Cocoa Beach Prototype Rails - Low volume "manufacturing"


devansprr
 

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

Thank you, Alan Monk. You have described EXACTLY what I had hoped the Cocoa Beach panel discussion would cover. (If you haven't done so, read Alan's post, included below.) But the audience took us into marketing co-ops and middlemen, and then into intellectual property issues, and this panelist, at least, sat there becoming more and more frustrated. (I don't need someone else to market my stuff - I'm perfectly capable of doing that. What I want is to limit the customer base to those who don't need to be guided through the modeling process, either by detailed step-by-step instructions or guidance FROM ME on where to find this or that part or kit.)
Tom,

As someone in the room, I confess that while I heard your comment about not wanting to hand-hold other modelers using your parts, to my recollection, it was not a major topic of discussion.

Above you write "What I want is to limit the customer base to those who don't need to be guided through the modeling process". In some ways, that seems counter to the desires of many in the room to expand the number of modelers who want to build "fine scale" models in an attempt to expand the hobby, or at least the population of modelers that are active in groups such as STMFC. I have heard a number of modelers lament the inability of model railroaders to duplicate the explosion of third party detail parts now produced for military modelers. And many also lament the dwindling number of modelers willing to build kits.

I think the common consensus of the scope of the meeting was:

1) We were discussing the production of individual components that could be used in kit-bashes best illustrated by the Cocoa Beach Shake and take concept.

2) The panel discussion was NOT about how to make the parts (e.g. rapid prototyping)

3) All were talking about very low rate productions - generally cast resin parts, metal etchings, and decals seem to be the three most popular items being made in small quantities.

4) This was about how modelers who create such parts can share their efforts, but not with the intent to create a significant source of income.

Based on the posts here, I would say there were three different themes/concepts expressed in the meeting:

1) Making it easier to distribute parts to skilled modelers without creating customers who would need technical advice on how to complete the full model. (As Tom just expressed)

2) How to make it easier for modelers to spread the word, but then the modeler who makes the part would do all phases of order fulfillment. (As Bill Welch just posted)

3) How to make it easier for modelers to distribute their products, while minimizing their time investment in the distribution phase so they can do more modeling. (As expressed by Mr. Cagle, the third panelist)

This is a pretty broad range of objectives, and they may not be 100% compatible.

For concept 1 - for a literal interpretation of Tom's quote I am not sure how to improve his situation beyond the current usage pattern of groups like STMFC and private e-mails.

But I suspect Tom would like to support more modelers as long as he didn't have to spend time on "tech support".

For Concept 2 - Perhaps we need a dedicated Yahoo group, much as HOINTERCHANGE operates, where a moderator validates message postings announcing the availability of parts, and then sold-out notices. Then there would need to be a second, supporting Yahoo group to collect input/advice/photos/information/prototype data from consumers of the parts to make it easier for others to apply the parts (Thereby satisfying Tom's concern, since he could politely direct people to the Yahoo support group for tech support) This would also effectively provide almost no-cost marketing for modelers like Bill Welch.

This has obvious benefits to all modelers because the few modelers who currently produce these parts have more time to produce new patterns/parts, rather than provide tech support.

I suspect an operation like Model Railroad Hobbyist might take on the group ownership and moderator role since it might provide some benefit to them. Otherwise I do not expect a modeler will step forward to manage this process since the individual benefit would be small compared to the level of effort required (The moderator of HOINTERCHANGE often posts models to sell, so I suspect he is liquidating part of his collection or other collections without incurring the cost and workload of e-bay)

For Concept 3 - establish a CO-OP where a person assumes responsibility for managing the yahoo groups and also takes on order fulfillment. They would also stock the parts and manage the financial transactions. The objective of this concept would be to make it super easy for modelers willing to make custom parts, and possibly only custom patterns, to share their work, with minimal time intrusions on their primary modeling objectives.

Some hobbyists (may not even be model railroaders) with existing low volume production capabilities might provide production at a reasonable cost so the pattern makers have time to make more patterns.

In this business model, it is hoped that more modelers will build custom parts and share them, with the objective to improve the quantity and variety of fine scale models that are possible, and also increase the size and variety of the "fine scale" modeler population.

Note that I am just trying to capture the range of topics discussed, and have no personal interest in making concept 3 work - just wanted to get it captured for future discussions.

In my post to STMFC just after the panel concluded, I did suggest new styles of clinics for various prototype meets and NMRA conventions that might expand the "fine scale" modeler population, and the variety of parts produced, but that was not discussed during the panel discussion.

I also included in that post some additional thoughts on the concept 3 COOP business model, but the following was not discussed during the meeting:

The person managing the COOP is not going to do it for the love of the hobby - it would have to generate some level of income that would make their efforts worthwhile. I would think the COOP model would need to generate at least $10k per year in net income (after all taxes, postage, and part costs) to someone working this in the evenings or at a 10 hr/week level of effort. Obviously this would need to be someone dedicated and reliable, and the tax implications (income and sales tax) may make it too difficult for only $10k per year of income. Clearly a long shot, but the consensus of the group in the room seemed to be that the MRR market was not big enough to support the sort of distribution business models being used in the military modeling custom part market??


Dave Evans
Now retiring from what may have been a feeble attempt as a recording secretary for the panel....


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

Dave, Alan, and all;



This has been an excellent series of messages, and very informative.



The statement I do not understand is that the MR population would not support
what the MM population does. I thought the MM population was much smaller in
the U.S., than the MR, but you know better.



One of the things various folks in the PRRT&HS talked about, then tried to
develop and support (partially, but never fully), addressed this market.
There was some success in supporting some small decal marketers (Providing
drawings, etc.), several resin manufacturers (plans, histories, photos), and
demonstrate how one can use them in actual applications (sometimes through
The Keystone Modeler), but the one area we have not been able to exploit is
the parts market for use in kit-bash opportunities.



There are numerous classes on any given railroad, which could be modeled but
for one or a few parts (ends, roofs, underframe), but for which there are
currently few options. Military modelers are very well supported in that
area, with a wealth of resin substitutions, etched parts add-ons, decals for
very specific applications, and the like. I do not understand why there are
not more folks going after that market (i.e., the "MiniKit" market).



One additional example I think a lot of people would support would be
brakewheels no one makes (Klasing, anyone?).



