General News Updates 2000

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12/10/00 - We are happy to announce that the Y6b offering is going in the mail this week to existing customers.  We just received the finished prints of the prototype that will be included in the offering materials and we are quite frankly thrilled with the results.  I should explain that the photos are the result of a fully digital process and this is the first time that we have not used traditional film to record the images.  The timing for the offering could not be worse coming into the holidays, but it seems to always work out that way.  When you take the conservative approach, things happen when the project is ready to offer rather than when the timing is perfect.  We hope that you understand!  A further update will follow this week on the Y6b project update page.

11/23/00 - Happy Thanksgiving!!  After another Korean visit, I can report that all is looking great and that our 'Late' Hudson project will be the best to date, the models are looking fabulous!  I apologize to all that have tried to contact us by phone or Email, having been away 'things' have really piled up and it has been extremely difficult to get a hold of us.  For the next few days it should be easier although we have another trip to Korea in the works, a final inspection visit is necessary for our 'Late' Hudson's and we are particularly anxious to get them finished up.  Keep your eyes 'peeled' for the Y6b offering material, it will be hitting the mail very shortly, we now have our final direction set and are actively working towards making the official offering available.  For those of you interested in 3-rail, we have not forgotten you, I believe that you'll be as excited as we are when you see our prototype for our first 3-rail effort.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend and maybe by Monday we'll have an idea of who our new President of the United States will be!

10/24/00 - We've just returned from two shows in the same weekend and it was a great opportunity to meet with many of our customers which is always very helpful for our effort.  For those of you we met with, our sincere thanks for your input and suggestions.  We have posted a copy of the update that was passed out at the shows, it is located on the customer Update Page found in the index, an updated version of this update will be mailed shortly to everyone on our mailing list.  The items on display at this past weekends shows were; the latest Y6b sample, painted pre-production Late Hudson sample and our Pennsy GLe cement car sample.  Additional information on each of these samples can be found on the appropriate project update page in the next couple of days.  New photos will also be posted of both new locomotive samples just as soon as we can get the images recorded and prepared.  Please be sure to check back over the next couple of days to see the latest.

10/9/00 - Just a brief update regarding the Fall show dates, we will be attending the HiRailers Unlimited meeting to be held on the Thursday evening preceding the York train meet in York, Pennsylvania.  The location will be the York Holiday Inn and the time is set for 7:30PM, if your interested in the high-end of 3-rail, you may want to attend.

10/2/00 - As we come into the Fall show season we have an awful lot happening with our projects, both existing and new.  Our 'Late' Hudson project is nearing completion and the final notices will be going out to customers this week, we'll be showing our production sample of this project at the upcoming shows later this month and we're really excited about the results of our efforts on this one!  We honestly believe that out 'Late' Hudson is the most accurately and completely detailed limited production model ever done in any scale, a bold statement, but if and when you have the chance to see one in person you'll know why we say that.  Also on display this month will be our latest N&W Y6b sample model and our Pennsy 'GLe' class cement car.  

On the subject of the Y6b, we have to apologize for the delay in sending out the offering material to our existing customers, but there is good cause.  With the big push that we made in doing research for the development, came the information that spurred some new ideas to be incorporated into the offering, including detail and versions.  All of these factors have had to be sorted out before we moved forward with the offering so that there would be no mistakes in exactly what we are offering with this project..  We know that everyone has be anxious, but it's very important to get the offering 'right'.  Our customers know by now that we are not fast, but we try to be very thorough which to us is far more important.

On the subject of rolling stock and accessories, we have decided on some new projects, but before we extend our list publicly we want to make certain that we have our production capacity issues resolved.  Certainly at the shows this month we'll be discussing what new things we're looking at, but hopefully in the next week or two we'll have some new rolling stock projects to announce.

In the next day or two we'll be posting updates to specific project pages so check back soon! 

