General News Updates 1999

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1/01/99 - It seems appropriate that on the first day of the new year we provide a status update for projects already underway and our tentative show schedule for the next six (6) months. I would also like to thank many of you that were so kind in taking time to send holiday greetings from your family to mine, it has been most appreciated.

First of all, as our existing customers know that the shipping process has taken longer than expected for our as built J3a Hudson models, we have been working very hard to make certain that we deliver the quality that all of our customers have been expecting. With our first project we set out to accomplish a great deal in terms of upgrading the state-of-the-art in o’scale and based on the feedback from the customers that have received their models, we have accomplished our goal. The basic comments have run along the line of "the wait has been well worth it". We are taking the scheduling issue very seriously and are looking at ways to improve our efficiency without negatively impacting our overall quality and hopefully as we come into the new year we will accomplish our goal in this area also. The ‘bottom line’ to our mission statement is that we want to build models better than anyone else, not necessarily faster.

In many ways the o’scale market is a mess because of the business practices utilized by many of the companies involved in the hobby. For example, we are the only company that has maintained pricing integrity, we have and will continue to protect the investment of each of our customers and will not sell them out by lowering our price on a selective basis because our models will not sell. As always we are the subject of rumors in the market place, often times spread by competitors who feel threatened and find it easier to try to destroy rather than compete with a quality product. When it comes to the quality of our products, we have no secrets. If you would like to know the in-service record of our models check our web site where we have added a service log listing all service related queries that we have received, don’t rely on the ‘wana be experts’ to tell you what’s going on. The only way for us to make advancements is to establish a baseline for quality and function and we can only do that if everyone knows where we are in the process.

Just a brief mention of an ongoing situation regarding my former employer, Fine Art Models. I still receive phone calls from people looking for help in resolving their individual situations regarding the Fine Arts o’scale passenger car project. The fact remains that I could not do anything about it when I was employed there let alone now. I can tell you that we are moving ahead with plans to produce the cars that Fine Art Models has said they no longer plan on producing; the Pennsy ‘heavyweights’.

Regarding the GG-1 project, this will be our next released project. We will have a sample model on February 15th, at which time we will start collecting reservations and deposits from our existing customers, approximately 30 days later we will open the reservations up to new customers. The completion of production is planned for June 1st of this year. Included at the end of this update is a brief survey form, if you are interested in purchasing a GG-1, I would ask that you please take the time to return this form regardless of your current customer status so that we can gauge in concrete numbers the level of demand for this project, we know already that it is extreme. As previously mentioned, our preference is to produce only100 units, but we would like to make certain that we have at least a limited quantity available for new customers, hence we may be forced to raise our production quantity to accommodate this demand. Please keep in mind that we will be offering all of the verifiable early variations, so if you are interested in multiple models, please make note of that fact.

Also included in this update is a photograph of the GG-1 sample body shell, while not perfect it proves our design theory, namely that we can produce each shell from a single sheet of brass (no seams) which is critical to the overall quality of the model. Every contour or radius that is part of the original design will be included on our model, this has never been done before in any scale, something so basic, but yet so difficult.

Regarding the ‘Late’ version of the J3a Hudson with PT-4 tender, this project will be released after the GG-1. This scheduling will allow adequate time to process the feedback from our as built Hudson project. We are hoping to have the prototype sample model ready for the O’scale Meet held in Chicago in March after which we will finalize our reservation situation. If you are an existing customer, have paid in-full for the current project and either have not received or returned the pre-registration for the ‘late’ version and are wanting one, please let us know as soon as possible. As you know we are only producing fifty (50) units of this project which is in line with our originally committed to total production for the J3a and they are almost fully committed. This model will prove to be one of the most sought after o’scale models for some time to come once they are delivered in August of this year.

For those of you interested in 3-rail projects, as of the February issue of O Gauge Railroading, we have announced our intent to produce a 3-rail version of the de-streamlined J3a Hudson with PT-4 tender. While our main focus will remain with 2-rail scale, we will pursue the development of limited 3-rail projects because of the level of interest expressed by serious 3-rail hobbyists. Our approach will be different from other importers in this arena in that we are developing our 3-rail models from our 2-rail products and not the other way around, we want to produce only the best for both segments of the hobby and by doing so will ensure the viability of our overall operation. As with our O scale effort, we are not looking to be the biggest or the fastest, just the best. If you have already expressed your interest to us regarding 3-rail models you will automatically receive a project outline for our first 3-rail project in the very near future. If your expressed interest thus far has been for 2-rail and you would like to review what we are going to be doing in 3-rail just let us know and we’ll add you to the list of interested 3-railers. This first 3-rail project is scheduled for a late Fall delivery with a projected price of $2,400.

As previously mentioned, our third project is scheduled to be the Union Pacific ‘type’ (4-12-2) in two basic variations. In the last update we told you that 3rd Rail had announced this past Fall that they were also doing this project even though we had indicated several months ago that we had this project on our schedule. We are moving ahead with our version of this prototype, consensus of opinion is that our customer base will not be interested in what 3rd Rail is doing anyway. For those not familiar with our other planned projects, they include:

Norfolk & Western Y6b (2-8-8-2) - Pennsylvania K-4 (4-6-2) - Chesapeake & Ohio K-3 (2-8-2)

We are in the process of firming up our show schedule for the coming year, the following is a list of the shows that we tentatively plan on displaying at. If you plan on coming to see us, please confirm in advance our attendance. We will be adding additional events to the schedule as we determine the appropriate shows for our products.

 

Big Railroad Hobby Show / Springfield, Massachusetts

January 30-31, 1999

 

O'Scale West / Santa Clara, California

February 11-14, 1999

 

Brass Expo '99 / Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

February 20-21, 1999

 

New York Central Historical Society Train Show / Willoughby, Ohio

March 6, 1999

 

Chicago Midwest O'Scale Meet / Chicago, Illinois

March 20-21, 1999

 

O'Scale National Convention / Atlanta, Georgia

July 16-18, 1999

 

NMRA National Train Show / St. Paul, Minnesota

July 21-24, 1999

As always, our web site remains the most timely source of information. With the holidays over we will endeavor to get back on schedule with our monthly updates. If there are issues that you would like to see addressed in future updates or on our web site, please let us know. If you have specific questions needing answers, please contact us by any of the following means.

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