Topics

Low Cost HOn3?

 

Chris - What's a reasonable price today?  It may be worth looking into unfamiliar places. There is at least one Japanese supplier albeit of small industrial locomotives mostly foreign prototypes.  Same goes for the UK.  But I know of no traditional locomotive kits that are a box of parts that one assembles with common tools according to a detailed set of instructions.   I don't know what David Hoffman's current offerings are; but he could be at the top of the list.  There was a guy on eBay some time back that offered a nice running modern diesel conversion around $125-$150.  I think, though, that it was RTR.
But the market for kits will alway be thin given that it is cheaper to assemble, test and package a complete model than a kit full of loose tiny parts that are already perfect enough that they will go together an run well 90-99% of the time without the mechanical skills of an experienced modeler.
Ed

 

Chris - $50 is a tough bar to get under.  Especially if it includes any profit margin for an entrpreneurial effort. I feel pretty safe in saying there is no locomotive "new in the box" currently available in HOn3 kit form or RTR for $50.  Wanna get creative?   You're gonna be doing a lot of out of the box thinking.  I think one thing that will have to be a given.  That is quality of such a product will be well below the HOn3 locomotives currently on the retail market.  The Grandt Line box cabs were close at around $75; but they are only now available on the aftermarket. .......... Ed

Dale Buxton
 

It would probably end up being one of the 4 versions of Westside K-27's. Never a new production model to be sure. Those days are gone forever. Due to the sheer numbers that Westside produced of each version of K-27's. There is constantly one version up for sale on Ebay. Usually it's the as built version. There are 3 on Ebay right now! They can be had for $250 to $350. Thought I feel the upper range price point is excessive. But these price points are in line with a new HO scale Diesel.

Someone had a first run Atlas RS-3 diesel converted to HOn3 on Ebay tonight. The last price I saw was $153.00. These converted Atlas, Athearn (blue box) and Kato diesels come up at about one a month. They hardly ever get over $200 in a bid contest. But they do at times.

Dale Buxton

On Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 5:23 PM Chris Kodani via Groups.Io <ckodani=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hey HOn3 Collector Group! I've got a question for you: supposing that one wanted to get started in HOn3, what's the lowest-priced steam loco available? I know that Roundhouse used to offer some loco kits that were reasonably priced, but I don't think those are around any more.

Lee Sorensen
 

If you are looking for an inexpensive product, you can get a Grandt line diesel for about $55 kit. San Juan products has bought the product line and should have some old inventory. doug at sanjuanmodelco.com would be a contact. 

I have some in Hon3

Lee

Glenn
 

Its best to set up a search on eBay for HOn3. Set it up so you get emails. You need to be diligent, prices vary widely for the same item. Remember? the Ken Kidder Plantation 0-4-0. Initial price in the 60's was $10-ish. Now they go for $$$$. I got one for $25, then a second for $50+. I saw one go for $175!!! There was also an 0-4-4-0 offered.

These are good runners I have installed DCC in two. The motor is a 5-pole KTM. I also have one with a can motor and DCC.

Jeepcaptain is the seller on eBay who converts HO diesels to HOn3. Pricey $100++. He has some unique models. He recently had an Athearn Hustler with a gear drive, It sold for $125. Current offering is:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/HOn3-Athearn-custom-made-Center-Cab-narrow-gauge-diesel-D-RGW-5-HOn3/173672592273?hash=item286fb17391:g:hOsAAOSwdwVcBKeH

I have one of Hoffman's critters. I used it in an On20 (HOn3 gauge) BVM Mighty Midget. It's smaller than an Athearn HO Hustler. I also added DCC to it. Unfortunately Hoffman does not have a website.

The MDC/Roundhouse kits go for $80-ish on eBay. They are the only kits I know of. Though I do have a 2-4-2 that was a kit. I can't remember the maker. But there are no kits that I know of that are in production.

On eBay there are often some offerings for a 4-4-0 and a 2-6-0. These are the same models offered by several manufacturers. They are spartan, no details.

