InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?


Charlie Vlk
 

This subject comes up every so often…..and the answer is not going to be any different.

 

Packaging kits, especially nowadays with products with many discrete add-on parts of differing media, is more than the cost of assembly.

For companies “already doing a model” doubling the number of SKUs to include kits and taking on more cost for marginal additional sales is not an attractive option even if additional production cost were covered with higher MSRPs.

 

With the improvement in level of detail on RTR products MOST of the marketplace has moved on from the Good Old Blue Box days where a kit consisted of a body, maybe a separate roofwalk, a brake wheel, underframe and weight, a package of truck components, couplers and box covers, and a sheet of instructions.  As there were so few parts there is more nostalgia associated with those kits than craftsmanship.

 

RTR cars don’t require separate packaging for easy to damage parts…just one set of packaging for the finished car. 

 

I personally believe that the widespread of RTR rolling stock has actually advanced the level of modeling in the Hobby.   “Back in the Day” one had to assemble virtually EVERYTHING to get a simple 4x8 layout up and running…and most never got to that stage.   Today, high quality RTR cars and locomotives allow you to concentrate on the specific segment of the Hobby or the particular prototype you want to have accurate models for.  And what you build urges a level of craftsmanship to fit in with or exceed the quality of what you can buy.

 

I don’t want to have to build every PRR, NYC, SP, ATSF etc. car that I might need to fill out freight trains on my N Scale CB&Q layout, but I am presently learning to use a 3D resin printer to make the CB&Q SM-16 stock cars that I desire.  If a high-level production model of that car was available I would buy them and move on to another Q car, building, bridge or locomotive that is not likely to be a RTR model.  

 

Because of RTR models and better quality components (track, scenery, electronics, etc.) I believe there are more miles of Model Railroads being finished and operating than ever before in the history of Model Railroading…and that the quality level of the average railroad is higher.

 

Other injection plastic hobbies are getting kits because THAT is those hobbies….building kits.  Once you are done building a P-51d and, maybe, putting it on a small diorama, it goes on a shelf.  It doesn’t get integrated into a whole and “operated”.

 

The multitude of aftermarket resin and etched metal enhancements for the most part are “hobby” businesses.  We have a lot of them for the North American market and Japan, Germany, England and other countries have them as well for their prototypes (and some for ours!). 

 

If there is truly an opportunity to make money selling production kits I would be happy to consult with anyone having capital to invest in a such a venture… for reasonable fees paid as services are rendered.

 

Charlie Vlk

Railroad Model Resources 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Shumaker
Sent: Saturday, July 24, 2021 11:51 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)

 

It is SOP with model railroad manufacturers. I don’t understand it at all as the other injected plastic hobbies are doing very nicely producing kits. Why do the plastic car, aircraft, armor and ship modelers get what ever they want in seemingly endless inventory, and we get nothing? Don’t get me started on the multitudes of aftermarket resin and etched metal enhancements produced for nearly every kit in every scale. We’re getting the shaft from the manufacturers.
Brian Shumaker


Andy Carlson
 

Charlie, I can see that as an industry consultant that you may believe packaging kits is more expensive than making RTR cars.

That is so wrong--anyone who has watched Rapidos' video visits to their Chinese factories can't come up with your conclusion.

I have watched kits being packaged and the packer draws from a bin a box; instruction sheets; and from a cascade of bins the parts components for the kit in sequence. Making painted and assembled freight cars has about a third of the steps of a kit as a manufacturing component for making the RTR; everything unique to the RTR process is high labor. It might just be a fatuous excuse to explain away the offering of kits as something that a company doesn't wish to be bothered with and I can understand that.

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

On Saturday, July 24, 2021, 11:27:00 AM PDT, Charlie Vlk <cvlk@...> wrote:


This subject comes up every so often…..and the answer is not going to be any different.

 

Packaging kits, especially nowadays with products with many discrete add-on parts of differing media, is more than the cost of assembly.

For companies “already doing a model” doubling the number of SKUs to include kits and taking on more cost for marginal additional sales is not an attractive option even if additional production cost were covered with higher MSRPs.

 

With the improvement in level of detail on RTR products MOST of the marketplace has moved on from the Good Old Blue Box days where a kit consisted of a body, maybe a separate roofwalk, a brake wheel, underframe and weight, a package of truck components, couplers and box covers, and a sheet of instructions.  As there were so few parts there is more nostalgia associated with those kits than craftsmanship.

