ADMIN: Re: Kit instructions or lack thereof


Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Charles Slater writes:

"Now you know why Al does not produce anywhere the number of different kits that Martin does. If you want 2 or 3 kits a year we could spend a lot of OUR TIME writing instructions."

Hmmm. The STMFC is not the place to comment about business practices of manufacturers. Note the group rule:

"Criticism of a manufacturer's business
practices is, however, not within the scope of the group."

However, comments...praising or criticizing...about a manufacturer's product are entirely in scope. This includes the instructions regarding building a product. Note my complaint of June 16 regarding a misleading [ to me ] comment in the instructions of a SS kit. The problem is nothing to to get excited about but real nevertheless which resulted in having to disassemble the kit.

Mike Brock
STMFC Owner


Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...>
 

A fine point, I guess, but wouldn't criticizing a deliberate decision by a manufacturer not to include instructions be tantamount to criticizing one of their PRACTICES, and thus forbidden? Likewise, wouldn't discussions of the PRACTICE of releasing models in inaccurate paint & lettering schemes, or the PRACTICE of not updating molds to add details also be prohibited? (I have seen a number of messages complaining about these last two - phrased explicitly as a comment on the company's marketing decisions - pass by unremarked.)

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Brock

Hmmm. The STMFC is not the place to comment about business practices of
manufacturers. Note the group rule:

"Criticism of a manufacturer's business
practices is, however, not within the scope of the group."

However, comments...praising or criticizing...about a manufacturer's product
are entirely in scope. This includes the instructions regarding building a
product.


Lawrence Rast
 

Kurt,

Always watch the adjectives--the rule says "business" "practices."
You'll need to define not only "practice" (very difficult) but couple
it with "business" (impossible!).

I would suggest that we not make more of this than necessary. I
really like the kits I buy from Westerfield, Sunshine, F&C,
Speedwitch, and others. All have their strengths and their
weaknesses.

Kind of like the posts to this list. All of which I VERY much APPRECIATE.

Best,
Lawrence Rast

On Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 6:46 PM, Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...> wrote:
A fine point, I guess, but wouldn't criticizing a deliberate decision by a
manufacturer not to include instructions be tantamount to criticizing one of
their PRACTICES, and thus forbidden? Likewise, wouldn't discussions of the
PRACTICE of releasing models in inaccurate paint & lettering schemes, or the
PRACTICE of not updating molds to add details also be prohibited? (I have
seen a number of messages complaining about these last two - phrased
explicitly as a comment on the company's marketing decisions - pass by
unremarked.)

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Brock

Hmmm. The STMFC is not the place to comment about business practices of
manufacturers. Note the group rule:

"Criticism of a manufacturer's business
practices is, however, not within the scope of the group."

However, comments...praising or criticizing...about a manufacturer's product
are entirely in scope. This includes the instructions regarding building a
product.


eabracher@...
 

Writing instructions is just as hard as designing and manufacturing the kit.
I have been at for 35+ years and many times I have to remind myself to write
the instructions as if a new modeler was trying to assemble the model.

I forget that newcomers may not know all the steps I had learned over the
years and just assume they know should be the next step.
I am always open to suggestions and included many change slips to go along
with the print shop done instructions.

eric Bracher
Rio Grande models


**************
Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits
in your budget? Read reviews on AOL Autos.

(http://autos.aol.com/cars-BMW-128-2008/expert-review?ncid=aolaut00050000000017 )


Adam & Laura Eyring <eyrings06@...>
 

I have an idea. If a manufacturer would like to supply more detailed instructions, but it would mean an extra several pages and thus increased printing costs - and possibly a larger box size - they could supply the intructions (especially if color will help) through a Web site for us to print at will. For those without Internet access, builders could request the extra instructions by mail for a small fee.

Not sure how many will go this route, but it might be worth it.
AME

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kurt Laughlin" <fleeta@...>
To: <STMFC@...>
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: ADMIN: Re: [STMFC] Kit instructions or lack thereof


A fine point, I guess, but wouldn't criticizing a deliberate decision by a
manufacturer not to include instructions be tantamount to criticizing one of
their PRACTICES, and thus forbidden? Likewise, wouldn't discussions of the
PRACTICE of releasing models in inaccurate paint & lettering schemes, or the
PRACTICE of not updating molds to add details also be prohibited? (I have
seen a number of messages complaining about these last two - phrased
explicitly as a comment on the company's marketing decisions - pass by
unremarked.)

