Re: ACCURAIL separate ladders & grabs


Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "lifeisgood_u2" <goodheart05@...> wrote:

I enjoy resin and the better plastic kits but have started an ambitious new layout, so don't log much craftsman kit time these days. But need a fleet of period (30's)cars in the interm. Was talking to a dealer and we mentioned Accurail and lamented that they didn't have a line of cars with separate ladders, grabs, etc. as a balance between the shake-the-box and time-consuming craftsman kits. He said "yeah, everyone says that," so I assume Accurail hears it a lot too. Some of our members clearly have ties to Accurail. Can anyone comment on Accurail's position on the topic?

Wayne O'Hern
New York & Northern (aka Rutland)
I've been reading all the nice things people have had to say about Accurail kits, and suppose I should comment.

The main reason why Accurail won't consider doing kits with multiple separate ladders and grab irons is simply that then they wouldn't be Accurail kits. One cannot be all things to all people, as the recent discussion of the new NYC car has pointed out, and the Accurail name has come to be associated with kits that take a certain level of skill, and yield a model having a certain level of fidelity to prototype.

My partner and I have been in this hobby a very long time. Both of us date back to the time when plastic models could only be had from (in decreasing order of fidelity) Athearn, Train Miniature, MDC/Roundhouse, and AHM. Craftsman kits came from outfits like Ambroid and Northeastern; those sported separate grabs, but lacked such basic detail as rivets and bolt heads. Resin kits were just on the horizon, with people such as Bill Clouser doing fabulous (but pricey) work in 1/4" scale.

In those days, an awful lot of editorial space was devoted to trying to convince manufacturers to make the styrene equivalent of a craftsman kit. I've seen many try, starting, I suppose, with Kurtz Kraft, which was out of production but still available when I attained a skill level where I could build them. Of the many companies that followed that advice, none are making kits today; they are either out of business, or send their work to China to have it pre-assembled, and bring it back at a price that is easily ten times what a model freight car was when I started in the hobby. We do not believe this is where the future of the hobby lies.

What was learned during these intervening years is that the market for highly detailed KITS is not proportional to the cost of producing them. Here resin has a clear advantage, as while resin kits are relatively expensive, most of that is due to the cost of production; very little is at risk as the initial investment in tooling.

As to comments that "many" people have asked for this alternate product line, define many. I am reminded of a conversation I had with a modeler at a convention some years ago, who was trying to convince us that Accurail should enter N scale. I was trying to pin down what would be desirable about our product to the N scale market, and his reply was, "with brand X quality at Accurail prices, you'd make a killing." When I pointed out that due to the difference in the size of the potential market, we would likely have to charge the same prices as Brand X, he basically said, "Don't bother." Sometimes you can't take peoples' statements at face value; you need to dig a bit deeper to get to the truth.

Dennis Storzek
Accurail, Inc.

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