In Your Opinion Brass or Plastic Models? Do you ever wonder?

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CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Many of the brass manufacturer specialize in unique and lesser known protototypes.
True BUT! that's a niche they fit themselves into, there is no written law :D that they have to produce lesser known models. During and after WWII the USA taught the world about mass production and how it was done. I guess uncle Irv was the only one who listened and learned. Another train of thought might be that there would be a market for the lesser known models if they were at a more reasonable price. As you say Bachmann has done well with them lately so that kind of speaks of a market out there waiting to be exploited by the venturesome entrepreneur.
Cheers Willis
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
CBCNSfan said:
True BUT! that's a niche they fit themselves into, there is no written law :D that they have to produce lesser known models. During and after WWII the USA taught the world about mass production and how it was done. I guess uncle Irv was the only one who listened and learned. Another train of thought might be that there would be a market for the lesser known models if they were at a more reasonable price. As you say Bachmann has done well with them lately so that kind of speaks of a market out there waiting to be exploited by the venturesome entrepreneur.
Cheers Willis
It appears to me to be the chicken/egg situation. Sure, the brass guy can make better-known models. But, which one are you going to buy, the expensive brass SD40-2, or the inexpensive Kato SD40-2? It seems to me that the general modeller population will go for the latter. The brass guys aren't selling theirs for about $100ea,

Their niche is the lesser knowns, and yes, it's a limited run world for them. Still, there's that prototype fidelity there; that's what the brass buyers are looking for.

Kennedy
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hi Kennedy, if the brass mfgr.'s got mass producing and maintained quality, Well!!
the expensive brass SD40-2, or the inexpensive Kato SD40-2?
Ok Comparison todays prices in Canada
List Sale
Overland GP35 series, f/p, lettered, lights $743.00/ $474.00 Can
Kato GP35 37-045 Canadian Pacific 5019 $145.00 Can
Now if that Overland was 1/2 that guess what I'd pick. :D
Cheers Willis
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
CBCNSfan said:
Now if that Overland was 1/2 that guess what I'd pick. :D
Your nose? :D Sorry, couldn't let that one go.

I think you're going to see more and more highly-detailed plastic models in the future, with seperately applied details and quality mechanics that will really be competing with brass. I think that once the detail level in more plastic models reaches that of brass (some plastic models already have), mass-produced plastic models will start to bury the brass manufacturers. When it gets to the point that you can't tell if it's brass or plastic after it's painted, and plastic is half the price of the brass, there's not much to decide. And if you have the money to spend on the brass model, why not buy two of the just-as-highly-detailed plastic models instead? I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm just conveying my observance.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
mass-produced plastic models will start to bury the brass manufacturers.
Eventually it will get close to that point, and those who refuse to go with the flow will be left behind. Can you imagine a farm using 1940's technology trying to compete with a modern farm of this decade? The bank would be forclosing on it and selling it to modern operators in no time.
The other side of the coin is, that as the plastic models increase in quality and accuracy, as has happened in the past, they will also increase in price, which will lessen the difference in price, thereby making the brass more attractive to the hobbiest

Cheers Willis
PS at half the price I'd still take the brass one as the plastic one isn't there yet. Looking at the Overland models (for example) there are a lot of finely crafted detail metal pieces soldered on much too fine to be done in plastic.
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
CBCNSfan said:
...there are a lot of finely crafted detail metal pieces soldered on much too fine to be done in plastic.
It's much more difficult to produce fine detail in plastic models, but if I may say so, the detail in plastic models is getting pretty dang close to that of some (some perhaps being the key word) brass models.

Here's a small example http://www.bowser-trains.com/img/56317.jpg. It may sound lame, but 'the picture doesn't do the piece justice.' If I had a kit I'd take a better picture of the scale grabs and fine see-thru roof walks, all of which happen to be plastic. It's hard to see the rivets on this picture. I think I have a body laying around here (a car body that is :eek: )...
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Yes I agree some fine things can be done in plastic, however the finer the detail on some plastic detail items the weaker they are a very slight shock may be all that is needed to break them off. Eventually very thin plastic will become brittle as it ages and also more prone to breakage. All the detail parts on my locos are metal but even at that I wouldn't dare compare mine to these.
Cheers Willis
PS: Oh! but these cost about six times as much as mine :D
http://www.modeltrains.com/PICTURES...Pictures/OMI-6501-6750/omi-6702.2[2034]-3.jpg
http://www.modeltrains.com/PICTURES...Pictures/OMI-6501-6750/omi-6702.2[2034]-4.jpg
http://www.modeltrains.com/PICTURES...Pictures/OMI-6501-6750/omi-6702.2(2029)-2.jpg
http://www.modeltrains.com/PICTURES...Pictures/OMI-6501-6750/omi-6702.2(2029)-4.jpg
http://www.modeltrains.com/PICTURES...Pictures/OMI-6501-6750/omi-6702.2[2034]-2.jpg
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
CBCNSfan said:
Hi Kennedy, if the brass mfgr.'s got mass producing and maintained quality, Well!!

Ok Comparison todays prices in Canada
List Sale
Overland GP35 series, f/p, lettered, lights $743.00/ $474.00 Can
Kato GP35 37-045 Canadian Pacific 5019 $145.00 Can
Now if that Overland was 1/2 that guess what I'd pick. :D
Cheers Willis
Thing is, at even half the price, ($240), most folks will still only pay $145 for the Kato. Cheapskates as most of us are, there are a lot of us that will not pay a $100 premium for a brass model when the Kato is just as good. And, I don't know how many folks would think that $100 premium is worth it even if the brass model was way better. Some things are just hard to beat, and the Kato is a great model. The end result is a glut of those brass models at the $100 premium that really won't sell.