 

RTR cars don’t require separate packaging for easy to damage parts…just one set of packaging for the finished car. 

 

I personally believe that the widespread of RTR rolling stock has actually advanced the level of modeling in the Hobby.   “Back in the Day” one had to assemble virtually EVERYTHING to get a simple 4x8 layout up and running…and most never got to that stage.   Today, high quality RTR cars and locomotives allow you to concentrate on the specific segment of the Hobby or the particular prototype you want to have accurate models for.  And what you build urges a level of craftsmanship to fit in with or exceed the quality of what you can buy.

 

I don’t want to have to build every PRR, NYC, SP, ATSF etc. car that I might need to fill out freight trains on my N Scale CB&Q layout, but I am presently learning to use a 3D resin printer to make the CB&Q SM-16 stock cars that I desire.  If a high-level production model of that car was available I would buy them and move on to another Q car, building, bridge or locomotive that is not likely to be a RTR model.  

 

Because of RTR models and better quality components (track, scenery, electronics, etc.) I believe there are more miles of Model Railroads being finished and operating than ever before in the history of Model Railroading…and that the quality level of the average railroad is higher.

 

Other injection plastic hobbies are getting kits because THAT is those hobbies….building kits.  Once you are done building a P-51d and, maybe, putting it on a small diorama, it goes on a shelf.  It doesn’t get integrated into a whole and “operated”.

 

The multitude of aftermarket resin and etched metal enhancements for the most part are “hobby” businesses.  We have a lot of them for the North American market and Japan, Germany, England and other countries have them as well for their prototypes (and some for ours!). 

 

If there is truly an opportunity to make money selling production kits I would be happy to consult with anyone having capital to invest in a such a venture… for reasonable fees paid as services are rendered.

 

Charlie Vlk

Railroad Model Resources 

 







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Jerry Michels
 

There is one simple answer.  Very few people buy kits. If the demand was high and the companies made a profit, there would be kits.  Jerry Michels


Dennis Storzek
 

On Sat, Jul 24, 2021 at 01:19 PM, Andy Carlson wrote:
Charlie, I can see that as an industry consultant that you may believe packaging kits is more expensive than making RTR cars.
 
That is so wrong--anyone who has watched Rapidos' video visits to their Chinese factories can't come up with your conclusion.
Andy,

None of that makes any difference.The problem is, those companies we think of as manufacturers, really aren't; they contract all their manufacturing out. As such, they have no direct control over their costs; they are at the mercy of what they are quoted. The Chicom manufacturers aren't stupid, they know that their costs are rising and if all they do is build the tools and mold the parts, the day will come where they start losing work to somewhere else. They recognize that their major advantage is their low cost of assembly, and for the last twenty years have manipulated their price quotes to "lock" their customers into a pre-assembled product. I recall Bill Wischer telling me that years ago he had tried to to split a run between between RTR and kits, and the prices he was given were within fifty cents of each other. Never mind that the contractor's costs likely were vastly different, this wasn't a cost plus deal, and what he was quoted was what he would have to pay. That fifty cents would only translate to a dollar on what at the time was a twenty dollar product, but the perceived added value to the customer of the pre-assembled model was five times that. Thus, it was simply not doable. Since China entered the model railroading supply chain, they have worked to totally change the character of the product, to their advantage.

Dennis Storzek


Charlie Vlk
 

I certainly can’t argue with Dennis as he has intimate firsthand real experience on all sides of the discussion and ocean.

 

I think the consumer might underestimate the system design and supervision that goes into the production of kits and finished items. 

To some degree the parts count problem is largely self-administering during the assembly of a finished item….it becomes pretty obvious at several stages of assembly and inspection that a part is missing if the system is set up properly.

Keeping track of the packing of a myriad of parts into a “kit” seems to me to be less obvious.   A miscounted screw or a mal-formed part on a sprue might be overlooked in packing but harder not notice during assembly. 

But, as Dennis says, it is largely moot as the oversees factories know what they are going to charge for a project and the outcome is not influenced by our logic at all.  

