Topics

Branchline and other box cars offerings


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

Folks;

Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are
there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?

Is there any interest in some of the cars that have not been done recently,
in a better form, like a welded 40-foot box car, 40-foot cars with
overhanging diagonal roofs, cars with odd ends, etc.? At
Branchline/Kadee/(add others) level of quality?

Or are post-war box car offerings now generally believed to be DOA? It seems
like recent offerings are overwhelmingly pre-war.

Elden Gatwood


Andy Carlson
 

Wasn't that long ago we were lamenting the disappearance of kits as companies such as Intermountain and Red Caboose were moving their production into mostly Factory assembled offerings.

Later, Branchline-Trains, with a rich catalog of pre-finished kits, joined the march into offering RTR cars.

Now we have Intermountain offering ZERO painted/lettered kits, only undecs are available. Same with Red Caboose. Branchline-Trains appears to be moving into only Yardmaster "shake the box" offerings, letting their very acceptable Blueprint line wither down to only undec kits.

When this trend started, I felt that the demise of kits was because the lack of offerings by the builders. Now I believe that they were probable correct, kits sell very poorly. Bye Bye....

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA




________________________________
Said "Gatwood, Elden J SAD ".....


Folks;

Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are
there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?


Armand Premo
 

Andy,In my humble opinion there is plenty of room for both.Unfortunately undecorated kits lie dormant because of a lack of appropriate decals or dry transfers.How do you explain the popularity of resin kits and the multitude of laser cut building kits?Somebody must be buying them.The largest investment is in the cutting of dies.Once done, the cheapest part of the operation is decorating the car body for more than one era or one paint scheme.There are many who like to kit bash or further enhance current offerings.If there are any out there who might have kits that they aren't going to build get them out there so others who build, will.It is very difficult to have to strip a RTR car and reletter or super detail it.Until the manufacturers realize that there is a market for both ,I'll continue to spend my money on resin.Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:12 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings



Wasn't that long ago we were lamenting the disappearance of kits as companies such as Intermountain and Red Caboose were moving their production into mostly Factory assembled offerings.

Later, Branchline-Trains, with a rich catalog of pre-finished kits, joined the march into offering RTR cars.

Now we have Intermountain offering ZERO painted/lettered kits, only undecs are available. Same with Red Caboose. Branchline-Trains appears to be moving into only Yardmaster "shake the box" offerings, letting their very acceptable Blueprint line wither down to only undec kits.

When this trend started, I felt that the demise of kits was because the lack of offerings by the builders. Now I believe that they were probable correct, kits sell very poorly. Bye Bye....

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

________________________________
Said "Gatwood, Elden J SAD ".....

Folks;

Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are
there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?








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Jon Miller <atsf@...>
 

On 6/24/2010 7:39 AM, Armand Premo wrote:
Andy,In my humble opinion there is plenty of room for both.Unfortunately undecorated kits lie dormant because of a lack of appropriate decals or dry transfers.How do you explain the popularity of resin kits and the multitude of laser cut building kits?
Remember most/some of the resin kits manufactures have very good decals available separately. I have often wondered why the other decal makers seem to get all the business when the other decals are available.
--
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax--Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


SUVCWORR@...
 

Elden,

From the dealers fliers from Branchline and conversations with my account rep, they are in the process of dumping the remaining passenger cars. Prices are greatly reduced on selected cars. Likewise they have reduced the dealer cost for the Billboard reefers to reduce inventory. The only thing "new" is artwork and numbers for the Yardmaster series. They have been slowly redoing the artwork for these cars and adding 4 new numbers. I know they have been provided photos of 1937 AAR cars in schemes not done in the Yardmaster series (I provided some of them) but they have not produced these cars. If you noticed BL has stopped advertising since Bill left for Rapido.

All of the emphasis on new BL items has been on the laser cut structures. They continue to increase these items..

There were/are plans to introduce new models but nothing has been done beyond plans at this point.

In my opinion, BL is reverting to its roots as a distributor (they began life as Hobby Store Distributors). They have been increasing the manufacturers they are carrying.


