Great American Layouts


Great American Layouts Thread Locked

  • Has anyone else recently received a DVD titled Great American Layouts from Product Programs in Manchester, PA? At first I thought this was an offering from Kalmbach Publishing because of the Classic Trains, Model Railroader, and Garden Railways logos prominently displayed on the DVD case. And because I'm a model railroader, and this DVD was mailed to me, and I subscribe to GR, I believe that Kalmbach is somehow involved in this.

    I have never, and still don't approve of this kind of marketing.  At worst, it tends to make some people feel obligated to buy because " the company has gone to all this trouble to send it to me ' and at the very least, it requires me to go out of my way to return something I never ordered.

    How are the rest of you handling this. I'm inclined to pass the DVD, unopened, on to some other modeler without the attached paperwork ........ any thoughts?


    "You get too soon old and too late smart" - Amish origin
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  • Walt I also got this DVD I am halfway thru it. It is from Klambach. They did a series a few years ago called Dream Plan Build about model railroad layouts. They marketed them the same way. Send the DVD and rely on the honesty of the subscribers. Namely if you dont like it, to send it back or to pay for it and get the next in series. Technically you are under no legal obligation to either pay for it or to send it back. Technically and legally its an unsolicited gift. I plan to send mine back, so far its not much interest to me even though the one layout I've gotten thru is very good. It's just not what I'm doing scale, region or guage. Since it has a return envelope I'll just send it back.

      Have fun with your trains

  • I too received this DVD. I too looked at about 50% and will be sending it back. The RR sounds were well done and fit the action on the video nicely.

    Since I left HO modeling 3-4 years ago I did not find the DVD very useful for my Large Scale RR outdoors as the modeling techniques demonstrated could not be used "out in the elements."

    If a Garden RR DVD should happen by I might keep it and send in the payment.


    Doc Tom

  • if they did one in large scale RRs with the same name, I'd buy one.

    Is it REAL? or Just 1:29 scale?

    Long live Outdoor Model Railroading.

  • These are re-releases of the Allen Keller "Great Model Railroads" videos that were originally released as VHS tapes over a span of 20+ years.  All of them will be indoor O, HO, and N scale layouts. 

    Our club was given volumes 1 through 53 a few years ago, and I don't recall one single G scale program among them.

    As the enclosed literature indicates and has been discussed on the Trains and Model Railroader magazine forums over and over, you can either keep the disk as a gift or send it back and request that they send no more.  Otherwise, you'll probably start getting one every month and will be billed $29.98 or so for each one.

    United States Postal Service regulations state that you are under no obligation to pay for unsolicited material so even if they do start sending you a different disk each month, they can't make you pay for them unless you specifically subscribe to the series by returning the enclosed card and indicating that you do want to receive future issues.

    If you don't like it, simply put it in the enclosed postage-paid envelope together with the card and send it back.

  • Got one, watched about 6 minutes, threw it into the recycle tub. If it was large scale, indoor OR outdoor, that would be a whole different story.

    Tom Trigg

    Planning for tomorrow is time well spent; worrying about tomorrow is time wasted.....

  • Tom I would suggest fishing it out and using the envelope to mail it back with the 'dont send' box checked off, this will save you from recieving about a dozen billing attempts. this is based on experience with a past dvd that got lost in the mail, I never recieved it but I sure recieved a heckovalotta payment requests for it. That was the last of the Design Plan Build series for me. Also without sending the envelope back as marked you may continue to recieve further disks in the series.

    I liked the layouts in the first disk, its just not what I'm doing and besides I already have a dozen of the DPB series and really dont need any more train DVDs.

      Have fun with your trains

  • I got one.

    Opened it at the P.O. read the return directions and followed them immediately and precisely!

    Don't believe everything you think!

  • I was upset enough when I received this that I was ready to cancel my subscription to Garden Railways magazine.  Years ago when  I received on of these types of things, when I subscribed to Model Railroader I stopped subscribing to it.  I don't care for Terry's methods of making money.  But after reading some of the posts, I guess I'll just toss it and forget about it.  Until they demand payment.  Then I'll drop Garden Railroads.


  • Vic, last time they snt out the "blind" mailinings I did not get one, but got about six "notes for payment" anyway. It is their problem, not mine. Besides, the post office could use the business.

    Tom Trigg

    Planning for tomorrow is time well spent; worrying about tomorrow is time wasted.....

  • I received it last week.  I viewed it to discover it was indoor and small scale.  Nice work by those guys but nothing applicable to what I do in the sport/hobby.  I returned it with a note saying I would be interested in anything in the GR world but not to send anything else to me. 


  • Thanks for your responses. It appears that this sort of thing doesn't bother most of you, but it still bothers me. I think this marketing technique is tacky and I wish that a magazine that I enjoy and subscribe to didn't use it.  I'll take your lead and return it, unopened,  and ask that they not send any more.


    "You get too soon old and too late smart" - Amish origin
  • Walt,

    Read the instructions on the card that comes with the DVD -- they don't want it returned unopened.  They want you to keep the shipping case and return only the disk and the card indicating that you are not interested and don't want future releases.

    I agree with other people that this is a rather tacky sales tactic, but Kalmbach is evidently getting enough people interested in them to continue the practice -- this must be the third or fourth mailing of this type over the years I have been a subscriber to Model Railroader and Garden Railways.  All of them have been returned.