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Is there somethng we are missing???

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Is there somethng we are missing???
Posted by Howard Zane on Monday, April 16, 2018 10:34 AM

There was once a saying...."Getting there is half of the fun" I recently viewed some of Woodland scenics and others' ready built HO buildings. They are quite nice and like their "Old homestead" weathered realistically. But for you newbies, actually building these either from craftsman wood (even plastic) kits or from scratch was tantamount to the above saying. For me this is a double edged sword....on one side, RTR everythngs allow more folks to enter the hobby as fewer skills are required and it seems now that the emphasis is on operation/electronics and running trains as soon as possible. This is fine as it satisfies many appetites, but think of the fun and pride of accomplishment many are missing by not building their trains and stuctures...and yes, locos also.

I cannot build anything that comes out as well as a ready made Kadee freight car or a ready to plant building, but when finished, it is mine and completely built by me. In my recent travels I visited many train stores on the route, and I have not found any wood kits being offered. Of course some shops had old stock or recently purchased collections that had some of these old kits, but not often.

Times do change. When we began the Timonium/Great Scale Model Train Show in 1982, it was about only scale and craftsman items and we allowed nothing else. Today the show is still going strong, but at least 50% of the items being offered for sale there, we would not have allowed decades back.

I do miss the old days and I am appreciating even more how much of a time capsule my basement is becoming.

Point: who the heck knows? I cannot inflict my values and tastes on others, but I do know for sure about the enjoyment many younger modelers are missing by going the RTR route.

HZ aka Old dinosaur

Howard Zane
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Posted by cuyama on Monday, April 16, 2018 10:49 AM

Your similar thread (even similar title) from a while back:
http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/257683.aspx

I imagine that the responses will be similar, as well. Some may want to cut-and-paste from their posts on the earlier thread to save typing time.

Craftsman kits and scratchbuilding are great for some with the skills and the time. RTR is a great option for many. 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, April 16, 2018 10:51 AM

All I can say it I simply don't have the time to do it all with a full-time job and a wife with a constant hunny-do list.  As it is I've spent the last couple months working on a Proto 2000 covered hopper kit and am only half way done.  You get the idea.  This is why RTR is a God send until I reach retirement and have the actual time.  Between now and then I have a basement to finish and then start building a layout again.  Must be nice to have a time capsule in the basement to walk into.  Values are one thing, time is another.

As cuyuma pointed out, wash, rinse repeat.  We are at the insanity stage with these topics; you know, rehashing the same thing over and expecting a different result.

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Posted by Howard Zane on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:12 AM

Sorry, this topic, I brought up before. I had forgot and was influenced when I saw the Woodland Scenics "Old Homestead" which is beautiful and beyond my scratch building capabilities.

Saying for the day....."Help stamp out and eliminate redundancy"

HZ

Howard Zane
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Posted by selector on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:12 AM

Different strokes for different folks.

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Posted by Paul3 on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:16 AM

You know, if you read old letters to the editor back in ancient MR's, you can find the exact same discussion.  People railed against plastic, they railed against kits.  Real model railroaders built things from scratch!  Using machine tools like Bridgeports and South Bends.  They never used that cheap plastic stuff, only metal and wood.  Bah!

Hey, the hobby is constantly evolving.  The great thing about it is that if you want to go "old school" there's nothing stopping you.  You can still cast your own smokebox fronts and wind your own DC motors if you want.  Me?  I prefer the modern hobby where I can model what I want to model and not have to model generic trains or the PRR/ATSF/UP/NYC (the most popular roads).

 

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:17 AM

I am capable of doing just about anything associated with this hobby, that being said, I pick my battles and that allows me to participate in the hobby to the extent I do. I must admit getting a little ticked off when people look down their nose at me for not scratch building everything on the layout and not hand laying all my track. Saturdays are spent at the hockey rink being involved with kids hockey. Sundays are often the same as well evenings in the week. I have also coached a lot of baseball and girls softball and played as well. 