Rich Orr

-----Original Message-----
From: Gatwood, Elden J SAD <elden.j.gatwood@usace.army.mil>
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 9:55 am
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings


Folks;



Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are

there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?



Is there any interest in some of the cars that have not been done recently,

in a better form, like a welded 40-foot box car, 40-foot cars with

overhanging diagonal roofs, cars with odd ends, etc.? At

Branchline/Kadee/(add others) level of quality?



Or are post-war box car offerings now generally believed to be DOA? It seems

like recent offerings are overwhelmingly pre-war.



Elden Gatwood





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Paul Lyons
 

Armand,

We have this discussion a number of times on this list. There is no way to compare the sales of resin kits to extruded plastic kits. I BIG run of a resin model is 300. Someone like Intermountain needs to sell a 1000 plus kits JUST to recovery the cost of the tooling! A "humble" math exerise here should explain the problem. 1000 kits to pay for the tooling and 1000 kits for a reason return on there investment, means the manufacturer needs to sell 2000 kits, at a minimum, to have a reasonably successful model! My numbers are probably low. So with sales of 300, the resin manufacturer is beaming from ear to ear; and if he managed to sell 2000 kits the plastic manufacturer is wondering if he wants to do that again. If plastic manufacturers could make a profit on 300 kits, I suspect we would have a model of every prototype freight car that was ever been built.

Paul Lyons

-----Original Message-----
From: Armand Premo <armprem2@surfglobal.net>
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 7:39 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings




Andy,In my humble opinion there is plenty of room for both.Unfortunately undecorated kits lie dormant because of a lack of appropriate decals or dry transfers.How do you explain the popularity of resin kits and the multitude of laser cut building kits?Somebody must be buying them.The largest investment is in the cutting of dies.Once done, the cheapest part of the operation is decorating the car body for more than one era or one paint scheme.There are many who like to kit bash or further enhance current offerings.If there are any out there who might have kits that they aren't going to build get them out there so others who build, will.It is very difficult to have to strip a RTR car and reletter or super detail it.Until the manufacturers realize that there is a market for both ,I'll continue to spend my money on resin.Armand Premo
----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:12 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings

Wasn't that long ago we were lamenting the disappearance of kits as companies such as Intermountain and Red Caboose were moving their production into mostly Factory assembled offerings.

Later, Branchline-Trains, with a rich catalog of pre-finished kits, joined the march into offering RTR cars.

Now we have Intermountain offering ZERO painted/lettered kits, only undecs are available. Same with Red Caboose. Branchline-Trains appears to be moving into only Yardmaster "shake the box" offerings, letting their very acceptable Blueprint line wither down to only undec kits.

When this trend started, I felt that the demise of kits was because the lack of offerings by the builders. Now I believe that they were probable correct, kits sell very poorly. Bye Bye....

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

________________________________
Said "Gatwood, Elden J SAD ".....

Folks;

Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are
there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 8.5.439 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/2960 - Release Date: 06/24/10 06:35:00

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Armand Premo
 

Paul,I quess you missed my point,or I did not express myself clearly.A manufacturer can market both kits and RTR.Most often a run of a basic car body type can be decorated for multiple prototypes.Some minor changes might be necessary to match a specific prototype.This will,or should, provide the necessary mass to attain profit of which you speak and also provide for the hobbyist who prefers ready to run and for those who prefer to build kits.To abandon the kit makers is essentially reducing the size of the market pool.The production of more modern prototypes further reduces the capital available for STMFCs......................... For the most part resin kits provide variety.I dread the thought of RTR resin <G>.Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: cobrapsl@aol.com
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:33 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings




Armand,

We have this discussion a number of times on this list. There is no way to compare the sales of resin kits to extruded plastic kits. I BIG run of a resin model is 300. Someone like Intermountain needs to sell a 1000 plus kits JUST to recovery the cost of the tooling! A "humble" math exerise here should explain the problem. 1000 kits to pay for the tooling and 1000 kits for a reason return on there investment, means the manufacturer needs to sell 2000 kits, at a minimum, to have a reasonably successful model! My numbers are probably low. So with sales of 300, the resin manufacturer is beaming from ear to ear; and if he managed to sell 2000 kits the plastic manufacturer is wondering if he wants to do that again. If plastic manufacturers could make a profit on 300 kits, I suspect we would have a model of every prototype freight car that was ever been built.