Elden Gatwood



From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dave
Evans
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 2:33 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Cocoa Beach Prototype Rails - Low volume "manufacturing"





--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com <mailto:STMFC%40yahoogroups.com> , "pullmanboss"
<pullmanboss@...> wrote:

Thank you, Alan Monk. You have described EXACTLY what I had hoped the Cocoa
Beach panel discussion would cover. (If you haven't done so, read Alan's
post, included below.) But the audience took us into marketing co-ops and
middlemen, and then into intellectual property issues, and this panelist, at
least, sat there becoming more and more frustrated. (I don't need someone
else to market my stuff - I'm perfectly capable of doing that. What I want is
to limit the customer base to those who don't need to be guided through the
modeling process, either by detailed step-by-step instructions or guidance
FROM ME on where to find this or that part or kit.)
Tom,

As someone in the room, I confess that while I heard your comment about not
wanting to hand-hold other modelers using your parts, to my recollection, it
was not a major topic of discussion.

Above you write "What I want is to limit the customer base to those who don't
need to be guided through the modeling process". In some ways, that seems
counter to the desires of many in the room to expand the number of modelers
who want to build "fine scale" models in an attempt to expand the hobby, or
at least the population of modelers that are active in groups such as STMFC.
I have heard a number of modelers lament the inability of model railroaders
to duplicate the explosion of third party detail parts now produced for
military modelers. And many also lament the dwindling number of modelers
willing to build kits.

I think the common consensus of the scope of the meeting was:

1) We were discussing the production of individual components that could be
used in kit-bashes best illustrated by the Cocoa Beach Shake and take
concept.

2) The panel discussion was NOT about how to make the parts (e.g. rapid
prototyping)

3) All were talking about very low rate productions - generally cast resin
parts, metal etchings, and decals seem to be the three most popular items
being made in small quantities.

4) This was about how modelers who create such parts can share their efforts,
but not with the intent to create a significant source of income.

Based on the posts here, I would say there were three different
themes/concepts expressed in the meeting:

1) Making it easier to distribute parts to skilled modelers without creating
customers who would need technical advice on how to complete the full model.
(As Tom just expressed)

2) How to make it easier for modelers to spread the word, but then the
modeler who makes the part would do all phases of order fulfillment. (As Bill
Welch just posted)

3) How to make it easier for modelers to distribute their products, while
minimizing their time investment in the distribution phase so they can do
more modeling. (As expressed by Mr. Cagle, the third panelist)

This is a pretty broad range of objectives, and they may not be 100%
compatible.

For concept 1 - for a literal interpretation of Tom's quote I am not sure how
to improve his situation beyond the current usage pattern of groups like
STMFC and private e-mails.

But I suspect Tom would like to support more modelers as long as he didn't
have to spend time on "tech support".

For Concept 2 - Perhaps we need a dedicated Yahoo group, much as
HOINTERCHANGE operates, where a moderator validates message postings
announcing the availability of parts, and then sold-out notices. Then there
would need to be a second, supporting Yahoo group to collect
input/advice/photos/information/prototype data from consumers of the parts to
make it easier for others to apply the parts (Thereby satisfying Tom's
concern, since he could politely direct people to the Yahoo support group for
tech support) This would also effectively provide almost no-cost marketing
for modelers like Bill Welch.

This has obvious benefits to all modelers because the few modelers who
currently produce these parts have more time to produce new patterns/parts,
rather than provide tech support.

I suspect an operation like Model Railroad Hobbyist might take on the group
ownership and moderator role since it might provide some benefit to them.
Otherwise I do not expect a modeler will step forward to manage this process
since the individual benefit would be small compared to the level of effort
required (The moderator of HOINTERCHANGE often posts models to sell, so I
suspect he is liquidating part of his collection or other collections without
incurring the cost and workload of e-bay)

For Concept 3 - establish a CO-OP where a person assumes responsibility for
managing the yahoo groups and also takes on order fulfillment. They would
also stock the parts and manage the financial transactions. The objective of
this concept would be to make it super easy for modelers willing to make
custom parts, and possibly only custom patterns, to share their work, with
minimal time intrusions on their primary modeling objectives.

Some hobbyists (may not even be model railroaders) with existing low volume
production capabilities might provide production at a reasonable cost so the
pattern makers have time to make more patterns.

In this business model, it is hoped that more modelers will build custom
parts and share them, with the objective to improve the quantity and variety
of fine scale models that are possible, and also increase the size and
variety of the "fine scale" modeler population.

Note that I am just trying to capture the range of topics discussed, and have
no personal interest in making concept 3 work - just wanted to get it
captured for future discussions.

In my post to STMFC just after the panel concluded, I did suggest new styles
of clinics for various prototype meets and NMRA conventions that might expand
the "fine scale" modeler population, and the variety of parts produced, but
that was not discussed during the panel discussion.

I also included in that post some additional thoughts on the concept 3 COOP
business model, but the following was not discussed during the meeting:

The person managing the COOP is not going to do it for the love of the hobby
- it would have to generate some level of income that would make their
efforts worthwhile. I would think the COOP model would need to generate at
least $10k per year in net income (after all taxes, postage, and part costs)
to someone working this in the evenings or at a 10 hr/week level of effort.
Obviously this would need to be someone dedicated and reliable, and the tax
implications (income and sales tax) may make it too difficult for only $10k
per year of income. Clearly a long shot, but the consensus of the group in
the room seemed to be that the MRR market was not big enough to support the
sort of distribution business models being used in the military modeling
custom part market??

Dave Evans
Now retiring from what may have been a feeble attempt as a recording
secretary for the panel....


Joel Holmes <lehighvalley@...>
 

Hi All,

I am not shortening this post because I think it is important to my comment.

What happens when all the 'skilled modelers' pass on and we have not
helped younger modelers acquire the skills needed with technical help?
Our hobby will resort to nothing more than toy trains of very limited
quantity, variety and quality. I have been modeling now for almost 50
years and I still find I need to learn quite a few thing of a technical
nature. If we do not help new modelers become skilled modelers, we will
not have any new 'skilled modelers' who will get the manufactures to do
quality work.

Now that I have said my 2 bits worth, have at me.

