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Direction of the hobby..

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Direction of the hobby..
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 31, 2003 5:14 AM
I took a hiatus from model railroading from 1999 to 2002. During this time, the freight car kit became less of an entity in the hobby and I don't understand why. Athearn, Intermountain, MDC, Walthers and others all started offering ready to roll freight cars. I am certain that they would not be doing this, if demand was not there. They site, the reason; "People just don't have the time to devote to building a fleet of car kits, like they used to". However, also during this time, due to laser and other CNC methods of making parts on short-run machines, the amount of craftsman structure kits has dramatically increased! I don't understand the logic in this. My favorite thing is; to go down stairs and spend one evening building one freight car kit! I hope the freight/passenger car kit doesn't become obsolite! If it does I will loose my interest in this hobby!
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Posted by eastcoast on Friday, October 31, 2003 9:02 AM
most of the manufacturers are making for the masses.
They study what people want at the time and develop a
product to suit them. Most are going to RTR but yes you
will find some kits out there still. I don't feel you should quit
over not being able to put cars together,since there are so
many other aspects of model railroading to be interested in.
If you like building things, try structures or detailing your existing
fleet. The direction of the hobby as a whole is just trying to get
more of the population into the hobby by making it easier to start.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 31, 2003 11:02 AM
Dear Eastcoast,
Your not saying anything I didn't already admit. I understand that the manufacturers are responding to what the masses want. However, I think it weird that craftsman structure kits are getting popular at the same time car kits are being replaced with RTR. I am totally involved in this hobby and am building a layout, I build structures, kit bash/mingle, super detail, build scenery, run my trains with DCC and also enjoy the wiriing aspect of the hobby. I was into R/C for twenty years and got out of it because of many reasons, one of which, was the proliferation of ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) airplanes and their high costs!

What I am saying is; Personally, I don't want RTR cars! They both cost too much and leave out what is important to me, the reward of building!
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 31, 2003 11:33 AM
I agree that the apparent reduction in the number of kits out there is not a good thing. Athearn, Walthers et al seem to be heading for RTR only. This isn't good news to my mind. I (and I suspect many others) was drawn to modelling US-outline HO scale because of the easily-assembled prepainted kits that cost far less than equivelent British or other European models. Now the kits seem to be slowly disappearing from manufacturers ranges, often to be replaced by RTR models made from the kits. For example, Athearn seem to have ceased production of their 5-unit double stack cars. According to their website they're planning to bring out RTR versions which will be priced at about $70-$80 - this will probably translate to about £75 in the UK. Compared to the £30 price tag for the kit version. I realise that this price increase is due to increased production costs (gotta pay for extra workers to build 'em), but I'd rather buy the kit and spend the money saved on containers to load it with!

My main arguement, therefore, is that while RTR is a good thing for those who can afford it, kits should not be phased out as they provide a cost-effective way for new modellers to get started. A well-designed kit (as most of the HO-scale ones I have built are) is very enjoyable to build and gives a sense of achievement - You feel more accomplished when you tell your friends "I built that, came as a pile of parts" than when you simply take new locos/cars out of the box and put them on the track.
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Posted by CP5170 on Friday, October 31, 2003 2:13 PM
I agree with you that I would like to see the manufacturers retain the production of kits. Young people today cannot afford to get into model rr if an engine and ten cars cost $500.00 ( 29.95/car, engine $125 plus tax). I know that my grandson ( 5 years old) is interested in getting the hobby but his parents can't afford to purchase RTR equipment. He'll just have to wait until his grandfather wills them to him.

I agee with you that I enjoy putting together kits and the satisfaction that it brings. I have not purchased a RTR car as they are twice the price. When I asked a dealer at a local show if the RTR was worth twice the price, his answer was that the detail was better but you weren't getting twice the value.

Here's hoping that the manufacturers keep the kits.
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Posted by cp1057 on Friday, October 31, 2003 9:44 PM
RTR, RTR... instant gratification but often oh so expensive.

I must confess, yes I have bought some RTR equipment this year, but it was the good ol' Athearn blue box kits that allowed me to build up a car fleet quickly.

One project that gave me a lot of pleasure was buying several undecorated box car kits and getting rub-on transfers for them. One was given a road number to match my older daughter's birthday (150698) and the other my wife's (190668) What's more I found cans of decore spray paint at my local Canadian Tire store that were a rather good approximation of my prepainted Athearn boxcars. A production line was set up!

I think the spread of RTR equipment at the expense of kits it similar to the diecast stock car craze which has led to the decline of car kits.

