An open letter to Model Railroader about the BL niagara

snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote:


Interesting stuff there. I hadn't thought of stretching a 2-8-0.

It started when I melted the crosshead guide with my soldering iron and went downhill from there. I must say it was very ingenious of them to space the axle slots slightly differently from the siderod holes, and to use a flexible rubber tube as a combination tender-motor driveshaft and drawbar. Blaaaaaaaargh. I gave that monstrous thing away to a local watch repairman.
(This was the Sylvania Central 2-6-0, which I understand was one of their better kits. Too bad its mechanics were so crudacious; the castings actually looked pretty nice, and the loco did look pretty good as I put it together.)
Cordially yours, Gerard P.
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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote: [sexual references etc snipped]

No, you don't _need_ them. You _want_ them. It's your confusion of need and want that misleads you into believing that you are somehow entitled to having manufacturers making locomotives for what is a small market. A very small market, in fact.
The "serious model railroader" market in North America is around 100,000. A rather small fraction (much less than 10% I suspect) of which are serious NYC fans. And of those serious NYC fans, most are not as focussed on protoypical engine selection as you are. And of those who share your prefernce, a minority model late 30s NYC, and even fewer one year in that time frame.
You are minority within a minority within a minority within a minority, in fact. Live with it.
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

Having read this thread with interest, I can understand (up to a point) the original posting, & the fact that his letter was not published in theMR mag. That, I would think is nothing unusual for any mag, as they reserve the right to publish &/or edit what they like, whether we like it or not.
Above that, I doubt if there is anyone in the model railway fraternity that does not have his favourite system, engine, era, etc. that they want to model. Being an ex steam fireman, & then driver on the NSWGR (Australia) from 1964 -1988, I have a real desire to model the steam era in my state of the mid - late 50's.
For many years this has been an excercise of almost endless impossibilties. Firstly from the perspective of raising a family, & then trying to live off a meagre income following on from being medically retired.
Secondly to model anything other than overseas railways, IE: British, European, US & the like was out of the average modelers pocket range. The only option we had was many some close, or near enough was good enough models of one steam type, & one diesel type. Even the early brass examples were near enough.

were acceptable, the prices were very much out of the reach of most modellers. The next step was the white metal, & brass kits, which brought the price in to the reach of many in the hobby, however, even this created a problem.
Theat problem being, if you did not have the skils to build them, used the wrong solder etc, you ended up with not much more than molten metal. This brought a new industry in to the hobby, the kit assemblers. For a price you could have you white metal kit assembled, the cost was the same price as you paid for the kit. So a $450.00 kit became $900.00 plus painting of around $50.00 +. Thus the kit form was not cheap.
Today we are fortunate that there is a large new industry, of manufacturing loco's in China in RTR plastic, hwoever we must wait for our favourites, while others get their favourites in the first rush.
Over the ensuring years, I have seen many of the U.S models that have been produced, many models of one type with different road names etc. I do not know how genuine this is/was but at leas the variety was there. As I watch the BLI, Athern, & others bringing out models I am amazed at the quality & the prices that they come in, & in some ways wonder should I go that way. But no, I will stick out & await the engines I know will come one day.
If a model comes out based on the system I am modelling, even if its a low priority one that I wanted to purchase then, I would not growl, I would buy it & be thankful.
I don't know an enormous amount about the US railways, but I do know that they had some beautifull looking loco's many of them brutish, which I like, many I don't.
To me, while I understand the desire to have the more common engines used on your favourite system, others have said much depends on the commercial viability of a particular model, & that is something that I agree with, if its gunna sell, then they will make it, if its not then they not gunna make it.
We have some adventorous people in the hobby here, who have mortgaged their houses in order to produce models, despite some hiccups in arrival times, the projects are going ahead full steam. They have surveyed the market & they are on a winner.
Perhaps, if the original writer was able to get say, 200-300 others interested in producing a model, then they could approach BLI or whoever, & get it made, the thing will be though, money will have to change hands.
The interesting thing is, that I would have thought the BLI models were big run items when compared to what is made for the much smaller Australian market. From what I understand, that is not so. Rhe run of one of our loco's is more than twice that of the average US model
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a6et wrote:

a6et: The only recent US loco kits that assembled like this were the obnoxious and disgusting Arbour line...made of pewter...may the fleas of 1000 camels infest their designer. Bowser, MDC, and Mantua kits are assembled with screws, and are zamak alloy rather than white metal. Alas, Mantua kits are no more, and MDC are in limbo for at least a while.
Our kits also tend to be cheaper than yours. MDC in particular used to be a great bargain, and I really hope they'll be back out. The prices ranged from $35 to $80 US. Mantua used to be equally cheap until they got it into their heads that they were making collectibles like Lionel. Bye, Mantua kits.
I really hope that eventually this flood of RTR stuff will slacken, just like the flood of inexpensive brass did, and kit building will return, just as it did before when the brass got too high.
Cordially yours, Gerard P.
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On 17 Nov 2005 05:52:08 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

