Re: erroneous captions/RTR vs. kits

Charlie Vlk

Your post is a positive one and I am not jumping on you for your comments..... but I don't agree that "the average model railroader has a hard time assembling kits".
While the "old days" of Athearn and Model Die Casting shake-the-box kits dominating availability in the marketplace are over, the advent of high quality RTR does not equate to the death of model building skills or regard for prototypical accuracy... far from it!!!
If you look objectively at what is available today we have more and better kits for specific prototypes than we've ever had.... and more of them are being assembled.
The difference is that the average level stuff is no longer kit-based and is actually better than the original tooling and has vastly improved graphics.
Part of the increased sales of RTR equipment is due to the average hobbyist trading dollars for time..... especially for layout-filling equipment that they don't have a primary interest in. My favorite road is CB&Q.... and while I "need" PRR equipment on my railroad for interchange I would rather buy a RTR car and use my time to build CB&Q-specific kits or kitbash/scratchbuild cars that are not available than spend hours building, painting and decaling an X29... any many other road's cars that I don't care as much about and will accept the RTR car as a "stand in" if necessary.
IMHO the "good old days" when you HAD to build kits and develop a full range of skills to build even a beginner railroad are gone and it is for the better. We enjoy more high quality kits, paints, decals, and detail parts than ever before in the history of the Hobby. This does not signal the demise of kit building and scratchbuilding; it may indicate that more railroads can be built and operated today with a shorter learning curve allowing more time for pursuing building specific kits and scratchbuilding projects.
The Prototype Modelers movement far exceeds NMRA contest participation of years past and the level of craftsmanship exhibited by modelers of all ages tells me that we are in the Golden Age of Model Railroading no matter what area you are interested in...... unless you find nobility in assembling an Athearn Blue Box kit or trying to make something out of a box of wood and rubber mold spin castings in a Silver Streak box!
Some may mourn the pioneer days of struggling with sand castings and having an anvil as an essential tool..... but most of us enjoy today's products!!
Charlie Vlk

Along similar lines....I haven't seen any comments about Northeastern's reintroduction of the Northeastern/Ambroid freight car kits...... seems to me they are meeting a non-existant market given today's accurate wood laser kits and resin kits!

--- In STMFC@..., Jerry Michaels... wrote:
> IMHO it's the same mentality that has led to the preponderance of ready to
> run cars instead of kits.

I think kits are disappearing because the average model railroader has a hard time assembling kits. The hobby is centered around a pack rat mentality - keep buying more and more. Most model railroaders have closets full of unopened kits. Frequently it's a disaster when they try to assemble one.

Many men now prefer to buy one completed item instead of 2 or even 3 kits not likely to ever be assembled.

I'll bet members of this list can profitably trade cars they've assembled for kits in the closet. The only drawback is our time is worth more than that of the people who assemble the kits. But hey, those kits in the closet are lost money, especially for kits that have been "improved" like the 2 bay steam era covered hoppers. I doubt there's much market for the original square hatch covered hopper kit. Remember when that was a car only seen in NMRA contests?



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