It used to drive me nuts when the production minimums for Undecorated or number-less units was the same as fully decorated items.  My thinking was just-set-aside-raw-plastic-parts-and-don’t-paint-them,-then,-assemble-them!   More sales, less overall work!!  But to their mind, no, a line item on a spreadsheet has to follow the “rule”.  ARGHHH!!!!  

(on topic, that was likely the reason that you had to buy 3 Kato ACF Covered Hoppers in one box….the profit on the SKU was pre-determined and that dictated the packaging….even though the consumer did not want to be forced to buy 3 of one roadname at a time…even if they were probably going to want six different numbers in that railroad!

It is what it is….deal with it, as Dennis says!!!

 

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   Perhaps someday an open full service factory modeled on the Chinese Sandi Kan, Kader, etc.. success can be established to allow boutique Model Railroad Companies to continue without having to take on the myriad of problems for individual low-production enterprises.  At that point kits may make a comeback if there are appreciable differences in labor for assembly vs. straight packing…but don’t expect to ever see the equivalent of a $1.98 Blue Box kit!

 

Charlie Vlk

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dennis Storzek
Sent: Saturday, July 24, 2021 11:29 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

On Sat, Jul 24, 2021 at 01:19 PM, Andy Carlson wrote:

Charlie, I can see that as an industry consultant that you may believe packaging kits is more expensive than making RTR cars.

 

That is so wrong--anyone who has watched Rapidos' video visits to their Chinese factories can't come up with your conclusion.

Andy,

None of that makes any difference.The problem is, those companies we think of as manufacturers, really aren't; they contract all their manufacturing out. As such, they have no direct control over their costs; they are at the mercy of what they are quoted. The Chicom manufacturers aren't stupid, they know that their costs are rising and if all they do is build the tools and mold the parts, the day will come where they start losing work to somewhere else. They recognize that their major advantage is their low cost of assembly, and for the last twenty years have manipulated their price quotes to "lock" their customers into a pre-assembled product. I recall Bill Wischer telling me that years ago he had tried to to split a run between between RTR and kits, and the prices he was given were within fifty cents of each other. Never mind that the contractor's costs likely were vastly different, this wasn't a cost plus deal, and what he was quoted was what he would have to pay. That fifty cents would only translate to a dollar on what at the time was a twenty dollar product, but the perceived added value to the customer of the pre-assembled model was five times that. Thus, it was simply not doable. Since China entered the model railroading supply chain, they have worked to totally change the character of the product, to their advantage.

Dennis Storzek


Tony Thompson
 

Charlie Vlk wrote:

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

Tony Thompson



Ken Adams
 

I thought Accurail and Moloco were still manufacturing in the US. Accurail of course keeps their kits very simple. 

It's unfortunate that the hobby has gone the way it has. Tariff wars and mass and technological changes favoring produced 3 D prints may change the industry in the near future.  The longer future may bring raw material prices for plastic and resin both for 3D printing and casting to unaffordable levels due to climate change impact on future production of hydrocarbon based materials. 

Perhaps the future may make our modeling of layouts structures and railroad equipment affordable only a virtual exercise in super realistic simulator software.

--
Ken Adams
Still in splendid Shelter In Place solitude, about half way up Walnut Creek
Owner PlasticFreightCarBuilders@groups.io


Brian Carlson
 

I have enough kits fit the rest of my life lol. About 200 resin and plastic. I’m a slow builder. Things are always available if you look long enough. 

Brian J. Carlson 

On Jul 25, 2021, at 7:38 PM, Ken Adams <smadanek44g@...> wrote:



I thought Accurail and Moloco were still manufacturing in the US. Accurail of course keeps their kits very simple. 

It's unfortunate that the hobby has gone the way it has. Tariff wars and mass and technological changes favoring produced 3 D prints may change the industry in the near future.  The longer future may bring raw material prices for plastic and resin both for 3D printing and casting to unaffordable levels due to climate change impact on future production of hydrocarbon based materials. 

Perhaps the future may make our modeling of layouts structures and railroad equipment affordable only a virtual exercise in super realistic simulator software.

--
Ken Adams
Still in splendid Shelter In Place solitude, about half way up Walnut Creek
Owner PlasticFreightCarBuilders@groups.io


Dennis Storzek
 

On Sun, Jul 25, 2021 at 04:38 PM, Ken Adams wrote:
I thought Accurail and Moloco were still manufacturing in the US. Accurail of course keeps their kits very simple. 
Accurail keeps their kits very simple for a reason; beyond a certain level of complexity there is very little market.

