Streamliner Junior Train Controller

Location: NSW South Coast
I've been sitting on this for awhile now, so here goes...

Years ago whilst waiting for a decent SAR model to be made, I concentrated on building model planes, ships and cars etc. Cutting them from the sprue, gluing, painting and decalling and weathering. For example choosing which version/mk to build, weapon load to attach, paint colour or level of detail parts to include, and that was half the fun.
Then the Traino 930 came out and I thought 'brilliant'! and regained my interest in model trains once again, I opened the box and placed it on the track and off it went. The problem I found was the lack of satisfaction in making the model myself, nothing to assemble, paint or even the simplest thing like the option of choosing the running number decal. Why do model trains seem to be the exception in the model world? It's quite acceptable to build a spitfire from a box, but a loco or rolling stock is almost unacceptable!
Which brings me to my question, why RTR? To me a model is built, and a toy is bought of the shelf.
It seems to contrast with the effort we go to in building a layout from scratch, DIY wiring, detailed landscapes and buildings etc, but not the main thing- the train!
My other observation is when a model is produced by one of the big players, or the new manufacturers that seem to start up every other week, is the complaints about choice of livery and running numbers (traino GM1 not being made in CR livery comes to mind) or the special livery selling out (like the NRs) and the different versions not being made (like SAR 600 class diesel) surely this situation could be avoided if unpainted kits, with the different options on the sprue, and a decal sheet for each livery to choose from were made?
I know Steam Era and BGB etc are the exception to the rule, and they have seem to be able to have a larger range as a result?

I would be interested to know how many of us would rather build a kit/ unpainted/ undecalled model, and have the model we really want?

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  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I still like putting a kit together SEM ones are superb, I even use them for kitbashing still, cut here a piece removed there an viola a new wagon is made. I have even converted some VR SEM kits into SAR stock after reading the modelling of SA railways convention notes. BGB were good kits too at times when you can get them though. But today even with a lot of care a BGB kit to me just does not cut the mustard any more, they are past their use by date. The modern manufacturers are rapidly making in roads into BGB's range anyway, so it would be cheaper and quicker to get one of these models if you want a scale model railway up and running quickly.

Some things I would like to see to complement the range of SAR/ANR/AN models of late is some SAR type buildings like stations etc do some Commonwealth Railways as well here. I still scratchbuild a lot as do most SAR modellers these days, some I have built I would never have dreamed of 20 years ago or more. But kits are still the go for those wagons that are different to the rest of them, lot easier to bash a kit in pieces than to attempted it on a RTR wagon. It can be done but a kit makes it a lot easier to do it.
  TheMeddlingMonk Deputy Commissioner

Location: The Time Vortex near Melbourne, Australia
I suspect this topic has come up before, but this is the first time I've commented on it.

There is certainly a place for both RTR and kits. For me, the advantage in the kits is that they are cheaper (money-wise) and I have more flexibility in the livery, running numbers, etc. However, they also usually require a fair amount of time and investment in tools, which is the trade-off. Some things I would happily buy RTR, simply because either (a) I don't have the time to build the kit or (b) the job I could do on a kit or scratchbuild would not be satisfactory in my eyes.

Regarding unpainted or undecalled RTR models - I suspect this is probably very niche and not worth it to the manufacturers in most cases. For certain models, I would definitely like undecalled ones supplied with a sheet of running numbers to choose from and this has been done in the past (i.e. some of the Powerline S carriages). For locomotives that have run in many liveries but aren't being produced in more than a few of them, unpainted would be handy - still, I wonder how many people intent on having loco X in livery Y would be stopped only by the fact that there weren't any unpainted ones produced.
  BladeHunter Station Master

Location: Sydney
25 - 30 years ago people were happy if a local prototype was available as RTR or even a kit...Now they complain about running numbers. But it does seem to be an obsession in Australia about running numbers whether it be loco or rolling stock.

When I joined this forum I was hoping to find more tips and suggestions than talk about what model has been produced in what liveries and what running numbers,but if that's your thing it's cool. Tho I have seen some fantastic examples of models either made or being made.

Now I just find it a lot easier to chase up back issues of AMRM.

Now don't get all bent out of shape, this is just what I have observed. And there's a good chance I may have the wrong end of the stick.