Glenn

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Weldon <23.weldon@...>
Sent: Dec 7, 2018 8:00 PM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

Chris - What's a reasonable price today?  It may be worth looking into unfamiliar places. There is at least one Japanese supplier albeit of small industrial locomotives mostly foreign prototypes.  Same goes for the UK.  But I know of no traditional locomotive kits that are a box of parts that one assembles with common tools according to a detailed set of instructions.   I don't know what David Hoffman's current offerings are; but he could be at the top of the list.  There was a guy on eBay some time back that offered a nice running modern diesel conversion around $125-$150.  I think, though, that it was RTR.
But the market for kits will alway be thin given that it is cheaper to assemble, test and package a complete model than a kit full of loose tiny parts that are already perfect enough that they will go together an run well 90-99% of the time without the mechanical skills of an experienced modeler.
Ed
_._,_._,_


Climax@...
 

Low priced products in HOn3, one should not forget the Labelle Line of wood cars.  Sure it takes a while to build one but with a build comes the pride of production, not with instant gratification.  I have perhaps 20 or 30 Labelle cars built and another 40 still on the shelf ready for building.  Since I do both HO and HOn3 I usually build 4 cars at a time.  Right now I am doing 4 Central Valley Refrigerator Cars which will have the original issued livery painted over and new Clover House Dry Transfers applied.  It brings a whole new look to the cars of that era.  Sure I can buy a completed Blackstone plastic car that is perfect in almost every way, but do I really know that car, and how much did it cost me, 35 to 75 dollars.  I get one car there and 4 or 5 my way.  Sure I have Blackstone in my mix, who in HOn3 doesn't?   I don't profess to point the finger at anyone, so its still back to different strokes for different folks.  Some have skills and some don't.  
Dave

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Sorensen
Sent: Dec 8, 2018 7:44 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

If you are looking for an inexpensive product, you can get a Grandt line diesel for about $55 kit. San Juan products has bought the product line and should have some old inventory. doug at sanjuanmodelco.com would be a contact. 

I have some in Hon3

Lee

Wes Garcia
 

Someone should offer Hon3 locomotive in a kit. I would be more than happy to put one or more together.  

 

From: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io> On Behalf Of Climax@...
Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2018 8:14 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

 

Low priced products in HOn3, one should not forget the Labelle Line of wood cars.  Sure it takes a while to build one but with a build comes the pride of production, not with instant gratification.  I have perhaps 20 or 30 Labelle cars built and another 40 still on the shelf ready for building.  Since I do both HO and HOn3 I usually build 4 cars at a time.  Right now I am doing 4 Central Valley Refrigerator Cars which will have the original issued livery painted over and new Clover House Dry Transfers applied.  It brings a whole new look to the cars of that era.  Sure I can buy a completed Blackstone plastic car that is perfect in almost every way, but do I really know that car, and how much did it cost me, 35 to 75 dollars.  I get one car there and 4 or 5 my way.  Sure I have Blackstone in my mix, who in HOn3 doesn't?   I don't profess to point the finger at anyone, so its still back to different strokes for different folks.  Some have skills and some don't.  

Dave

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Sorensen
Sent: Dec 8, 2018 7:44 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

If you are looking for an inexpensive product, you can get a Grandt line diesel for about $55 kit. San Juan products has bought the product line and should have some old inventory. doug at sanjuanmodelco.com would be a contact. 

I have some in Hon3

Lee




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Climax@...
 

MDC/Roudhouse did a while back.  I guess the kits are getting kind of rare now.

-----Original Message-----
From: Wes Garcia
Sent: Dec 8, 2018 12:01 PM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

Someone should offer Hon3 locomotive in a kit. I would be more than happy to put one or more together.  

 

From: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io> On Behalf Of Climax@...
Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2018 8:14 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

 

Low priced products in HOn3, one should not forget the Labelle Line of wood cars.  Sure it takes a while to build one but with a build comes the pride of production, not with instant gratification.  I have perhaps 20 or 30 Labelle cars built and another 40 still on the shelf ready for building.  Since I do both HO and HOn3 I usually build 4 cars at a time.  Right now I am doing 4 Central Valley Refrigerator Cars which will have the original issued livery painted over and new Clover House Dry Transfers applied.  It brings a whole new look to the cars of that era.  Sure I can buy a completed Blackstone plastic car that is perfect in almost every way, but do I really know that car, and how much did it cost me, 35 to 75 dollars.  I get one car there and 4 or 5 my way.  Sure I have Blackstone in my mix, who in HOn3 doesn't?   I don't profess to point the finger at anyone, so its still back to different strokes for different folks.  Some have skills and some don't.  

