Re: erroneous captions/RTR vs. kits

sparachuk <sparachuk@...>

Gentlemen: If I may dip my oar in on the kit/RTR dichotmy, the Internet is the best way to buy your kits these days if you're a builder. Every manufacturer (except Sunshine) sells direct it seems and while it's true you might have to pay shipping costs these costs often compare well to the expense of actually going to the hobby shop. I realise this must seem unfair to hobbyshop owners but it seems many shop owners are still living in the time when they controlled what got sold. I have ordered things from shops only to be told there's no stock when a search of the web tells me something quite other. Still, it's their business, they can ruin it, sorry, run it as they like. But take heart builders! There's more stuff out there than you can build in a dozen lifetimes. If you're in this group you're already in the biggest hobby shop ever, the Internet.
Stephan Parachuk

--- In STMFC@..., "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@...> wrote:

The stock carried by any one Hobby Shop can be influenced by a number of factors which I won't go into here but which may not necessarily indicate the local demand or general availability or sales of any item.
I can't imagine anybody so inept as to not be able to assemble an Athearn or Branchline kit, but having said that recall that the MDC N Scale cars did not sell until they wereoffered RTR. Of course, the first thing that N Scalers would do would be to pull off the trucks and replace them with Micro-Trains truck/coupler units... the original kit you had to assemble the Rapido-equipped trucks, paint the underframe casting, and install a brake most of the "work" to assemble a kit was going to be done by the same guys that only bought "RTR" cars. Go figure.
I know that the Athearn Blue Box and Accurail, Branchline kits for the most part have to be handled gently otherwise they assemble themselves in the box. I do have some of the Intermountain N Scale kits that I stockpiled before I realized that assemblying them was not fun and did not result in a better car than paying a few extra bucks to have the girl in China do it for me.
I do respect those that want the parts in a kit without them being glued together for what ever reason.... but from many manufacturers standpoint those few sales aren't worth having "kits" run and it is unlikely that they will make it through the supply chain to be at the local shop where and when those that want them can buy kits, especially in a particular roadname.
If there were a market for kits, and undecorated kits, one could start up a mail order/internet business speciallizing in that arena.
But, better your money in the venture than mine.....
Charlie Vlk

----- Original Message -----
From: Garth G. Groff
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:37 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] erroneous captions/RTR vs. kits


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:
> Ed-
> 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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