As for RTR sometimes you just wanna be running ya trains.And to be honest RTR quality has come a long long way. Then again creating something with your own hands is a mighty buzz.
  jd4980 Chief Commissioner

Location: Grafton
For me the fasination with RTR is quite simple. I am financially ok, but time poor. So i'd rather invest my money in plonk and play items, and my time in work on the layout. But that is just me.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
25 - 30 years ago people were happy if a local prototype was available as RTR or even a kit...Now they complain about running numbers. But it does seem to be an obsession in Australia about running numbers whether it be loco or rolling stock.
BladeHunter
It might be our English background the obsession with running numbers.   The English get fairly fastidious about which engine was at what shed and whether it pulled the 1103 to .... on the 12th of May 1926.
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

In my case, I am perfectly happy to build from a kit and I can modify/change with considerable skill.  However, I cannot match the "factory" or "computer controlled" painting accuracy, straight and curved lines around corners of models and the pinstriping etc.  For these reasons, I will buy RTR rather than kits when complex painting is involved.
  Laser Rail Bits Locomotive Driver

Location: Goulburn NSW
All,

I think this post and responses should remind us all of what an enjoyable hobby we have decided to indulge ourselves in and the major luxury we have...CHOICE.

Personally I like to challenge myself and scratchbuild, kitbash and kit build...but am also an avid fan of RTR and the task of converting RTR items to bring them to life.

This hobby provides me with many and varied facets which mean it never gets boring...

Regards,
Rod Kelly
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
It might be our English background the obsession with running numbers.   The English get fairly fastidious about which engine was at what shed and whether it pulled the 1103 to .... on the 12th of May 1926.
Donald

I wouldn't say it's a peculiarly English thing ingrained in Aussie modellers. If you are recreating anything it depends on the degree of authenticity you're striving for. I pick numbers which match my photos of the prototype but like many I'm flexible when it comes to 100% authenticity.

RTR works for many of us who are time poor or prefer to spend time on the layout and/or operating.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The single most significant reason for the choice of RTR over scratch building or kits is what the person is into doing. If you have a layout, then RTR is probably more interest to you as you may simply want models of a particular prototype to run. On the other hand, some are more interested in the process of creating the model, and it may never run on a layout, but sit in a display case, so they will choose to build.

There is another reason, to do with the age of the person. People getting into railway modelling back in the 50s and 60s did not have much in the way of RTR to choose from, other than expensive brass, so there was little option but to build your own models. Or when low cost RTR came out, if it was not exactly as you wanted it to be, you modified it.

A further, rather subtle factor is to do with education. When I was schooled in the 50s, I was taught woodworking, sheet metal, blacksmithing, machine shop, electrical wiring, clay modelling and art (read pastels and paints), and that was just general technical school classes, not specialising in a particular field. As a result, I gained a basic education in many of the skills necessary to scratch build or assemble kits. However none of these subjects are taught in general schooling today, so younger modellers have to go out and source these skills if they want to build models.

Finally, as a young guy, in those times there were plenty of low cost plastic kits from Airfix, Revell, Kitmaster and others that you could buy and put together on the kitchen table. And for those who had little available money, they were a great option. Today there are almost no plastic kits from those manufacturers available in the railway modelling field, the lone exception being SEM.

I don't accept the 'cash rich, time poor' argument. As far as I am concerned, it is an excuse. If you want to indulge your hobby, you will find time for it.
  danpickard Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong
Ha, so I've never really understood the pedantic effort to get the right little number on the side of a loco or piece of rolling stock, when the rest of the layout or model looks less than average.  Bad case of tunnel vision perhaps?

Good topic, especially as a scratch builder.  That line "models are built, toys come off the shelf" was a ripper Smile

Dan Pickard
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
A further, rather subtle factor is to do with education. When I was schooled in the 50s, I was taught woodworking, sheet metal, blacksmithing, machine shop, electrical wiring, clay modelling and art (read pastels and paints), and that was just general technical school classes, not specialising in a particular field. As a result, I gained a basic education in many of the skills necessary to scratch build or assemble kits. However none of these subjects are taught in general schooling today, so younger modellers have to go out and source these skills if they want to build models.
TheBlacksmith

I think this hits the nail on the head. While I didn't do any metal or woodworking, I had to do art class in secondary school and that used hobby knifes and many of the basic skills required for assembling plastic models. I was also able to draw on the knowledge and experience of my dad when it comes to scratchbuilding models.

Now while not everyone has a modeler in the family, if you don't at least learn basic art and craft skills its not hard to see why some people throw it in the too hard basket.

If you know what you're doing, the really good kits (such as the SEM range) don't really take all that long to assemble and paint. The way I work is I'll spend a couple of hours a night building models (great way to relax after work). It takes me around 4 hours to build a GY. I'll then stockpile all the built kits and spend an afternoon painting 10 or so wagons.

