Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

Richard Hendrickson

On Oct 17, 2009, at 11:30 AM, Brian J Carlson wrote:

....Unfortunately or fortunately
depending on your point of view the blue box kits applicable to
this steam
era list have been largely superseded by Branchline, IM, Red
caboose, kadee
etc. The flaws of blue box kits are many, between crude detailing,
claws, poor brake components, and the propensity for Athearn to
paint them
in any scheme they thought up, prototype be danged. I have long
purged my
home layout of Athearn blue box kits, except for one PRR H31 stand in.

Young modelers will still be able to purchase Branchline yardmaster
Bowser, and Accurail kits to experience kit building before moving
onto more
advanced models. As for Athearn parts, they will continue sell the
blue box
kits built up so parts should be available. Although I am not sure why
Athearn brakewheels and roofwalks would be desired parts since much
detailed after-market parts are available. I will miss them from a
sentimental standpoint, but that is all.
Sic transit gloria mundi. The blue box bow-wows should have been
discontinued twenty years ago or more, as vastly better products came
on the market to replace them. Their only virtue was that they were
cheap, and that wasn't really a virtue as it depressed prices, thus
discouraging other manufacturers from developing better stuff which
cost more. Some of us fondly remember the very fine (for their day)
Athearn metal kits that the blue box models replaced, which were much
more accurate and better detailed than the plastic models, though
more challenging to build. But Irv Athearn saw undiscriminating
train-set buyers as the future of the hobby, and to some extent it
was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Parts? There isn't a single Athearn
freight car part that hasn't been modeled much better by some other
manufacturer, often several other manufacturers. There are no
Athearn cars left on my freight car roster except for two or three
that have been so extensively kit-bashed as to bear little evidence
of their origins.

Richard Hendrickson

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