Joel Holmes

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

Thank you, Alan Monk. You have described EXACTLY what I had hoped the
Cocoa Beach panel discussion would cover. (If you haven't done so, read
Alan's post, included below.) But the audience took us into marketing
co-ops and middlemen, and then into intellectual property issues, and
this panelist, at least, sat there becoming more and more frustrated. (I
don't need someone else to market my stuff - I'm perfectly capable of
doing that. What I want is to limit the customer base to those who don't
need to be guided through the modeling process, either by detailed
step-by-step instructions or guidance FROM ME on where to find this or
that part or kit.)
Tom,

As someone in the room, I confess that while I heard your comment about
not wanting to hand-hold other modelers using your parts, to my
recollection, it was not a major topic of discussion.

Above you write "What I want is to limit the customer base to those who
don't need to be guided through the modeling process". In some ways, that
seems counter to the desires of many in the room to expand the number of
modelers who want to build "fine scale" models in an attempt to expand the
hobby, or at least the population of modelers that are active in groups
such as STMFC. I have heard a number of modelers lament the inability of
model railroaders to duplicate the explosion of third party detail parts
now produced for military modelers. And many also lament the dwindling
number of modelers willing to build kits.

I think the common consensus of the scope of the meeting was:

1) We were discussing the production of individual components that could
be used in kit-bashes best illustrated by the Cocoa Beach Shake and take
concept.

2) The panel discussion was NOT about how to make the parts (e.g. rapid
prototyping)

3) All were talking about very low rate productions - generally cast resin
parts, metal etchings, and decals seem to be the three most popular items
being made in small quantities.

4) This was about how modelers who create such parts can share their
efforts, but not with the intent to create a significant source of income.

Based on the posts here, I would say there were three different
themes/concepts expressed in the meeting:

1) Making it easier to distribute parts to skilled modelers without
creating customers who would need technical advice on how to complete the
full model. (As Tom just expressed)

2) How to make it easier for modelers to spread the word, but then the
modeler who makes the part would do all phases of order fulfillment. (As
Bill Welch just posted)

3) How to make it easier for modelers to distribute their products, while
minimizing their time investment in the distribution phase so they can do
more modeling. (As expressed by Mr. Cagle, the third panelist)

This is a pretty broad range of objectives, and they may not be 100%
compatible.

For concept 1 - for a literal interpretation of Tom's quote I am not sure
how to improve his situation beyond the current usage pattern of groups
like STMFC and private e-mails.

But I suspect Tom would like to support more modelers as long as he didn't
have to spend time on "tech support".

For Concept 2 - Perhaps we need a dedicated Yahoo group, much as
HOINTERCHANGE operates, where a moderator validates message postings
announcing the availability of parts, and then sold-out notices. Then
there would need to be a second, supporting Yahoo group to collect
input/advice/photos/information/prototype data from consumers of the parts
to make it easier for others to apply the parts (Thereby satisfying Tom's
concern, since he could politely direct people to the Yahoo support group
for tech support) This would also effectively provide almost no-cost
marketing for modelers like Bill Welch.

This has obvious benefits to all modelers because the few modelers who
currently produce these parts have more time to produce new
patterns/parts, rather than provide tech support.

I suspect an operation like Model Railroad Hobbyist might take on the
group ownership and moderator role since it might provide some benefit to
them. Otherwise I do not expect a modeler will step forward to manage this
process since the individual benefit would be small compared to the level
of effort required (The moderator of HOINTERCHANGE often posts models to
sell, so I suspect he is liquidating part of his collection or other
collections without incurring the cost and workload of e-bay)

For Concept 3 - establish a CO-OP where a person assumes responsibility
for managing the yahoo groups and also takes on order fulfillment. They
would also stock the parts and manage the financial transactions. The
objective of this concept would be to make it super easy for modelers
willing to make custom parts, and possibly only custom patterns, to share
their work, with minimal time intrusions on their primary modeling
objectives.

Some hobbyists (may not even be model railroaders) with existing low
volume production capabilities might provide production at a reasonable
cost so the pattern makers have time to make more patterns.

In this business model, it is hoped that more modelers will build custom
parts and share them, with the objective to improve the quantity and
variety of fine scale models that are possible, and also increase the size
and variety of the "fine scale" modeler population.

Note that I am just trying to capture the range of topics discussed, and
have no personal interest in making concept 3 work - just wanted to get it
captured for future discussions.

In my post to STMFC just after the panel concluded, I did suggest new
styles of clinics for various prototype meets and NMRA conventions that
might expand the "fine scale" modeler population, and the variety of parts
produced, but that was not discussed during the panel discussion.

I also included in that post some additional thoughts on the concept 3
COOP business model, but the following was not discussed during the
meeting:

The person managing the COOP is not going to do it for the love of the
hobby - it would have to generate some level of income that would make
their efforts worthwhile. I would think the COOP model would need to
generate at least $10k per year in net income (after all taxes, postage,
and part costs) to someone working this in the evenings or at a 10 hr/week
level of effort. Obviously this would need to be someone dedicated and
reliable, and the tax implications (income and sales tax) may make it too
difficult for only $10k per year of income. Clearly a long shot, but the
consensus of the group in the room seemed to be that the MRR market was
not big enough to support the sort of distribution business models being
used in the military modeling custom part market??


Dave Evans
Now retiring from what may have been a feeble attempt as a recording
secretary for the panel....



Bill Welch
 

Dear Dave:

Please DO NOT RETIRE as you clearly have the ability to take the ramblings of several of us and find the common threads in them and then restate them in a way that helps all of us make sense of what were are trying to get to. I for one really appreciate what you are doing.

Bill Welch



Dave Evans
Now retiring from what may have been a feeble attempt as a recording secretary for the panel....


Tom Madden
 

Dave Evans wrote:

..you write "What I want is to limit the customer base to those who don't need to be guided through the modeling process". In some ways, that seems counter to the desires of many in the room to expand the number of modelers who want to build "fine scale" models in an attempt to expand the hobby, or at least the population of modelers that are active in groups such as STMFC.
Joel Holmes wrote:
What happens when all the 'skilled modelers' pass on and we have not
helped younger modelers acquire the skills needed with technical help?
Our hobby will resort to nothing more than toy trains of very limited
quantity, variety and quality.
Guess I'm still not getting my point across. What I'm trying to do is limit the demand. I'll make 100 of anything, and maybe another 100 after those are sold. But I don't want to be making thousands. I'll sell those hundred to anybody, but they'll have to sell for enough to make it worth my time.

