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    • March 22, 2019 9:50 PM EDT
      • Branchport, NY
         
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      Molds

      Charlie Ro said USA Trains got all their molds back from Kader/Bachmann.

      Tom

       

    • March 22, 2019 10:03 PM EDT
      • Defending the State of Exile! ,
         
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    • March 22, 2019 10:07 PM EDT
      • Defending the State of Exile! ,
         
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      Chatter doesn't do the hobby well and is better left for his beauty parlor while under the hair dryer. Do you have proof of this statement ?

    • March 22, 2019 11:37 PM EDT
      • Branchport, NY
         
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      " Rooster " said:

      Chatter doesn't do the hobby well and is better left for his beauty parlor while under the hair dryer. Do you have proof of this statement ?

      I don't know if you would call this chatter. This is all I have. The man has no reason to lie and make himself look stupid.

      Shawn Conahey shared a post to the group: G Scale Trains.
      4 hrs ·

      USA Trains News direct from the 2019 ECLSTS Show.

      I had my usual chat with Charlie Ro Sr owner of USA Trains today during the 2019 ECLSTS Show. I was able to confirm and get some information about future products.

      #1 I was able to confirm that USA Trains will indeed make another run of the F3 AB locomotive to go with the aluminum passenger cars.

      #2 I was also able to confirm that USA Trains will be introducing a F7 at the same time F3 goes back into production.

      #3 USA Trains is working on 2 new diesels besides the F7 but these projects are way off into the future. I can't say what they are at this time.

      #4 USA Trains is also working on 2 new freight cars. These projects are also way off into the future. Once again I can't say what they are.

      #5 Charlie had asked me to sorta be a liaison between him and the customers by sending him feedback from the comments on the USAT G Scale Group. I accepted.

      #6 I saved the best news for last. After a 4 year battle USA Trains was able to get all of their molds back from Kader/Bachman. Look for USA Trains to get back in full production swing in the near future.
      27

      Tom

       

    • March 23, 2019 1:58 AM EDT
      • San Mateo, California
         
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      If USA Trains had to spend 4 years to get their molds from Kader/Bachman, then it would seem unlikely Kader/Bachman would continue to produce USA Trains products, which beckons the question, who and where will do the production?

      -Ted

    • March 23, 2019 5:56 AM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      That's great news Tom

       

      Ted, USAT does some production here in the states. Now that they have more control over their property, they can adjust production to better serve the customers and their own bottom line.

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      and King Butt Modeler

    • March 23, 2019 12:28 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      Will be standing on the sidelines watching for progress... I would have thought producing the F3 and F7 at the same time might be a mistake, even though I'm sure that other than the shell the rest will be the same.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

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    • March 23, 2019 1:06 PM EDT
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      Charlie Ro will have trouble finding enough workers to do the assembly of all those multitude of features, built into his products, at less than $10 an hour.

        So if anyone thinks a relatively simple F7, will be on the market for less than $500 a crack... don't fool yourself.

            Large Scale model railroading is not, ever again to be an inexpensive hobby, for children, or young adults.  I hope there are enough millionaires interested in the hobby, to support it.

        I'm glad I have all I need, in order to OPERATE a railroad, so that I don't have to purchase anything more.

            Lately, all I seem to require, are the odd replacement couplers from Kadee...just like the real railroads, we break knuckles occasionally…!!! 

        Fred Mills

    • March 23, 2019 2:01 PM EDT
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Just my two cents here...for whatever it's worth :).....

      Because my background is in an industry that makes molds and dies of all kinds (plastic injection and forging dies), tooling cost is always high. The manufacturer has to have the capital to even think about building tooling and what they can reap in "some" profit margin.Plastic injection molds are some of the most precise built. Precision takes time and that cost is always high. Model railroaders as a whole are notoriously the "cheapest" folks around :). NO disrespect, just my opinion seeing it or hearing it happen over many years.  AND this goes for all the scales right up to and including the "ride-on" scales. The big difference in the large scale hobbies (1/20.3, 1/24, 1/25, 1/29 and 1/32) is that most of these folks don't have the skill or experience to make their own parts. 3D printing has changed that dynamic quite a bit in the past few years, but as a general statement, we are dependent on manufacturers to produce these parts for us. 

      Fred is right about not expecting USAT to produce a new F7 for UNDER $500....ain't goin' happen. That pretty much leaves out the person who is the "Aristo type" or "Bachmann type" modeler. This is the story of LS modeling over the past 15 years and that is why the hobby has less folks in it than 15 years ago. Many people are "making do" with what they have and cobbling together and cannibalizing parts from old Aristo and Bachmann parts to keep their stuff running.

