Again, the selection of photos on the new Southern Rail Models page suggests that they are being relatively poorly advised.
No less than four of the liveries shown were one-off liveries on one unit.
Two of them were on two units only.
And there appears to be no commitment to produce any of them, just suggesting they are possible options.
The Orange scheme with Westrail lettering shows a smaller size of lettering than was applied on most units so painted and may thus be a fifth one off livery.
The photos are most definitely not of all the possible variations of L class livery. My research has indicated that there are no less than 44 different colour schemes that have been worn by the class (depending on how you count them)! More if you include the large white on black numbers stuck on the cab front and long hood end towards the end of the Westrail era, which were in some cases applied with the scheme but I think retrospectively on others.
The comment on the latest blog update does clearly say 'these are some of them', and then asks for people to email their top six. So this is to me a great way of getting votes for a likely second run. SRM want to hear what people want and I've no doubt their decision on a second run and the schemes offered will reflect this.
The scheme of Westrail orange with smaller drop shadow lettering was applied to no's 258, 259, 261, 262, 264-266 and 271. Eight in total, making it in fact one of the most common schemes carried by the class.
I'm yet to confirm how many had the larger lettering, but at the moment I've got nine on my list. There were two different types of chevron for the larger lettering, only one for the smaller lettering (as far as I can tell at the moment).
Some aspects of that Southern Rail post you've linked to seem a bit strange to me.
For example, SR's owner says that WA represents just 5% of the market (and I'm presuming he means for Australian outline plastic r-t-r).
As there are, at present, no plastic r-t-r models of any WA locos available for immediate delivery in any scale apart from iron ore line locos and his DFZ (which is really just a Qld loco in drag).
And if he's right about the "spectacular" response to the forthcoming L class, then presumably once you add the L class models to the mix that would increase the WA market share to, say, 10%, with just one real WA non iron ore loco available for sale.
So there must be some untapped demand for WA r-t-r somewhere. Unfortunately the r-t-r makers just can't see it at the moment.
Secondly, he says that "it is out of the question to produce a plastic RTR WA loco in Sn3½. There just isn’t the volume to support the cost." So, folks, what he's also saying is that you're wasting your time buying any of his DFZ locos, because that's all you're ever going to get in WA narrow gauge plastic rtr.
Why is that? Well, anyone who's familiar with the WA market will know that the market here for anything narrow gauge unique to WA in HO or HOn31/2 (as opposed to a Qld model in drag) would be a great deal smaller than the market for the same product in Sn31/2 that he says is unviable for plastic RTR. After all, there are lots of Sn31/2 modellers and layouts over here, but no HOn31/2 or HO "narrow gauge outline on standard gauge track" modellers or layouts.
I simply can't agree that "a plastic RTR WA loco in Sn3½" is not a viable proposition. If Ixion can make a plastic RTR model of the unique Pichi Richi "coffee pot" railcar in an even less mainstream scale and sell it out, then, at least, a WAGR W class in Sn31/2 would seem to be a no brainer (and yes, Pichi Richi runs several W class locos, too).
On the other hand, I'm pleased at the "spectacular" response to the L class model. I'm already looking forward to buying some of the additional liveries in the second run. And I'm also hoping there's a K class in the pipeline.
Well since you mention me I will reply, but I feel like I'm going around in circles, as you have added no new information.
But I will try to answer those questions.
Where he says 5% he also says 'all gauges'. In other words I take this to mean this includes
the Sn3.5 guys and the N scale and the O scale guys everywhere. The Australian market in totality. And I would argue that O scale is more mainstream than S scale in this country. I've certainly noticed O scale models out and about much more than I have S scale models. Plus as you point out we now have had two models made in plastic RTR for On30 scale.
Its a bit of a leap to suggest the L class on its own will increase WA's market share to 10%. Remember such an increase would require more than
doubling the size of the current WA market! (its a percentage, therefore it's relative to everyone else, so that means that some people need to stop buying NSW, VR, QR, SA and start buying WA models). After all there are plenty of 'interstate' L's in this first run. In fact a second run is likely to have less interstate L's given that most (I think) of them are already being offered.