Buying Mantua can be an exercise in frustration, lots of advertising for them, but usually the advertising is all that's available. I did pick up a Mantua Mikado about a week ago, but the level of workmanship in assembling it was something I'd hide. Their list price of $229 is more than a little steep for what it is. They don't even make any attempt to hide the fact that the wheelsets in their pilot trucks are only the same wheelsets used for freightcar trucks, bearing points and all.
MDC and Horizon are the one that really irk me. MDC kits were just beautiful and could be taken to any level of detail you wanted for a reasonable price. Now I see their old timer series of flats advertised for only three times as much, and don't bother looking for them, "not available". Don't bother asking them about replacement parts either, their service staff is completely clueless.
Bowser is at least reasonably priced, and I haven't had them back order anything I've ordered yet. Pulling down the "Poor Damn Format" for the detail lines they have is worthwhile, lots of good stuff. (Gotta give adobe credit, if there was a slower and less efficient way to include something in their files, they used it and are still looking for slower ways.) The Cary conversions are a way of getting something out of the ordinary without having to give up an arm and both legs. The extra weight doesn't hurt anything either.
Kit building isn't dead, but it's doing damn poorly.
Rich
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I guess that in the kit area at least, we do have an edge here, as the kits that are produced for the OZ market are exceptional. When assembled they really look the part, all run & pull well, however its the cost of between AU$220.00 for an 0-6-0 & $585.00 Beyer Garratt that's the killer. If you can't assemble them yourself & want them assembled double the kit price & that is the killer.
It seems that the 2 main white metal kit manufaturers that work for the OZ market, are very well known for their quality, they come from New Zealand & England. Several of our local rolling stock manuafacturers who sell are selling RTR models are sourcing like so many others from China. But, the rub here is that others who offer goods rolling stock in kit form, as well as in RTR run form of the same model, are producing in OZ or some in New Zealand, amazingly the prices are well in line with the Chinese imports. One hobby retailer/manufacturer advised me that given the opportunity the industry in OZ can produce equal, if not better models than China, at comparable prices.
We now have a RTR garratt with DCC & sound $785.00 pre paid price or off the shelf for $935.00. Either way I come out cheaper that a kit, & paid for assembly. To buy the models of our system, is very much more expensive than in the states, for the loco's offfered. The 38class pacific loco, in white metal kit, is $385.00, & paid for by 31/01/06 is $495.00 plus 90 for DCC & Sound, add $100.00 after delivery price. Again, better options than the kits for me.
WE have yet to see steam loco's RTR at prices such as BLI or the like. I noted in the IHC add December MR Mag for a Sante Fe 2-10-2 including 8 car Pax set for U.S$179.98, or a Sante Fe Hudson foron sale at $99.98, plus a 2nd one, or an 0-8-0 for half price. Prices such as that are unbelievable here.
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:
"Wow, Eric, it's just terrible that BLI and other manufacturers ignore those of you who model Central in October 1938. What gall! I mean, the good will they are foregoing, and huge profits they are missing! There must be, lessee, two of you? Three, maybe? <Heavy sarcasm>
No they're ignoring everyone who models the Central between 1912 and 1957. That's fourty five years, nearly a half century, in the case of the H-5. Duh dumbass.
"And oh, you sure gave it to those misguided souls who aren't model railroaders, but dare to act as if they were - I mean, how can anyone who doesn't model a specific railroad in a specific month and year have the affrontery to class him or herself with the likes of you? <Heavier sarcasm, in case you don't get it.> "
Damn straght! They should send me baskets of cash and their teenage daughters as harem slaves in reparation for doing so.
"Take a lesson from Jack Burgess: he models September 25 1936 IIRC the date correctly. On the Yosemite, yet. Does he whinge about the manufacturers not catering to his particular whim? Nope, he just goes ahead and scratchbuilds what he needs, or kitbashes and adapts what's close enough to meet his standards. And he shares his insights, knowledge, and skills while he's at it, in superbly written articles that collectively constitute a course in research, scratchbuilding, modelling philsophy, layout design, prototypical opereation and all the
other aspects of model railroading. Good enough to be gathered into a book, IMO. Oh, I forget, they have been made into a book."
So you're saying he's a weenie.
The squeaky hinge gets oiled. Duh.
Eric
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And what they did was on some of the most visble (read "famous") trains of the era, right?