Here's the thing - I'm 75, and at this stage of my life I want to be doing things I enjoy. I enjoy designing and creating patterns, and I enjoy resin casting - to as point. But I do all of that on my own terms, at my own pace. The two insulated tank car projects I did last year were an attempt to test a particular marketing strategy: announce a product only after it exists, and accept payment only for the quantity that exists. Set up a wait list (but accept no payments) if there is additional demand, and notify those on it if/when more parts become available. It seems to have been successful.

I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car List the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll step aside as Passenger Car List Owner.)

So it's not a matter of denying younger modelers access to my techniques and creations, nor limiting the number of modelers who aspire to the skill level seen at RPM meets, nor trying to maximize my profit. (Trust me, I don't need the money.) It _is_ an attempt to maintain control of my time without becoming a prisoner of anyone else's schedule or production demands, or get involved in what Bill so wonderfully described as "anyone else's modeling drama".

Sorry if this all seems blunt, but that's what I hoped we'd discuss at CB.

Tom Madden


Joel Holmes <lehighvalley@...>
 

Hi Tom,

I did make a mistake. I have been modeling for 60 years now. I am not
much younger than you are. Please do not get me wrong in my post. I
understand your position. However, this cannot be the attitude of the
model railroad suppliers in general, nor for that matter, myself. I am
working on a presentation myself, on how I approach scratch building. I
do a lot of scratch building. I realize that there are many ways to
approach any given subject so that is why I said, my approach. I also
answer technical questions all the time at my local hobby shop. Of
course, I am always looking out for suggestions or other methods of model
building that I can use.

The post gave the impression, at least to me, that model makers do not
want to be bothered by beginners and limited production seem to be the
norm now, rather than the exception, for many model suppliers. While you
say that you do not want to deal with beginners, that is your choice.
Please do not let this attitude become hobby wide. I was also unaware
that you made models. I do appreciate your help as I have learned a lot
about passenger cars over the past couple of years.

Joel Holmes

Dave Evans wrote:

..you write "What I want is to limit the customer base to those who
don't need to be guided through the modeling process". In some ways,
that seems counter to the desires of many in the room to expand the
number of modelers who want to build "fine scale" models in an attempt
to expand the hobby, or at least the population of modelers that are
active in groups such as STMFC.
Joel Holmes wrote:
What happens when all the 'skilled modelers' pass on and we have not
helped younger modelers acquire the skills needed with technical help?
Our hobby will resort to nothing more than toy trains of very limited
quantity, variety and quality.
Guess I'm still not getting my point across. What I'm trying to do is
limit the demand. I'll make 100 of anything, and maybe another 100 after
those are sold. But I don't want to be making thousands. I'll sell those
hundred to anybody, but they'll have to sell for enough to make it worth
my time.

Here's the thing - I'm 75, and at this stage of my life I want to be doing
things I enjoy. I enjoy designing and creating patterns, and I enjoy resin
casting - to as point. But I do all of that on my own terms, at my own
pace. The two insulated tank car projects I did last year were an attempt
to test a particular marketing strategy: announce a product only after it
exists, and accept payment only for the quantity that exists. Set up a
wait list (but accept no payments) if there is additional demand, and
notify those on it if/when more parts become available. It seems to have
been successful.

I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and
resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been
reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm
now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car List
the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll step
aside as Passenger Car List Owner.)

So it's not a matter of denying younger modelers access to my techniques
and creations, nor limiting the number of modelers who aspire to the skill
level seen at RPM meets, nor trying to maximize my profit. (Trust me, I
don't need the money.) It _is_ an attempt to maintain control of my time
without becoming a prisoner of anyone else's schedule or production
demands, or get involved in what Bill so wonderfully described as "anyone
else's modeling drama".

Sorry if this all seems blunt, but that's what I hoped we'd discuss at CB.

Tom Madden


Greg Martin
 

Tom, Joel and all,

I was ask to moderate this meeting and I did my best but it was a broad topic for the crowd and a very interesting one at that, perhaps it needed more time or segmented. But I think the presenters did a grand job.



"Joel Holmes wrote:
What happens when all the 'skilled modelers' pass on and we have not helped younger modelers acquire the skills needed with technical help? Our hobby will resort to nothing more than toy trains of very limited quantity, variety and quality< "
Joel and all,

There is may ways to "pass-on" our skills but you have to have the youth interested in what we do to recreate what we have brought forth to this point and it has a lot of room to expand. If we look back to the 80's when the "more detailed modeling" exploded with new ventures in magazines and then models we have come along way but it seems to be regressing to a certain degree with some of the more detail oriented magazines going away. The media has changed as well and is growing

Tom writes:

"Guess I'm still not getting my point across. What I'm trying to do is limit the demand. I'll make 100 of anything, and maybe another 100 after those are sold. But I don't want to be making thousands. I'll sell those hundred to anybody, but they'll have to sell for enough to make it worth my time."

"Here's the thing - I'm 75, and at this stage of my life I want to be doing things I enjoy. I enjoy designing and creating patterns, and I enjoy resin casting - to as point. But I do all of that on my own terms, at my own pace. The two insulated tank car projects I did last year were an attempt to test a particular marketing strategy: announce a product only after it exists, and accept payment only for the quantity that exists. Set up a wait list (but accept no payments) if there is additional demand, and notify those on it if/when more parts become available. It seems to have been successful."

"I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car List the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll step aside as Passenger Car List Owner.)"

"So it's not a matter of denying younger modelers access to my techniques and creations, nor limiting the number of modelers who aspire to the skill level seen at RPM meets, nor trying to maximize my profit. (Trust me, I don't need the money.) It _is_ an attempt to maintain control of my time without becoming a prisoner of anyone else's schedule or production demands, or get involved in what Bill so wonderfully described as "anyone else's modeling drama"."

"Sorry if this all seems blunt, but that's what I hoped we'd discuss at CB.

Tom Madden"

Tom and all,

I think your point was made and well received at least it was by me. You have a distinct interest as well as the others on the panel and in the audience. It's clear to me and should be to others that this is still part of your vision of the hobby, but still a hobby. As you said you retired and this "passion" you have has benefited others but it is not going to be your business, you're retired and I respect that. I see what you and others do as artistic and it should be appreciated as such.

