Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

TT at PCR-NMRA Coast Division meet

Postby Richard-B » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:41 am

I put together a small show-and-tell for this past weekend's PCR-NMRA Coast Division meet...

If all goes as planned; I'll give a full TT-scale overview clinic at the June meet in San Leandro.

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TT Show-and-Tell 2014-03-23
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby j p » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:25 am

Bernd wrote:Just read through this post. Very interesting, but as a noobie TT scaler could somebody explain to me why when I look at those models sitting on the table I see all of them, except for the hopper car, made outside the US?

I'm under the distinct impression that there doesn't seem to be anybody here in the US that cares to get into manufacturing cast resin rolling stock. As I said I'm new and don't know the situation.

Bernd


Yes and no. The two boxcars were made by a US company GoldCoast - but the actual manufacturing took place in China. See GoldCoast section of the board. http://www.ttnut.com/gold-coast-tt-scale-models.html
It is written somehow wrong on the info sheets. No new GoldCoast boxcars were made in Germany (yet) - if not counting those hand decorated such as this Missouri Pacific 40' boxcar.
Image

I'd formulate the note on the sheets differently. You don't want to scare away any patriotic modelers. Adding some US made rolling stock could help too. The simple answer to your first question is: because more US-made models were not selected.

PVM made many nice resin kits, check some of them at http://www.ttnut.com/possum-valley-tt-scale-models.html
Many of them are missing there.
Coastal Engineering also.
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby j p » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:48 am

With 1 new RTR locomotive, 3 RTR freight cars and one surprise planned for 2014, there is a hope for 2014 being a good year for NA TT.
Most of the old kits are somehow available too.
Your impression about one manufacturer stopped and nobody took over is wrong. The opposite was the true in most cases.
For example Christoph -> Everett H. Smith or Coastal Engineering -> PVM or HP Products -> John Harmon.
In some cases the new owner further developped the products. John Harmon's kits were better than the original HP.
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby areibel » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:56 am

I've been experimenting for a while with resin and there is a bit of a learning curve. The easier resins and rubbers are great to learn on, but if you get into more of "production" products you need to de-gas the rubber and pressure cast the resin. I had pretty good luck casting flat stuff and simple two piece molds with Smooth On SC300, but when I tried one of Smooth On's "Task" series resins without pressure casting, it was a mess- more bubbles than plastic in the parts I cast! The Task series is a stronger plastic, it's what Elmer made his resin trucks out of and after lots of testing there was virtually no wear in the axle sockets. I think that's part of getting a piece with no bubbles or divots, even a strong plastic in a flat mold will hold bubbles. You can fill them and finish but to turn out a couple of dozen and have to fix every one makes the mechanical methods look better!
I did get a pressure tank (a small pressure paint pot from Sears) and bought a used vacuum chamber and pump, so once the dungeon warms up a bit I'll try some more. I really enjoy it, you can get some great detail (right down to fingerprints on the master, if you're not careful) but it's not real expensive or difficult. I just don't have a permanent space to dedicate to it, so it's hard to do more than a quick project right now. When (If?) I learn CAD well enough I think it would be useful to do masters for rolling stock on SHapeways and then assemble and cast in resin, that would eliminate a few of the drawbacks with the Shapeways materials like the surface texture or the goopy residue. For example, a boxcar- do the roof, ends, sides and base as separate flat pieces in their FUD, it seems that the flat pieces don't have the layering problems that more complex items do. Assemble the box and cast as one piece. Then you're basically turning out a modern version of an Athearn blue box kit, less decorating but still easier and cheaper than a total Shapeways build. And of you want to get even fancier, use a heat resistant rubber for casting the base and make it out of white metal. Then you've got some added weight as well, and cheaper than doing it in a spin mold.
Lots of possibilities, little time!
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:57 pm

Bernd wrote:I'm under the distinct impression that there doesn't seem to be anybody here in the US that cares to get into manufacturing cast resin rolling stock.


Jim King of Smoky Mountain Model Works and myself tried to make that happen for a few months. But in the end, due to the small number of customers, a car (waffle iron box in this case) would have cost $85 :thumbdown:
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It's the website you're already on. But if you want to be even more on it, click the link.
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby Richard-B » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:43 pm

Just read through this post. Very interesting, but as a noobie TT scaler could somebody explain to me why when I look at those models sitting on the table I see all of them, except for the hopper car, made outside the US?