I don't lament on why parents don't become more involved with their kid's activities or with the community in general. Why do some model railroaders spend valuable modeling time worrying about what is or is not scratch built on my layout? 

Model railroading can require skill and a lot of time depending on the commitment you make to the hobby, but then so does parenting.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:18 AM

I've built a couple of craftsman wood kits.  Other than that, my structures are a few plastic scratchbuilds, some DPM and Cornerstone modulars, and various plastic kits from Walthers, DPM and City Classics.  I have no ready-to-place kits on my layout.

Of course, this is my preference.  For me, even a 4-walls-and-a-roof kit comes with a lot of "play value" in the box.  By the time I've trimmed the parts for proper fit, painted the kit, assembled it, illuminated the structure and added at least a simple interior, I've spent a month before it's ready.  And yes, it's mine and I'm proud of the result.  I think my models look better than the built-ups, too, because they have interiors and are weathered.

I bought my craftsman kits off the shelf at my LHS.  Unfortunately, the owner retired and the shop is no more, but he did at least stock a few.  The boxes were dusty when I got them home.  Both kits were from Branchline Trains.  The first was Weimer's Mill, and I must admit it took me a long time to even take it out of the box, because I was intimidated and felt my modeling skills weren't up to it yet.  Eventually, I cleared a space and started.  I found it easier than I'd thought and was delighted with the results.  The next, Munns Depot, was even easier to build because I had some experience.

There are craftsman shows every few years around here.  They have a significant admission fee, but for that you get quality workshops.  The one I went to included a visit to the Franklin & South Manchester.  At the show, I saw lots of vendors with craftsman models I'd never seen.  It was well worth it.

Please keep encouraging us to take on more ambitious projects, Howard.  Yes, some are "missing something" in their modeling, but I'm not one of them.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:59 AM

Too each his own guys.
 
I bought several plastic kits early on but was never really satisfied with them.  I bought my first craftsman kit back in the 70s and was hooked.  I continued building craftsman kits over the years mainly because I didn’t think I could cut the mustard scratch building.  About eight years ago I give scratch building a shot and got really hooked, my first project turned out so good I’ve stuck with it.  I’ve replaced all the plastic structures on my layout with Mel scratch built’s except my roundhouse (Korber kit).
 
For myself building and kitbashing has always been much more satisfying than actually running my trains.  I like running them but I like building and construction much better.
 
As I have grown older (I’m older than dirt) I find sitting in a comfortable chair at my work bench in our hobby room easier on my back and legs than standing or even sitting at my layout control panel in the garage.
 

There’s only one thing better than retirement, Model Railroading!
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, April 16, 2018 12:00 PM

Most of the structures I have are wood craftsman kits I purchased when I was working a decade and a half ago and they were old then. These kits were about all I could find that represented the 1890's era I was/am modeling. They are Muir Models and Campbell Model's mostly but there are others. I've found that over the years pieces of these models have warped a little, cracked, and/or were just plain weak to begin with and so I have be re-inforcing and/or replacing walls/floors/roofs with styrene. 

I'm pretty sure that I would be building kits regardless, but since money is tight, I'm building what I own and bashing things to fit my needs. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, April 16, 2018 12:11 PM

Paul3
People railed against plastic, they railed against kits.  Real model railroaders built things from scratch! 

Been down that road too many times; horse beaten to death.

Hey, the hobby is constantly evolving.  The great thing about it is that if you want to go "old school" there's nothing stopping you.  ...  Me?  I prefer the modern hobby where I can model what I want to model 

Yes.  And the great thing about today, other than enduring complaints about the "good ol days" is that we have the best of both worlds.  There is still a lot of kits around on the secondary market for those who like to go the "bear skins and stone knives" route, and there is a ton of newer RTR stuff for the poor sods who don't have the skills and/or the time.  Choice is a good thing!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by nealknows on Monday, April 16, 2018 12:36 PM

Like many say 'Different strokes for different folks'. My railroad has3 Ready-built lighted buildings from Menards (yes, they're neat when lit), the other buildings are kits or kit-bashed flats from Walthers, DPM, City Classics. My skill level is not great and I'm quite satisified with their outcome. I never get any critics telling me how good or bad they look (maybe behind my back, but I don't care), and if they do make a comment I point them to the door and tell them to please don't let it hit them on the way out.