One thing that will help instructionally is if you, or anyone doing this, as a producer gets your projects in to the hands of someone willing to build what has been created and THEN gets it into the media or to an audience so that the product is built so the burden of the detailed instructions are out there but not by you necessarily. Don't put the cart before the horse, built it and release it. Even if the product is limited the audience gets the skill sets to replicate a like project in the future. When I say media it can be as simple as a clinic at some Prototype Modeling venue. That evening I used the example of Hyper Scale ezine http://www.hyperscale.com/ for the military folks. Reviews, articles, galleries it's all there and free to the modeler. This is how we build our skills and where we take the youth to learn as well as at Prototype Modeling venues, my Grandson's were there did anyone else bring some young will be modelers?

SHAKE N TAKE has grown from upgrading existing kits to adding resin "parts" to my creations, because that is what I WANT and I am willing to create the masters to get the project completed. Make no mistake, I in no way want to become a resin master maker or delve into making resin parts. I do however give the masters to whomever is willing to donate the parts to the group and what they do with them after that is up to them. In the case of the DT&I gondola I ask Ted to create the end doors for the project and he was gracious enough to do so as this part was way beyond my skill sets, thank you Ted Collota. The objective to me is that the kits get into the hands of those that will build them and display them. We all RAT_HOLE enough "things" that may never get finished.

Tom I fully understand where you are in your hobby and I appreciate all you do and all you share; we are all better for it and the same is true for Bill Welch and all others in this hobby.

I, like many of us, have a BUCKET LIST of things I want to recreate, but I have to remember it is a hobby and sometimes a labor of love not a job.

Greg Martin


devansprr
 

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


Guess I'm still not getting my point across. What I'm trying to do is limit the demand. I'll make 100 of anything, and maybe another 100 after those are sold. But I don't want to be making thousands. I'll sell those hundred to anybody, but they'll have to sell for enough to make it worth my time.

Here's the thing - I'm 75, and at this stage of my life I want to be doing things I enjoy. I enjoy designing and creating patterns, and I enjoy resin casting - to as point. But I do all of that on my own terms, at my own pace. The two insulated tank car projects I did last year were an attempt to test a particular marketing strategy: announce a product only after it exists, and accept payment only for the quantity that exists. Set up a wait list (but accept no payments) if there is additional demand, and notify those on it if/when more parts become available. It seems to have been successful.

I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car List the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll step aside as Passenger Car List Owner.)

So it's not a matter of denying younger modelers access to my techniques and creations, nor limiting the number of modelers who aspire to the skill level seen at RPM meets, nor trying to maximize my profit. (Trust me, I don't need the money.) It _is_ an attempt to maintain control of my time without becoming a prisoner of anyone else's schedule or production demands, or get involved in what Bill so wonderfully described as "anyone else's modeling drama".

Sorry if this all seems blunt, but that's what I hoped we'd discuss at CB.

Tom Madden
Tom,

First - full disclosure - I am not an active Fine Scale modeler. I have a very demanding job at this time that severely limits my MRR time - Cocoa Beach was more like a self-imposed forced intervention from work. Someday, most likely after I retire, I hope to build a large, WWII era layout with rolling stock accurate for the period. So a confession - generally I am a lurker on this list.

But professionally I have worked "boutique" engineering for over 25 years, and also worked on low volume production efforts as an engineer (which is rarely a 40 hour per week job - hence the lurker status). So I have some professional experience on how to get start-up technical efforts...started.

I confess to missing your point above at the panel discussion. And while I am not familiar with the inner workings of Funaro or Westerfield/Dahm, or someone like Stan R., I am curious why it would not make more sense for one of them to manufacture kits from your patterns if you think there is a significant market?

I am VERY sympathetic to your concern over time availability and "too much" success adversely impacting your modeling objectives.

But quite frankly, if you are an exceptional pattern maker, THEN GET OUT OF THE MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION PROCESS. Let someone else do this work. Quite frankly, I think ALL modelers would benefit from this approach for your components - more modelers would have access to your parts and kits, and most likely you would produce MORE patterns that even MORE modelers could benefit from.

I see this all the time professionally - gifted individuals, in my case typically engineers, who let themselves get bogged down in ancillary portions of their business. Do what you do best - I am sure there are LOTS of people who can manufacture, distribute, and provide tech support for your models/parts if there is the demand you believe exists. But there are FEW individuals who can do the tooling and pattern making that you can - you should focus on that.

Imagine how many modelers would enjoy putting together more accurate Pullman consists with your parts? I have observed quite a few Pennsy modelers laborously scratch building various PRR specific Pullmans.

I suspect you have a rare talent, and based on your Pullman project, it is clear you want to share the fruits of your labor with other modelers, and I know many are quite grateful.

But even if the parts and kits made from your patterns would cost double from a caster/distributor what you would charge, it is still in EVERYONE'S interest that you make patterns, and someone else manufacturers the parts.

By limiting your productions to a close circle of friends, you are really just subsidizing THEIR modeling, at the expense of reducing your output of patterns.

My 2 cents, and very respectively submitted, since I certainly have not made the contributions to the hobby that you have made.

Dave Evans


jerryglow2
 

The "problem" is that Tom is exceptional at both aspects. Few do or are willing to do the quality of the castings he produces. Several small producers have run into problems relying on others to do castings. I don't know how he does it but Steve Funaro keeps the whole process "in house" so as to not be held captive by suppliers.

Jerry Glow
http://home.comcast.net/~jerryglow/decals/

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Evans" <devans1@...> wrote:
........
But quite frankly, if you are an exceptional pattern maker, THEN GET OUT OF THE
MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION PROCESS. Let someone else do this work. Quite
frankly, I think ALL modelers would benefit from this approach for your
components - more modelers would have access to your parts and kits, and most
likely you would produce MORE patterns that even MORE modelers could benefit
from.

Dave Evans


Ed Walters
 

Tom - frankly I'd hate to see you step aside as list owner at PCL, as you've fostered a good atmosphere over there. I'd have thought that a reasonable way to approach this would be for a separate Prototype Modelers Boutique (I'm searching for a better word and drawing a blank). In such a place, small scale producers could make the parts available, and that there would be an expectation that such parts would be "unsupported" - that assuming everything arrives in good condition, the producers obligation has ended, and it's up to the modeler to work it out from there.

Of course, given the nature of this list and the PCL, I would assume that help would probably be forthcoming from other modelers in a collegial way, but it wouldn't be formally part of the arrangement.

As one of the younger modelers on this list at 28, I certainly have no problem with that approach, and I'd MUCH rather have the parts available to built the models I want than have them held back for fear of having to deal with the problems. I'd REALLY like my Streamstyle Pullmans. PLEASE!

