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Does Bowser manufacturing still make stuff in the USA?

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:06 PM

Exactly.

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:06 PM

PRR_in_AZ

So essentially pre-ordering is telling the manufacturer that you'd be interested in purchasing "X" quantity of a product.  I'm guessing when they get enough interest they produce a run?  So, generally, no real guarantee the product will be available in the near future?

Chris

 

Or if they don't get enough in some limited time frame they cancel the project altogether. 

If it's something you really want, you need to pre-order and hope they get enough.  Otherwise you wait and take a chance. I have only pre-ordered twice and both times it was for something I really wanted.  In both cases a limited number were made and never repeated - nor do I think they ever will be.

Paul

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Posted by PRR8259 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:27 PM

I respectfully disagree.  The better manufacturers have a modest number of extras made to cover last minute buyers.

Preorders are essentially firm orders.  The manufacturer sets a preorder cutoff date.  If Bowser who has a preorder date either looming or past, does not receive enough orders for Santa Fe blue and yellow warbonnet F-9's by that date, they will not get made, period.

Unlike some brass importers of the past they do not sit around waiting for enough orders to come in and then say ok lets make it, years later.

Bowser, Atlas, and Intermountain are now sharing at least one factory.  Production slots have to be filled.  If there are not enough preorders then the production slot will go to someone else.  Last time I preordered it must have been a bad time for dealers as 4 different F-7's did not get made due to lack of orders.  This is also Walthers' problem:  announce cool passenger train at wrong time of year, or for delivery at wrong time of year (summer, when dealers are cash poor) and watch entire project crash and burn.

The one F-7 I wanted got all of 20 orders, far below minimum build quantity, and was never made.  I am hoping the Santa Fe F-9 does well enough.

John

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Posted by JEREMY CENTANNI on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:17 AM

Bowser makes kits still.

Purchased several that came out last month.

I'm dying for my order of Challenger scheme UP express cars to come in, should be next couple of days.

They might have the best detail of all the "kit" cars out there.  I have been very impressed by the last few releases.   Outside of cleaning up some casting flash here and there, the pieces fit together immacuately.

I like variety and the ability to switch stuff out and change it up. $40 cars don't help me out and due to traveling because of no home layout, less detail works out better for me due to transport and handling.

We also need ScaleTrains to offer more in their Kit Classic line as well.  Nice pieces for the money.

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, March 18, 2017 7:13 AM

tstage
I've been waiting for nearly 4 years for True Line Train to release their NYC 19000-series wood cabooses.

American Model Builders makes a kit of that caboose.

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, March 18, 2017 7:26 AM

Yes, and I have thought about purchasing one from time-to-time.  I also have four Waterlevel Models and one Gloorcraft kit that I still need to put together, paint, and/or detail.

Tom

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Posted by Bernd on Saturday, March 18, 2017 11:21 AM

The Bowser Hobby Shop and manufacturing shop.

Last year I was looking at their web site and came across a page describing how they were going to make the details parts. They described a 3D printer. I did a search for that 3D printer and came up with this link.

https://www.3dsystems.com/3d-printers/projet-1200

After about a month or so that page was no longer available. So I'm asuming they may still be making there prototype parts this way. These 3D printers are used by dentists for designing a single tooth for implant technology.

Bernd

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Posted by jsanchez on Sunday, April 09, 2017 8:45 AM

I know someone who is selling 3-d printed Ho  parts as a business, and they are very impressive, There are still quite a few Model Railroad companies making things here, it actualy has increased slightly with the wages increasingly rapidly in China. Micro-trains, Con-Cor, Deluxe Innovations, Woodland Scenics, JMD Plastics, Accurail, Bowser, Alpine Division, Micro-Engineering, Kadee, even Lionel has brought some production back, they have a really beautiful Line of rolling stock being made in Virginia. The U.S.A is still a good place to make things! When you factor in the stability,better supply possibilities, Chinese labor shortages(many of those who used to work for toy factories now work in the automotive manufacturing industry), not having to deal with overseas shipping there are advantages to bringing it home.

 

James Sanchez

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Posted by PRR8259 on Sunday, April 09, 2017 9:42 PM

The challenge is the Chinese labor is still so much less expensive than here.  Some folks are dreaming about bringing manufacturing back here.  In most cases the math just doesn't work.  China also has very few regulations on manufacturing relative to here (they can do things we can't; they can paint today's trains with lead paint if they want to and nobody will know any better--we can't).  Relocating an entire operation away from where it has been located in America (to another state with allegedly better prospects) is a huge financial proposition, with questionnable rate of return.  You are actually talking millions of dollars to up and move for a company the size of Bowser.  There are machines and tooling and parts inventories and stock, all of which would have to be packed and shipped, all of which would be an overhead charge to the company.  Then you will be laying off some really good employees, while still relocating entire families (yes plural) to the new location. You would be moving 50+ years worth of "stuff".

Also, selling kits takes more time to pack, and different packaging than rtr.  The Chinese are not good at picking and sorting parts into bags, and checking them, and they prefer not to do that at all--meaning when they do do it, they probably charge more.  They are good at rapid assembly, and if they drop a part on the floor, they simply pick up another from the tray and move on (this was discussed by Jason of Rapido in one of his videos of the Chinese factory). 

It is very easy for anyone to come online here and make statements about how things should be and the economic climate in one state, etc. being "better" than somewhere else.  It is quite another thing all together to begin to contemplate what would be required to relocate a manufacturer/importer.  There is quite simply much more equipment, tooling, hardware, etc. than most people can begin to comprehend.  Just the former steam engine tooling, if not yet disposed of (I have no idea of the final disposition, as it was being held for an alleged buyer), was a few millions of US dollars in value.

Regarding 3D printing:  a year or so ago Lee showed me some early 3D printed samples.  While neat and very interesting, the technology was not yet ready for prime time.  Lee keeps the 3D printed samples on his desk.  I doubt they are quite ready for freight car parts just yet.  I don't know how far along they actually are.  From what I saw it would be good for a new line of HO or O scale figures, which don't sell that great.  But to get crisp, clean freight car edges...may be easier with conventional molding techniques at the present time. 

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