      The loss of spare parts, new product and just the occasional re-issue of some locos and rolling stock is what brought about my change in scales. I went back to the 1-1/2 scale and started building again. I had the ability and if I needed parts, I designed them and found my own vendors to pour castings or 3D print what I needed. Occasionally I make make extra parts and sell them to people I know that are willing to pay the price. If they balk on the cost, I just say "You make them". Usually that ends the conversation and they always end up buying the parts. So much for human nature :). 

    • March 23, 2019 2:08 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      Jeeze, Fred you believe that China is the only place in the world with cheap labor? Try Viet Nam for example, lots of manufacturing moving there. The world is not over because Kader tried to corner the model train industry.

       

      No one is thumping their chest that this is an inexpensive hobby, it NEVER WAS.

       

      I'm glad I have enough trains to ROUNDY ROUND too! We threw out all the OPERATIONS people, they went too slow!

       

       

      Seriously, do you need any large offset Kadees, have a big handful of them, but you probably body mount.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • March 23, 2019 3:49 PM EDT
      • Port Orchard, Washington
         
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      I keep thinking that 1/29 is expensive then I look at HO scale models that are coming out at $40-50 a pop. They are super detailed, 1/3 the size and about 1/2 the cost of 1/29...

    • March 23, 2019 4:55 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Fred Mills. said:

      Charlie Ro will have trouble finding enough workers to do the assembly of all those multitude of features, built into his products, at less than $10 an hour.

        So if anyone thinks a relatively simple F7, will be on the market for less than $500 a crack... don't fool yourself.

            Large Scale model railroading is not, ever again to be an inexpensive hobby, for children, or young adults.  I hope there are enough millionaires interested in the hobby, to support it.

        I'm glad I have all I need, in order to OPERATE a railroad, so that I don't have to purchase anything more.

            Lately, all I seem to require, are the odd replacement couplers from Kadee...just like the real railroads, we break knuckles occasionally…!!! 

        Fred Mills

      Fred, so a 1:29 F7 will cost $500 or more each? Have you priced a quality HO sized diesel lately? Many are in the $200-$300 range, and they are a tad smaller then a 1:29 scale diesel. All this talk about price, but relative to the other scales, LS isn't more expensive considering that a LS diesel is 300% larger the an HO diesel in all 3 dimensions.  Plus the motor is larger, and the gears are more robust (we hope) and, and, and....

       

      I do try and make some of the parts I need, I am an old school kit-basher/scratch-builder. But I too am glad that at this point most of what I need are parts.

       

      But if we are going to talk about cost of hobbies, there aren't many that aren't expensive in their own way. What does a good pair of skis and boots cost? What does a quality rod, reel and tackle cost? What does a quality gun cost? What does a quality motorbike cost?

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • March 23, 2019 5:53 PM EDT
      • West Glocester, Rhode Island
         
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      Overall, I don't think this hobby is expensive as I build or buy second hand (I'm going to cut it up anyway).

      That said, Fred's statement: "I'm glad I have all I need, in order to OPERATE a railroad, so that I don't have to purchase anything more."

      If you are a COLLECTOR it can get very expensive.

      ____________________________________

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    • March 23, 2019 9:16 PM EDT
      • Port Orchard, Washington
         
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      I was over thinking buying a Protothrottle at $450 because it was, well $450. Then I realized, I have 4 locomotives already that are worth more than $450 and I have no need to buy anymore. Then I went to my HO scale Ops night and discovered the host had well over 100 sound equipped locomotives... Way more money that my petty 4 locomotives and a Protothrottle. 

       

      Point being, yes it is pricy but realistically how many cars/locomotives does one really need?

       

      I calculated that I need around 30-50 cars to properly operate my layout with 4 industries. After that, its just excess money.

       

      I also enjoy scratch building, so if this hobby never produced another commercial product in 1/29 I would have plenty to do until I die.

    • March 24, 2019 12:29 AM EDT
      • Milpitas, California
         
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      Sorry, I may have a different opinion than those who say this G-scale stuff isn't expensive or is comparable in price to other scales. It is flat out more expensive. Especially if you decide to put in sound and convert to battery power. I have a few engines that have been sitting in the wings waiting to convert to sound/battery power because I can't afford the parts right now.