When a good quality kit is available, I will buy this over the RTR product.
  Laser Rail Bits Locomotive Driver

Location: Goulburn NSW
This is turning into a very interesting thread...

In regards to the "Cash Rich / Time Poor" comments...I have at times used this excuse although in my world it is more correctly "Cash ADEQUATE / Time Poor".  The irony is that I bemoan the fact that I have no time for the layout...but will invest 40 or so hours getting a single piece of proposed lineside infrastructure right.

Yes Blacksmith...I think you may be correct and upon reflection in my world...the term is an excuse.

Regards,
Rod
  trawny Train Controller

Location: Victoria
Most of my RTR stock gets modified. All my locos get a DCC chip at the very least. So there is at least some modifications done. In the case of the Auscision N class I removed a crew from one end and have placed that in another loco.

I build kits and RTR but after 8 years of modeling I am yet to have a 100% complete kit. I've got several that just need couplers but they are still not at a RTR point.

So I guess there is a market for both. I enjoy the assembly process of kit building but find the painting part the worst.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
I build kits and RTR but after 8 years of modeling I am yet to have a 100% complete kit. I've got several that just need couplers but they are still not at a RTR point.
trawny

It would take maybe 5 minutes to install a pair of kadees on most kits.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
It is purely a matter of taste, areas of personal interest and circumstances.  I don't mind what people prefer, ready to run or kit or scratch built for that matter.  What I do find patronizing is someone telling me my layout isn't a model because it is full of ready to run "toys".  Please just accept some people like different things, want to model in different ways and have different skills.   Every layout I ever visit, no matter whether I personally like how it is done or not I always treat as a learning experience.  Nearly always I do learn something.  Stop complaining people.  Modelling is supposed to be fun for everyone.
However in the modelling world I often feel that I am viewed as a second class citizen simply because I don't build kit loco's and most of my rolling stock is ready to run.

In defense of ready to run models:
The word "authenticity" has been brought up several times.  The slander of "toy" was also used.  Firstly what must be remembered is there is as much variation in terms of quality and accuracy in ready to run models as in any aspect of the hobby.  I think everyone would have to agree though that the standard in recent years has just been getting better and better.  
Now Mr SARKing, to your comment that "a model is built a toy is bought".  Is a ready to run model not built?  These days most if not all ready to run companies are going to extreme lengths to take accurate measurements, build extensive computer models and achieve levels of authenticity comparable to any other form of model.  If a modeler has problems with numbering or the pristine finish of ready to run units it is perfectly feasible to re-decal and weather or even repaint a model.  So is a modeler who buys ready to run not simply outsourcing that part of modeling to a company (most of which are also owned by modelers) who has the skills and equipment he/she does not have?  As an example of what is not a toy please take the time to read up on the Austrains S truck.  If you check that out you will see what I mean by the extent companies are going to to achieve an accurate model.
  Toolman Station Staff

Location: Downunder
It seems we spend more time and effort on these forums scrutinising fellow users' opinions than advancing our own modelling skills. We can all be better modellers. Maybe turn the computer off tonight and go build a kit, in "The pursuit of happiness" as a ex president once erroneously stated.

Personally, RTR, kits and scratchbuilt all have a place equally with me. Merit where merit is due. Smile
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
It seems we spend more time and effort on these forums scrutinising fellow users' opinions than advancing our own modelling skills.
Toolman

Very well put. This tends to happen every time this, or a similar theme, is discussed. Don't take offence to the tone of what is being said here, or this topic will quickly degenerate into a mud-slinging match.

No-one should have to defend buying RTR, it is your choice, but at the same time some people take a defensive position because they feel they are being denigrated. 'The Fish' made this point: 'However in the modelling world I often feel that I am viewed as a second class citizen simply because I don't build kit loco's and most of my rolling stock is ready to run.'

Whether he is being overly sensitive or not, there is a tendency in this hobby to look down noses at people who do not meet someone's personal standards with regard to the way they go about the hobby. Let's keep that out of this discussion.

To quote an extreme example, a very well known Victorian modeller in the past had a layout that suited his particular interest, which was safeworking, but have virtually no scenery, buildings and ran anything that could be made to reliably run behind a locomotive. He didn't care what they were to any great extent, the realistic operation of the layout with regards to operating practices, signalling etc. was the one and only aim of the game. He probably would have loved to have all the currently available RTR models, but it would not have made a scrap of difference to how he ran or enjoyed the layout. And there were many who gathered at his house for sessions that would have the same opinion.