Same on just about any road. The late model steam just was not usually delivered in the numbers that the WWI generation steam (and older) was delivered in. For example, the NH ordered 50 2-10-2's during WWI, yet ordered only 10 of their last freight steam power.

Not even in brass? Then I guess you better start learning some scratch building skills, then haven't you? A friend of a friend makes brass steam in bulk for all his friends (he recently built a dozen LNE camelbacks), so it's not like it can't be done (and no, this guy is not retired). It's either that or you have to change your era, location, or road, or accept that you can't have it all.

Gosh and golly, wow! Who da thunk? On a simular note, just imagine, those DL109's that Proto 1000 made in NH are completely irrelevant to any NH fan that doesn't model 1941 (delivery) to 1959 (scrapped)! Or those EF-4's that Bachmann made (E33's). Did you know that they are completely irrelevant to any NH fan who models not only before 1963, but any who doesn't model from New Haven to Bay Ridge yard (the extent of the wire)? Did you also know that it's darn near impossible to accurately model the Boston to Providence section of the NH's main line from 1956-1968 without FL9's? And yet there still aren't any available...except in brass or resin. Those bastards!

What part of "very poor rendition" don't you understand? What do you want me to say? That's it's a rolling piece of crap disguised as a steam locomotive model with "New Haven' painted on the sides? I mean, it is a rolling piece of crap, but do I have to come out and say it?

It's been my experience that few people model the NYC at all (two in my entire club of 60-plus members, and one of them is really a B&M fan who dabbles in NYC). As far as your "experience" goes, maybe that's only for the NYC or something. Take a look in Model Railroader, and just for the New Haven alone there's John Pryke's layout (Boston to New Haven), Rick Abramson (New Haven to New York under wire), Bill Aldritch's two layouts (Boston to Providence, then Providence to New Haven), etc. All main line layouts. And how many Tehachapi (sp?) layouts have we all seen? I'd have to say that your "experience" must be remarkably limited to come to the conclusion that "a large majority of people who model large railroads model branchlines or secondary route on which the large mainline power was not found."

Personally, I model the NH (pre-1969) between Boston and Providence, the NH's Shore Line Route. My era changes depending on my mood. First, however, I have to have enough equipment to actually change eras on command, but that's cool. It gives me something to work for. Right now, I could give a convincing performance from 1947 to 1968 based on motive power alone, but I still have a lot of work to do on my rolling stock.

Wow, who died and made you judge of all that's holy? These Weaver models were brass, BTW, and IMHO pretty darn accurate for the scale version (the 3-rail had way out of scale wheels). IOW, this was not some tinplate junker that Lionel cranked out. This was a legit NH I-5 model. And since we're on the subject, since apparently you are the judge of just who is a model railroader and who is not, let me ask you a question. My ex-next door neighbor modeled the NH, too. He used to be a towerman on the NH, and he ran his model railroad with switch lists, yard checks, schedules, consist books, tower operators, hand signals, waybills, time tables, Form A's, Form 19's, etc. Everything was by the book, or it didn't happen. The only trick is, his entire model railroad was American Flyer S-gauge tinplate. But it was the most realistically operated layout I've ever seen. So tell me Judge Eric, is my ex-neighbor a model railroader, or just a "toy train collector wanker"?
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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I think this points out a very good example of railroad modeling VS model railroading. Your neighbor was a model railroader. His interest was in the railroad and its operations, not in creating scale models of railroad equipment. The two are different hobbies. For most people I think they are Siamese twins, joined at the head such that they can never be separated. We want scale, realistic-looking equipment that operates in a prototypical manner. If I was forced to choose between highly prototypical operation with tinplate equipment, or fine-scale models with no operation, I would opt for the tinplate and operation. I wouldn't be real happy with it, but that's what I'd do. I don't care much for sitting around admiring my models sitting on the shelf. Froggy,
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no
happy with

my models

I'm with you there. I have a very nice display case at home that I could fill with several pieces of brass and other high-end models. I could have gazed at them by the hour, or I could have gone to my neighbor's house and operate his tinplate. No contest, I'm gonna run the tinplate vs. admiring my collection (if I wanted to gaze at stuff like that, I'd be into stamp collecting). Now if it came down to running my scale models vs. running tinplate, that's different... :-)
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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Paul wrote:
"And what they did was on some of the most visble (read "famous") trains of the era, right?"
Actaually they were bounced off them by diesels fairly quickly.