Define "made" ...???
    The descriptions for the two Gold Coast cars say (hidden behind the cars in photo) "US - Oregon"... even though they were assembled in China from US injection moldings
    I wasn't sure on the TT Scale Society GP38... so I put master = NZ, Resin Casting = US
    The Waffle Box was done in NZ for a US customer... It is going to Germany for casting
    The SAZmodel was product-managed from Canada... and some of the artwork was done in US, then produced in Czech Republic
    The Shapeways items from Alex were 3D printed in NY... but could have been done anywhere (EU etc...)
None of this would have happened without the impetus of North American modelers...
Also: I suspect that updated versions of some previous US-manufactured resin cars will emerge soon from a trusted supplier...
My planned clinic will mention ALL the known sources...
Richard Brennan - http://www.tt-west.com
Somewhere between San Francisco and Budapest...
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby Richard-B » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:50 pm

[quote=]You don't want to scare away any patriotic modelers. [/quote]
Ahhh... I'm on the LEFT Coast - California!!!
Flag-Waving patriotism is reserved for recent immigrants... (n.b. We are -ALL- immigrants!)

In general... the West Coast embraces Globalism, Multiculturalism, and Diversity.
Richard Brennan - http://www.tt-west.com
Somewhere between San Francisco and Budapest...
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby areibel » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:13 pm

To be honest, the casting for the GP38 is done in NZ as well. When I was trying to get quotes for the casting I sent out three requests to some well known casters that do model railroading equipment. Two didn't respond, period and the other was significantly higher in cost that the quote from our current caster (about 40% higher, to be honest). But none of this really bothers me, I have actually gotten quite a bit of inspiration from some of the NZ120 modellers. This blog is one of my favorites-
http://motoriseddandruff.blogspot.com/
(Check out the "Diesel in a Day" articles, very interesting!)

And when you look at the modern model railroad market in any scale, we'd all have to be 90% Chinese to be patriotic?
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby Richard-B » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:34 pm

Seems to me TT scale needs a boost like what Bachman did for On30.

Not gonna happen...
The past 60-years of model rail history are caught-up in two dynamics:
Christmas train sets, and smallest available inexpensive motor.

When HP Products was producing limited-run semi-kits for TT... Athearn, Tyco, Mantua, and Varney (to name a few) were cranking out starter train sets in HO by the 10's of thousands.

As soon as post-war engineering got motor size and prices down to where TT needed them... N-scale (using those same motors) took off as an even smaller scale, destroying the best argument (small size) that TT had.

The On30 commercial phenomenon was essentially down to one Bachmann product manager, who saw the opportunity to build "right-sized" trains that ran on widely available HO track... and who proved-in the business case by cross-selling the sets into the "Christmas Village" and faux-Collector private-label markets.

Consider HOn3:
Micro-Trains tried to follow the N-scale idiom... and sell stand-in HOn3 cars (needing parts assembled) with a wide variety of esoteric paint schemes. FAIL !!!

Blackstone got it RIGHT: Super-accurate HOn3 cars and engines, truly R-T-R out of the box, and available in: D&RGW, D&RGW, D&RGW, D&RGW, D&RGW, and D&RGW, (+ UTLX tank & EBT hopper...). $SUCCESS$

HOn3 growth benefited from the fact that HO modelers have had access to the entire 60-year back-stock of 1:87 products... and don't have to start over from scratch.

Consider that the HOn3 market in the US, even before Blackstone, was probably 50x to 100x the TT market... and amortize the tool and die cost against the opportunity. As a rough guess... that would double the retail prices: How about the US TT market for $120 R-T-R freight cars... and $800 R-T-R engines????

Re-read my first line: Not gonna happen...
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Re: Huge gathering of TT-scalers in California!!!

Postby ctxmf74 » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:16 am

"N-scale (using those same motors) took off as an even smaller scale, destroying the best argument (small size) that TT had."

I think TT's best argument is it's smaller than HO but bigger than N scale. Anyone who's worked with all three knowsthe benefit of more railroad in the same space while still being big enough to see and work on easily. Don't view the market results as TT scale's shortcoming, view it as consumer's ignorance. It's not unusual for the wrong thing to win when the facts are not well known, politicians are masters of the technique.......DaveB
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