On a happy note I recently picked up a KIT of a wooden combine car lettered for Canadian National suitable for branchline service. Made by Roundhouse.

Charles
Hillsburgh On
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Posted by METRO on Sunday, November 2, 2003 2:43 AM
There is nothing more relaxing than watching an old comedy and building Athearn CN boxcars. Kits will never go out of production for one main reason: COST! I would much rather spend less than ten dollars on an old Athearn passenger car kit than buy a thirty-five dollar Walthers car just because they did all the assembly for me. One thing that has really scared me lately is seeing Athearn turn all of these great old super-affordable kits into just another set of RTR mid-range products.
Bottom line: There I just something more personal about rolling stock that I put the glue on, instead of some nameless faceless person in some factory somewhere.
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Posted by eastcoast on Monday, November 3, 2003 8:28 AM
Hey, did I offend anybody????????
I am also a kit basher and builder myself.BELIEVE ME, I do not want the kits to go away either. If they did, my work would be that much harder to put my own roadname on equipment. As many of us, I am a VERY specific shopper when I purchase models of any kind. I felt I stated a fact and got called to the carpet on it. Thank you for setting me straight. What I feel can be done is to use the line of communication and let these manufacturers KNOW that kitbuilders are not dead. I am in a position now where I mainly HAVE to order my things from catalog.
ken_ecr
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Posted by willy6 on Monday, November 3, 2003 2:06 PM
i agree with y'all about keeping the kits and they are cost effective.......that is the framework of this hobby,however i staying away from those PROTO 2000 kits,i did one so far and it kicked my butt,got 4 more to build,i'll wait for a cold winter day for them.
Being old is when you didn't loose it, it's that you just can't remember where you put it.
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Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, November 6, 2003 11:47 AM
We have a number of issues we need to come to grips with:
1. The influx of yuppies to the brass collection area demanding and getting super detailed engines at astronomical prices strictly for investing purposes
2. The influx of like minded indivdiuals who want a transcontinental railroad in their basements today - check the number of articles recently about people who have had their railroads built for them
3. upgrading in fidelity of detail in general at the expense of operation. I could not imagine a worse case scenario then a string of $25 cars heading into the graet abyss
4. A not thought through scenario about what the cost is to the average modeler by the average modeler
Frank Ellison had what was labeled as possibly the first true model railroad in O gauge in New Orleans in the 40's. Many people worked on his railroad for years and finally somebody did notice that the Pacific hauling the crack flyer had no lead or trailing truck. Frank said it had been removed seven years earlier to make it operate better. The detail we see in static pictures in a magazine is a result of being able to study a frozen scene. I defy anyone to do that level of detail gazing on any moving train. no one has ever commented on my drawbars between diesels, the removed center driver tires from my P5a's or several other items that would never photgraph well. But they all run well!
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 6, 2003 3:39 PM
I to must admit I am not happy wtih the fast dissapearing kits in the market place. I am however trying to do something about it. I am presently in college earing a business degree so that I can expand my already somwhat successful Custom Painting and design business into manufacuturing. The first project I am working on is a model of the Milwaukee Road "Superdome" I am about to start construction of the master and I estimate that I can offer the kit with full interior, lights, and passengers, and factory decorated for about $18.00. But I am not making garuntees to that price.

There are several other projects on the list including a manufacture of all versions fo Full Dome Cars.

Here is my Proposed production list I am working on.

1. Milwaukee Road "Superdome" (I expect the HO version to be ready late
2004)

2. Great Northern Full "Great" Dome

3. Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe. "Big Dome"

4, 5, 6, & 7. Amtrak "California" Cars

8, 9, 10, & 11. Amtrak "Surfliner" Cars

12. Milwaukee Road Ribside Bay Window Caboose.

13. Union Pacific Class CA-8 Caboose.

14. CNW Lander WY Station (post building reduction)

The way I am going to stay competitive is these kits will be produced in Casting Resin. As such modelers might have to become more familiar with the medium but the prices will be comprible if they stay steady to that of any mid ranged kit currently on the market. And with patients and a willingness to follow direction a beginning modeler should be quite able to put my kits together.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 10:12 AM
The Amtrak California cars should be good sellers - there's a post somewhere else on these boards asking if anyone produces them, and Athearn do matching locos. The dome cars sound good too!
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 10:53 AM
I will check it out.

