Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do people still build locomotive kits ?

Locomotive kitsAnother pile of goodies for the second hand stall at the weekend. Some 4mm scale locomotive kits.

These come from a member who dies a few years ago. Each is complete and includes all the parts needed to finish the model. In fact sometime they include 2 sets as the owner originally planned to use Romford wheels and gears and later changed his mind to Gibsons and High Level mechanicals. When he did this the new parts were just added to the box awaiting building.

The question is, will we sell them ?

After all, do people still build 4mm scale locomotives any more ? I know I do but then I'm a raving weirdo. I've even ordered a new kit that I have to pick up. But what about others ? The feeling in the trade is "probably not", or at least not in anything like the numbers they used to.

Of course the main reason is the amazingly high quality or ready to run stock we now enjoy. Why build a model of something that you can buy ready to use ? The cost of the kit will probably be higher when you include all the parts and unless you are a top flight builder (not me) then the results will probably not be as good.

Despite this, I hope we find these kits a new home. Hopefully there is someone out there who gets as much pleasure as I do from putting things together and seeing a model they have built traversing the layout.

Anyway, if you are such a person with a penchant for LNER locos, then get yourself down to the Leamington show this weekend and deals will be done !


James said...

I think people do still build locos but in smaller numbers. I think firms like DJH once provided a lot of very common popular types where RTR examples were either poor or non-existant. So in recent years the need, especially in 00, has become less.

Even in the finer end of the hobby RTR locos have made their mark - Model Railway Journal has featured a number of locos in EM and P4 which make full use of the new generation of models. It's only locos where no RTR exists where kits still hold sway.

I must admit I really enjoy building locos - the satisfaction of building something yourslef cannot be beaten! And for one of my main layouts set in 1913 there's little choice but to build from kits!

Sadly I won't be at Leamington, but if we had been my Dad would have happily taken the A6 off your hands!

Garrattfan said...

Yes people are still building kits. People like me who opt to choose the more rare and difficult types. Mass production will always take the easy road. So far only no Garratts have entered mass production: too difficult, too weird. And in the line of interests: just this month the first original Dutch steam locomotive entered production in larger numbers(not really mass production yet). So yes there is a market for kits but the suppliers need to go global and for foreign models they need to abandon OO. HO is the international standard. And O and especially On3/On30 is a growth market. But stop fussing about those kits of "genuine British make" of which the moulds are probably as old as their prototypes. The problem is these completely outdated kits do great damage to the market. Dump them and go new innovative ways, renew the kit market with new, accurate and easier to build techniques. Only if kit offer option which the ready to run market will never be able to deliver, only then the kit market is to survive