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Brock

Hmmm. The STMFC is not the place to comment about business practices of
manufacturers. Note the group rule:

"Criticism of a manufacturer's business
practices is, however, not within the scope of the group."

However, comments...praising or criticizing...about a manufacturer's product
are entirely in scope. This includes the instructions regarding building a
product.



------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links



Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>
 

IMHO, Al Westerfield's kits I recommend to anyone that asks as
the "gold standard" that all freight car resin kits are judged
against. If you have not built a resin freight car kit before, start
with a Westerfield kit.

All resin STMFC kits have their merits. Some require you to have
more prototype knowledge than others, or do research to get that
knowledge. That is part of the fun that one can enjoy in our hobby,
too. Some require tweaking to get the model that you want. Some
manufacturers do not not provide the level of instruction or detail
that Westerfield does; their kits are no less valuable, unless you
have a burning desire to scratchbuild or make resin kits yourself for
every car that you want.

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., "Lawrence Rast" <rastlr@...> wrote:

Kurt,

Always watch the adjectives--the rule says "business" "practices."
You'll need to define not only "practice" (very difficult) but
couple
it with "business" (impossible!).

I would suggest that we not make more of this than necessary. I
really like the kits I buy from Westerfield, Sunshine, F&C,
Speedwitch, and others. All have their strengths and their
weaknesses.

Kind of like the posts to this list. All of which I VERY much
APPRECIATE.

Best,
Lawrence Rast


On Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 6:46 PM, Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...> wrote:
A fine point, I guess, but wouldn't criticizing a deliberate
decision by a
manufacturer not to include instructions be tantamount to
criticizing one of
their PRACTICES, and thus forbidden? Likewise, wouldn't
discussions of the
PRACTICE of releasing models in inaccurate paint & lettering
schemes, or the
PRACTICE of not updating molds to add details also be prohibited?
(I have
seen a number of messages complaining about these last two -
phrased
explicitly as a comment on the company's marketing decisions -
pass by
unremarked.)

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Brock

Hmmm. The STMFC is not the place to comment about business
practices of
manufacturers. Note the group rule:

"Criticism of a manufacturer's business
practices is, however, not within the scope of the group."

However, comments...praising or criticizing...about a
manufacturer's product
are entirely in scope. This includes the instructions regarding
building a
product.


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Adam Eyring wrote:
I have an idea. If a manufacturer would like to supply more detailed instructions - they could supply the intructions (especially if color will help) through a Web site . . .
Sunshine? Internet?? Not gonna happen in either of our lifetimes.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Kurt Laughlin writes:

"A fine point, I guess, but wouldn't criticizing a deliberate decision by a
manufacturer not to include instructions be tantamount to criticizing one of
their PRACTICES, and thus forbidden?"

If the manufacturer declared that their practice would be to not include adequate...or perhaps no...instructions, that would, indeed, be a business practice. Discussions about why a manufacturer might so choose would be out of scope. However, the effectiveness of such instructions would be part of the product and entirely subject to criticism from that view. Note, that the criticism would merely note the lack of quality of the instructions, not the reasons for such lack. Slater's point was that SS chooses, in his opinion, to scrimp on documentation compared to Westerfield so that SS can produce more kits than Westerfield. This view is, IMO, part of a business plan and, regardless of the accuracy, is out of scope. I might also note that any member certainly has the right to complain about poor documentation about a product and the comment:

"Quit complaining and go build those kits that are piling up."

is very much out of scope. OTOH, I consider the comment not to be a serious criticism of the members and written in jest [ I assume ].


"Likewise, wouldn't discussions of the
PRACTICE of releasing models in inaccurate paint & lettering schemes, or the
PRACTICE of not updating molds to add details also be prohibited?"

Not that I can see. Again, discussions about why a manufacturer might release such models would be out of scope. The fact that they did it would not be. Of course, one might claim that anything associated with the production of a product could be part of a manufacturer's business practice. The rule was put in place to eliminate criticism's of a manufacturer's operations, not criticism of the product itself. That product includes the instructions. Even the best written rules sometimes require interpretation and that's the function of the Head Judge [ me ] and his assistant [ Jeff Aley ].

I might also note that comments about rulings on the STMFC itself are also out of scope.