"Not even in brass? Then I guess you better start learning some scratch building skills, then haven't you? A friend of a friend makes brass steam in bulk for all his friends (he recently built a dozen LNE camelbacks), so it's not like it can't be done (and no, this guy is not retired). It's either that or you have to change your era, location, or road, or accept that you can't have it all."
I don't want it all. I want the basics. Duh!

"Gosh and golly, wow! Who da thunk? On a simular note, just imagine, those DL109's that Proto 1000 made in NH are completely irrelevant to any NH fan that doesn't model 1941 (delivery) to 1959 (scrapped)!"
They were a major part of the NH roster just like they H-5s were a major part the NYCs. That's my point, a manufacturer should be making major locomotive before they make minor ones. And Proto was saavy enough to make them.
"Or those EF-4's that Bachmann made (E33's). Did you know that they are completely irrelevant to any NH fan who models not only before 1963, but any who doesn't model from New Haven to Bay Ridge yard (the extent of the wire)? "
Perhaps they're relevent to Virginian modelers?
"Did you also know that it's darn near impossible to accurately model the Boston to Providence section of the NH's main line from 1956-1968 without FL9's? And yet there still aren't any available...except in brass or resin. Those bastards!"
If there's a resin version then there's a model available. Duh.

What part of "very poor rendition" don't you understand? What do you want me to say? That's it's a rolling piece of crap disguised as a steam locomotive model with "New Haven' painted on the sides? I mean, it is a rolling piece of crap, but do I have to come out and say it?"
That you were a complete moron for mentioning it since it's clearly not a model of a NH locomotive.

It's been my experience that few people model the NYC at all (two in my entire club of 60-plus members, and one of them is really a B&M fan who dabbles in NYC). "
Then why is there a NYC modeler yahoo group in addition to the six other NYC groups?
"As far as your "experience" goes, maybe that's only for the NYC or something. Take a look in Model Railroader, and just for the New Haven
alone there's John Pryke's layout (Boston to New Haven), Rick Abramson (New Haven to New York under wire), Bill Aldritch's two layouts (Boston to Providence, then Providence to New Haven), etc. All main line layouts. And how many Tehachapi (sp?) layouts have we all seen? I'd have to say that your "experience" must be remarkably limited to come to the conclusion that "a large majority of people who model large railroads model branchlines or secondary route on which the large mainline power was not found."
The NH's NY to Boston main is short enough to be considered a branchline?

"Wow, who died and made you judge of all that's holy?"
Lots of people, I'm an American.
"These Weaver models were brass, BTW, and IMHO pretty darn accurate for the scale version (the 3-rail had way out of scale wheels). IOW, this was not some tinplate junker that Lionel cranked out. This was a legit NH I-5 model."
Looks great on the bookshelf.
"And since we're on the subject, since apparently you are the judge of just who is a model railroader and who is not, let me ask you a question. My ex-next door neighbor modeled the NH, too. He used to be a towerman on the NH, and he ran his model railroad with switch lists, yard checks, schedules, consist books, tower operators, hand signals, waybills, time tables, Form A's, Form 19's, etc. Everything was by the book, or it didn't happen. The only trick is, his entire model railroad was American Flyer S-gauge tinplate. But it was the most realistically operated layout I've ever seen. So tell me Judge Eric, is my ex-neighbor a model railroader, or just a "toy train collector wanker"?
Neither.
Eric
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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com spake thus:

Well, there you have it, folks; another American Exceptionalist asshole. Have at 'im, Greg Proctor.
D "a Merkin myself, unfortunately" N
--
... asked to comment on Michigan governor George Romney's remark that
the army had "brainwashed" him in Vietnam-a remark which knocked Romney
  Click to see the full signature.
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Oh, puh-lease. You don't want the basics, you want road specific locomotives for October in 1938! How is that a "basic"? "Basic" are things like USRA locos, F-units, and 40' AAR boxcars, things that almost all railroads had (and can therefore be made en masse). If you want NYC locos for 1938, make 'em yourself, ferchrissakes. This is a model building hobby, is it not? Or if you don't have the skill, pay someone else to make 'em. Or if you don't have the skill or the money, write encouraging letters to a manufacturer. They do listen, but not to "cranks" such as yourself. I have to say you are the only model railroader I've ever heard take to task a manufacturer for daring to make a darn good locomotive model *for their own railroad*. Nobody in my experience has ever done so. Congratulations!