I think the RTR side does bring in more people to the hobby. I've seen it at train shows wherever I've been as both a customer and dealer. 

So bring on the kits, RTR cars & buildings! Let's keep the hobby alive!!

Neal

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, April 16, 2018 1:19 PM

As I probably said in the other thread - I use all of it.  About half my S cars are near RTR (need wheel swaps and KDs), the other half are kits - wood, plastic, resin, metal.  I use pre built buildings (some O gauge tend to be small and good for S) and build from kits.  I have scratch built in the past and probably will again.

But my major focus is building the layout, I am completing a move into a new house and hope to start the new layout in a month.  I will use as much RTR as possible - I want to get this one reasonably finished and at 71 I'm starting to slow down. 

But I also work on kits as a change of pace.  I have a refrigerator car from Ye Olde Huff n Puff and a church from Laserkits both under construction.

Paul

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, April 16, 2018 1:42 PM

Craftsman kits and scratchbuilding are great for some with the skills and the time. RTR is a great option for many. 

I buy a lot of stuff online. Sometimes for convenience, but mostly out of necessity. I live in the 2nd most populous town in the 11th most populous county in the 50th most populous state; there are no hobby shops within 100 miles.

I've seen ready-built structures on all the usual websites, but I can't bring myself to buy one sight unseen. Maybe they're good, but I'd like to see the joints, the paint job, the overall fit-and-finish, and you can't discern that stuff from a photo, particularly a photo of a generic sample of the particular model of interest. The assumption is that the stock clerk at MBK or Trainworld or whatever grabs the next one off the shelf and packs it up for shipment.

But I would like to buy plug-and-play structures, unpack them, and plop them into place on the layout. Instant scenery. I buy kits, but what I really want is kits molded in four or five colors so I don't have to spend so much time painting and masking and painting and masking.

No shame or guilt whatsoever in RTR.

Robert

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Posted by NWP SWP on Monday, April 16, 2018 1:46 PM

I think the RTR stuff is good for inexperienced/unknowledgable persons just entering the hobby, that said kits are good too. I have RTR and Kit rolling stock, the RTR is no where near as nice as the kits.

Steven

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:21 PM

NWP SWP

I think the RTR stuff is good for inexperienced/unknowledgable persons just entering the hobby, that said kits are good too. I have RTR and Kit rolling stock, the RTR is no where near as nice as the kits.

Then you aren't seeing the right RTR stuff.  Try somthing from Moloco or Tangent or ExactRail, or Wheels of Time, or Athearn Genesis etc.  and your eyes will be opened.  

If you think RTR stuff is good just for inexperienced/unknowledgable persons just entering the hobby then the stuff I mentioned above would be wasted on many people.  

Here are some examples: https://www.molocotrains.com/

Go there and click on some of the freight cars and then look at the photo's of the real thing - every detail is there except for weathering (which is up to the modeler).  Go Tangents website and you can compare model to prototype picture - again - works of art and something beginners probably would not be able to fully appreciate.

For inexperienced people, Athearn blue box kits or Model Die Casting kits are super easy to put together and the fact that many of them don't match any real freight car probably won't bother the beginner because they don't realize it.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Silly Aspie's, I have NT syndrome

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Posted by Heartland Division CB&Q on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:44 PM

I include RTR, upgraded RTR, EZ kit built, Craftsman kit built, kit bashed, and scratch built items on my layout without appologies. 

Also, I believe some old school purists have numerous brass models which are (yep, you guessed it) Ready-To-Run. 

GARRY

HEARTLAND DIVISION, CB&Q RR

EVERYWHERE LOST; WE HUSTLE OUR CABOOSE FOR YOU

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:53 PM

riogrande5761
For inexperienced people, Athearn blue box kits or Model Die Casting kits are super easy to put together and the fact that many of them don't match any real freight car probably won't bother the beginner because they don't realize it.

