Elden, and friends,
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Yes, I hear the same things at my LHS (actually 70 miles away, not so local). They carry virtually no railroad car kits anymore, and basically I doubt if they can get many either.
I think the small niche market for special run kits like the reefers sold by the Amarillo group and others may be our last hope. That is, if the manufacturers remain willing to work with those clubs.
Gatwood, Elden J SAD wrote:
I had some manufacturers, hobby shop owners, and modelers (or buyers of
models) get pretty brutal this past year, when I expressed some similar
ponderings. Here is what I got from each:
Manufacturer: "You just don't understand the realities of the model
railroading industry. No one wants kits anymore, they want RTR. You are in
a group that is outnumbered a hundred to one. You are one of the only people
I know still building kits."
Hobby Shop Owner: "You don't understand that the industry has gone to RTR,
and I won't stock kits on my shelves because they won't sell. The buying
public wants something they can plop right onto the layout....with sound."
Modeler: "You don't understand. I can't build stuff like you do. I can't
building resin kits, or paint or decal, or weather stuff. I want a working
layout in my lifetime."
OK, I get it.
I still think there is a market for limited-run, very accurate, freight car
kits, perhaps even with pre-painted and lettered parts, for those of us,
small in number, that like to build something unique, and meaningful for a
layout, with a statistically representative fleet.
Call me crazy.