You say what is available, however the DFZ has not yet been released. Hopefully later this year. Other WA HO scale models are Auscision's upcoming AC and ACA class locos and their recently released WVX/WBAX vans. So that will be four WA specific locos and one wagon.
So if you think the manufacturers don't realise there's untapped demand, what is this? Of course these are only being done because of the interstate correlations. I'll bet you anything there won't be that many made of any of these WA locos. But because of the chassis commonality they are being done. The rest is up to those who want WA models. What he's saying with DFZ is this is what we can do, because there aren't enough Sn3.5 people (nowhere near). If it goes well (and the WA interest in the L is high) then perhaps more may follow. I don't think anyone's expecting the S scalers to suddenly buy DFZ's (they're modelling a different era anyway).
You may certainly disagree about viability, however it is not me you have to convince! Either way you still do not provide any numbers to back it up! The S scale magazine is less than
200 circulation. That is not lots! How many times do I have to say this before you will realise? In all of Australia and New Zealand. That is not a viable RTR market. People are not
going to switch scales just because a model suddenly becomes available. S scale is a kit and scratch builders scale and I see zero evidence that this will change in the short term. RTR does not suddenly enable someone to become a kit builder. It enables someone to buy RTR and then plonk it on the layout. S scale accessories, buildings, appropriate track, all are harder to get (S scale may run on 16.5mm track but it looks crap if you do). For people to change scales, they want it to be easy. The skilled modellers may be disdainful of plonkers but they are massively outnumbered by them.
Again, in order for an RTR model to be viable you need to sell over a thousand, I would regard 1500 as a bare minimum. You have less than 200 potential purchasers! How can you possibly believe this is going to work? You are kidding only yourself. In fact I would be surprised if there are more than a hundred S scale modellers in WA. If you put them all in a room it would seem like a lot. But thats not enough
. You say 'anyone who knows the WA market' but you are making a lot of presumptions there.
Ixion may have made the Coffee Pot but this does not mean that a WA S scale loco is a viable proposition. It was a different scale! Perhaps you should ask them how many they made? Also, they haven't continued to produce models to match it, which is no vote of confidence for that era and outline.
What I'm saying is that your untapped market is in HO scale. HO scale is the most popular and thats hardly likely to change in the short term. Especially given the ever increasing numbers of models available for the Eastern states. Someone is much less likely to buy an Sn3.5 scale RTR model if they also like SAR and VR. I agree that the total market could
grow - in terms of population WA should have a greater share. But just because people are currently modelling in S scale does not mean that every newcomer will want to model S scale. In fact I would say that anyone wanting to model WA in the diesel era will prefer HO scale, and would be happy to have narrow gauge diesels running on 16.5mm gauge track to avoid the necessity of dual gauge track. There are after all people buying the new range of QR models for 16.5mm gauge even though they doubtless know it is incorrect. But for convenience this means they can run these models with whatever else they may have from other states or overseas.
What you seem to be struggling with is if you aren't aware of HO scale (or HOn3.5) modellers of WA railways then you think they don't exist, therefore the only option is S scale as there are kits available. You are discounting people who have purchased IP sets, NR's, AN's, anything that ran or runs into WA. These are the people that will consider buying a DFZ, obviously an L and the Auscision C44aci's and GT46C-ACe's. This is the market that has room to grow.
PS. I have been watching the Australian outline market for over 10 years. I have still got copies of most of the newsletters released by the main RTR producers over this period of time. I read and pay attention to what these guys have said in their newsletters and over time they have told us a lot of information. They have given us a good idea of what it costs and the numbers they need. They have told us about all sorts of pressures and difficulties. Note that the Austrains Z20 was cancelled recently. This because of ever rising costs and this is for what should be the biggest market in Australian outline of all, the NSW steam/diesel era 50's-60's! So what hope have you of a WA steam loco in S scale?!?? Any producer reading this will think you are crazy. They would probably use that old line; 'Tell him he's dreamin'.