Dave

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Sorensen
Sent: Dec 8, 2018 7:44 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

If you are looking for an inexpensive product, you can get a Grandt line diesel for about $55 kit. San Juan products has bought the product line and should have some old inventory. doug at sanjuanmodelco.com would be a contact. 

I have some in Hon3

Lee




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Lee Sorensen
 

Well as I said, you can get a plymouth diesel from San Juan model co for about $55. You can also look for a C16 hon3 kit on the Ebay web. 

lee

Dale Buxton
 

On the what is inexpensive question. Its a relative question. What is inexpensive hobby wise, has and will always be relative to ones income and how much of that income is disposable. After that it is a matter of how much of ones disposable income one is willing to put into ones hobby.

But, I would like to breech a part of this question that I haven't seen addressed. What is the age of this one that wants to get into HOn3 inexpensively?

I think my question is an important question here. For one thing. For better or worse, we are well into the instantaneous gratification era. I.E. Buy it built, take it home, take it out of the box, put it on the layout, DONE! I saw this coming 30 years ago when I worked at Caboose Hobbies. That trend has only continued and deepened. For a variety of reasons I don't think its necessary to go into here. 

However, there is one thing that I am seeing in my own workplace that is strongly germane to our conversation on this subject. I keep seeing a diminishing aptitude for mechanical knowledge amongst individuals under the age of 30 so. It seems to my aging eyes that if things don't happen on"Smart Phones" these days. They don't happen at all. 

Further, seeing as "Shop Class" has been dropped by many school districts across the US. It has had an accumulative effect on the society. And while there is a new DIY movement beginning to grow across the country (and the world). The living "Do It Yourself" knowledge base of the "Greatest Generation" is quickly disappearing over the far hill. Even the abbreviation DIY is an affectation of the computer/internet age. Technology has always suffered from multi generation information loss. But this information loss is getting critical now. The average person has no idea how most of the technology around them works or how to fix it. Even after 50 years of scratch building. I have an electro/mechanical limitation on my modeling skills. I don't feel up to the technical task of tackling the making my own locomotive drivers. It's a very complicated process without a CNC machine or the knowlege of how to use one. Because, the need for dimensionally identical parts is not only critical but absolute!

My point is this. Locomotive kits like the ones that MDC and Kemtron made were released at a time when the collective knowledge base of the market that those kits were pointed at could be counted on. Those kits could be quite daunting for a beginner. I know they were whenI entered HOn3. For example, the manufacturers took it on faith that modeler already understood completely how to tram the quartering of a locomotive. If you didn't, you needed to find someone that knew how. That someone is harder to find now. 

And thats my rant on the subject

Dale Buxton





  

On Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 5:23 PM Chris Kodani via Groups.Io <ckodani=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hey HOn3 Collector Group! I've got a question for you: supposing that one wanted to get started in HOn3, what's the lowest-priced steam loco available? I know that Roundhouse used to offer some loco kits that were reasonably priced, but I don't think those are around any more.

duncan
 

I think Dale has hit the nail squarely on the head.  Cost /expense is a relative question.  It depends on one's disposable income and their attitude as to what the relative cost of things is.

Then, his point about the skill level needed to build a kit is again right on.  Also, figure in the time as a cost, cost of tools (if not already owned), parts, paint, decals needed to build the model.  And the old Kemtron kits were not easy to build, even for a skilled modeler back in the day.  Now, once the kit is built, how well does it run?  Cost to tune/repair/fix it up?

Another point to be added here is that generally speaking you will get what you pay for.  There are exceptions of course.  But, for $50 you're not going to have many choices and the choices you do have will not likely look like steam locos that ran in the Rockies (narrow gauge capital of the world).  Might be able to find something of a freelance nature, something that maybe ran on some small industrial line.  But, for the big mainline narrow gauge lines $50 isn't going to do it.

So, another idea pops to mind.  Start saving a little at a time. If you can put $20 a month away in a sock drawer, in ten months you'll have $200!   What does that amount to?  I'm not a coffee drinker but, about a Starbucks a week?

In the meantime, while saving for the motive power, do some track planning, some kit building, some scratchbuilding.  Make structures and cars you will need on the layout.  Get details and spend the time painting them.

The more capital you have for the motive power, the more choices you will have.  Not just in the variety of the models, but in the quality of them as well.  And motive power is one place you want as high quality as you can achieve - whether you build it, modify it, or buy it ready to run.  If the train doesn't run well you will be frustrated and not likely to continue with the hobby.  Get good quality items and figure out ways to afford them.  You won't be sorry.

