Celebration? Or Reality? (June 2019)

This is my 150th article so all of you should have a gigantic huge celebration to commemorate the anniversary of such an undertaking as I’ve been at this for 150 months, not quite like this year’s 150th Golden Spike Celebration though. So let’s start with a small group of my best friends, a secluded Alpine Lake setting with good fishing, 80°- 85° slight breeze, real hard wood fired Bar-B-Que, bone in rib steak, marinated Tri-Tip, or any number of my endless other favorites, homemade country baked beans (many variations), skewered veggies, sautéd mushrooms and onions, assorted picnic salads, heavily buttered garlic toast, old fashion root beer, rich dark chocolate milk, homemade ice cream and pastries, seedless watermelon and heart of gold cantaloupe. Whew, that’s a good start but then I wake up and have get back to reality, rats!

I’m sure most of you have noticed the changes we are making with our web site. There are bugs, of course, that will take a while to work out. So be patient and just read and follow the instructions, notes, and helpful data and it should all work for you. The entire web site is now in a “shopping cart” format but we are transferring most of the general non shopping information from the old site to the new. So you’ll have to learn how to find the info you need by reading the info and following through as instructed. Get use to it, change is a constant in life that can’t be helped. You should try and learn something new everyday even if you have to make an extra effort to do so, it will be worth it and later on in life you’ll thank yourself.

I have a constant flow of requests for us to make certain freight cars or other various model railroading products. Most of these requests are someone’s favorite freight car or tool that they might think everybody in the hobby will buy at least a hundred or more. Unfortunately, it usually ends up being an odd obscure car or a product that only a few might want or it’s easily hand made by the modeler. Also unfortunately, they have little understanding of what really is involved in making a new car or even the simplest of products. Presently a common 40 foot box car would take us anywhere from 3-4 years to design and cut all the tooling. Then we have to scratch build our assembly jigs to install ladders, grab irons, and such. Even making a very simple two piece mold may take more than a month or two. In order to invest the time we have to justify the cost, calculate cost recovery time, initial and continuing future sales, packaging, marketing, and inventory data input, etc. Just thinking about this cost time and money, it’s a lot more complicated and extensive than most modelers really understand. So everything we do has to have some sort of short or long term benefit that hopefully results in at least a small profit, after all we are a business and need to stay in business.

I also receive many requests from recently retirees that are starting new or just getting back into the hobby. One in particular said he’s 70 and getting back to what he was doing in his teens and needed help with some very old car kits. I made some suggestions using our whisker couplers that I think he didn’t know much about. I find many older modelers that had gaps in their modeling years find that there are so many new products and technology it’s like starting over in some respects. However, I do remind them that the primary basics do not change, it’s your models and your layout you can do anything you want, above all make sure you understand this is a “hobby” and meant to be relaxing and enjoyable and that’s that.

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