Re: erroneous captions/RTR vs. kits

Charlie Vlk

Jack is correct... except I didn't mention a NYC X29.... even a Burlington fan knows that is a PRR prototype....<gggg>
The volume of prototype data that keeps surfacing, both in print and digital, is amazing!!!
Charlie Vlk

----- Original Message -----
From: Jack Burgess
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 3:51 PM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] erroneous captions/RTR vs. kits

Garth wrote:
> 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.

True, but I think hobby shops are also obviously feeling the pitch of
Internet sales. If you want resin kits, you can purchase them direct from
the manufacturer via the web (or a check and envelop in the case of
Sunshine). By-passing dealers allows the manufacturer to make more profit
selling kits at resale rather than wholesale and also allows for small
volume manufacturers to produce limited-run kits for less popular
prototypes. If I were a hobby shop dealer, I'd stock RTR freight cars and,
like our local train shop, pile them on the counter so that everyone sees
them as they come into the store. While I don't bother to look, I suspect
they sell a lot of them...they look great, provide instant gratification,
and the price is within reason for many modeler's budget. There are also a
lot of modelers who have more interest in operations than in building things
and RTR cars fulfill a real need to get a layout up and running. Hopefully,
those modelers, once into operation, plan to go back and start "filling in
their roster" with more prototype variety and, in the process, discover kit
building and even scratchbuilding.

I agree with Charlie that we are in the Golden Age of the hobby but I would
add a couple other reasons. Not only has the quality of the kits improved
tremendously but the amount of prototype data available is so prolific that
it can sometimes be somewhat overwhelming. Even so, I don't want to spend a
couple of weeks gathering all of the data, plans, photos, decals, and parts
needed to scratchbuild that NYC X29 box car that Charlie talked about...I
want that available as a resin kit. If I am going to scratchbuild something,
it will be a YV freight car or structure.

I also think that things are just going to get rapid
prototyping and custom resin casting become more available, even more unique
kits and parts will become available. I'd love to see our hobby grow into
the type enjoyed by the airplane and armor modelers where there is a huge
variety of after-market parts to convert more generic models into replicate
even more specific prototypes. And finally, groups like ours have also made
it easier to find information that may be well-known by followers of one
prototype but not necessarily well-known by everyone else. When I asked
about information on early Rodgers ballast cars a few months ago, Gene Green
hooked me up with the archivist at the C&NW Historical Society where I was
able to purchase a CD of prototype drawings....finding that resource years
ago would have been impossible.

Jack Burgess


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