A story. Back in the early days of production in China, LifeLike brought their P-S grain hopper (I forget exactly what the prototype was) both ways; both fully assembled and as a kit. At one of the trade shows I was talking to a hobby shop owner from the KC area who had bought both, only to watch the kits sit on the shelf... and sit... and sit. He finally solved this problem by having the high school kid he had as an afternoon counter clerk build them. Then they sold.

Dennis Storzek 


Brian Carlson
 

Life-like Underpriced their initial ready to run models. I was buying Greenville gons and type 21 tank cars for $10-$15 built. 

Brian J. Carlson 

On Jul 25, 2021, at 10:02 PM, Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...> wrote:

A story. Back in the early days of production in China, LifeLike brought their P-S grain hopper (I forget exactly what the prototype was) both ways; both fully assembled and as a kit. At one of the trade shows I was talking to a hobby shop owner from the KC area who had bought both, only to watch the kits sit on the shelf... and sit... and sit. He finally solved this problem by having the high school kid he had as an afternoon counter clerk build them. Then they sold.

Dennis Storzek 


Tim O'Connor
 


Being an importer means all you need is money. No factory, employees, regulations, etc to worry about.
China is incredibly successful because they offer "one stop shopping" from design to production, and this
has been a boon to low-headcount importers who can simply focus on high value design and art and sales.
When most of us were much younger this is how brass models were made. Same strategy, new materials
now.

Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too? I recall that some places have tried
other countries besides China - Atlas and Walthers come to mind - Brazil perhaps? And I think I read that
Moloco has tried Vietnam.

Kadee is the amazing exception. But it ain't easy - just ask Sam Clarke. :-\

Tim O'Connor


On 7/25/2021 6:20 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:
Charlie Vlk wrote:

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

Tony Thompson


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Tim O'Connor
 


Underpriced and overproduced. I remember buying 6 packs of shrink wrapped P2K kits for $30 !!
Almost everything they did was available dirt cheap for a while if you bought kits. Even the "quick" kits
were dirt cheap. The only car I know that was not overproduced was the insulated Type 21 tank car,
which appeared near the end of P2K.

The P-S grain hopper was the "high hip" 4427. A fine model, but it has since been superceded by the
Tangent version of the same prototype.

Tim O'Connor



On 7/25/2021 10:13 PM, Brian Carlson via groups.io wrote:
Life-like Underpriced their initial ready to run models. I was buying Greenville gons and type 21 tank cars for $10-$15 built. 

Brian J. Carlson 

On Jul 25, 2021, at 10:02 PM, Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...> wrote:

A story. Back in the early days of production in China, LifeLike brought their P-S grain hopper (I forget exactly what the prototype was) both ways; both fully assembled and as a kit. At one of the trade shows I was talking to a hobby shop owner from the KC area who had bought both, only to watch the kits sit on the shelf... and sit... and sit. He finally solved this problem by having the high school kid he had as an afternoon counter clerk build them. Then they sold.

Dennis Storzek

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Jerry Michels
 

Tony's comment about Kadee is very interesting.  Would really like to see comments on this.  Jerry Michels


Steve SANDIFER
 

I do know that Vietnam is involved in production for some manufacturers. I think some are looking elsewhere due to the political situation with China.

 

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 8:56 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 


Being an importer means all you need is money. No factory, employees, regulations, etc to worry about.
China is incredibly successful because they offer "one stop shopping" from design to production, and this
has been a boon to low-headcount importers who can simply focus on high value design and art and sales.
When most of us were much younger this is how brass models were made. Same strategy, new materials
now.

Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too? I recall that some places have tried
other countries besides China - Atlas and Walthers come to mind - Brazil perhaps? And I think I read that
Moloco has tried Vietnam.

Kadee is the amazing exception. But it ain't easy - just ask Sam Clarke. :-\

Tim O'Connor


On 7/25/2021 6:20 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:

Charlie Vlk wrote:

 

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

 

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

 

Tony Thompson

 


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Jim and Barbara van Gaasbeek
 

But the molds and other tooling for existing models are in China.  May be hard to move that production.

 

Jim van Gaasbeek

Irvine, CA

 

(BTW, and completely OT, it is raining here, in July!)

