to his early kits to F&C. Steve did the casting for those kits and the arrangement with Martin called for some minimum quantity of reorders each year, otherwise the rights reverted to Steve. That was before we understood the nature of the resin business, where a large percentage of all you're going to sell, sell in the first few months.
This is a complex issue. One has to be sensitive to Tricia's needs as she winds things down and figures out what she wants to do with the business. But Martin's disinterest in changing his techniques to permit the casting of one-piece bodies left her with a marginally obsolete product line. I think many of his kits would sell well if they were upgraded with one-piece bodies, but my definition of "sell well" (50 to 100 units, enough to make it worth the effort) might not match Pierre's.
As far as I know, Martin, Al and Steve were/are the only ones doing this full-time. Like Al, Tricia asked me for guidance in finding another caster, and I could not come up with anyone who could take on the load Martin's overall line demanded. I don't know how the Sunshine saga will play out, but considering that all the current resin casters in the hobby except Steve have other jobs or responsibilities, it looks like the future will include smaller batches of higher quality but more expensive kits from new suppliers. I hope this future can eventually include upgraded versions of at least a few dozen of Sunshine's kits.