Paul Lyons

-----Original Message-----
From: Armand Premo <armprem2@surfglobal.net>
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 7:39 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings

Andy,In my humble opinion there is plenty of room for both.Unfortunately undecorated kits lie dormant because of a lack of appropriate decals or dry transfers.How do you explain the popularity of resin kits and the multitude of laser cut building kits?Somebody must be buying them.The largest investment is in the cutting of dies.Once done, the cheapest part of the operation is decorating the car body for more than one era or one paint scheme.There are many who like to kit bash or further enhance current offerings.If there are any out there who might have kits that they aren't going to build get them out there so others who build, will.It is very difficult to have to strip a RTR car and reletter or super detail it.Until the manufacturers realize that there is a market for both ,I'll continue to spend my money on resin.Armand Premo
----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:12 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings

Wasn't that long ago we were lamenting the disappearance of kits as companies such as Intermountain and Red Caboose were moving their production into mostly Factory assembled offerings.

Later, Branchline-Trains, with a rich catalog of pre-finished kits, joined the march into offering RTR cars.

Now we have Intermountain offering ZERO painted/lettered kits, only undecs are available. Same with Red Caboose. Branchline-Trains appears to be moving into only Yardmaster "shake the box" offerings, letting their very acceptable Blueprint line wither down to only undec kits.

When this trend started, I felt that the demise of kits was because the lack of offerings by the builders. Now I believe that they were probable correct, kits sell very poorly. Bye Bye....

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

________________________________
Said "Gatwood, Elden J SAD ".....

Folks;

Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are
there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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

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Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 8.5.439 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/2960 - Release Date: 06/24/10 06:35:00

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

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.

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
cobrapsl@aol.com
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:34 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings




Armand,

We have this discussion a number of times on this list. There is no way to
compare the sales of resin kits to extruded plastic kits. I BIG run of a
resin model is 300. Someone like Intermountain needs to sell a 1000 plus kits
JUST to recovery the cost of the tooling! A "humble" math exerise here should
explain the problem. 1000 kits to pay for the tooling and 1000 kits for a
reason return on there investment, means the manufacturer needs to sell 2000
kits, at a minimum, to have a reasonably successful model! My numbers are
probably low. So with sales of 300, the resin manufacturer is beaming from
ear to ear; and if he managed to sell 2000 kits the plastic manufacturer is
wondering if he wants to do that again. If plastic manufacturers could make a
profit on 300 kits, I suspect we would have a model of every prototype
freight car that was ever been built.

Paul Lyons

-----Original Message-----
From: Armand Premo <armprem2@surfglobal.net
<mailto:armprem2%40surfglobal.net> >
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com <mailto:STMFC%40yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 7:39 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings

Andy,In my humble opinion there is plenty of room for both.Unfortunately
undecorated kits lie dormant because of a lack of appropriate decals or dry
transfers.How do you explain the popularity of resin kits and the multitude
of laser cut building kits?Somebody must be buying them.The largest
investment is in the cutting of dies.Once done, the cheapest part of the
operation is decorating the car body for more than one era or one paint
scheme.There are many who like to kit bash or further enhance current
offerings.If there are any out there who might have kits that they aren't
going to build get them out there so others who build, will.It is very
difficult to have to strip a RTR car and reletter or super detail it.Until
the manufacturers realize that there is a market for both ,I'll continue to
spend my money on resin.Armand Premo
----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com <mailto:STMFC%40yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:12 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings

Wasn't that long ago we were lamenting the disappearance of kits as companies
such as Intermountain and Red Caboose were moving their production into
mostly Factory assembled offerings.

