Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

ptmvarsityfan

Why are there so few plastic kits of locos?

Recommended Posts

Hi all, question for railway modellers!

I am nearly exclusively an aircraft modeller with some interest in British locos and railways. I 've no interest in creating a working layout but would like to

make a few kits of classic locos. Apart from the ancient Airfix loco kits are there any kits out there? Is there a market for  static kits? I really dont want to see model trains going round a track but would like to display static models as the design is what interests me. I make model planes mainly but am not interested in flying models, but railway modellers seem to need them to run. Not sure why. Is there a market for good plastic kits of locos?

Cheers, paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been wondering about this for some time. Like you, I have an interest in British locos and would love to see some plastic construction kits. I guess they might even have their place on a layout as part of the "scenery", so to speak.

Cheers,

Mark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's got me thinking about a 1/24 scale BR Standard 2-6-4 or a 9F now. For a static kit, anything bigger than the usual 1/76 / HO/OO would be a winner for me.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to venture into rail sometime, just no big 4x8 plywood sheets. I have two Generals not built and want to make a small rail museum with a bit of working track. Like to make the last GP-9 CP rail used until a few years ago along with one how it looked new.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have long thought that Airfix are missing a trick in not creating a 1/32 A4 Pacific. 

 

Much easier to display than an aeroplane, smaller than the 1/24 lorries that you see. 

 

Someone will do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately railway modelling has become more of a collectors hobby - almost everything is made ready to run and even preweathered in many cases.

 

Given the popularity of 1/35 rail vehicle kits, perhaps some locomotives will eventually appear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, ptmvarsityfan said:

Apart from the ancient Airfix loco kits

They were re-releases of the even more ancient Rosebud/Kitmaster kits - afaik Airfix never tooled any of their own railway kits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I'd want something close to OO as you'd be able to get a reasonable collection together without taking up too much room. Plus they (hopefully) wouldn't be stupidly expensive.

I'm resigning myself to probably buying some non-runners for cheap and tarting them up instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, lasermonkey said:

Personally, I'd want something close to OO as you'd be able to get a reasonable collection together without taking up too much room. Plus they (hopefully) wouldn't be stupidly expensive.

I'm resigning myself to probably buying some non-runners for cheap and tarting them up instead.

I which case, I guess there is a lot of choice out there. Must admit, I'm impressed at the detail on the ready to run stuff these days....costs an arm and a couple of legs though. I've always had a hankering for a large scale loco, something like a BR Standard 2-6-4. Maybe I should just go all Bob Symes and get in the shed and build one? I'm not sure anyone will be releasing new loco kits anytime soon. Has there been any since Rosebud/Kitmaster/Airfix? (Well, there's the few Revell and Trumpeter kits....helps if it has a Nasty Cross on the side it seems 🙂 )

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The HO stuff has advanced so much just in the last few years. Biggest thing is the price for something decent. I know there’s lots of train stuff sitting in grandpas basement if it wasn’t thrown out yet after he died. A scale that works with other scales is good do you can mix them up. G scale for example varies, at least only rivet counters notice it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A number of years ago I noticed something in the photos of the Hornby group stand at one of the large Toy industry shows. 

On the wall of their stand there appeared to be a graphic of a Locomotive (as far as I could make out it was an LNER freight loco) to be part of Airfix’s Engineer range of working  models.

I thought it was a good idea and I was rather disappointed it never went any further. Done to a large enough recognised rail modelling scale to allow a working (scale) valve gear in plastic I thought it would be attractive to dedicated modellers as well as those building it for educational purposes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Scimitar F1 said:

I have long thought that Airfix are missing a trick in not creating a 1/32 A4 Pacific. 

 

Much easier to display than an aeroplane, smaller than the 1/24 lorries that you see. 

 

Someone will do it.

That would be superb! 

Cheers, Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/25/2019 at 10:46 AM, lasermonkey said:

Personally, I'd want something close to OO as you'd be able to get a reasonable collection together without taking up too much room. Plus they (hopefully) wouldn't be stupidly expensive.

I'm resigning myself to probably buying some non-runners for cheap and tarting them up instead.

I believe there was a PE set to dress up the Battle of Britain Class loco.  I've never seen it, but I'd certainly grab one if I could for my Dapol kit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What with Dapol and eBay, you can still get a fair range of the old Kitmaster kits to work on:

 

whole%20bally%20lot%201-L.jpg

j94-finished-rear-right.jpg

post-weathering-LHS-going-away-hero.jpg

left-side-high.jpg

baureih-23-2-L.jpgnew-york-hudson-1-L.jpg

crocodile-4-L.jpg

 

people-shaped-v1-L.jpg

 

These took about six months and not more than £100 all in to acquire on the 'bay, though some were built-ups for restoration and repainting rather than unbuilt kits. There are at least another eight ex-Kitmaster/Airfix that have ended up with Dapol (BoB, Evening Star, Moghul, City of Truro, Schools Class "Harrow", Prairie Tank, 0-4-0 Saddle Tank and Deltic) and are readily available for around £7-8 new...