9/13/00 - Another research trip is complete and the results are particularly exciting for us, to hear more about this trip check out our Y6b update page.  We have been really straining in the last few weeks to keep everything headed in the right directions, we have a number of projects active at this point and with the approach we take on each and every one the load is enormous.  If you haven't had a chance to check out the latest information regarding our 'Late' Hudson project, you may want to do so.  This info should provide insight into our commitment to deliver the best model we possibly can by adding features late in the process and after the project has long been sold out.  We will be updating our rolling stock project information, specifically the cement car and passenger data very shortly so check back to see what's happening with those projects.  Also in the offing is an update regarding the 3-rail Hudson project which we are again pushing towards completion.  All of this update material will appear on our site first and then in print in our latest update mailing which will be heading out to those on our mailing list very shortly.

We have been hearing from many of you either by phone or Email and I would like to thank you again for your patience in making that effort.  Our phone lines have been extremely busy in recent weeks and I know that it can be frustrating when trying to call, we're working on a new approach to help with this ongoing problem so please continue to be patient.  When Korean trips or research outings occur, we get even further backed up with our responses, but we will get to all of your questions.

More information to follow very shortly!

9/8/00 - In the last several days we have had a number of inquiries regarding our future plans and one particular prototype; the Santa Fe 'Texas' type (2-10-4).  Over the last several months this locomotive has been discussed with several of our customers as a potential future project and although it is not officially on our future project list, I can confirm that we are working on this project.  We do have a long range plan that includes a number of prototypes that have not been listed, this is in an effort to maintain a focus on our near-term projects.  

We have more new information to share and that will happen over the next couple of days, so please check back soon!

8/12/00 - We're back from another show and again it was a bitter-sweet experience.  On the one hand it's always great to meet the people in person that we discuss our projects with either on the phone or by Email.   On the other hand there are always the stories to be heard about what is going on in the 'business' of model railroading and the inherent lack of integrity of some of it's practitioners which is a true source of distraction from the fun of the hobby.  The shows also provide us with the opportunity to get together with our friendly competitors, a chance to discuss in person what direction we are individually taking and to confirm our no-interference approach to the business.  The 'bottom feeders' of the hobby can't understand this concept, their too busy ripping off projects and 'back-dooring' models from builders through encouraging production overruns of projects being done for other importers.  It would be easy for us to remain silent on these issues as they tend not to directly impact what we are doing or how we do it, but there is a principle involved and we unfortunately share the image of all that ply this trade.  This particular show also provides us with the opportunity to meet with a number of Korean builders other than our own and to get their perspective on the business and the people involved in the hobby on all levels.

An early sample of our N&W Y6b project was delivered to the NMRA National Train Show and the response was overwhelming, even in it's early stage of completion.  We are rapidly trying to get photos shot and placed on our site as well as finalizing the offering materials which will be going out to customers shortly.  Also on display at the show was our first sample of rolling stock, the PRR GLe class cement car and we were pleasantly surprised by the level of interest the sample received and I should add that the response from the basic information currently on this site has generated a large number of inquires from people interested in ordering multiple models.  This is all very reassuring in that brass rolling stock is undoubtedly the most difficult area of the importing business.

In the next day or so we'll be offering more information in all of the mentioned areas as well as other new information, just as soon as time allows.  Please check back soon. 

7/26/00 - With another quick trip to Korea complete, it's now time to get ready for the NMRA National Train Show in San Jose, California.  Originally we had planned on not attending the show this year as we were in San Jose earlier this year for O Scale West, but after the trip to Korea we have a couple of exciting new 'things' to show and we have a number of new customers on the west coast that we would like to meet.  Our booth number at the show is #311, we hope to see many of you there!

The photos below show the new facilities that S.J. Models now calls home.  Mr. Lee and Mr. Han are justifiably proud of their new factory and I can tell you that it's a great place to visit and work.  Along with the great new building comes a lot of new equipment from an all new paint facility to a state-of-the-art computer equipped design lab.

This is the main entrance to S.J. Models new home.

The two men responsible for S.J. Models, Mr. Han on the left and Mr. Lee on the right.

