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Why such a lack of plastic locomotive kits?

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  • Member since
    July 2020
Why such a lack of plastic locomotive kits?
Posted by Peter V. on Saturday, July 18, 2020 11:12 PM

Why is there such a lack of locomotive models? 

 

I know Revell makes the Big Boy, and there are a few German locos out there, but there are soooo many other beautiful locomotives. I'd love to make a NYC Hudson, some colorful british locos, a pacific, 1800's wood burning loco, T1, etc.. Just seems odd that locomotives are skipped while there are countless ship, car, and plane kits.

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Posted by Jay Jay on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 10:27 AM

I completely agree with you.  I 'm not into the electric train layout thing but I would like to build a non working model of the " Harry Potter Hogwarts" train. Alas there is no kit for this aside from the $200 electric train set that I have no use for.

 

 

 

 

 

 I'm finally retired. Now time I got, money I don't.

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  • From: Albany, NY
Posted by jeffpez on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 10:44 AM

I couldn't agree more. Trumpeter has really nice kits for a BR52 and BR86 but that's about it. A few new subjects would be more than welcome.

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Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 10:54 AM

My two bits.

Because they don't run. That's a thing with railheads, having been one for about 50 years.

Not sure why, since tanks planes and ships don't much run either, but it isn't a market.

OTOH, looking into paper models. There's a lot of stuff available there in particular the more decorative items you mention.

 

Bill

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

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  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 11:38 AM

Peter V.

Why is there such a lack of locomotive models?...

 

Lack of demand, I'd say, probably going back to the emergence of plastic model kits to a mass market.  If you wanted build airplanes and cars, or ships, the kit makers produced them.  If you wanted to do something with trains, you turned to the model railroad hobby.

Monogram had the Hudson and the Big Boy in its catalog (pre-merger), but I only know about those from reading Graham's book.  I never knew of them when I was a kid, visiting my local hobby shop.  That shop, by the way, also sold model trains.  I dabbled in HO trains briefly, but eventually focused on building models. 

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

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Posted by disastermaster on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 11:42 AM

Price.

https://i.imgur.com/Gcc59Dk.png

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  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 12:36 PM

I believe that the industry does believe anyone interested in trains does want to run them.  That is model railroading.

Personally, I model all genres of vehicles and do like to build model locomotives.  But I believe in general they do not sell well.  The exception is "The General", and I seem to have missed the boat on that.  Every time it was available I waited to long, and the last time I saw one at a swap meet I thought the guy wanted too much.  I guess I should check out ebay.  I particurly like the very old ones, Rocket (which I have built), deWitt Clinton, and such.

 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

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  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 12:40 PM

Not a locomotive, but a popular train that runs today:

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10630715

It's a crazy expensive kit though.  If they did a Yamanote Line, it might have a bigger draw to the anime/otaku crowd, as this is the train that loops around Tokyo to take us to Akihabara (aka Model Kit Paradise).  The only times I rode the Chuo Line was to take a shortcut.

But regarding locomotives, there does not seem to be a mass market for kits.

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Posted by Ted4321 on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 4:45 PM

Depending on what you're looking for, there are plenty of dummy locomotives. They are not powered- no motor inside. 

T e d

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by PFJN on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 9:16 PM

Hi,

I think that I;ve also seen a couple Airfix kits in the past too.

Pat

1st Group BuildSP

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  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Thursday, July 23, 2020 12:05 AM

I loved the train sets when I was a kid - so fun.  Later in life I have seen some exquisite kits from the train guys, particularly some of the brass locomotives but they are $$$.  

Thanks,

John

Ain't no reason to hang my head, I could wake up in the mornin' dead 

  • Member since
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Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, July 23, 2020 1:06 AM

Model railroading has always been mostly focused on locomotives, trackside structures, rolling stock, and what are called layouts. The best of those are elaborate dioramas, but the skill goes all over to include lego style track modules.

It's a rich history. Older issues of Model Railroader Magazine include everything from DC elecrics to photography, machine tools for making parts, build your own pinhole cameras.