Ed

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

I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car List the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll step aside as Passenger Car List Owner.)


Joel Holmes <lehighvalley@...>
 

Hi Tom,

I second this. I would hate to see you leave PCL. That group has been of
much value to me and I am always in need of Pullman heavy weight parts.
They are hard to come by and I must make many of my own parts.

Joel Holmes

Tom - frankly I'd hate to see you step aside as list owner at PCL, as
you've fostered a good atmosphere over there. I'd have thought that a
reasonable way to approach this would be for a separate Prototype Modelers
Boutique (I'm searching for a better word and drawing a blank). In such a
place, small scale producers could make the parts available, and that
there would be an expectation that such parts would be "unsupported" -
that assuming everything arrives in good condition, the producers
obligation has ended, and it's up to the modeler to work it out from
there.

Of course, given the nature of this list and the PCL, I would assume that
help would probably be forthcoming from other modelers in a collegial way,
but it wouldn't be formally part of the arrangement.

As one of the younger modelers on this list at 28, I certainly have no
problem with that approach, and I'd MUCH rather have the parts available
to built the models I want than have them held back for fear of having to
deal with the problems. I'd REALLY like my Streamstyle Pullmans. PLEASE!

Ed

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

I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and
resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been
reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm
now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car
List the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll
step aside as Passenger Car List Owner.)


Ed Walters
 

I just realised I rather stupidly forgot to say that I meant "Prototype Modelers Boutique" to be a separate Yahoo list, rather than a physical entity.

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

...a reasonable way to approach this would be for a separate Prototype Modelers Boutique (I'm searching for a better word and drawing a blank). ...


O Fenton Wells
 

Gentlemen,
Maybe I'm missing the point here but as Tom says he wants to do what he
wants to do. I respect that. The key here, in my opinion is that this is
a business, albeit a smaller one and perhaps motivated by different
reasons, but a business never the less. Tom has, as have others, ie Chad
Boas is another I know of have filled a need in the hobby. I believe the
hobby will rally to the need. Tom can do his thing and I believe others
will step up to the podium and make parts, pieces and even kits for those
of us who are willing to buy them. Some want to make what they like and
others make lots of stuff like Al Westerfield, Martin Lofton and Steve
Funaro. I think there is room for all. I am going to do my part to push
for the parts I want and need, so Tom please let me know when the roof top
panels for the steam ejector AC parts will be cast, hint, hint. And yes
I'll get you the dimensions for the Southern car roof panels if that will
help.
Fenton Wells
On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM, pullmanboss <pullmanboss@yahoo.com> wrote:

**


Dave Evans wrote:

..you write "What I want is to limit the customer base to those who
don't need to be guided through the modeling process". In some ways, that
seems counter to the desires of many in the room to expand the number of
modelers who want to build "fine scale" models in an attempt to expand the
hobby, or at least the population of modelers that are active in groups
such as STMFC.

Joel Holmes wrote:
What happens when all the 'skilled modelers' pass on and we have not
helped younger modelers acquire the skills needed with technical help?
Our hobby will resort to nothing more than toy trains of very limited
quantity, variety and quality.
Guess I'm still not getting my point across. What I'm trying to do is
limit the demand. I'll make 100 of anything, and maybe another 100 after
those are sold. But I don't want to be making thousands. I'll sell those
hundred to anybody, but they'll have to sell for enough to make it worth my
time.

Here's the thing - I'm 75, and at this stage of my life I want to be doing
things I enjoy. I enjoy designing and creating patterns, and I enjoy resin
casting - to as point. But I do all of that on my own terms, at my own
pace. The two insulated tank car projects I did last year were an attempt
to test a particular marketing strategy: announce a product only after it
exists, and accept payment only for the quantity that exists. Set up a wait
list (but accept no payments) if there is additional demand, and notify
those on it if/when more parts become available. It seems to have been
successful.

I say "test" because I've been sitting on a large number of patterns and
resin castings for heavyweight Pullman aftermarket parts but have been
reluctant to offer them for fear of being overwhelmed by the demand. I'm
now fairly comfortable with marketing them only on the Passenger Car List
the way I did the tank cars here. (And if I do much of that I'll step aside
as Passenger Car List Owner.)

So it's not a matter of denying younger modelers access to my techniques
and creations, nor limiting the number of modelers who aspire to the skill
level seen at RPM meets, nor trying to maximize my profit. (Trust me, I
don't need the money.) It _is_ an attempt to maintain control of my time
without becoming a prisoner of anyone else's schedule or production
demands, or get involved in what Bill so wonderfully described as "anyone
else's modeling drama".

Sorry if this all seems blunt, but that's what I hoped we'd discuss at CB.

Tom Madden




--
Fenton Wells
3047 Creek Run
Sanford NC 27332
919-499-5545
srrfan1401@gmail.com


Aley, Jeff A
 

FWIW, here are my two cents.

First of all, it's a hobby. That means that folks will do things as "a labor of love" that don't make economic sense. For example, making patterns for an obscure part, "because I wanted a few for myself".

Let's look at what it takes to produce and sell detail parts:
1) Research & Make the Part
2) Advertize the Part
3) Manufacture the Part in some qty over some period of time.
4) Collect $$ and Ship the Part.

1) Research & Make the Part [the "master" in the case of cast-resin].
No problem. This is part of that "labor of love" I mentioned. Parts will get made either because some Craftsman wants to make them, or because a Craftsman thinks there's a market for such parts.

2) Advertize the Part.
No problem. In this day of instant Internet communications, advertizing can be as simple as an email to a few friends, or a posting to a few Yahoo!Groups, both of which are free. More formal advertizing in e-zines or paper magazines is optional. Remember that we're talking about low-volume, limited-run stuff.

3) Manufacture the Part.
On one hand, the part could be manufactured by the same Craftsman who produced the original part. Tom, for example, is extremely capable when it comes to resin casting. The obvious downside is that the Craftsman may not be interested in spending his time making parts.
An alternative is if the Craftsman has a "buddy" who can do the manufacturing for him. It's a small hobby, and many of us "know somebody" with this kind of capability. Of course, one must convince that buddy to actually get involved.
A third alternative is for the manufacturing to be done by an existing company (e.g. Funaro & Camerlengo). Here again, one must convince the existing company to do the work.
In the latter two scenarios, the Craftsman has the added burden of ensuring his master is compatible with the manufacturing process (e.g. no undercuts, etc.).
In all scenarios, there is probably some give-and-take over how many parts should be made, over what period of time. For example, "10 pieces per month, until demand falls below 5 pieces per month, then the product will be withdrawn". Or whatever [insert your own numbers until you're happy].