 

 

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve SANDIFER
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 9:07 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

I do know that Vietnam is involved in production for some manufacturers. I think some are looking elsewhere due to the political situation with China.

 

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 8:56 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 


Being an importer means all you need is money. No factory, employees, regulations, etc to worry about.
China is incredibly successful because they offer "one stop shopping" from design to production, and this
has been a boon to low-headcount importers who can simply focus on high value design and art and sales.
When most of us were much younger this is how brass models were made. Same strategy, new materials
now.

Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too? I recall that some places have tried
other countries besides China - Atlas and Walthers come to mind - Brazil perhaps? And I think I read that
Moloco has tried Vietnam.

Kadee is the amazing exception. But it ain't easy - just ask Sam Clarke. :-\

Tim O'Connor


On 7/25/2021 6:20 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:

Charlie Vlk wrote:

 

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

 

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

 

Tony Thompson

 


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


 

Depends on who owns the molds, though.

 

 

Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni

 

 

From: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Jim and Barbara van Gaasbeek <jvgbvg@...>
Reply-To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Date: Monday, July 26, 2021 at 11:45 AM
To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

But the molds and other tooling for existing models are in China.  May be hard to move that production.

 

Jim van Gaasbeek

Irvine, CA

 

(BTW, and completely OT, it is raining here, in July!)

 

 

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve SANDIFER
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 9:07 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

I do know that Vietnam is involved in production for some manufacturers. I think some are looking elsewhere due to the political situation with China.

 

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 8:56 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 


Being an importer means all you need is money. No factory, employees, regulations, etc to worry about.
China is incredibly successful because they offer "one stop shopping" from design to production, and this
has been a boon to low-headcount importers who can simply focus on high value design and art and sales.
When most of us were much younger this is how brass models were made. Same strategy, new materials
now.

Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too? I recall that some places have tried
other countries besides China - Atlas and Walthers come to mind - Brazil perhaps? And I think I read that
Moloco has tried Vietnam.

Kadee is the amazing exception. But it ain't easy - just ask Sam Clarke. :-\

Tim O'Connor


On 7/25/2021 6:20 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:

Charlie Vlk wrote:

 

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

 

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

 

Tony Thompson

 


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Chris Sawicki
 

Having worked on transferring US manufacturing to China (against my wishes), ownership of the injection molds does not guarantee you can reclaim and transfer back out of the country. China, in general can make it difficult or impossible with regulations, fees, customs and other barriers. China is very friendly and cooperative when they see an ongoing business relationship. But can be destructive otherwise. And they do not maintain your owned tooling to maximize its life. 

In many business cases the only way to reshore back to the US is to start over, build new tooling. Having design and manufacturing process knowledge is just as important. The hobby, toy, electronics industries in the US probably got hit harder than most and with that the US lost a lot of small job shops, toolmakers, injection molders-our manufacturing infrastructure.

Chris Sawicki

On Monday, July 26, 2021, 12:03:24 PM CDT, BRIAN PAUL EHNI <bpehni@...> wrote:


Depends on who owns the molds, though.

 

 

Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni

 

 

From: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Jim and Barbara van Gaasbeek <jvgbvg@...>
Reply-To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Date: Monday, July 26, 2021 at 11:45 AM
To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

But the molds and other tooling for existing models are in China.  May be hard to move that production.

 

Jim van Gaasbeek

Irvine, CA

 

(BTW, and completely OT, it is raining here, in July!)

 

 

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve SANDIFER
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 9:07 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

I do know that Vietnam is involved in production for some manufacturers. I think some are looking elsewhere due to the political situation with China.

 

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 8:56 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 


Being an importer means all you need is money. No factory, employees, regulations, etc to worry about.
China is incredibly successful because they offer "one stop shopping" from design to production, and this
has been a boon to low-headcount importers who can simply focus on high value design and art and sales.
When most of us were much younger this is how brass models were made. Same strategy, new materials
now.

Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too? I recall that some places have tried
other countries besides China - Atlas and Walthers come to mind - Brazil perhaps? And I think I read that
Moloco has tried Vietnam.

Kadee is the amazing exception. But it ain't easy - just ask Sam Clarke. :-\

Tim O'Connor


On 7/25/2021 6:20 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:

Charlie Vlk wrote:

 

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

 

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

 

Tony Thompson

 


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Jim and Barbara van Gaasbeek
 

Yes, but I can just see an American mold owner trying to get their molds back from a Chinese factory, especially in our current political conditions.  Lots of lawyers and lots of years, with the Chinese factory refusing to produce anything.