Later, Branchline-Trains, with a rich catalog of pre-finished kits, joined
the march into offering RTR cars.

Now we have Intermountain offering ZERO painted/lettered kits, only undecs
are available. Same with Red Caboose. Branchline-Trains appears to be moving
into only Yardmaster "shake the box" offerings, letting their very acceptable
Blueprint line wither down to only undec kits.

When this trend started, I felt that the demise of kits was because the lack
of offerings by the builders. Now I believe that they were probable correct,
kits sell very poorly. Bye Bye....

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

________________________________
Said "Gatwood, Elden J SAD ".....

Folks;

Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are
there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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

No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 8.5.439 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/2960 - Release Date: 06/24/10
06:35:00

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Elden, and friends,

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.

Kind regards,


Garth Groff

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.

Elden Gatwood


Jon Miller <atsf@...>
 

On 6/24/2010 9:33 AM, cobrapsl@aol.com wrote:
Armand,

We have this discussion a number of times on this list. There is no way to compare the sales of resin kits to extruded plastic kits.

I agree however there appears to sometimes be a problem on how kits are marketed. An example is the IM atsf stock car kit. They set it up to have 4 different boxes which LHS's didn't want to stock, lots of shelf space. For adding a few cents worth of injected parts they could have put it all in one box.
It appears that they learned with the caboose kit as the first run sold out almost instantly. One kit with parts to build all the different cars.
While this doesn't work for decorated kits it sure does for undecs.

--
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax--Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Andy Carlson
 

At last year's Naperville meet, I sold freight cars at Martin's large sales room on Saturday. I brought a lot of fresh, direct from Intermountain, decorated kits recently found in their warehouse. I priced them with steep discounts, and even at the largest gathering of kit sympathetic modelers in the US, the RTRs I brought outsold the kits by a huge margin. I brought most of the kits home. Ted from Rails Unlimited had a huge selection of Intermountain decorated kits, and he told me that very few were selling. If the decorated kits don't sell at Naperville, how can we expect them to sell at the LHS in Peoria?

One manufacturer of HO freight cars told me that the labor in packing kits, and printing instructions, keeps the profit margins depressed in his kit sales.

-Andy Carlson





________________________________
From: "Gatwood, Elden J SAD " <elden.j.gatwood@usace.army.mil>


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.

Elden Gatwood


Thomas Vanderlip <thomasvanderlip@...>
 

Guys,
I asked a rep from Athearn this very question at the Trainfest in Milwaukee last November. His comment was that the cost of manufacturing a kit was only $.05. The he asked me how he could sell a kit for nearly the same price as a r-t-r car. These guys are in business to make money and a living for themselves. If you want to produce kits as a hobby and sell them at material costs you probably would be able to sell the kits. But in order to recover your costs you would have to wait several years.

Fine if you do it for the love of a model but a lousy way to make a living. That is the way the hobby manufacturing started but it was slowly converted to a business. And you all know if it doesn't make money it will end. Soooo. That is what is happening with kits.

If you want a particular car kit. Do the design work in autocad or something like it and have a rapid prototype shop run a few for you. But you better plan on spending some serious money.

Thus is the dilema. and I don't have an answer.

Thom


Tim O'Connor
 

It may interest y'all to hear that the Eel River 62 ft modern box car
sold (mostly as kits) a total of.... 250,000 before the tooling was sold
to the current owner. Several Intermountain cars have sold in similar
volumes.

There's absolutely no way to recoup tooling costs w/ 1000-2000 kits.

Tim O'Connor

Armand,

We have this discussion a number of times on this list. There is no way to compare the sales of resin kits to extruded plastic kits. I BIG run of a resin model is 300. Someone like Intermountain needs to sell a 1000 plus kits JUST to recovery the cost of the tooling! A "humble" math exerise here should explain the problem. 1000 kits to pay for the tooling and 1000 kits for a reason return on there investment, means the manufacturer needs to sell 2000 kits, at a minimum, to have a reasonably successful model! My numbers are probably low. So with sales of 300, the resin manufacturer is beaming from ear to ear; and if he managed to sell 2000 kits the plastic manufacturer is wondering if he wants to do that again. If plastic manufacturers could make a profit on 300 kits, I suspect we would have a model of every prototype freight car that was ever been built.