I am kind of scrambling to get the surfliners and California Cars out. I am hoping on the fact that California Residents. (The most likely purchaser of these models) is a limited eneugh market that I with my lower overhead and production costs I can make a killing, but the big companies the margans are not eneugh for them to mess wtih. I guess if Walthers makes it to market before I do, I will have to count on the fact that my kits cost about half of Walthers RTR.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 7:54 PM
I also hope that kits don't disappear. I just recently got started in this hobby, and the main thing that attracted me to model rr is having the chance to put together, paint, decal, customize, etc. my own "model" locos and cars. Altho I have bought many RTR items, I have really derived the greatest enjoyment from those models that I personally constructed and designed!
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 8:58 PM
The manufacturers will respond to what we buy. I buy road name specific equipment and have found more every year. Limited production runs, higher costs, more diversity, and a dozen other factors affect availablity.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 13, 2003 6:57 PM
I've been in this hobby for almost 60 years and I can't help feeling that the hobby is slowly reverting back to tinplate days. G scale with their sharp curves and every thing ready to run. Standard and narrow gauge using the same track. The trend towards RTR in all scales. Thank goodness for Bowser, with their locomotive kits. N scale is mostly a buy and run scale, my son is an N gauger and we have had our differences.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 13, 2003 8:13 PM
Money talks, we look at model trains as a " hobby " to enjoy our free time.

The manufacturers are in this for one reason....to make a profit.

Most of the guys I meet in clubs or shows do not want to invest the time in applying, let alone painting handrails on engines or have a hard time assembling boxcars. The use of tweezers or pindrills turns them off.

Buildings however are larger and therefore easier to work on, and since they are usually molded in two or more colors an assembled building looks good from any beginner and gives him a better sence of accomplishment.

Have you tried to buy an Athearn engine lately???. GENESIS is in, OLD is out!!
The worst part of this for me is PRICE> I recently purchased Three " Blue Box " Athearn engines at a train show for the price of one new Genesis..

" Entry " level modeling is dissappearing as we speak, because the manufacturers can mass produce this stuff with cheap labor in Asia, and most people are paying the price for it. Give their marketing departments credit.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 14, 2003 5:27 AM
For me most, if not all, the attraction and fun in this hobby is researching and then making something. All my current structures are scratch built. The rolling stock is a combination of kits, bashing, and scratching. I look back at the first thing I made and laugh. I look at the latest project wish I had more skill. If that cycle ever stops I'll have to find something different to do with my time. RTR has its place and I wi***hose who occupy it well. Its not for me.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, November 16, 2003 11:02 AM
Lets face facts.
Unless you model some sort of industrial railroad...logging...mining...etc. or work equipment most standard gauge freight and passenger cars are BASICALLY the same for any given era. The paint job is what makes them different. The same can be said for most diesels. So RTR equipment has become popular, I suspect, because of the repetitious nature of amassing a fleet of rolling stock.

Buildings, on the other hand, are mostly different so building KITS give a modeler a chance to kit-bash or change things around to suit their needs. Also buildings are usually made up from flat panels with details added on making it easy to alter most kits.
Buildings and scenery, this is what makes our layouts different from each other. RTR buildings are also coming on-line for those who want them.

"G" scale is my main focus but I am also building a small CITY style switching layout in HO.

I'm also building a "micro" layout ( 20"x39" ) in Gn15.....1:24 scale on HO gauge track.
http://carendt.com
I can take a layout this small to swap meets and mall shows.

May all your weeds be wild flowers......OLD DAD
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 17, 2003 12:36 PM
I was thinking about this the other day. I was at Toys R Us with my nephew. I bought him a new 1/18 scale Ford pickup kit, diecast metal. It was in about 6-10 pieces, prepainted of course, and he put it together in the car before we got home. I remember building plastic kits when I was a kid in a few hours or days and my dad and grandfather would laugh at them. They remember making wood kits from a block of wood, pretty much building from scatch with no preformed parts. Even my paint jobs wouldn't impress them. Guess that's how it goes. Someday there might be a self-building kit you don't even have to take out of the box. Let it dissassemble itself and return it after a week!
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, November 22, 2003 6:22 PM
I am on a emergency buying spree to pick up the last of my car fleet from Athearn before they disappear. I was told they no longer make kits and going to Ready to Run. I am horrified at the prices for some of these cars.

I confess I have a few ready to run that I really like and were not offered in kit form. I am avoiding Proto kits as too many grab irons. I do buy Proto fully assembled cars -go figure. But only what is needed for the fleet for my modeled region.

I still like Accurail, some Walthers and Kato KITS. And there is a few round house kits in my fleet. If I had to recreate the 80 some cars in ready to run form at tomorrow's prices I would leave the Hobby with what I already have.

I love trains and models very much but the costs are getting way too serious. Especially for children who will want to run trains on the single parent's 6 dollar and hour "McJob" when the bills are barely paid and a little food is on table.