No, they should be making models that make them money. This isn't a charitable organization, this is a manufacturer that pays real people real money to work on making model trains.

Heh. The Virginian only had them 3 years before being merged with the N&W in 1959. The N&W only had them for 4 years (only 3 of them working) before selling them to the New Haven. The NH had them for 5 years (1963-68), the Penn Central for 7 years (1969-76), and Conrail for 5 years until the end of electric freight in 1981. Your Niagras you hate so much were positively ancient by lasting over 10 years on the NYC compared to the EL-C/EF-4/E33's record on one road.

And brass doesn't count?

Hmm...it says "NEW HAVEN" on the side, it's got a tapered nose, a 4-6-4 wheel arrangement, and it's got a silver stripe down the running board that follows onto the tender. I don't know why I ever could say it was supposed to be a New Haven I-5...since that's pretty much what the I-5's had for a paint scheme. Sure, it's crap, no two ways about it, but they are selling it as a New Haven locomotive model. If you can't understand that, I don't know what to say. As to me being a "complete moron"...get a grip. You've been on r.m.r long enough (you used to have a sense of humor) to know what that will tend to get in response. Why even say it?

I guess that bit just went over your head, didn't it? Just because you haven't experienced too many mainline layouts doesn't mean that branchline layouts are the "large majority" of the hobby, it just means you haven't seen too many mainline layouts. Ok?

229.09 miles, GCT to Boston, and the NH carried some 1.7 million passengers from Boston to New York in 1950. The NH was only 30th in size at around 2000 route miles, but it was 3rd in passengers carried. So while the runs were short, the service was not (at least until the end, anyways, where it was down to 300,000 passengers).

If he's not a model railroader, then neither are you. It's that simple...
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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Paul wrote:
"Oh, puh-lease. You don't want the basics, you want road specific locomotives for October in 1938! How is that a "basic"?"
It's basic because H-5 served the Central from 1912 to 1957. It's the GP-7 of the Central.
" "Basic" are things like USRA locos, F-units, and 40' AAR boxcars, things that almost all railroads had (and can therefore be made en masse). "
No. These are generic things. There's a difference.
"If you want NYC locos for 1938,..."
No, I want a ubiquitous locomotive that can be used on nearly any steam or transition NYC layout and several others because they interchanged with the central or bought them from the central.

"No, they should be making models that make them money. This isn't a charitable organization, this is a manufacturer that pays real people real money to work on making model trains."
So they can paint them in Santa Fe, UP and [shudder] Pennsy as they can then get the rubes to buy one.
"Your Niagras you hate so much were positively ancient by lasting over 10 years on the NYC compared to the EL-C/EF-4/E33's record on one road."
I don't hate them, I just think they're statistically irrelevant and the tooling cost would have been better spent on a more ubiquitous locomotive than on an also-ran.

"And brass doesn't count?"
Not everyone can swing brass.

"Hmm...it says "NEW HAVEN" on the side, it's got a tapered nose, a 4-6-4 wheel arrangement, and it's got a silver stripe down the running board that follows onto the tender. I don't know why I ever could say it was supposed to be a New Haven I-5...since that's pretty much what the I-5's had for a paint scheme. Sure, it's crap, no two ways about it, but they are selling it as a New Haven locomotive model. If you can't understand that, I don't know what to say."
IHC sells their hudson as alot of things, it doesn't make it credible.
"As to me being a "complete moron"...get a grip. You've been on r.m.r long enough (you used to have a sense of humor) to know what that will tend to get in response. Why even say it?
Chops, the busting of.
"If he's not a model railroader, then neither are you. It's that simple... "
I'd consider him a railroad re-enactor.
Eric
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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote: Other than the USRA mikes the Central had which made up a

NYCfan:
You know, you could build a fairly credible H-5 if you bashed Bowser's K-11 Pacific superstructure with their USRA Mikado mechanism. Should pull like a...locomotive...too. Some details are different, of course, but the hard work would be done.
http://www.bowser-trains.com/holocos/nyc_k11/nyc_k11.htm http://www.forecyte.com/nyccollection/nyc1646.htm
Cordially yours, Gerard P.
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