Re: the future of HON3

Lawrence Wisniewski <lwreno@...>

That company in India did manage to bring at least a small number of their C-16's to market, but their quality was awful and so ended that venture.  I've seen the locomotive offered on e-bay twice over the years but really don't know if it was released world wide, or on a more regional venue.  At any rate, it was a bust.  This discussion of Bachmann-Kander has occurred so many times over the years that I am amazed it has risen from the dead again.  I can't see any point to it's continuation.  I don't think that there are many HOn3 hobbyists that still believe Blackstone is still pursuing the K series project. Their failure to make a public statement about withdrawing from it is really bad form on their part but typical of current American corporate behavior and business practices.  Personally, I would hate to see Bachmann products contaminate the HOn3 marketplace.  Their stuff is notorious for eratic quality control and questionable engineering practices.  Their customer service seems to have become extinct.  Just check out some of the On30 sites for their opinions on Bachmann these days.  I've been in model railroading for over 50 years and have seen a lot come and go.  Longing for a cheap, widely adaptable rod engine only got us the MDC engines, and no serious HOn3 modeler is going to give them a second look.  Why MDC did what they did is not clear, but it is pretty much in line with how they approached their earlier standard gauge efforts.  Those were born of the shortages, engineering limitations and toy train mentality of the 1950's.  Not something to display or run next to our contemporary brass, or even Blackstone locos.  Narrow gauge modeling has always required efforts beyond those needed for standard gauge.  It's a stable refuge for mostly serious and experienced modelers who are willing to develop the craftsman's skills and attitudes.  Unfortunately, this leaves the entry level hobbyist out in the cold unless they want to really work at it for a while.   I'm sorry if I am coming across as an elitist here but there are different levels of interest in this hobby and manufacturers have a lot of competing demands on their plates.  As the upward spiral of Blackstone prices clearly indicates, even RTR manufacturers are not going to become the saviors of narrow gauge modeling, except perhaps for the less technically demanding larger scales like On30.  You can buy and upgrade decent HOn3 Westside locomotives for significantly less money then Blackstone has to charge these days. I can do a RailLine boxcar, complete with good trucks, couplers,  paint and decals for around half of what a Blackstone costs out of the box.  And my model is definitely more satisfying because I got to care about what I was doing when I put it together.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ric Case <ebtmodeler@...>  
Sent: Sun, Jun 7, 2020 7:12 pm
Subject: Re: [HOn3] the future of HON3

Gents this discussion comes out from time to time, as far as the C-16 yes it’s a great little loco and would fit into many a layout. Some may remember a fellow who was building a model in India took a lot of money from quite a few railroaders but was never able to get any models produced! Lots of good people lost all their investments with no hope of any repayment! I would be happy to have a few more of them as long as they have as much pulling power as the BS. C-19 ! 
I model the EBT and have no need for this loco but I am willing to add a couple more if something comes to fruition! 
Purest I’m not, but I really like the C-16s. 
Would really like to see a nice EBT loco that would fill my needs ! 
I have no idea how many would sell ! 
The bass that were Imported by hallmark are few and far between and expensive when they are available.
For the most part I run my seven teen black stones to save wear on my brass! 
Not the best solution but all have sound and DCC. 
A C-16 would fit into my operating session if it would pull my trains!   
Replacement motors for the westside brass are hard for me to find! I used to use Nwsl motors. 
Not good at finding things on line as replacements ! 
My thoughts! 
Just hoping!  

Ric Case 
EBT Modeler 
Hamilton ,Ohio
513 3757694

On Jun 7, 2020, at 6:31 PM, duncan <train3guy@...> wrote:

    As you said, this has been discussed before.  But, a couple of new things have developed that weren't present back then.  Maybe they will make a difference.
    About a year ago, at the Sacramento NNGC, Blackstone announced they had broken off dealings with the manufacturer they had been working with.  I believe that is Kader (sp?) who are owned by Bachmann, or who own Bachmann.  At any rate my understanding was that Kader would make the items (locos and cars) for Blackstone, but Bachmann couldn't compete.  So, Bachmann never entered the HOn3 market.
    They did use the drawings, etc. and produced both a K-27 and a C-19 in G scale (Fn3) that were identical to the Blackstone models in HOn3.
    When Blackstone ended their manufacturing relationship with Kader, that would seem to change things.
    At the convention, when I found out about this change I immediately went over to the Bachmann booth and asked if they knew anything about it.  They said they did not.  I related what I had read and been told at the Blackstone booth.  I asked them to check it out and if it was true, might they now consider entering the HOn3 market?  The gentleman I talked to said he'd check it out.  Notice that Blackstone has said they would keep us informed of developments.  It has been almost a year and we have heard nothing new from them.
    At the TCA show here in Denver in March I again went to the Bachmann booth and asked them about the possibility of Bachmann doing something in HOn3.  That gentleman said they would not.  That the market was not nearly big enough.
    I would dispute that claim, because Blackstone was able to sell enough locos to meet the requirements for production.  They ran three releases of K-27's IIRC, and two releases of C-19's.  I know Blackstone had told us (at Caboose Hobbies where I worked at the time) that they needed to sell as many models in a run as Athern, Atlas, Intermountain, Bachmann, or any of the other manufacturing companies had to sell.  And that that number was about 3500 copies.  If that is true, then Blackstone was able to sell something like 10,500 K-27's and 7,000 C-19's.
    So, my thinking is the best bet for new HOn3 locos may yet be Bachmann.  They have the factory that has done that kind of thing before.  There is, now, no agreement existing that keeps them from such a move.  They just need to hear from enough of us that there is a market that is not being met.  And a C-16 would be an ideal loco to produce.  Because I think it is just about the only thing that would have enough sales to warrant a run.  It was the iconic narrow gauge loco.  (Despite Blackstone's claim that the K-27 was the iconic narrow gauge loco!!!)  The C-16 was used by more roads than any other and in numbers exceeding any other design.  A K-28, or K-36 is nice.  But they are large; only used by one, or two roads; numbered about ten of each; were modern in design.  So, for old time, small layouts, of different roads, not of much interest.
    C-16's were used  extensively by the D&RG(W), RGS, DSP&P, DL&G, C&S, SRR, SN, SG&N, W&W, WP&Y and many others.  They were first built in the late 1800s, so fit for early modelers.  They were small, so better fit those with small layouts.  They were used in passenger, freight, logging operations and as switchers, so fit many layouts in those areas.  They lasted into modern times and three still exist, so fit for those modeling modern narrow gauge roads.  I think no loco better fits narrow gauge modeling.  Yet, no one has made a r-t-r model.
    Long answer to you question, but I hope it had some info and ideas that are helpful!
                                                                                                                                                            Duncan Harvey

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