 

Jim

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of BRIAN PAUL EHNI
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 10:03 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

Depends on who owns the molds, though.

 

 

Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni

 

 

From: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Jim and Barbara van Gaasbeek <jvgbvg@...>
Reply-To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Date: Monday, July 26, 2021 at 11:45 AM
To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

But the molds and other tooling for existing models are in China.  May be hard to move that production.

 

Jim van Gaasbeek

Irvine, CA

 

(BTW, and completely OT, it is raining here, in July!)

 

 

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve SANDIFER
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 9:07 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

I do know that Vietnam is involved in production for some manufacturers. I think some are looking elsewhere due to the political situation with China.

 

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 8:56 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 


Being an importer means all you need is money. No factory, employees, regulations, etc to worry about.
China is incredibly successful because they offer "one stop shopping" from design to production, and this
has been a boon to low-headcount importers who can simply focus on high value design and art and sales.
When most of us were much younger this is how brass models were made. Same strategy, new materials
now.

Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too? I recall that some places have tried
other countries besides China - Atlas and Walthers come to mind - Brazil perhaps? And I think I read that
Moloco has tried Vietnam.

Kadee is the amazing exception. But it ain't easy - just ask Sam Clarke. :-\

Tim O'Connor


On 7/25/2021 6:20 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:

Charlie Vlk wrote:

 

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

 

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

 

Tony Thompson

 


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


 

True!

 

 

Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni

 

 

From: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Jim and Barbara van Gaasbeek <jvgbvg@...>
Reply-To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Date: Monday, July 26, 2021 at 12:44 PM
To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

Yes, but I can just see an American mold owner trying to get their molds back from a Chinese factory, especially in our current political conditions.  Lots of lawyers and lots of years, with the Chinese factory refusing to produce anything.

 

Jim

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of BRIAN PAUL EHNI
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 10:03 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

Depends on who owns the molds, though.

 

 

Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni

 

 

From: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Jim and Barbara van Gaasbeek <jvgbvg@...>
Reply-To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Date: Monday, July 26, 2021 at 11:45 AM
To: <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

But the molds and other tooling for existing models are in China.  May be hard to move that production.

 

Jim van Gaasbeek

Irvine, CA

 

(BTW, and completely OT, it is raining here, in July!)

 

 

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve SANDIFER
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 9:07 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 

I do know that Vietnam is involved in production for some manufacturers. I think some are looking elsewhere due to the political situation with China.

 

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2021 8:56 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)-now Why Aren't There Production Kits?

 


Being an importer means all you need is money. No factory, employees, regulations, etc to worry about.
China is incredibly successful because they offer "one stop shopping" from design to production, and this
has been a boon to low-headcount importers who can simply focus on high value design and art and sales.
When most of us were much younger this is how brass models were made. Same strategy, new materials
now.

Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too? I recall that some places have tried
other countries besides China - Atlas and Walthers come to mind - Brazil perhaps? And I think I read that
Moloco has tried Vietnam.

Kadee is the amazing exception. But it ain't easy - just ask Sam Clarke. :-\

Tim O'Connor


On 7/25/2021 6:20 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:

Charlie Vlk wrote:

 

If somebody wanted to go through the hassle of setting up a full-blown factory here in the US, talk to Accurail, Bowser, Con-Cor, Atlas, Inter-Mountain, or any other of the companies that eventually had to partially or completely give in to overseas production or assembly.   

 

Or maybe you would want to talk to Kadee instead. C’mon, Charlie. 

 

Tony Thompson

 


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Dennis Storzek
 

On Mon, Jul 26, 2021 at 06:56 AM, Tim O'Connor wrote:
Have Accurail and Bowser out-sourced their injection molding too?
As far as Accurail is concerned, all our molding is still right here in Elburn, IL, USA. We did send some assembly work to China in the first decade of this century (anyone remember Accuready?) but stopped with the economic downturn that caused several firms to lose partially completed product as contractors closed and simply disappeared. We never re-started the assembly program... I got tired of hearing "Send tools, all problems solved!" as the answer to any and all complaints. That would have been the end of the kit line.

Dennis Storzek