At the NMRA show in San Jose we'll be showing our sample model of the N&W Y6b, it will not be complete, but it will certainly illustrate where we're headed with this project.  Also on display will be one of the prototype samples for the rolling stock that we are working on, we are headed  for the same level of detail and accuracy that we have been working so hard to develop in our locomotives, these projects promise to be very exciting.  Photos will be posted on the site for these two items in the appropriate areas just as soon as time allows.

There will be other general updating to the site over the next several days so please check back frequently for the latest info.  We are in the process of evaluating a great deal of input that our last update mailing generated and that will be incorporated into the web updates this week.

7/4/00 - The 2000 O Scale National Convention is over and it's back to work on getting the latest images of the 'Late' Hudson up on the web.  The show in New Orleans, as always, was a great opportunity to meet with existing and a hand full of new prospective customers, although the show was not very well attended.  Our thanks to the organizers for their efforts in putting on a first rate convention, unfortunately they just didn't have the attendance.  Most importantly, many thanks to some great friends that shared their time and some fun!  The 'Hurricanes' did strike in New Orleans!!

6/27/00 - The latest 'Late' Hudson sample has arrived and we will be taking it to display at the O Scale National Convention in New Orleans beginning on Thursday the 29th.  The sample exhibits some of the finest modeling detail that I have ever seen regardless of scale.  As soon as the model returns from the show we will be posting a new series of photos on the web, please check the project update page beginning on the 3rd of July.  We'll be anxious to see your comments.

6/18/00 - Unfortunately we have experienced more down time on our site in the last week, we are currently investigating alternatives to insure more reliable hosting for both our web site and our email service.  To find consistent and reliable service is a problem even in the cyber world.

Just a quick note regarding our GG-1 models, many of which have been in service now for a period of weeks.  The feedback literally from around the world continues to be extremely positive from both customers and onlookers alike.  As we indicated from the beginning, operational characteristics are as important to us as the accuracy of detail and the faithful reproduction of the prototype, we seem to have hit the magic combination of all of these considerations with this project which is very exciting for us.  We learned an awful lot with our first project and even more with the second, the future models should only be better.

Over the course of the last couple of years since we started our O scale business, a two major topics of discussion have been the use of sound in our models and DCC compatibility, because of this we are going to add specific pages to our site in order to carry the latest news for those interested.  We made the decision in recent weeks to commit considerable resources in both areas for future development and as we make progress with our plans these two areas will become a matter of more interest for all of our customers and future customers alike.  In short, we will be further developing the nature and character of our sound which at present is the only prototypically reproduced sound on the market and we will be ultimately offering our own DCC decoders pre-installed in future projects.  From the beginning we have discussed the idea of developing our own control system from the ground up, but have now chosen to try for NMRA compatibility with our decoders despite our feelings regarding the base technology employed by that standard.  All of our sound and control development will be done in conjunction with Dallee Electronics, a company that offers the finest and most reliable electronics in the business.

Over the last couple of months we have been hard at work planning our future and trying to determine what is going to be a reasonable schedule for production based on what we have as a base of customers, that information will be shared shortly.  As part of our planning, there have been decisions made that affect our future projects, in a good way, so keep an eye on the specific project pages that are of interest to you.

In the coming weeks we will continue to wrestle with many issues including the reliable presentation of our web site, so please bare with us and understand that we are small in numbers and are doing our best to keep you informed, but our first priority has to be the oversight of our projects that are in production and under development.

6/7/00 - We apologize for the downtime on our site yesterday, the network was knocked out by construction crews that sliced through the main fiber optics cables that tie our servers to the network backbone.  Everything should be back up and running today including our email service.  Steps are being taken to provide further redundancy in the future to prevent the loss of service.

6/5/00 - Sorry about the lack of updates in the last three weeks!  We have been particularly busy charting our course for the future and trying our best to clean up some loose ends and also get our latest printed update produced and answer the hundreds of phone calls and respond to the hundreds of emails and keep the current in-production projects moving and start the construction of a new test layout and produce some design drawings required by our builder to keep the development of our Y6b project moving and attend some shows......................you probably get the idea.  We are settling into our Summer schedule, which only means basically that we will be attending fewer shows until the Fall, and will hopefully be able to do a better job of communicating.