Jim, There's a lot of season modelers that still uses Athearn and Roundhouse cars simply because they see no need to run out and buy the newer cars and locomotives.

I just recently  added a DCC decoder to my favorite Athearn GP7 for club yard use simply because its a smooth switch engine.

At some point I might start using my GenKat SCL GP9 since it has DCC/sound.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, April 16, 2018 3:06 PM

Howard Zane
Point: who the heck knows? I cannot inflict my values and tastes on others, but I do know for sure about the enjoyment many younger modelers are missing by going the RTR route.

Howard, Today's young folk want precise cars and locomotives and quick and easy to build structure  kits.

My oldest brother in law join the ranks because he like sound and todays realistic cars and locomotives.

I sold my  collection of BB  and Roundhouse cars because neither my Grandson or  brother in law wanted them after I kick the bucket.

The hobby has changed over the years and keeps changing.

I often wondered what my Dad and his generation of modelers would think about today's hobby?

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by csxns on Monday, April 16, 2018 3:55 PM

riogrande5761
Then you aren't seeing the right RTR stuff. Try somthing from Moloco or Tangent or ExactRail, or Wheels of Time, or Athearn Genesis etc. and your eyes will be opened.

Can't say it any better.

Russell

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, April 16, 2018 5:18 PM

I am current building a Details Associates wood round house kit and have two Campbell kits sitting on the shelf so I don't know what you are talking about Big Smile

Somewhere along the line both custom layout builders and custom structure builders found a niche.  

Fine Scale Model kits and others came along.  I've never built one but I assume the complexity would be on a par with their price and not that of Plasticville kits.  If you botched a Plasticville kit, or never finished it, no big deal.  A FSM kit grabs the attention of most of our wallets.

40 years ago my computer time was 3 hours a week in a college Fortran class plus homework.  There was no Hulu, Netflix, Facebook, or 150 channels on TV.  Kids played little league in the spring.  Now kids sports are practically year round. 

It's not only the hobby that has changed, life has changed.  And not just our hobby.  If you remember when Hot Rods were hot, you built your own.  These days you just buy one for 40 or 50 grand and never get grease on your hands.

 

Henry

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, April 16, 2018 6:13 PM

Paul3
You know, if you read old letters to the editor back in ancient MR's, you can find the exact same discussion.  People railed against plastic, they railed against kits. 

Yep, I remember.  Indeed go back far enough and they even railed against ... brass locomotives! and using most if not all the same arguments.  

I know guys who are superb builders and detailers of rolling stock who have yet to ever build a structure of any kind.  It just doesn't interest them.  

Some of these ready built structures really are really nice models (some, like most of the Mendards offerings, or the old Ertl buildings, are between pretty nice and meh.  Some are just OK).  Me, I wouldn't reject the idea of a ready built just because it is a ready built.  

Having just found one of my past efforts (a Cannonball Car Shops PS-1 boxcar using the old Kurtz Kraft tooling) in a box, and noting all the fine detail parts that simply fell off or went missing in the intervening years or decades, and noting areas where I was not as careful with cement as I should have been, yet clearly used too little cement on some parts, and the overall disappointing look of the thing -- three cheers for the RTR Kadee boxcar.  It will take a long effort with chisel blades to get that CCS boxcar to where I can re-detail it with current after market parts (and evidently nobody makes separate boxcar door guides any more?) and at the end of the day with all that work, it will never look as good as a Kadee.  Oh well.  Vigorously weathering can cover a multitude of sins.

Dave Nelson 

 

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, April 16, 2018 6:16 PM

When I kept track of time, I found that it took me 1 month to build 1 square foot of my layout.  Scenery and structures are my thing, but that time also included time away from scenery to do wiring and build rolling stock kits, plus add Kadees to my older cars and upgrade to metal wheelsets.

