Re: erroneous captions/RTR vs. kits

Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>


While I applaud your positive comments about kits in general, the near complete disappearance of kits from all the hobby shops I frequent makes me wonder about your statements, at least as a general trend in the hobby. Some kits from Athearn/Roundhouse, Bowser, and a few others are still available in the stores where I shop, but they are a minority compared to RTR. My favorite store has a small stock of Branchline, but they have been gathering dust for years. Proto 2000, Red Caboose and Intermountain, and Kadee, are nearly all RTR, though my favorite dealer stocks a very few kits when he can get them for die-hards like me (sadly, I have just about everything I want, and yes, many are in my closet and will probably never be built in my lifetime). Walthers? What kits? My favorite dealer stocks a very few resin kits in locally popular roads from Sunshine (at cost, no profit), Westerfield, and others, but rarely can sell one. The same is largely true for structures and vehicles. RTR, or whatever tank and auto modelers call pre-assembled, is also becoming more common over on that side of hobby stores. Even 20 years ago, my dealers were getting complaints FROM ADULTS about Athearn cars having too many parts, to say nothing of kids who didn't only thought a screwdriver was for busting out the ignition switch of a joy-ride! While some modelers are pushing the limits of detail and authenticity, to me it looks more and more like kits are generally a dead issue.

Kind regards,

Garth G. Groff

Charlie Vlk wrote:

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!

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