On the subject of communication, we have just finished up our latest print update and it will hit the mail slot shortly.  You will probably notice in the coming weeks that we are doing less advertising in magazines and will be devoting our efforts to direct communication with those that have expressed a direct interest in what we are producing.  We certainly do not want to further exacerbate our supply versus demand situation so it seems to make sense that we concentrate on the demand that we have already cultivated, we will continue our regular ads in O Scale News.

Over the next several days we will be updating many sections of our site, from production information for already sold-out projects to current production information.  We have many new prototype images to share and some exciting information about upcoming rolling stock and passenger equipment, we'll try to present all of this just as quickly as circumstances allow, please be patient.

5/11/00 - On the subject of project quantities and new customers, we continue to receive phone calls, emails, faxes and letters expressing concern about the availability of our projects for new customers, in addition, we are hearing the same concern at the shows that we attend.  Although it is a difficult position to be in, the facts are very simple; we will not breach our commitment to our existing customers, we can only produce a limited quantity of models and still maintain quality and we can only support a reasonably sized base of customers without falling short of our ultimate goal of total customer satisfaction.

At the outset of our endeavor, now almost three years ago, I never imagined that we would find ourselves in the position of taking criticism from competitors for not meeting the demand of customers for our new products, that seems to be exactly where we are based on the most recent feedback that we have heard.  We have taken all of the comments and suggestions into consideration and have now put together a more formalized approach to the reservation process although the basic elements and considerations remain unchanged.  Our intent is to 'grow' our business as conditions and circumstances allow, but we will not jeopardize what we have accomplished to date by becoming greedy!  Please refer to our 'purchase information' page for more details on the reservation process.

4/30/00 - In recent weeks there has been a growing concern among potential new customers that the production levels for our upcoming projects will not meet the sales demands and that many of them would not be to purchase a given model, this unfortunately for them is a real concern.  At the same time, we have had more than one existing customer upset because the model version of choice or model in general was not available for purchase which has prompted the same call for increased quantities that we have heard from potential new customers, I can now tell you that will not happen.  A number of factors have been considered in making our decision, but it it is all related in the end to customer satisfaction and service.

At several of the most recent shows, we have had the opportunity the discuss the issue in great detail, but simply stated it's a matter of avoiding worker 'burn-out' in the production process and our ability as a very small company to be able to supply customer support both prior to and following a sale.  Our models are extremely complicated to build and during the production, human nature begins to play a major role in quality control as the repetitive aspect of the production begins to have an affect on the craftsmen and craftswomen doing the work, the trick is to avoid getting to this point in the production.  Inherently as the level of production goes up, the more pre and post sale support that is required, we long ago reached the point where there are not enough hours in the day/night and days in the week.  We've been called 'stupid' for walking away from 'more money', but I believe that it is a simple matter of knowing what as a company we can handle and not risk what we have accomplished in the last three years by becoming greedy.  If any of us involved in designing, developing, producing or selling our models wanted to become wealthy, we're in the wrong business and we knew that at the outset.

In the coming weeks we will be making a number of adjustments to our business plan.  To start, we will minimize the amount of advertising that we do so that we do not over 'hype' our upcoming projects to a point that we can not handle the results and we will use the money saved to more directly communicate with those that have already expressed an interest in what we are producing.  This is certainly not an effort exclude anyone from joining our ranks, but rather an effort to avoid antagonizing potential customers by not being able to supply the desired product, we will certainly continue to welcome new customers, we're not totally crazy!  On future projects we will continue to provide a purchasing preference to existing customers, but it will be on a more time limited basis, meaning that existing customers will continue to have first 'crack' at buying, but there will be less time to do so.  More details will be posted very soon as we rapidly approach the reservation process for the Norfolk & Western Y6b project.