I've spent a lot of time on my trains, but I've never kit-built a locomotive or hand-laid track.  I'm fine with bringing it home from the LHS.  To be honest, I don't think either would look better if it were not RTR.  Besides, I only have so much time, and after all these years my layout remains unfinished.  I don't have time to use craftsman kits for everything and still make much progress.

I've got lots of structure and plastic rolling stock kits stored away, purchased years ago.  I hope that when I go to the Big Roundhouse in the Sky, someone else will finish them and enjoy them.  I doubt that I'll ever have time to build them all.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by dragonriversteel on Monday, April 16, 2018 7:26 PM

Scratch building is an Art form. I've known quite a few folks who amaze me building things for their layout. 

I think scratch building,...anybody can do (if you meant me you'd see why). Granted most have many years if not decades under their belts. They started off like many.

If it's not available in kit form or is something dear to the modelers heart. Scratch building is the only way.

When 3D printing started picking up. I as a scratch builder was totally against it. I felt it took away from building something with your hands. Now if some 3D printer manufacturer made a printer that used POLYSTYRENE as a filament. Yup,on board ! Would pick one up to make scratch building easier. Printing cabs (cabs & handrails are my nemesis) would be great.

I also think scratch building something as a modeler in any scale. Is a right of passage in my humble opinion.

Most people are scared to even try scratch building. It's not hard to do and you pick up things from those who are kind enough to share insight.

So,if you've never scratch/bash anything. YOU ARE MISSING OUT on one of the most rewarding things in our hobby.

Patrick

Fear an Ignorant Man more than a Lion- Turkish proverb

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Posted by gregc on Monday, April 16, 2018 7:40 PM

I've built some Campbell kits, but as i approach retirement, i look forward to finally having the time to scratch build structures, replacing my foam buildings.   

    

 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, April 16, 2018 8:17 PM

This was one of my first photos I posted here:

Someone asked, "Is that scratchbuilt?"

To be honest, I had never even thought about it, but I had scratched almost everything in my subway station.  I even used liquid latex to make the molds for the Hydrocal castings of the tile walls and concrete platforms.  I dived right in and did it.  I learned and developed techniques every step of the way, and loved every minute of it.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by FRRYKid on Monday, April 16, 2018 8:57 PM

BRAKIE

Jim, There's a lot of season modelers that still uses Athearn and Roundhouse cars simply because they see no need to run out and buy the newer cars and locomotives.

I'm one of those modelers as well. I also have cars & engines from many of the other companies that have produced them in the last 20 years or so.  I also engines and cars that I have kitbashed. Some were done to match certain cars. Others (both cars and engines) were done to improve the running gear.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:16 PM

If folks nowadays want instant gratification, r-t-r is their answer.  I don't have a problem with that - have bought some myself.
However, I find there's something even nicer about the gratification of doing it yourself, and it seems to last longer, too. 

My time is just as valuable as anybody else's, and I don't feel that mine is being wasted.  Your results may vary.

Wayne

 

 

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Posted by angelob6660 on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:28 PM

I have RTR rolling stock and locomotives. Easier for to build a train.

I have ran into problems when it comes to Conrail. Today's freight cars has the same panels and bodies. When modeling CR I would need to cut panels off a coalporter or a gondola or it would the same as the prototype. It will be easier to get an undecorated car than using a existing car and try to match paints than gluing it back together.

I do have plastic and wood kits. It was fun for me build them. I got 2 building kits so I can kitbash into a large factory.

A few years ago I bought an HO Amtrak station so I convert the dimensions into N Scale. So I can have the modern Amtrak station for my trains. If I switch scales down the line I have the Amtrak station. It's a 2 to 1 thing.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by slammin on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:58 PM

As I get ready for my 7th decade, I find ready to run cars, Kadee, Tanget, etc more to my liking. I want more detail on my smaller layout. Failing eyesight and arthritic fingers make assembling the dozens of Branchline, IMWX, Intermountain and Red Caboose kits I have accumulated a challenge. I'm afraid RTR models aren't just for the young whippersnappers, but for some of us old geezers as well.

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