General News Updates 2018

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6/02/18 - Now back from an extended overseas visit, it's time to unpack, not only clothes and travel essentials, but also the large amount of data accumulated during the trip. Oversight on our Big Boy project was certainly a primary objective for the trip, but planning and placing my future projects was just as important. All of the project specific information will be posted on the appropriate sites over the next few days and I'll be sharing what I can about other matters here on the General News page. With visits to a dozen builder facilities in both Korea and China, a good overview of the state of the industry was achieved and some of that information will be shared. In addition to all of the model related activities, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring the facilities of a major 1:1 scale railroad supplier in China, a really impressive and educational time. We ultimately had dinner with the General Manager and his family, his son is currently studying Mechanical Engineering in Columbia, Missouri.

Let me start the unpacking by sharing some photos from the museum created by an old friend Hyun-man Lee, better known as Mr. Lee of SJ Models fame, the builder that I worked with for almost thirty years and the producer of my last locomotive, the Union Pacific Challenger. This was actually the last stop during this trip and I have unfortunately not taken the time to visit Mr. Lee for a couple of years due to time constraints and other obligations. Since our last project together, Mr. Lee has scaled back his production efforts and converted much of his production space to a model museum complete with an in-house cafe. Mr. Lee's building is located adjacent to the major park in Incheon so there is direct access for the many thousands of visitors that spend their time in the quite beautiful park throughout the summer. The photo immediately below is a view of Mr. Lee's building from inside the park.

Below is a view of the museum entrance from the street side of Mr. Lee's building.

Immediately outside the main entrance, you are greeted by the brass Eiffel Tower model that Mr. Lee built several years ago and that was featured on this website when it was originally constructed.

As I mentioned, there is a cafe in the museum where you can select from a variety of beverages including many specialty coffees and lattes. The delivery system is of special note and will be highlighted in subsequent photos.

The next three photos show the large centrally located train layout that Mr. Lee personally built, it features operating trains in multiple scales and the operation is totally automated.

Also featured throughout the museum are large and well lighted glass cases displaying a wide variety of models, most of which Mr. Lee's company built over the years. There are examples of all the models built for Kohs & Company and also Fine Art Models. It was a bit overwhelming to see all of the model projects that I personally worked on during our thirty year relationship displayed all together.

With some of the smaller scale models in the background, Mr. Lee poses with his 1:16 scale Big Boy that we featured in one of our displays in the Nuremberg Toy Fair and also the NMRA National Train Show that was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin several years ago.

There are booths for seating while enjoying your beverages around the perimeter of the museum and even the booths themselves include models displayed in lighted cases. You can also see the trains that operate around the perimeter of the room at eye level.

As mentioned, the delivery system for the beverages you order is also very unique. A scale model of one of the eight-wheeler golden spike locomotives custom built by Mr. Lee will arrive at your booth behind glass doors that will automatically open.

There are multiple display cases around the room and it takes a good bit of time to digest everything that is presented.

Another large scale model that is very unique is that of a German rail gun that was used during World War II. This was a model from another museum that had fallen into disrepair, Mr. Lee restored the model for presentation in his own museum.

A 1:87 scale model of 'Big Muskie' built by Mr. Lee's former partner Mr. Han is shown tucked in the corner below. Again, one of the operating trains that circle the room can be seen above it.

Some of the construction models visible in the case below were built during the period when Mr. Lee and Mr. Han his former partner were still working together and doing work for Classic Construction Models in the United States.

The visit with Mr. Lee ended with a wonderful dinner that he hosted the night before I left to return home. His hospitality has always been first-class and there was no shortage of Korean Soju, a rice based whisky that goes down very easy, but always makes a flight home the next day very interesting. I have to note that not all of the green Soju bottles visible in the photo were mine, if they were, I would most likely be dead! To this day, I have the greatest admiration for Mr. Lee and his work, I think of him as a brother. I wish that the high level of effort required for our projects had not taken the toll that it did over the years, but we agree that there is one project that we still want to produce together, the subject of that project will remain a secret for now.

5/26/18 - Just a brief update from along the trail, you may note the date is a bit ahead if you are actually reading this the day it was written, I'm reporting in from Korea at the moment. I wanted to let all of those who have been trying to communicate with me in the last week know that I am again traveling, but will be back soon. It has been a grueling trip starting in China and will end this time in Korea where I will meet an old friend, Mr. Lee from SJ Models who I have unfortunately not taken the time to get together with in far too long. Events of the last year have only reinforced how important it is to take advantage of the life you have while you can, it's over far too soon!