There was a period in US railroad design named the United States Railroad Administration that produced a series of standard designs during WW1. Those would translate well into models as the components were standardized and power/ weight/ dimension standards were set.

In a way because of that, model railroading might be seen to divide itself between operations (the NFL of that hobby), and stationary modeling.

Pause for popcorn. Model railroading has a deep history that has it's basis in Europe but became popular with "train sets". Lionel and Marx and Marklin and Hornby come to mind.

Stationery plastic locomotive kits usually are linked I think to museum shops. They can't be made to run, but are good looking reminders of a preserved unit.

Again, there are a lot of beautiful paper models of Victorian era steamers, which the OP asked about.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/597852919256709834/

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 23, 2020 8:44 AM

Ted4321

Depending on what you're looking for, there are plenty of dummy locomotives. They are not powered- no motor inside. 

T e d

 

Are these kits, or ready to place on layout?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December 2018
Posted by Ted4321 on Thursday, July 23, 2020 8:57 AM

Ah. Good point, Don. They might have grab irons to install and unpainted but that might be it. 

T e d

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, July 23, 2020 9:45 AM

Don Stauffer

 

 
Ted4321

Depending on what you're looking for, there are plenty of dummy locomotives. They are not powered- no motor inside. 

T e d

 

 

 

Are these kits, or ready to place on layout?

 

Basically the powered version without motors or gear boxes.

The idea is to replicate trains that have multiple locomotives, without having multiple motors tha are hard to sync and provide unneeded power.

Bill

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Thursday, July 23, 2020 10:03 AM

Ted4321

Ah. Good point, Don. They might have grab irons to install and unpainted but that might be it. 

T e d

 

install running boards, brake wheels & brake hardware, grab irons & ladders, box cars may have separate doors. Then replace the hook & horn couplers with more prototypical Kadee type

tjen there are all the aftermarket resin white metal & PE hoohaws   Paint & decals

you may want to stumble over to Kalmbach's sister publication to FSM, Model Railroader (I think that's the name).  

  • Member since
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  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, July 23, 2020 1:30 PM

Hi;

     As the sitting president of a Train Museum, I get asked this a lot. I tell the questioner about the different Mfgr's and the fact they do sell dummy engines,These are not cheap though and if you get into detail, well you are talking over fifty bucks base price.

      There are some kits from Germany of German Locos and there's a few really nice ones. The issue again is Price. Marklin does make Dummys, but again it goes back to what do you want to spend per unit?

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Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, July 23, 2020 1:54 PM

Paper is your best shot.

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

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  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Thursday, July 23, 2020 6:47 PM

I ask the same question but of fire trucks, specially vintage era ones from the 30s thru the 50s. Would love to have several of them.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

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Posted by armornut on Thursday, July 23, 2020 7:53 PM

    I would love a big ladder truck with a monitor nozzle for aireal firefighting. Even an articulated one with a tiller cab would be really cool. I should add for the OP, a 35th scale modern diesel power unit would be AWESOME!

we're modelers it's what we do

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Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, July 23, 2020 8:28 PM

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

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  • From: Vancouver, the "wet coast"
Posted by castelnuovo on Friday, July 24, 2020 12:22 AM

I found lots of locomotive kits here

https://www.hobbylinc.com/cgi-bin/s8.cgi?cat_s=UB&p=2

But lots of them don't mention the scale. Are these kits or already assembled? What would be a locomotive scale equvivalent to, say, tanks at 1/35 or airplanes 1/48?

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Posted by steve5 on Friday, July 24, 2020 12:54 AM

I know this isn't what you were after , but it looked kinda cool

/rokr.robotime.com

 

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Posted by jmoran426 on Friday, July 24, 2020 8:56 AM

