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PC: Limited production and Athearn

> I don't have a lot of spare income, and I'd like to have an engine that
>interested in at a price that won't kill me. That's what got my goat about
>Atlas and their Alco Centuries. Not only were they at a very high price for
>me, but I also found their limited run policy exasperating.

Ditto, for some reason, that is the way of the world.  However, I think we
should not worry, the dies exist for everything, and I can say with what I
have seen working with people in the plastics industry, are not cheap, so
destruction or lack of production would be financially suicidal.  I heard a
figure for the tooling for a recent limited production popular diesel of
over $250K.  This manufacturer had other models that shared drive
components, so much of this cost would have been chassis and bodyshell
alone.  This was told to me by the president of another model manufacturer.

The policy is that rotation of products prevents stagnation of the market.
Give me a break.  There will always be a market for quality GP7s, so why
does P2K only do a limited run?  Atlas proved this with their "Classic" GP7,
which sold for more than the P2K unit through many retailers.  The trade off
is detail and drive quality.  We have 5+ people doing F units right now,
limited market........then why the competion at the same time of "limted
production" models?

Markets for other engines, say the Kato RSD4s and the P2K GP20s are much
more limited.  Some are just so limited that either brass or low production
metal or resin (PRR passenger sharks out of Canada) are the only options.
For these, limited production is the only option that makes sense. The
"model" makers of the past often got past this by wrongly badging locos.

The New Haven and New York Central SD40Ps from Athearn are a good case in
point.  Why did Athearn pick a locomotive whose total production run was 6
units to GN and 14 to N de M?  Granted if you model either road, then great,
but then Athearn had models to sell and dies to pay for.....steel ones that
will NEVER wear out.  This is why we still have heavyweight passenger cars
that are too short and have the wrong window arrangement, and they have been
this way since the late 1950s.  Wonder why they are in financial trouble and
bumping prices every few months.....  The Genesis Series is a breath of
fresh air (quality modern locos w/great detail and some of the nicest
paintwork I have seen) but is it too late?

Now, we are blessed with some of the nicest diesels available, and a greater
variety than ever available.  Just pick up a 1960s MR or Walther's
catalogue.  The things we take for granted now.  Separate MU hoses on a
pilot that did not exist 20 years prior to allow for the talgo mounted horn
hook coupler to swing to the 18" radius Tru-Scale curves.  Flywheels,
affordable can motors, diamond tread on walks, etc.  We have some pretty
good paint jobs now and thanks to the popularity in N scale, readable
dimensional data.

The real feat is that it is almost all ready to run and counting inflation,
cheaper than what it would have been 40 years ago.   My father did the math,
today's Kadee $30 boxcars work out to be the same as a Varney or Ulrich kit
if you figure the cost of living and increase in wages.

Just think where we will be 10 years from now...   Proto 8000 live diesel
electrics....nah, the ALCos would set off the smoke detectors with their
prototypical operation and the basement humidity would clog the working


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