Paul Lyons


Tim O'Connor
 

Andy, the problem with Intermountain kits is the same problem with
many of their RTR cars -- they are (1) INACCURATE or (2) there may be
a better model available from another vendor (3) the folks at RPM meets
already bought the handful of accurate Intermountain kits they needed
when they were first released.

Intermountain and the other vendors really don't know much about freight
cars or what people really want. They find stuff that sells and just keep
making more of it, until sales drop off, and they move on.

The best solution (IMO) is companies like 5th Avenue Shops and clubs and
societies who can do the artwork, make sure it is done correctly, and have
small runs made of kits + RTR -- Intermountain and Accurail love this -
they get exactly the same profit margin as for other stuff, but they take
no risk at all! And modelers and societies love it because it gets them
the cars they really want, and clubs love it because it helps them raise
money for their layouts. The only people who don't love it are retailers
because they're out of the loop.

Tim O'Connor

At last year's Naperville meet, I sold freight cars at Martin's large sales room on Saturday. I brought a lot of fresh, direct from Intermountain, decorated kits recently found in their warehouse. I priced them with steep discounts, and even at the largest gathering of kit sympathetic modelers in the US, the RTRs I brought outsold the kits by a huge margin. I brought most of the kits home. Ted from Rails Unlimited had a huge selection of Intermountain decorated kits, and he told me that very few were selling. If the decorated kits don't sell at Naperville, how can we expect them to sell at the LHS in Peoria?

One manufacturer of HO freight cars told me that the labor in packing kits, and printing instructions, keeps the profit margins depressed in his kit sales.

-Andy Carlson


Tim O'Connor
 

Athearn and Exactrail (and other vendors) still sell kits, including
their newest stuff. But they are undecorated, like Intermountain. From
what I read on other groups this is perfectly acceptable. The only
gripe is that availability of kits (except from Intermountain) is a
problem, since the tooling & manufacturing is now in China.

Tim O'Connor


Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>
 

Paul--

The numbers that you cite for RTR cars are not far IMHO from what I've seen cited on another group.

I started a thread on another list to poke a certain (excellent) RTR manufacturer to bring out CPR 2200-series coaches in RTR. It's a very distinctive car used by the CPR (65 built in 1949/50), British Columbia Railway, Algoma Central, and other Canadian roads. Some have run behind Soo Line 4-6-2 #2719. So far all that's available in HO for these cars is either a resin kit, or a (very nicely done) stand-in paint job on a commercial RTR car. Here's an example of the real car--

http://algomacentral.railfan.net/images/AlgoCenRy/AC_426_Steelton_6-18-1983.jpg

I just about fell over when I was told by the president of that manufacturer the cost of tooling and production of a run of say, 1000-2000 of these--in China. Let's just say that some full-size houses are cheaper! Or more expensive to produce an RTR model than to to buy the real car and start to re-build it (but if I ever win a lottery, one of these cars might become my "money pit"...:) .

So I have an old resin kit for one of these coaches that I'm building and improving as I go along.

And I see no end to resin kits as long as we want models of equipment that would be frightfully expensive to produce in RTR.

Be thankful that IM offers undec kits. They can be good starting point for accurate models. And I have to give Dennis a lot of credit for his Accurail line of models. They are both solid S-T-B kits (that probably introduce many novices to model railways for a decent price), and also can be super-detailed/kitbashed easily. I do not know of any of Accurail's cars that are not based on a prototype. Are there cars decorated as foobies in his line? Sure. Know what? The guy has to make a living, and we STMFC'ers are too small a group on our own to keep him in business.

The cost of producing any plastic STMFC model being what it is, I fear that we will see foobies brought out for some time to come. Why? Simple--they sell. Period. Fortunately, those on this list have the intelligence and ability to not buy foobies, or to bash them to make an accurate STMFC--remember those IM undecs?