This thread raises a frequent complaint of mine about manufacturers of models of any kind, and that is about the absence of a common scale. Model trains are made to a few very exacting scale dimensions, mainly N (1/160th), HO (1/87th), O (1/48), S (1/64th, sometimes includes Lionel 3-rail), and some not so exacting scales called G (garden) scale, which are built in numerous odd dimensions. So if you are a model railroader, you pick a scale, build a layout or display case for that scale, and you're off and running. But if you're like me with and HO scale layout and a builder of the occassional plastic airplane dioramas you run into the scale issue. Example: I'm building several Vietnam era aircraft in 1/48 scale and wanted to place a truck or pick-up alongside to simulate carrying ordinance (mg and cannon ammo). Try to find a 1/48 scale truck on the market. Bandai made a few, but most are 1/24, 1/36, 1/35, and a few 1/72 scale. For train models, O scale or 1/48th would be as close as you're going to get to the scales of other types of models. Lots of aircraft in 1/48 but few of anything else. BTW, I was looking for 1/48 and 1/72 20 and 40mm ammo cans and M-16 rifles for a couple of my projects. Plenty of 1/36th, due to the armored vehicle modeler market, but only on Shapeways did I find some 3D-printed versions in 1/48. But priced above $20 for a sprue of a dozen, I have yet to make that purchase.

So, if you still have to have that locomotive and don't want to cringe at the price of a new one, most train shows have a group of dealers who sell used railroad models.  eBay is also a good place to look for used models.  In the past, some RR mfrs. sold "Dummy" or motorless models at cheaper prices.  These can be found at train show vendors, or buy a motored one for cheap.  In HO scale expect to pay from $15-$25 for a used model locomotive.  In O scale, it'll hit your wallet for $20 and up depending on what the vendor wants and market demands.  However, there are fewer european railroad models in this scale.

jmoran426

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    March 2005
Posted by philo426 on Friday, July 24, 2020 12:08 PM

Speaking of locos...I just got this brass 0-6-0 Pennsy Switcher off of the bay ..Had to take off the boiler clean and lube it as well as adjust the angle of the motor so that the gears would mesh properly.Just airbrushed the first primer coat...

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Posted by philo426 on Friday, July 24, 2020 12:14 PM

  • Member since
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  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 24, 2020 12:24 PM

jmoran426

This thread raises a frequent complaint of mine about manufacturers of models of any kind, and that is about the absence of a common scale. Model trains are made to a few very exacting scale dimensions, mainly N (1/160th), HO (1/87th), O (1/48), S (1/64th, sometimes includes Lionel 3-rail), and some not so exacting scales called G (garden) scale, which are built in numerous odd dimensions. So if you are a model railroader, you pick a scale, build a layout or display case for that scale, and you're off and running.

 

Reason is, not everyone has the same size basement- or at least the size of the basement the wife will let him use :-)

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December 2018
Posted by Ted4321 on Friday, July 24, 2020 1:29 PM

Don Stauffer

 

 
jmoran426

This thread raises a frequent complaint of mine about manufacturers of models of any kind, and that is about the absence of a common scale. Model trains are made to a few very exacting scale dimensions, mainly N (1/160th), HO (1/87th), O (1/48), S (1/64th, sometimes includes Lionel 3-rail), and some not so exacting scales called G (garden) scale, which are built in numerous odd dimensions. So if you are a model railroader, you pick a scale, build a layout or display case for that scale, and you're off and running.

 

 

 

Reason is, not everyone has the same size basement- or at least the size of the basement the wife will let him use :-)

 

 

This is why I've switched from a model railroad to scale models. I had a layout set up in our previous home then disassembled and moved it to our new house.  The layout is now in storage and the good layout space in our new basement is filled with the kid's toys. I have plenty of room for a smaller work area that is more than sufficient for scale models. 

When the kids get older I'll reclaim the space. All my equipment is HO scale but I may try N instead if my eyes aren't failing by then.  I do miss it though. 

T e d

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Posted by philo426 on Sunday, July 26, 2020 12:28 PM

https://youtu.be/GhjS0G6KMCk

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  • From: Hatboro, PA
Posted by Justinryan215 on Thursday, October 1, 2020 8:42 PM

A month or so ago, I won an auction on the 'bay for the Revell NY Central Hudson kit.  I'm building a little scene (starting this weekend)...like a photograph of a train layout...for a friend of mine. Stay tuned!

"...failure to do anything because someone else can do better makes us rather dull and lazy..."

Mortal as I am,I know that I am born for a day.  But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the Earth...

 

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