4/2/00 - If you have tried to phone us in the last couple of weeks you are probably a little frustrated!  The incoming calls have been at an all-time high since the show in Chicago and we are certainly happy about the level of enthusiasm we are hearing from people contacting us, at the same time we apologize for any problem you may have had in getting through by phone.  At the same time we are experiencing a new high in contacts, we have been trying to concentrate on getting our GG-1's shipped to their new owners so between the two situations, we have not been as accessible as we would like to be, after our shipping is caught up it should get better..........I hope!

We are drawing near to a close on our survey regarding the upcoming Norfolk & Western Y6b project and I would like to thank all of you that took the time to respond, this will be a great help in our planning efforts.  If you would like more information on our results please check out the project update page for this project.

We are very excited about the development of some upcoming rolling stock projects that we are working on, they are very unique and should prove to be interesting for our serious modeling enthusiasts.  There will be more information available in the very near future.

3/23/00 - It seems incredible how quickly time passes, it has been a month since our last posted news!  We have just completed a series of shows ending with the Midwest O Scale Meet in Chicago this past weekend, our sincere thanks to Mike Hill for another great show.  The shows have allowed us to meet and great many of our new customers, people that we have only previously met over the phone, that's the fun of doing the shows.  Unfortunately we have attended the shows with little to sell since our projects have been sold out for quite some time, but we have been able to promote our upcoming new offerings.

Although attending the shows has been advantageous for us, they came at a terrible time with our GG-1 production models arriving at the beginning of the schedule.  We have delivered a good percentage of our orders, but are now at full stride finishing up the last inspections before delivery, we expect to be caught up completely by months end and that will be a great feeling since we will have our 'Late' Hudson models to deliver in May.  With many of the models delivered, we have again instituted our service log for this project so take a minute to see how we're doing regarding quality and performance.

In addition to our show schedule and project deliveries, we have had to continue the research and development on our next project, the Norfolk & Western Y6b.  Please check out the project update page for further information on these efforts.

At the shows we entertained a number of questions about all of our future projects, it's never too early to discuss our plans.  Although our plans are not final in most cases the feedback is critical to make certain we deliver what is desired by our customers.  Even the projects that are a couple of years away are active for us at this point since it takes so long for us to pull together the amount of information required to model a prototype correctly.  Your input is sincerely appreciated!!

2/23/00 - If you are a return visitor to our site, you will notice that we have rearranged a number of headings and links in an effort to make your navigation easier.  You will also notice that we have added two more projects, bringing the total number of announced projects to ten (10).  We have gone ahead and added the two most recent projects for a very simple reason, to get to the point in our program where the C&O H-8 Allegheny was officially on our schedule.  Early on in the development of our business we made a commitment to a number of our early customers that we would in fact model the H-8 and they have planned accordingly with their collections, because it had not appeared on our schedule to date there has been a concern that we had changed our mind, our commitment is now official.  

I should mention again here, that our policy on projects is that once we announce them we plan on producing that project come hell or high water!  The production of announced projects is not subject to a level of pre-reservation.  In our first ten announced projects we have attempted to offer a variety of roads, both east and west as well as a variety of wheel arrangements.  Our ninth project should be an indicator of what we are looking to do in the future, projects that have never been modeled before.  We are excited about everything that we currently have planned and are just as excited about the projects that we have already decided on for our next group, it will be quite some time before we announce any further projects though, we feel that there is an adequate diversity of offering and a reasonable time frame for most serious modelers to prepare for what may be of interest.

2/8/00 - I am very proud to announce that our first two released projects have both been nominated by Model Railroader Magazine as products of the year in their annual balloting, we are certainly flattered since this is the most prestigious of all the model railroading magazines.  I have to share this recognition with everyone involved in the process, from those that have helped with the research, the genius of Dallee Electronics, our customers who's support has made our continuing projects possible, to most certainly our builder, Sun Jin Models Company which operates under the direction of Mr. Lee and Mr. Han.

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