Re: Those damn kits!

Armand Premo

    Dave,Has anyone made a study of the ratio of wood vs steel boxcars by decades? Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2014 2:07 PM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Those damn kits!


Charlie Vlk writes in part:

"I do not see the advent of high level RTR “Checkbook” cars as being detrimental in any way to the Hobby."

Greg Martin replies

I see escalating cost and retail prices as a huge detriment to our hobby. There is a point when the bubble breaks and the committed modeler says he's done. Even the "Checkbook' modelers have some sense. There are quite a few new offerings that I just have said no to, I can make do without. If I never bought another freight car kit or RTR "Checkbook model" today I could find enough to do and never finish them all, the my Grandsons would lots of kits to build. If I need thirty to forty PRR X29s for starters and I had to pay 30+ dollars for each "checkbook kit' do the math, I will certainly blend the fleet with some of the old TMI/WKW X29s. My, my...

[DHN:] This is why I switched to computer simulated “model railroading”.  It makes use of all of same the knowledge I have accumulated over the years about railroads, operations, and equipment… it requires “painting, albeit with light, it requires modeling, albeit in 3d Cad.  Aside from the expense of a fairly powerful PC, which I probably would own anyway, annual expenses for me over the last ten years is on the order of $40-50.

I have a dozen routes --think layouts-- I can operate on (most folks have 2 or 3 times that number), dozens of locomotives, hundreds of freight cars.

Speaking of freight cars, sims can broaden your interest into areas not found in traditional physical MR… I was asking Guy Wilber about coupler tests because my freight car files do have data for coupler strength and there are break-in-twos.  There is also data for rolling resistance the train air line and car brake equipment too.  And so it’s not enough to just put the model on the tracks… you have to know something about real world physics too (and that’s even more true for locomotives).

I know many of the criticism of train sims and on the whole most are true – there are indeed a lot of poorly crafted models, but there are also many very finely done models available if you look for them (including some very nice X29’s). Ten years of improving quality does make a difference. And a lot of people complain that operating on a full 110 mile division can be boring when you’re doing it a 12 inches to the foot, which can be true, but OTOH there are also a variety of shortline routes that serve very well by the virtue of their small size (my current project is the Milwaukee Road’s Division St yard on Goose Island, Chicago, ca 1950.  It’s about 4 miles long).

Perhaps the biggest complaint is you just can’t pick up your models.  True enough.  But I can have my entire collection of “layouts and equipment in a space no larger than my PC and for my $400-500 of spending over 10 years I have the equivalent of what would probably cost $50,000, or more. So my checkbook is considerably fatter than had I staid in physical model railroading.

I’m not lookin’ back.

Dave Nelson


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