I have in the past, been critical of Chinese RTR models, but primarily because I don't like to see all that money flooding out of the country, and not being spent on local manufacturers. Those local manufacturers have supported the hobby for many years and now find themselves competing for the modelling dollar, and in most cases, losing the battle.
  BladeHunter Station Master

Location: Sydney
At the end of the day it's the smile on your face that counts. Whether it's time spent building a kit, running trains or just purely taking in all that you've done.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I look at where I will get the best results. Can I build a better VR S/Y/T/B than an rtr company, no, so I buy them. Can I make the four wheel rolling stock better? Yes, so I build/bash the kits, I've not seen an rtr four wheeler yet that I think looks better than the kit.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
I have a few kits, and a lot of RTR items. But the kits are valuable as I can produce variation in the container flats for QR Intermodal and Freight Australia, and make some of the skeletonised items as well.
  viaprojects Chief Train Controller

have not read the whole topic.

but there are ready to run without the details applyed. what would they be classed as as they are not a kit and not a finsihed product as you have to apply details.
  jd4980 Chief Commissioner

Location: Grafton
It is interesting that this thread hasnt derailed already given the judging of others choices on how they indulge in the hobby, and the offensivness of some coments on that subject. "cash rich/time poor = a mere excuse" well according to who, what entitles one to take that high ground to make such judgement on anothers position and decisions ? "models are built, toys come off the shelf" for real ? So if i shunt an OTM GLX into a siding laid with Peco 83 flexi track, ballasted with a blend of Charlie Aglands ballast and my own crushed and filtered sand, and position said item of RTR rollingstock next to my kit-built ILM G2 Goods shed with an AR kits 44, where would i belong on the judgment spectrum ?

I suppose like any group, there are those that think their smeg doesn't stink, and the humble quiet acheivers, and certainly there is an even greater divide regarding attitudes within the hobby between those that have a layout and those that do not, have not and aren't ever likely to. I don't feel obligated to justify my opinions and position, but don't expect to be judged by them either. I stand by my previous comments in this thread, regardless of what you want to call it, that is and has been my position within the hobby for the last 7 years since starting work on my layout.

To buy into the debate further, my personal opinion is that the boom in RTR is more heavily influenced by, and in no particular order, age (and its associated disabilities), time, and if there is a layout involved in a persons circumstance or not, then by skill level.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
It is interesting that this thread hasnt derailed already given the judging of others choices on how they indulge in the hobby, and the offensivness of some coments on that subject. "cash rich/time poor = a mere excuse" well according to who, what entitles one to take that high ground to make such judgement on anothers position and decisions ? "models are built, toys come off the shelf" for real ? So if i shunt an OTM GLX into a siding laid with Peco 83 flexi track, ballasted with a blend of Charlie Aglands ballast and my own crushed and filtered sand, and position said item of RTR rollingstock next to my kit-built ILM G2 Goods shed with an AR kits 44, where would i belong on the judgment spectrum ?

I suppose like any group, there are those that think their smeg doesn't stink, and the humble quiet acheivers, and certainly there is an even greater divide regarding attitudes within the hobby between those that have a layout and those that do not, have not and aren't ever likely to. I don't feel obligated to justify my opinions and position, but don't expect to be judged by them either. I stand by my previous comments in this thread, regardless of what you want to call it, that is and has been my position within the hobby for the last 7 years since starting work on my layout.

To buy into the debate further, my personal opinion is that the boom in RTR is more heavily influenced by, and in no particular order, age (and its associated disabilities), time, and if there is a layout involved in a persons circumstance or not, then by skill level.
jd4980
I was the one who made the 'cash rich/time poor' comment, and it was not said in a way that should cause offence, that is unless you really want to take offence. I said I don't buy the argument, and as such it is an expression of an opinion.

And grubby comments about what stinks does nothing to advance your argument. How about keeping the discussion friendly instead.
  TheMeddlingMonk Deputy Commissioner

Location: The Time Vortex near Melbourne, Australia
I don't accept the 'cash rich, time poor' argument. As far as I am concerned, it is an excuse. If you want to indulge your hobby, you will find time for it.
TheBlacksmith
Regarding the "cash rich/time poor" argument - I think it comes down to a matter of priorities. I think the use of "excuse" is a little harsh, since one could take that to mean the higher priorities aren't worth it (no offence intended, Blacksmith, just pointing out how it could be taken). That said, the Blacksmith is right in that if the hobby is important enough, people will make time for it. For those of us who have other things that take precedence, RTR provides a way in which we can still enjoy the hobby when other things prevent the more time-intensive tasks (such as kit or scratchbuilding).

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