       

      #1  I was able to confirm that USA Trains will indeed make another run of the F3 AB locomotive to go with the aluminum passenger cars.

       

      Luckily I already have a WP USAT F3 AB, but would love to have one more B unit as it was prototypical of the WP Zephyr.

       

      #2  I was also able to confirm that USA Trains will be introducing a F7 at the same time F3 goes back into production.

       

      I began talking to Mike at USA Trains about this two years ago. He still calls the F7 project "F3". Says they will use the same molds as they did for the F3 with exception to the fronts of the engine which will obviously be different. Can't just have one F7A. Need to get an F7A, an F7B, and maybe one more F7A to round out a consist. Of course in SP colors. When I receive my inheritance in a few years. 

       

      #3  USA Trains is working on 2 new diesels besides the F7 but these projects are way off into the future. I can't say what they are at this time.

       

      I'll take a GP-38 or NW-2 please, in SP colors. 

       

      #6  I saved the best news for last. After a 4 year battle USA Trains was able to get all of their molds back from Kader/Bachman. Look for USA Trains to get back in full production swing in the near future.

       

      This is great news. Whether they produce in the good ol' USA or in some far off country, I'm in. It's really great that Charlie & company is still in business.

    • March 24, 2019 11:15 AM EDT
      • Curmudgeon at Large, Michael survivor
         
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      Talk about thread drift....how did we get from molds to cost? Has anyone looked at the price of a gallon of gas lately?  It has jumped nearly 60 cents in the last 4 or so weeks. Talk about price gouging. Something folks are missing in all this is that fact that we have now brought the standard of living of the average Chinese worker up relatively to our standard of living....out of our pocket. We are reaching a tipping point where the cost to ship merchandise from PRC to the US is balancing the cost to manufacture in the US. Business economics.

       

      Someone above asked the question "Who is going to produce the product from the molds?" Maybe Heartland, their primary business is injection molding. The G Scale product is a sidle line business. I am sure if a contract were to be struck, USAT product would be a primary run. There are other injection molding companies out there, the magic is the cost factor. My question to the folks here "Are you willing to pay a bit more for AMERICAN MADE toys?", supporting American workers and the American economy.

       

      Maybe it is just me, but I find cost/expense to be a relative thing. After reading this post earlier last evening I went and perused the USAT web site. Cars listed anywhere from 90-120 on average. Most of my rolling stock and locos are second hand, but I have a few I purchased new. The only two new locos are the Bachmann K27 and Heisler. And I paid less than half what I am seeing on eBay today. I find G to be not all that expensive considering I took a look at doing some On30 and got sticker shock. $300+ for locomotives and $90 for rolling stock is on par with G scale. I decided I didn't need two scales to spend what little disposable income I have on.

      ____________________________________

      We don't stop playing with trains because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing with trains.....

       

    • March 24, 2019 11:18 AM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      I was just at a hobby store, looking around at prices of R/C airplanes, and to be authentic you can spend over $3,000. on the engine alone, for a gas powered model, the kits are almost that much for the larger scales, and the time to build them. I cannot think of any hobby that is real cheap, when you add up the parts, special tools or equipment or supplies needed to really enjoy the hobby, so to me , and i am in no way "rich or well off" the hobby of large scale trains is what it is. There might be used locomotives going for $5-1000 where as the were sold new for $300 years ago, ( Aristo dash 9 comes to mind), but not many things that are no longer produced and are in demand go for less than what they were years ago. Has anyone watched a Barrett- Jackson car auction?

      USAT got the molds, and  nowhere did they say they would be producing them HERE in the USA, I would be happy if they did, but I am sure they will send them to another place with low labor cost, to try and keep the street price low and the quality high. I will continue to support them as my spare change allows.

      I also OPERATE my trains, by pulling cars around and around. If some want to think they are building an investment or a retirement by COLLECTING them I hope they do well. My stuff is purchased to use, which means it will get dirty, dusty, maybe even tagged( bad grandkids LOL) but one thing we all can say , they will be enjoyed, by me , my family and anyone that may come to a future open house. This is the hobby I have chosen, and if it requires saving several months for something I want so be it, I have lived my whole life that way so far

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • March 24, 2019 1:55 PM EDT
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Bob Cope said:

      Talk about thread drift....how did we get from molds to cost? Has anyone looked at the price of a gallon of gas lately?  It has jumped nearly 60 cents in the last 4 or so weeks. Talk about price gouging. Something folks are missing in all this is that fact that we have now brought the standard of living of the average Chinese worker up relatively to our standard of living....out of our pocket. We are reaching a tipping point where the cost to ship merchandise from PRC to the US is balancing the cost to manufacture in the US. Business economics.