4) Collect $$ and Ship the Part.
Here again are several alternatives. If the Craftsman (or his buddy) are doing the manufacturing, they may do this themselves. Or they may want to ship to a retailer (e.g. Andy Carlson) who will handle the transaction with consumers. Obviously if an existing manufacturer (e.g. F&C) is doing the manufacturing, they will already have the capability to collect $$ and ship parts. An existing manufacturer has the advantages of "economies of scale". As Steve Funaro said to me, "I don't have to go to the Post Office to ship product! Every day, the Post Office comes to me."


I don't see any "showstopper" problems in any of the above. Items 3 & 4 have to be worked out, to mutual satisfaction, by the Craftsman, and each Craftsman will choose differently. The fact that "this can work" is clearly evidenced by the flat cars recently advertized by Clark Propst, or by the decals advertized by Jerry Glow. I doubt anybody's getting rich, but it will might allow you to buy a few more Reboxx wheelsets.

Regards,

-Jeff


derrell
 

Frankly I don't think you are being blunt enough, Tom.

(I'm new to this group and this is my first post here.)

I've been following this thread with great interest. Within my circle of associates are several model manufacturers or former manufacturers and we have been discussing this topic to one degree or another for several years. Because "our" market is rather much more limited than even the Finescale market we've become somewhat disenchanted with the idea of having so much demand that we could not keep up. Our discussions have revolved around more of an informal Coop rather than something as organized as I've gather from this thread.

What strikes me about your comments as well as others is the concern for "over demand". Clearly money isn't an issue. Clearly you have already paid your dues to the hobby. To me, the concern that we need to each take responsibility for mentoring younger modelers is a collective effort. Individually, we each need to do our best for our own enjoyment rather than to impress, guide, or advertise for the hobby. You know this; when we do something because of our love for it the results show the dedication that inspires others far more than something we've done out of obligation.

I'll cut to the chase then; I don't see a FORMAL organization for low volume manufacturing actually succeeding. In fact, I think such an effort would simply be an added burden to anyone who was involved. (You and I both just wanna make models). Since money is not the objective the formality of an organization needs to go away. Instead may I suggest that those of us inclined to make parts simply make parts and let an informal coop evolve? In other words, lead by example; make the parts; limited the quantity to a comfortable number; offer them on what ever lists you wish (or have permission for doing so); clearly indication that this is all there is; move on to the next item… as you feel inclined. If this is indeed a viable venue you will see an informal coop of likeminded individuals join in.

Respectfully I don't quite see the need to belabor any of this. My skills would certainly lend themselves to such a coop. If I were to mass produced any parts I would certainly be interested in sharing those parts but my motivation would be based on my personal interest for my own modeling interests. I would also be looking to other who made parts to help fill in the gaps of my own modeling. And I wouldn't be very concerned about whether I traded for parts or simply sold them outright.

As for those who miss out on parts; bluntly – that is the way the cookie crumbles. (I already do plenty of self-sacrificing as I am certain all of you do as well).

Or am I just missing the point?

Derrell Poole


derrell
 

Jeff,

my apologies for missing your post as it seems I've mirrored to some extent your sentiments - you've simply been more concise.

I can't say this enough; the best you can do for the hobby is to do the best you can do for yourself.

I am a proffessional locomotive repair/customizer/painter so I work directly in the industry. But I am also a modeler and the last thing I would want to do is add to my "responsibilities" by getting involved in a formal organization (I can make patterns and I can cast parts - done so!). I'd rather do what I want for myself at the best of my ability and, if there is a surplus of some sort, offer that to likeminded modelers. I would also hope that a group of like minded modelers would spawn an informal coop of pattern makers and casters; it is always helpful in terms of time and progress to tap into the skills of your peers.

I would guess, without the presumption of reading anyone's mind, that this is really what Tom and the others are hoping for. I certainly would enjoy it and participate as best I could.

Derrell

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Aley, Jeff A" <Jeff.A.Aley@...> wrote:

FWIW, here are my two cents.

First of all, it's a hobby. That means that folks will do things as "a labor of love" that don't make economic sense. For example, making patterns for an obscure part, "because I wanted a few for myself".

Let's look at what it takes to produce and sell detail parts:
1) Research & Make the Part
2) Advertize the Part
3) Manufacture the Part in some qty over some period of time.
4) Collect $$ and Ship the Part.

1) Research & Make the Part [the "master" in the case of cast-resin].
No problem. This is part of that "labor of love" I mentioned. Parts will get made either because some Craftsman wants to make them, or because a Craftsman thinks there's a market for such parts.

2) Advertize the Part.
No problem. In this day of instant Internet communications, advertizing can be as simple as an email to a few friends, or a posting to a few Yahoo!Groups, both of which are free. More formal advertizing in e-zines or paper magazines is optional. Remember that we're talking about low-volume, limited-run stuff.

3) Manufacture the Part.
On one hand, the part could be manufactured by the same Craftsman who produced the original part. Tom, for example, is extremely capable when it comes to resin casting. The obvious downside is that the Craftsman may not be interested in spending his time making parts.
An alternative is if the Craftsman has a "buddy" who can do the manufacturing for him. It's a small hobby, and many of us "know somebody" with this kind of capability. Of course, one must convince that buddy to actually get involved.
A third alternative is for the manufacturing to be done by an existing company (e.g. Funaro & Camerlengo). Here again, one must convince the existing company to do the work.
In the latter two scenarios, the Craftsman has the added burden of ensuring his master is compatible with the manufacturing process (e.g. no undercuts, etc.).
In all scenarios, there is probably some give-and-take over how many parts should be made, over what period of time. For example, "10 pieces per month, until demand falls below 5 pieces per month, then the product will be withdrawn". Or whatever [insert your own numbers until you're happy].