"ALL SUBJECTS OTHER THAN THOSE DIRECTLY ASSOCIATED WITH STEAM ERA FREIGHT
CARS ARE PROHIBITED FROM MEMBER MESSAGES. Thus, all
admin, security, or "policing" functions will be conducted only by myself or
my representatives."

At the same time, I welcome any and all views regarding the operation of the STMFC...off group.

Mike Brock
STMFC Owner


Jim & Lisa Hayes <jimandlisa97225@...>
 

Tony said

Sunshine? Internet?? Not gonna happen in either of our lifetimes.

So true. However, if anyone comes up with unofficial Sunshine kit
instructions, I'm willing to host them on my unofficial Sunshine website.
For example, I have a corrected set of instructions for the Sunshine ATSF
caboose kits.

Jim Hayes
Portland Oregon
_,_._,___

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4:55 PM


ed_mines
 

--- In STMFC@..., eabracher@... wrote:
Writing instructions is just as hard as designing and manufacturing
the kit.

Including photos of the protoype would be also help some modelers. It's
likely that the pattern maker already has those photos.

Ed


Westerfield <westerfield@...>
 

To all - My first job out of college was in a factory so dirty, in such a bad location, with horrible personnel practices, that as a result the production workers could barely read, much less graduate from high school. My boss taught me to write as if I were teaching second graders. Later, when I worked for pharmaceutical firms, I had to write instructions that would satisfy the Food and Drug Administration. So I try to never assume. But just as importantly, I send the instructions to Byron Rose for review. Those of you who know Byron ..... well, need I say more? After my work is ripped to shreds and reassembled, it's usually as lucid as possible. - Al Westerfield

----- Original Message -----
From: eabracher@...
To: brockm@... ; STMFC@...
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 11:18 PM
Subject: Re: ADMIN: Re: [STMFC] Kit instructions or lack thereof


Writing instructions is just as hard as designing and manufacturing the kit.
I have been at for 35+ years and many times I have to remind myself to write
the instructions as if a new modeler was trying to assemble the model.

I forget that newcomers may not know all the steps I had learned over the
years and just assume they know should be the next step.
I am always open to suggestions and included many change slips to go along
with the print shop done instructions.

eric Bracher
Rio Grande models

**************
Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits
in your budget? Read reviews on AOL Autos.

(http://autos.aol.com/cars-BMW-128-2008/expert-review?ncid=aolaut00050000000017 )


Stokes John
 

The simple fact is that good instructions are an important part of the kit and in my opinion often make the difference in repeat purchases of a line of products, not just in car kits but in structures as well. If the overall goal of a manufacturer is to sell more kits, especially in the higher end range, then good if not excellent instructions are a must. (Of course, some folks make kits because they care and are interested in furthering the hobby as well as making a living). One of the reasons I have bought kits from the two gentlemen below is the quality of their instructions and tips. The uniqueness of a kit or product line will make sales, but at some point, if the kits are difficult to put together without complete instructions, why bother, there is competition out there, even in our narrow field. Keep up the good work, Al and Eric, it makes a difference.

John Stokes
Bellevue, WA



To: STMFC@...: westerfield@...: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 10:44:06 -0500Subject: Re: ADMIN: Re: [STMFC] Kit instructions or lack thereof

To all - My first job out of college was in a factory so dirty, in such a bad location, with horrible personnel practices, that as a result the production workers could barely read, much less graduate from high school. My boss taught me to write as if I were teaching second graders. Later, when I worked for pharmaceutical firms, I had to write instructions that would satisfy the Food and Drug Administration. So I try to never assume. But just as importantly, I send the instructions to Byron Rose for review. Those of you who know Byron ..... well, need I say more? After my work is ripped to shreds and reassembled, it's usually as lucid as possible. - Al Westerfield----- Original Message ----- From: eabracher@... To: brockm@... ; STMFC@... Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 11:18 PMSubject: Re: ADMIN: Re: [STMFC] Kit instructions or lack thereofWriting instructions is just as hard as designing and manufacturing the kit. I have been at for 35+ years and many times I have to remind myself to write the instructions as if a new modeler was trying to assemble the model.I forget that newcomers may not know all the steps I had learned over the years and just assume they know should be the next step.I am always open to suggestions and included many change slips to go along with the print shop done instructions.eric BracherRio Grande models**************Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget? Read reviews on AOL Autos.(http://autos.aol.com/cars-BMW-128-2008/expert-review?ncid=aolaut00050000000017 )