       

      Someone above asked the question "Who is going to produce the product from the molds?" Maybe Heartland, their primary business is injection molding. The G Scale product is a sidle line business. I am sure if a contract were to be struck, USAT product would be a primary run. There are other injection molding companies out there, the magic is the cost factor. My question to the folks here "Are you willing to pay a bit more for AMERICAN MADE toys?", supporting American workers and the American economy.

       

       with molded in tie plates that held the gaugeMaybe it is just me, but I find cost/expense to be a relative thing. After reading this post earlier last evening I went and perused the USAT web site. Cars listed anywhere from 90-120 on average. Most of my rolling stock and locos are second hand, but I have a few I purchased new. The only two new locos are the Bachmann K27 and Heisler. And I paid less than half what I am seeing on eBay today. I find G to be not all that expensive considering I took a look at doing some On30 and got sticker shock. $300+ for locomotives and $90 for rolling stock is on par with G scale. I decided I didn't need two scales to spend what little disposable income I have on.

       

      Bob,

      Your comment about "thread drift" ("How did we get from molds to cost?"), is EXACTLY the issue :). Without the molds OR the plastic injection company that knows how to use the molds/dies, we have NO trains. Period. Charles Ro has a great business model for this hobby. Apparently enough "working capital" that he can still provide a quality product at a moderate cost. Not cheap, but also not Aster/Accucraft expensive either. There are many plastic injection molding houses located throughout the USA. Just need to find the "right one" and put them to work. Maybe a moderate size company with it's own die shop. Make the molds here and repair the molds here. Dies do wear out, believe it or not :). Maybe this company would have an owner as a fellow hobbyist. Use the train portion of the injection mold and die shop as a "tax write-off". Could still be a viable idea and make that part of the company "0% profit margin or very little profit margin". Many companies already do this. Nothing new.

      As a perfect example of this business model, EP Plastics in Kent, Ohio is a moderate to large plastic injection molding company. They have produced plastic parts for industry and the consumer for over 50+ years! About 5 years ago, they started doing injection molded plastic ties for the 1-1/2 scale hobby. The tie design was innovative. The tie plates are molded into the tie to hold gauge precisely. Screw holes for fastening rail is molded in. Wood grain in the tie. AND they are relatively cheap at .98 cents each! They also have their own die shop with journeyman mold makers running high end CNC mills and lathes to make die production faster. Any time they want to make a new item for the ride-on scale market, they can do it "on the fly". This has always been the problem with dealing with plastics companies in China. Time barriers (cost issues again) and language barriers (again cost issues with misunderstandings between engineers in BOTH countries). How many times did we hear this from Aristocraft? Huh? Getting back to EP Plastics.....most of the large clubs that run 7.25/7.5 gauge are switching to plastic ties now. No more wood ties rotting or the environmental problem of creosote in the wood or other chemicals used to slowdown the natural rotting effect of wood. And because EP has the mold makers in house, they can produce the patterns for sand castings (this company also sells cast aluminum frogs in any size you want. The separate company now has it's own name....Accutie Rail Systems! They even have high end plastic ABS automatic couplers in 1-1/2 inch scale" now! $25 bucks a pair! $30 for a ABS plastic switch machine, fully assembled and ready to mount. You can see one of these on my "7.5 inch gauge turnout build" thread.

      Bottom line is, we don't NEED Chinese companies to manufacture our trains. The hobby industry needs to take a long, hard look at it's business model. The capacity to produce these trains IS here in the USA. AND like Bob said,  Chinese workers living standards have gone up and there is not going to be "cheap" Chinese labor anymore.  IMHO.

    • March 24, 2019 3:27 PM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      Thanks Gary for the information/explainations, I for one am perfectly willing to pay more for American made products, so very tired of seeing nothing but intermodal containers on trains crossing AZ on both BNSF and UP. Maybe someone should send a email to both Charles Ro/USA Trains and EP Plastics/Accutie and introduce them , get the ball rolling so we can get new products and parts back in the pipeline. But now I am remembering that USAT already has stuff made here, the American Series cars are all made here, so they already have a company they deal with. Either way , hope things get going soon.

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • March 25, 2019 6:39 AM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      The one thing with the molds is that they need an injection molding machine that will accept the molds. I am also glad the USAT is still in business and coming out with new products form time to time.

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

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