4) Collect $$ and Ship the Part.
Here again are several alternatives. If the Craftsman (or his buddy) are doing the manufacturing, they may do this themselves. Or they may want to ship to a retailer (e.g. Andy Carlson) who will handle the transaction with consumers. Obviously if an existing manufacturer (e.g. F&C) is doing the manufacturing, they will already have the capability to collect $$ and ship parts. An existing manufacturer has the advantages of "economies of scale". As Steve Funaro said to me, "I don't have to go to the Post Office to ship product! Every day, the Post Office comes to me."


I don't see any "showstopper" problems in any of the above. Items 3 & 4 have to be worked out, to mutual satisfaction, by the Craftsman, and each Craftsman will choose differently. The fact that "this can work" is clearly evidenced by the flat cars recently advertized by Clark Propst, or by the decals advertized by Jerry Glow. I doubt anybody's getting rich, but it will might allow you to buy a few more Reboxx wheelsets.

Regards,

-Jeff


Andy Harman
 

At 02:07 PM 1/13/2012 -0600, you wrote:
nature. If we do not help new modelers become skilled modelers, we will
not have any new 'skilled modelers' who will get the manufactures to do
quality work.
Like most of us, I've gone from having time and desire but no money, money
and desire but no time, or money and desire and time but not enough
knowledge or available material. I'm not surprised any more, in spite of
the unprecedented selection we have today (in HO scale at least) to pick up
a photo of a freight yard and see a dozen cars there are no models of, or
even anything close.

I've found that turning RTR guys into modelers is a hard sell. Even the
young guys (anyone younger than me) are aging and while there is a strong
group of local modelers here in Cincinnati that are 30s and under, very few
of them are model builders. I think at that age, life just has too many
other demands. I stayed very active in the hobby in my 20s and 30s, but it
was lonely out there. Model railroading is, and always has been, my
primary hobby but it's not my only hobby. #2 seems to be always changing -
photography, music, cars... at times these take some priority over model
building (or heaven forbid, layout building) but it's a temporary
condition. We've got a 6 month old Airedale who thinks he's a wolf or a
chihuahua on alternating minutes, and he's going to need some quality time
to become a good Airedale... I just bought a Hammond organ (unlike a
one-time local HO bigwig, I didn't sell my train stuff to pay for it).

I hang around with the young-uns here, we talk about all the latest and
greatest models, but their interest is in modular layouts, electronics, and
above all RTR stuff. Their demands for accuracy and detail may be as high
as mine, but they really want it off the shelf. At least right now.

But the only constant is change. I do hope to see some resurgence in
craftsmanship, or just seeing people under 40 play with something that
doesn't have a touch screen. I got my grandson a train set - he just
turned 6. He loves it, but I suspect it's in the back of the bus already,
while his Xbox and Wii stay in the driver's seat.

Andy


Andy Harman
 

At 06:09 PM 1/13/2012 -0600, you wrote:
The post gave the impression, at least to me, that model makers do not
want to be bothered by beginners and limited production seem to be the
norm now, rather than the exception, for many model suppliers.
I feel the pain. I recently had some parts made. It was my idea, but
other than that I had nothing to do with actually creating the part. I now
own the entire production run, which will last me a little while, but
enough people have seen them to create a demand for maybe 100 more. The
guy who did them is looking for a way to do them in larger quantities with
3d printing - mine were done that way, all hand cleaned, etc. But no real
time frame. I feel a bit selfish in that I got what I wanted, and showed
it off, but I'm not in a position to help the production situation at the
moment. Like anything else, I have to anticipate my future needs and get
stuff while I can. This results in an enormous stockpile of odd items that
I certainly won't live long enough to utilize. But it's part of the fun
too. I must admit, this last project went from looking at photos at 2 am,
sending an email to a list, to having 5 sets of the parts in hand in 5
weeks.

I wish I had the skill to create things out of thin air, but as someone
once said you gotta know your limitations. Hopefully I can contribute
something as an instigator or facillitator, if not a manufacturer.

Andy


Andy Harman
 

At 02:16 PM 1/14/2012 -0000, you wrote:
The "problem" is that Tom is exceptional at both aspects. Few do or are
willing to do the quality of the castings he produces.

Well at the risk of buttering up too much, Tom is also an excellent
presenter. I don't go to a lot of clinics but I always try to make it to
Tom's no matter the subject. His intro clinic on rapid prototyping a few
years ago gave me 90% of what I know about the subject. And in the
intervening years, the technology has improved and at the same time become
affordable for those crazy 2 am pipe dreams, even if I probably won't do
any parts myself, I have a much better awareness of what can be done (and
what can't).

Andy


Andy Harman
 

At 04:59 PM 1/14/2012 +0000, you wrote:
I don't see any "showstopper" problems in any of the above. Items 3 & 4
have to be worked out, to mutual satisfaction, by the Craftsman, and each
Craftsman will choose differently. The fact that "this can work" is
clearly evidenced by the flat cars recently advertized by Clark Propst, or
by the decals advertized by Jerry Glow. I doubt anybody's getting rich,
but it will might allow you to buy a few more Reboxx wheelsets.

The whole "net" world makes direct sales practical, and spreading the word
costs little or nothing as you say. And if you target skilled modelers
that know what they're buying, there's not a lot of overhead for packaging,
instruction sheets, etc. This is where I feel a bit out of my element with
freight cars. I have the modeling skills but lack experience with the
terminology. I've been building diesels for almost 40 years, but only
really trying to build accurate freight cars for 3-4 years, and I haven't
gotten too far out on a limb yet. I have learned a lot, but I don't have
the entire parts catalog memorized. This can cause me to miss out on
something I could really use (like some of Ted Culotta's products), or get
halfway into something before I realize there's a better starting point.
That's an amateur mistake... the diesel equivalent of investing 20 hours
detailing a widebody Athearn diesel without knowing there are at least
three better alternatives.

I'm quite sure I have some freight car kits and parts that I just don't
know what to do with. I have a resin 2-bay hopper bottom casting on my
bench that was given to me last year - I think by Brian Everett - and I
have completely forgotten what it's for... LOL.

Since turning 50, I have begun to realize the importance of writing things
down, and remembering where I put the piece of paper. Not just in the
hobby but in my day job. I got rung into a conference call at work today,
that I knew about a week ago, and I totally drew a blank as to the topic.
On top of that, the boss who arranged it wasn't able to join in, so I ended
up having to lead the discussion myself. I think I did a nice recovery and
did ok under the circumstances but... I've always relied on committing
things to memory, and that sharpness is leaving me minute by minute.

Oh well, more 2 am rambling...

Andy