Kennedy
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Cheapskates as most of us are
Right! me too but if you look at the links to the Overland and the C630 photos at my site you will see they are of the same thing. The Overland are real models where as mine are representations of the same locos.
Let's say I averaged ( final bid and shipping) $28US per Tyco shell, two shells plus an Athearn U33C at about $40US. Add the paint decals, stripper and details and it'll certainly top the $100US. Make lead filler pieces for the chassis. Now believe me all the work does takes many days to complete. The cost alone would most likely get me a Kato, so another $100 in cost instead of days at the work bench doesn't seem too bad of a trade to me.
It's kind of strange to me as to why the CB&CNS brass locos are selling, good greif, it's a shortline established in 1993, in a nearly remote area of Canada, other than these forums I'm surprised anyone has heard of it. A couple months back there was a Tiger Valley C630 in Calif. done up as a CB&CNS and it went for big$ big$ bucks$ on eBay, bidding was fierce. Crazy world it is.
Cheers Willis
 

modelbob

Administrator
> Here's a small example http://www.bowser-trains.com/img/56317.jpg

Well I just ordered one of those, along with a dozen of the 2 bay hoppers that Bowser makes, so that my new 4-8-2 has something appropriate to pull. I guess I'll know just how nice they are in a few days. I sure hope the "pink" color the hoppers look on the website turns out to be more boxcar red...
 

modelbob

Administrator
PS - We're sort of overlooking one option in this discussion... What about the diecast stuff like Broadway Limited makes? I'm quite happy with the one I have, nice details, great sound system, DCC compatible and reasonable prices too.
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
modelbob said:
Well I just ordered one of those, along with a dozen of the 2 bay hoppers that Bowser makes, so that my new 4-8-2 has something appropriate to pull. I guess I'll know just how nice they are in a few days. I sure hope the "pink" color the hoppers look on the website turns out to be more boxcar red...
:D :D Hope you enjoy them!! I'm working on some "Real Coal Loads" for the hoppers, if you're interested ;) ;) . Actually, the best thing about the Bowser models is that along with great detail, they're made in the U.S.! Imagine that...
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
modelbob said:
PS - We're sort of overlooking one option in this discussion... What about the diecast stuff like Broadway Limited makes? I'm quite happy with the one I have, nice details, great sound system, DCC compatible and reasonable prices too.
The only problem I have with them is that they are still a product of Broadway Limited Imports. But again, that's just me, and since there really aren't many U.S. made models available, I would say they're a good option. (ever try any Bowser steamers? :D I know...I'm just a wee bit biased :rolleyes: )
 

modelbob

Administrator
> Ever try any Bowser steamers?

You're still in High School, right? So obviously you're under 20, which means I've been running Bowser steam since before you were around. :) I even put them together from the kit, including the !@#* rivets on the valve gear. (I've done both, and if you ask me, it's easier to assemble the real thing! Fortunately I think they ship it pre-assembled now, correct?) I've got a Challenger around here someplace, come to think of it, that needs a decent Centipede tender and some superdetailing. Now how can I fit that into a Pennsy them? "Uh, we leased it from the Clinchfield?"

I like Bowser steam a lot, and in fact that's exactly what the BLI stuff reminds me of. Heavy metal bodies and nice details. It's the first thing I compared them to.

Now, here's the tough part... By the time I buy the kit and detail parts, I'm up to $300, the same as the BLI costs if you pay list price.

Now, add in a couple more factors. I have to assemble the Bowser kit (granted, this is part of the hobby, and can be enjoyable) and paint/letter it (which I'll never be able to do nearly as nicely as the manufacturer can) and it still doesn't have sound and DCC.

I like Bowser, I really do. I've ordered a 12 pack of hoppers from them and a couple cabin cars and I'm trying to find a way to fit a trolley line w/ PCC cars in my layout someplace.

But like most folks, I've got limited budgets for modeling.
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
modelbob said:
>I even put them together from the kit, including the !@#* rivets on the valve gear. (I've done both, and if you ask me, it's easier to assemble the real thing! Fortunately I think they ship it pre-assembled now, correct?)
I believe there are two guys in the area that assemble a limited number of locos.

5 minutes later: Ah-hah! http://www.bowser-trains.com/ho_ready_to_run.php

Yes, they definitely take some time and patience to assemble. Personally, I don't think I could put one together (at least to any state of recognition). I'm not as familiar with steam, and not as interested in steam, as I am with more modern equipment (mainly the result of growing up in the diesel era), so I don't think I'd have the patience or attention span either. But hey, this is a hobby...that means it's supposed to be fun and relaxing, right? :D
 

modelbob

Administrator
> Yes, they definitely take some time and patience to assemble.

I have to admit that was actually a good bit of the fun, putting it together and having it run, and run pretty well. My Bowser K4 is one of my favorite locos, and it was the one I usually took to train shows when I was in a local model railroad club, along with a string of billboard reefers that the public always seems to like.

What bugs me most was that I just didn't have the ability to paint and decal it as well as it could be done. I ended up painting it Brunswick Green and leaving it unlettered, hoping to get around to decalling it "some day".
 




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