Jim King <jking@...>
Here's the latest update on "our" project.
I contacted Rail Master in New Zealand (John Agnew). He is building Sn3
exclusively and will not change scales due to tooling costs, etc. Why
he doesn't go into a more popular scale is beyond me but it's his
business and I respect his decision. Strike 1.
Roger Chivers of Chivers Finelines in England, came back after thinking
over the project and said 'no'. Not only won't he supply a ready-to-run
chassis, he won't even make the etched parts for me to form, including
the drivers, frame and valve gear. Seems he's been involved with three
nasty partnerships and he's just now getting rid of the 3rd one. I
don't know the details and don't want to know, but suffice it to say
he's not interested. He also commented that the UK style of steam
engine construction is not popular in the US and he felt there was no
market. I assured him that our society is not a measuring stick for the
rest of the US modelers and that practically any quality ET loco kit,
regardless of the amount of assembly required, would be welcomed by our
group. That still wasn't enough to convince him to take the project.
I'm now back to working with my tried-n-true spin casting friend in
Sanford, NC. Paul Redmond of On-Trak Models, formerly Walker Model
Service, is a tool and die maker with 25+ years experience. He's the
guy who made the injection mold for Accurail's 55-ton USRA hopper. I've
seen the first shots from the mold and some of the tools he used to
emboss the rivets ... best work I've ever seen!
Paul and I have discussed the ET project several times over the past few
months. Time is the main limitation we both have to work around, not
quality workmanship or available info. Designing a frame with drivers
is the easy part ... figuring out the best manufacturing methods and
associated costs is the hard part! That's why I contacted the UK and
New Zealand sources, since they already make loco kits that have been
At this point, I'm more determined than ever to disprove the British
concept that US modelers won't accept photoetched frames and
preassembled drivers! I will again start up conversation with Paul on
the HOn3 version. We've known each other for several years and trust
each other to carry our each other's duties in this project. And, we
both believe the completed model (in kit form) can still be sold for
That's all for now. I don't expect to have much to report for a few
weeks. I'll copy the Gazette and MR drawings of the engine, collect
some photos, loan him my Tweetsie Country book, and see what we can come
up with. I'll do my best not to let the group down!