My input, for what it is worth.

                                             Duncan Harvey

Don Bergman
 


Interesting thread....

Visitors to my layout frequently comment "This looks expensive"   "How much did this cost you?" 

My answer goes like this.

Model railroading is a fascinating hobby with many aspects, (sometimes I list them) but first and foremost it is a work of art.  

It can be expensive, but doesn't have to be.  95% of my buildings are scratch built,  $10.00 of stripwood and a piece of  broad an batten can keep me going a month.  Most of the cars are scratch built,  when I have the funds and no time I purchased RTR track and turnouts, but most of mine are scratch built.    Scenery does not cost much, most of my trees are from an old artificial Christmas tree and weeds.  A $20 dollar 100 pound bag of plaster keeps me busy for a year.  My turnouts are all hand thrown.  Then I  ask them what they do for fun.   Some will say golf, fish, attend concerts, sports,  one said go to the tavern 2-3 times a month.  I than ask then what that cost them.  Invariable it is more than what I spend (The tavern guy a whole lot more!)

Then I say,. The engines are the expensive part, but I save only buy one every 3-6 years when I can afford them.  Several are worth more that what I paid for them.   (What does that boat cost, what do you pay for green fees?)    I continue... Those areas of the layout, that bridge and buildings, 1/3 of the cars  were build in the 1970's, that area over there was built in the 1980's, much of previous layouts have been saved. This layout has been worked on for 20 years.  You probably spend more than I do, the difference is this.  Just about everything I have spent on for fun and leisure for the last 40-50 years you are looking at.   And some of my cost will be recovered at some point.   What do you have to show for your leisure time?

That usually shuts them up.

Then they  will say "Must take a lot of time?"   Then I say how much time do you send doing what you like to do.......    Usually no more time than what they spend for fun...  you get the picture...a discussion for another thread.  😊

Don Bergman

Chris Kodani <ckodani@...>
 

Don, yeah that does put it in perspective. Boat ownership is WAY more expensive than any scale of trains. I looked into the cost of a boat (basically same as a car), insurance, marina fees, maintenance. I think you could buy a new Blackstone loco every month for the same price and still come out ahead!

Mike Van Hove
 

Duncan, that’s really good advice.
$200.00 should buy something worth having, whereas, $50.00 probably won’t run well, if at all.

Well said.

Thanks,

Mike van Hove

On Dec 8, 2018, at 6:00 PM, duncan <train3guy@...> wrote:

I think Dale has hit the nail squarely on the head. Cost /expense is a relative question. It depends on one's disposable income and their attitude as to what the relative cost of things is.

Then, his point about the skill level needed to build a kit is again right on. Also, figure in the time as a cost, cost of tools (if not already owned), parts, paint, decals needed to build the model. And the old Kemtron kits were not easy to build, even for a skilled modeler back in the day. Now, once the kit is built, how well does it run? Cost to tune/repair/fix it up?

Another point to be added here is that generally speaking you will get what you pay for. There are exceptions of course. But, for $50 you're not going to have many choices and the choices you do have will not likely look like steam locos that ran in the Rockies (narrow gauge capital of the world). Might be able to find something of a freelance nature, something that maybe ran on some small industrial line. But, for the big mainline narrow gauge lines $50 isn't going to do it.

So, another idea pops to mind. Start saving a little at a time. If you can put $20 a month away in a sock drawer, in ten months you'll have $200! What does that amount to? I'm not a coffee drinker but, about a Starbucks a week?

In the meantime, while saving for the motive power, do some track planning, some kit building, some scratchbuilding. Make structures and cars you will need on the layout. Get details and spend the time painting them.

The more capital you have for the motive power, the more choices you will have. Not just in the variety of the models, but in the quality of them as well. And motive power is one place you want as high quality as you can achieve - whether you build it, modify it, or buy it ready to run. If the train doesn't run well you will be frustrated and not likely to continue with the hobby. Get good quality items and figure out ways to afford them. You won't be sorry.

My input, for what it is worth.

Duncan Harvey




Russ Norris
 

I have a friend who models HOn3 and also owns a 27 foot sloop that he likes to race in nice weather. Putting aside the basic cost of the boat itself, his cost for maintenance, sails, winter storage and the like runs into thousands of dollars a year.  He spends more in one year on the boat than I have over 45 years of model railroading.  