I suggest to an Idea of a "Trader Store" for trains. You have seen video games and such being sold in the stores at the mall for pennies on the orginal retail dollar. What would happen if enough people put together kits to sell and have inventory rolling in from deaths, estate sales, etc

In the mean time I'll finish off my fleet as completely as possible. Quickly. SAnd work on the 20 some rail structures before they too skyrocket in prices.
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Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 3:27 PM
Well if things go like they have in the past you can expect somebody to offer ZZ scale stuff any day now which will be half the size of Z. MR will proclaim it a break through and a great innovation in the hobby since Walthers will be the sole source and state that you can now have an entire railroad in minature in a suitcase. Engines will be $500.00 and up. Freight cars will be $100.00. Of course it will be so small you can probably claim you have individually numbered engines fo an entire railroad like the ATSF and who can dispute you since nobody can see it? MR will run several articles on superdetailing using a microscope and some fools will run out and buy it justifying its existence and driving the prices of the HO even higher to offset the losses. So overall expect prices to continue to spiral out of control and a retrenchment will take place by 2010 as people finaly wise up and say enough is enough! That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it. Of course I don't suffer from insanity either. I enjoy every minute of it.
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Posted by CBQ_Guy on Friday, November 28, 2003 10:05 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Railroading_Brit

I agree that the apparent reduction in the number of kits out there is not a good thing. Athearn, Walthers et al seem to be heading for RTR only. This isn't good news to my mind. <snip>

My main arguement, therefore, is that while RTR is a good thing for those who can afford it, kits should not be phased out as they provide a cost-effective way for new modellers to get started. A well-designed kit (as most of the HO-scale ones I have built are) is very enjoyable to build and gives a sense of achievement - You feel more accomplished when you tell your friends "I built that, came as a pile of parts" than when you simply take new locos/cars out of the box and put them on the track.


Yup!
(Note the quote in my sig line, btw)

Paul - "The CB&Q Guy"
--
"An important part of this hobby is building things, and the fun of building is nearly
always more important than the mere possession of a model" - Linn H. Westcott -
--
"Paul [Kossart] - The CB&Q Guy" [In Illinois] ~ Modeling the CB&Q and its fictional 'Illiniwek River-Subdivision-Branch Line' in the 1960's. ~
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 18, 2003 5:31 PM
i think someone's getting a little excited about the current changes in available kits in the marketplace. i observe that while things appear to change, everything stays the same. many years ago most kits were wood with added metal details and were accepted as "the standard." you could hear the screams as the great sacriledge hit the hobby. plastic kits were not accepted, were thought of as an inferior product to wood, junk that was going to ruin the hobby. oh, wailing and gnashing of teeth. now i read that RTR is the bane of the hoibby, will drive folks away, will be the end of everything as we know it. right! before we all panic, let us review just where the hobby is. you want kits? old timers refer to what you call kits as "shake the box" stuff. if you truely want to build, give up the idea of going to the basement and kicking a car together while you take in a TV show. you can spend exactly the same amount of money on freight cars in a month, just purchase something like a westerfield, sunshine, or funaro & camerlingo kit. it will not build in an evening, but you will be constructing a kit and have a masterpiece in the end. granted, it will take longer, much longer, to get a fleet of cars but so what? if the world ends next weekend it won't matter either way. if the world continues beyond next weekend, you will have something to keep you busy, involved in the hobby, and develop your craft type skills along the way.

or, you can turn into a nut like me. make a kit from scratch so it comes apart to form individual pieces that can be used as masters. use the masters to make rubber molds. make your own cast resin car kits. if you do not like to put on all the small details, just include them on the master, stuff like ladders, grabs, even roofwalks. then you really do have a "shake the box" type kit. you can find ways to continue to build kits if you really want that to be part of your hobby.

i urge you all to quit seeing the end of the hobby as you know it. adapt. change. like the romans used to say, "illigitimus y carborundum."

hang tough, do not yield an inch.

tom
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 21, 2003 10:38 AM
Dear Tpaulsen,

Thanks for e'splainin' it all to me! Your version of the world is, of course the one true version! Now that I know how it all works, I can calm my nerves. Again, Thanx
[bow]
DeSchane
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, December 22, 2003 2:28 PM
DeSchane

you are correct, i gave you my version. manufacturers like athearn are not going to change the direction they are headed in unless it blows up in their face. they bend to the market and the market seems to want ready to run. i share with others that like to build things a disappointment with todays' trends. i only wanted to point out that those that wi***o build something can continue to do so.

tom

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