There are some really good things to report from this trip and I am happy to say that the reorganization of production opportunities and a bit of a pressure plan have begun to pay dividends, this is the most optimistic I have been in quite some time and I know that our resulting projects are only going to be far better for the effort. There will be a full report about some of things I have learned along the way this time and there will certainly be a number of project updates and maybe even some new plans to announce.

Until back in the good old USA, best to all!

5/19/18 - Over the years being involved in importing brass model trains, there have routinely been numerous questions about the builders who create the models that importers deliver and certainly questions about the Korean lifestyle in general. The idea of organizing an excursion for those interested in seeing for themselves just what South Korea is all about.has been considered, but until now never been pursued. During an upcoming visit I intend mentioning the idea to 6-8 builders to see if they would be seriously interested in hosting a group of visiting modelers in their facilities to show first-hand what the model building process is all about. Other general sightseeing could certainly be included, not to mention some of the more interesting drinking lounges. If this would be of interest to you, drop me a note so I have an idea of just how many people would potentially take advantage of such an opportunity. Depending on the level of interest, special travel and hotel rates could potentially be arranged.

5/13/18 - There are a couple bits of news to share and there will be follow up information coming in short order. Following the next visit overseas several of our planned projects will be placed in the hands of the builders we have been cultivating for several months. With the new approach that has been taken in developing the production plans for our projects, it has been critical to understand the strengths of each builder we are talking to, every builder is not well suited to producing each type of project we have planned. Be watching for individual project updates where the plans for each will be shared in the next few weeks.

They have been a long time coming, but the first of the leaded glass display cases that have been planned for quite some time have just been picked up from the stained glass specialist. The first group of cases are sized for my Challenger or similar length models (32") and are the finest that I have ever seen. I have several personal cases from different makers over the years, but none as good as what has just been delivered. The glass used is single strength so it is thin and provides for an extra thin beading at the edges and it is museum grade so it is crystal clear unlike regular glass. I'll be posting photos of the first case very soon. I will be offering a variety of length to accommodate each of the models that have been offered over the years and custom lengths will also be possible.

More soon!

3/21/18 - The annual O Scale March Meet was held in Chicago this past weekend and as usual, the Hill family lead by Melissa, did another outstanding job of orchestrating a trouble-free event. I'm already looking forward to 2019! I want to thank everyone that stopped by our tables and especially those that came great distances just to see what Kohs & Company had to offer. Again this year I hosted a gathering of reservation holders and model owners to provide an opportunity for questions and hear face to face what is going on with our current project development. I sincerely thank those who attended since it was held at a late hour to avoid conflict with eating, drinking and layout tours. After each show experience, especially in Chicago, ideas come to mind to make it a more meaningful use of time for those that attend and a couple of new ideas came to mind this year which I'll look to incorporate for next year. Hopefully we can get even more participation in 2019.

Many thanks to all!!

3/11/18 - Progress is being made on a number fronts, thankfully, and I'll be posting the news in the next day or two. The details of the PFE reefer project are nearly finalized and the plans, specifications and pricing for the HO scale Union Pacific Challenger will be released. This is all part of a new production arrangement that also involves and supports our ongoing Big Boy project.

Check back soon!

1/30/18 - 2018 has gotten off to a rough and slow start, the reason why I have been pretty quiet since the holiday season. Heading into the holidays I was struggling with a respiratory ailment and Walking-Pneumonia, no Flu thankfully....yet, but in the course of that just before Christmas developed a case of Shingles. The most apt description I can give to Shingles is like having, in my case, a 30'x8' cold-sore wrapped around my midsection, any movement leading to cracking and pain as the rash healed. That was the easy part, the residual nerve pain that still persists is driving me crazy to the point of distraction! Without movement the situation is tolerable, but you don't get much accomplished on that basis! I'm pushing ahead at this point on project updates and mailings which are long over due and I can hardly wait for the anticipated overseas travel that is planned. My builders are anxious to get started on the new projects we have planned for this year and I have to say that I am very excited as well with the new potential that has been developed over the last several months.

Your patience is sincerely appreciated and I'll be posting new updates shortly.

1/11/18 - I have an important maintenance update regarding work at that will be done on our severs beginning at 7:00PM EST today. This maintenance may interrupt the normal access to this site, but it should only be for a short period of time this evening.

Additional updates for the new year will be posted shortly once the maintenance is complete.

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