I think the bigger problem is getting decals/dry transfers for these cars one built. I know one Canadian manufacturer, Black Cat (of Winnipeg), who produces Excellent decals for modellers of Canadian STMFC's (and other stuff, too). But I'm still looking for a complete HO decal set for a couple of IC "Main Line of Mid-America" USRA gon/ twin-bay hopper rebuilds--decal suggestions welcomed for these very interesting cars so that I get the impetus to finish them...:/

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, cobrapsl@... wrote:


Armand,

We have this discussion a number of times on this list. There is no way to compare the sales of resin kits to extruded plastic kits. I BIG run of a resin model is 300. Someone like Intermountain needs to sell a 1000 plus kits JUST to recovery the cost of the tooling! A "humble" math exerise here should explain the problem. 1000 kits to pay for the tooling and 1000 kits for a reason return on there investment, means the manufacturer needs to sell 2000 kits, at a minimum, to have a reasonably successful model! My numbers are probably low. So with sales of 300, the resin manufacturer is beaming from ear to ear; and if he managed to sell 2000 kits the plastic manufacturer is wondering if he wants to do that again. If plastic manufacturers could make a profit on 300 kits, I suspect we would have a model of every prototype freight car that was ever been built.

Paul Lyons






-----Original Message-----
From: Armand Premo <armprem2@...>
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 7:39 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings




Andy,In my humble opinion there is plenty of room for both.Unfortunately undecorated kits lie dormant because of a lack of appropriate decals or dry transfers.How do you explain the popularity of resin kits and the multitude of laser cut building kits?Somebody must be buying them.The largest investment is in the cutting of dies.Once done, the cheapest part of the operation is decorating the car body for more than one era or one paint scheme.There are many who like to kit bash or further enhance current offerings.If there are any out there who might have kits that they aren't going to build get them out there so others who build, will.It is very difficult to have to strip a RTR car and reletter or super detail it.Until the manufacturers realize that there is a market for both ,I'll continue to spend my money on resin.Armand Premo
----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:12 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Branchline and other box cars offerings

Wasn't that long ago we were lamenting the disappearance of kits as companies such as Intermountain and Red Caboose were moving their production into mostly Factory assembled offerings.

Later, Branchline-Trains, with a rich catalog of pre-finished kits, joined the march into offering RTR cars.

Now we have Intermountain offering ZERO painted/lettered kits, only undecs are available. Same with Red Caboose. Branchline-Trains appears to be moving into only Yardmaster "shake the box" offerings, letting their very acceptable Blueprint line wither down to only undec kits.

When this trend started, I felt that the demise of kits was because the lack of offerings by the builders. Now I believe that they were probable correct, kits sell very poorly. Bye Bye....

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

________________________________
Said "Gatwood, Elden J SAD ".....

Folks;

Speaking of Branchline and other kit manufacturers' box car offerings, are
there any plans you know of to offer additional paint and lettering schemes?

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Peter Ness
 

So, basically what I'm hearing is that I'm fortunate to have a hobby
shop's worth of unbuilt kits in my basement because someday (and it
might be sooner rather than later) there won't be any more kits to buy?
I don't see a problem with my strategy <VBG>

I can sympathize with the "no inventory" group looking ahead to less (if
any) selection of offerings, and it could be true that I might be
subject of an untimely (to me, anyway) demise leaving many kits
untouched. A long time ago I used to get "angry" at almost every kit
manufacturer because they discontinued (plastic) or sold out the limited
run (resin) before I picked one up for my stash. Now I accept it's my
own darned fault for not gettin' while the gettin' was good. I've
learned and adapted and I'm fortunate that for the most part, decals
aren't an issue for roadnames I need. I will scream louder when
brakewheels, roofwalks, trucks and brake gear start to dry up than kits
decorated or otherwise.

