EXTERNAL: Re: NW-Modeling-List Digest, Vol 170, Issue 2

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Tue Jul 11 11:29:37 EDT 2017

I'm also puzzled by this exchange.  It seems to me that there are several equities at stake here, but that with reflection we should be able to honor all of them.

The universe of all steam locomotive model producers isn't that large, and it is in NOBODY'S interest to have them killing each other by having them produce models of identical prototypes, which models then split the market and result in insufficient revenues to either company to recoup their investment in the models.

On the other hand, it is in modelers' interest to have available models that accurately reflect prototypes of interest to them, that run flawlessly, that have all the features (be that DCC, or sound, or etc) that interest them in their pursuit of the hobby.  In other words, we as modelers have an equity interest in accessing the "best" model we can for our money.

This forum has witnessed reports of a "Mystery Company's" interest in producing a model of a Class M.  We've been asked our opinions of which Class M we want (and then told what we want, with not much reference to actual survey results.) There haven't been many more details than that, and I (for one) don't understand whether discussions reported so far have been between Mystery Company and the Society, or between Mystery Company and some private individual(s) who are members of the Society but not officially representing the Society.  

If Mystery Company contacted the Society and asked for help in researching the M's, then it seems to me that the Society should refrain from encouraging a second company to consider a model of the M's.  On the other hand, if the Mystery Company's discussions have been with private individuals, and not the "official" Society, then it seems to me that the Society has no obligation to refrain from discussing a model of the M's with BLI-- given that BLI has issued an open invitation for "groups" to nominate prototypes of interest to produce models of.  The Society SHOULD be all about aiding and abetting production of good N&W and VGN (and Wabash, and NKP, and CNJ, and IT, etc) models.

But (assuming discussions with Mystery Company have been with private individuals, and not the "official" Society) before we charge off (as individuals, OR as a Society) to BLI to heat them up with the idea of an M model, it seems to me that the Society ought to think through what prototype we'd really like to ask BLI to consider.  If another company is serious about producing a competent model of the M's, it seems likely to me that the Society would be better served by nominating a different prototype to BLI.  Like another contributor to this thread, I'd really appreciate a modern model of a Virginian steam passenger (I guess "steam" is redundant in this case) locomotive.  I'd really like a model of an N&W LC-2 set, which has never been produced in any form yet.  Many members would benefit from a great model of the 0-8-0's that both roads bought from C&O, but each detailed appropriately.  I'd buy a decent model of an N&W E-2a or E-2b, if one was available.

I have to say, though, that not knowing the identity of Mystery Company, I have zero ability to judge the likely quality of the model they might produce.  Conversely, BLI produces really good "mass market" models, with excellent mechanisms and DCC/sound implementation, and generally decent detail.  And their hybrid brass models (with exception of their earliest ones) have been excellent in all respects.  You'd expect list prices for an M from them to be <$500 for a "mass market" model, and <$700 for a "hybrid brass" model, with 20% - 25% discounts available from internet order houses.  And the only major gripe I have with BLI's steam models (which is that they provide no ash-pan detail, so you can see daylight between their fire boxes and their trailing trucks) doesn't even apply to Class M's.  Would Mystery Company do as well by N&W modelers?  We who don't know Mystery Company's identity can't assess that.  I "get" that companies want to keep long range plans secret for competitive reasons, but they then incur the risk of being under-valued against potential competitive models.  That risk is NOT owned by the Society; it is ENTIRELY owned by Mystery Company and their chosen strategy of covertness.

Decent brass models of various Class M's have been produced by Precision Scale and Sunset, available on eBay for <$1000 and <$600 (respectively) fairly regularly.  Yep, that's a lot of bucks for most people, but at least there are competent models of some of the M's out there.  Show me a Virginian PA model!  And the only model done of an N&W E-2 has to be viewed through a pebble glass shower door to get within 50' without crying, and only runs well down 90-degree slopes.  If we can convince BLI to provide an optionally-removable ash-pan detail (optionally removable to allow those who run on simulated 45 degree-of-curvature track to have a pleasant running experience; left in place by those who think it improper to see daylight under an iron lady's firebox), then my vote would be for the Society to help them produce a great PA or E-2a (or E-2b, if data can be found to support the project).  And my preference would be for a hybrid brass model of each.

It would be refreshing to have some facts in hand, including (1) identity of Mystery Company; and (2) a survey of all Society members wherein they vote for Most Desired N&W, VGN (and all other legacy Roads of relevance to the Society) Models in the following price categories:  <$300, $301-$500, $501-$800, $800-$1200, $1201-$1800, >$1800.  Establishing the second data set is something the Society should do and publish EVERY YEAR, as it would benefit both modelers and producers of models immensely.

Eric Bott

-----Original Message-----
From: NW-Modeling-List [mailto:nw-modeling-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Modeling List
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 07:57
To: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>
Subject: EXTERNAL: Re: NW-Modeling-List Digest, Vol 170, Issue 2

On 7/10/2017 5:16 PM, NW Modeling List wrote:

> We are not going to be talking to BLI ever. With that said the ones 
> that I Dean Taylor have been talking to on my own (Alex) are talking 
> are interested with that said.THE NORFOLK AND WESTERN HISTORICAL 
> need to so there is a market and that we have been lacking in. DEAN 
Did I miss something? Where was it said about paying for production?

Jimmy Lisle
NW-Modeling-List at nwhs.org
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