Russ Norris



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: "Chris Kodani via Groups.Io" <ckodani@...>
Date: 12/8/18 10:11 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Low Cost HOn3?

Don, yeah that does put it in perspective. Boat ownership is WAY more expensive than any scale of trains. I looked into the cost of a boat (basically same as a car), insurance, marina fees, maintenance. I think you could buy a new Blackstone loco every month for the same price and still come out ahead!

Dusty
 

I reguaged a couple of Atlas N scale DCC dismals. I rebodied them with narrowed MDC Overton bodies modified to look like doodle bugs.

The price was right. The appearance is Ho Hum. They run pretty good. The first was a long process. Not impossible.

If you can un box your Blackstone cars without bending the brake wheels you can probably figure out reguaging and body mods.

I have reguaged an Athearn SW and it is not a piece of cake. Reassembling the trucks is a bitch. Once the wheels are moved in (stub axles moved out) it's almost impossible to get the clearance to insert the stub axles into the side frames. The EBAY guy in Illinois is selling his mods at a very fair price in my mind.

Dusty Burman

Paul Sturtz
 

I tried one of those HO conversions and was disappointed. They are just too big to look right on an HOn3 layout and tower over the narrow gauge cars.  I resold mine.  Too bad NWSL gave up producing the kit for converting the Bachmann 70t diesel because they were very close in dimension to SP#1, had DCC, constant intensity lighting and much finer detail than any Athearn diesel and could be done for $50-$60 easy.  I know, I did enough of them and found a ready market.  I'll never understand why no manufacturer has produced an inexpensive NG model.  I know, I know, for some of you that's heresy but if it allowed new comers to enter HOn3, it would be worth it..  My $.02. 

Richard Brennan
 

A full write-up on the Bachmann conversion to HOn3 was in RMC - July 2008;
"Converting a Bachmann 70-ton locomotive to HOn3 -
Building an affordable power fleet for the Midland Northern -
Steve Hauff and Jim Hauff"

The Bachmann engines are floating around, and the NWSL conversion, while how OOP,
is worth looking for, since I'm convinced many were sold and put away as a 'someday' project.
Might not be do-able for $50... but ~ $100 is probably realistic.

This could get a first DCC-capable engine at the front of an HOn3 consist.

--------------------
Richard Brennan - San Leandro CA
--------------------

At 02:16 PM 12/9/2018, Paul Sturtz wrote:
Too bad NWSL gave up producing the kit for converting the Bachmann 70t diesel because they were very close in dimension to SP#1, had DCC, constant intensity lighting and much finer detail than any Athearn diesel and could be done for $50-$60 easy. I know, I did enough of them and found a ready market.

Paul Sturtz
 

If you find one of the hoarded NWSL kits I(I agree, there are bound to be some out there; I bought 38 of them myself) but  Bachmann changed the design of the trucks and the kits won't work with the new type.  I still occasionally see the old style for auction however.  Look for the one on the left with 5 gears showing.

 

Every time the subject of low cost HOn3 locomotives comes up I have fun rethinking why we don't have any.  It always comes back to "there's not enough market" even at "low" price points to pay for the development of the tooling and processes needed to keep manufacturing costs low.  And what market there is insists on a high level of perfection in appearance and operation and is able to pay for it.  And the final issue seems to be that the last several years have produced a fundamental change from the motivation to "fill every space in that closet" to making more space available there up to "no longer  need for the closet or anything in it. (aka death). 
So one thing I always have to make assumptions over is just how big a market is there for a $50-$100 running HOn3 loco.  So this begs several questions:  Who would want one?  Would they prefer a  $50 diesel or faux geared loco over a mechanically more complicated rod loco?  How many potential customers would be buying their first HOn3 loco and how many would be adding to an existing roster?  For the latter how many would buy the loco as a base for a follow on customizing project?  How many would first look on the used market (eBay) for their starter hardware?   How many would prefer to save some by buying just a good performing mechanism for later completion using easier construction techniques common for static structures or rolling stock?  This is close to what David Hoffman has done.  And given their engineering knowledge and experience with these small mechanisms would such a venture motivate NWSL or an importer like Blackstone.  And I suppose a logical question at this point do we have any visibility of new model building markets developing with an interest in railroad models?
Ed Weldon