For those who have been here for a while, lets not forget before resin
and plastic there was bristol board and balsa and bass wood - and they
weren't called "craftsman" kits, just kits. I think if I didn't have a
huge stash to work off I would invest in detail parts and sheet styrene
and make my own "kits". True, it wouldn't be as satisying or reassuring
to gaze at a stash of styrene sheet instead of a bunch of colorful
boxes, but I think I could make it work for me, and with products like
rivet decals and formed grabs and etched roofwalks, they don't have to
be as "crude" in appearance (except for my own ability).

For those who dearly miss the production of new kits, keep an eye on us
with stashes. I'm reasonably sure I won't part with any until someone
pries the Xacto knife from my cold, dead hand, but after that they will
mostly likely find new owners. Maybe there's some sort of symbiotic
relationship between kit stashers and those that lament the demise of
kits that needs some reaffirmation.

Regards,

Peter Ness

(reducing my stash the hard way - one kit at a time)


Gene <bierglaeser@...>
 

Kits can often be found on eBay. Some are quite old; some fairly recent. Prices seem to reach both extremes; way too cheap and waaaaay too expensive.

Back in 1966 the Exchange at Fort Bliss closed out Northeastern kits for ridiculously low prices. My stash is almost gone. I have seen ads for current-production Northeastern snow plows at some relatively high prices but, at one time, these were state of the art.

Many (most?) of us have assembled Ambroid, Central Valley, LaBelle, Northeastern, Red Ball, Mainline and . . . there must be more than these. With careful assembly and some added details these kits came out looking pretty good and left us with a sense of accomplishment. Some followed a prototype pretty closely while I am not too sure of others.

My personal favorites were the Walthers metal/wood passenger cars (Oops, wrong group!). They were ill-proportioned but fun to build in my opinion.

The thing to notice about the kits mentioned above is that RTR versions would likely have been more expensive because of the difficulty of assembly. On the other hand injection-molded plastic kits go together pretty easily if assembled as intended. Any unskilled non-modeler can be trained to do it in a day. Is the absence of plastic kits really something we should bemoan?

The thing that puzzles me is why models get sent all the way to China for assembly. That seems to add about $10.00 to the price of each car. Couldn't some enterprising, Spanish-speaking model railroader set up a kit assembly plant in Mexico? Shipment costs would be lower and transit times shorter. I think all this adequately attests to the fact that my level of business acumen is near zero.

Gene Green
Always willing to change sides just to keep the argument going.


Rhbale@...
 

I think Vietnam and India are next in line.
Richard Bale

In a message dated 6/24/2010 10:58:50 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
timboconnor@comcast.net writes:





Global trade and containerization has chopped the cost of transport
to the bone. You guys need to get out and watch more trains!

I think it costs about $1000 to send a container from LA to
Chicago... that could be 50000 lbs of trains, say 100,000 models,
or... 1 cent per model, to ship it 2,000 miles by rail! And
ships charge much less than railroads (per mile).

Tim O'

Gene Green writes:

The thing that puzzles me is why models get sent all the way to China for
assembly. That seems to add about $10.00 to the price of each car.
Couldn't some enterprising, Spanish-speaking model railroader set up a kit
assembly plant in Mexico? Shipment costs would be lower and transit times
shorter.
------------------------

Dave Nelson replies:
The Yuan will likely continue rise against the Dollar over the next decade
-- as will Chinese labor expenses -- making Chinese Manufacturing less of
a
good deal. Who knows... it may turn out shipping plastic freight cars from
Mexico (in real freight cars) becomes a viable alternative.

Dave Nelson




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Dave Nelson
 

Gene Green writes:

The thing that puzzles me is why models get sent all the way to China for
assembly. That seems to add about $10.00 to the price of each car.
Couldn't some enterprising, Spanish-speaking model railroader set up a kit
assembly plant in Mexico? Shipment costs would be lower and transit times
shorter.
------------------------

Dave Nelson replies:
The Yuan will likely continue rise against the Dollar over the next decade
-- as will Chinese labor expenses -- making Chinese Manufacturing less of a
good deal. Who knows... it may turn out shipping plastic freight cars from
Mexico (in real freight cars) becomes a viable alternative.

Dave Nelson