 

These all ended up on our CBK SIG display at SMW in 2015:

railway-2-L.jpg

 

I think you could easily spend a couple of years modelling nothing but OO/HO railway kits with what's available today. The building and painting is enjoyable (though "lining" is a monumental pain), but the _weathering_ is brilliant fun!

 

best,

M.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, if I was starting a range of static plastic railway kits, I'd do 1930-1960 British prototypes in O Gauge (more or less 1/48). They're a good size, but not HUGE like the 1/35th WW2 German locos; they'd work as static pieces on O Gauge layouts; but they'd also be compatible with 1/48 armour and aircraft for slightly-more-wieldy-than-1/35 diorama possibilities; and they're close enough to 1/43 to work with diecast collectible cars etc... 1/48 would be big enough for decent detail, and also big enough to make assembling the running gear so that it all turns and works more or less realistically less of a pain than it is in OO/HO. If I was moulding such a kits, I'd also do all the mechanical workings in ABS rather than regular styrene to give you a better chance of a working mechanism that won't break...

 

It can be second range from Pistonhead Plastics, following on from the 1/24 classic British sports cars...

 

best,

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/29/2019 at 9:14 PM, JosephLalor said:

I believe there was a PE set to dress up the Battle of Britain Class loco.  I've never seen it, but I'd certainly grab one if I could for my Dapol kit.

I have a few bits from here and there for my Dapol & Airfix kits that will get built someday. Unfortunately they don't seem to come as one set, you have to pick and choose what you think you might want - not being a train buff by any stretch it's a bit of guesswork. 😀

 

If you are interested I'll post a list with some links...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/25/2019 at 12:21 AM, ptmvarsityfan said:

Apart from the ancient Airfix loco kits are there any kits out there? Is there a market for  static kits?

 

railway modellers seem to need them to run. Not sure why.

In plastic there used to be a few others - Revell have a few German & US loco's that are released occasionally & Ratio springs to mind with a couple of UK locos but theres been few others however most loco kits were produced in white metal by the cottage industry for the railway modeller.

 

They're 'needed' to run because that's what railways were about & it can be done.

 

On 8/25/2019 at 7:33 AM, Scimitar F1 said:

I have long thought that Airfix are missing a trick in not creating a 1/32 A4 Pacific. 

 

Much easier to display than an aeroplane, smaller than the 1/24 lorries that you see. 

 

Someone will do it.

 

Not quite as a 1/32 A4 (71 ft long) would be about 10% larger than that 1/24th scale lorry (about 48 ft long). I'll admit the A4 would be more impressive though

 

On 8/29/2019 at 10:13 PM, cmatthewbacon said:

Personally, if I was starting a range of static plastic railway kits, I'd do 1930-1960 British prototypes in O Gauge (more or less 1/48). They're a good size, but not HUGE like the 1/35th WW2 German locos; they'd work as static pieces on O Gauge layouts; but they'd also be compatible with 1/48 armour and aircraft for slightly-more-wieldy-than-1/35 diorama possibilities; and they're close enough to 1/43 to work with diecast collectible cars etc... 1/48 would be big enough for decent detail, and also big enough to make assembling the running gear so that it all turns and works more or less realistically less of a pain than it is in OO/HO. If I was moulding such a kits, I'd also do all the mechanical workings in ABS rather than regular styrene to give you a better chance of a working mechanism that won't break...

 

It can be second range from Pistonhead Plastics, following on from the 1/24 classic British sports cars...

 

best,

M.

UK O gauge is 1/43.5 (7mm = 1 ft) & differs from 1/48 in size by over 10% which is more than most would consider an accepable difference. Compatable with diecast cars yes, but not lorries which are 1/50 so even worse.

 

If you're looking at providing kits in O gauge then last weekend the O gauge guild had their showcase trade show @ Telford which would have been a good oportunity research the market. Not many of the major 1930's to 1960's locos not already kitted. Talk to the kit manufacturers & if they were being honest they'd admit they're happy if any kit sells 25 andsales of 50 is considered a good run. Would that be worth tooling up for in plastic?

 

Honestly think you'd get better returns if you put your money on England winning the Ashes.

On 8/25/2019 at 12:21 AM, ptmvarsityfan said:

 

Is there a market for good plastic kits of locos?

 

 

Seriously doubt there's sufficient call in the UK market. Ask Pete Waterman how much he 'pumped' into his company to keep it afloat before calling in the receivers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem Pete Waterman has was due to Heljan nailing his target  market. Currently a RTR Class 50 is £550 from Heljan and the JLTRT kit is £699 albeit from the successor company requiring motor, wheels and building. Compare that to the so much bigger HPH B-36 for less than that!

 

We are talking about a different market altogether. A 1/32 A4 in IM plastic would be around the Hellcat price or less and would be a static, very detailed model. There is nothing out there even close to that.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Scimitar F1 said:

 

 

We are talking about a different market altogether. A 1/32 A4 in IM plastic would be around the Hellcat price or less and would be a static, very detailed model. There is nothing out there even close to that.

 

 

Thanks Scimitar F1, you have got my point, an A4 in 32nd would be awesome. My original thought was that Rail enthusiasts and modelling enthusiasts might welcome detailed kits of locomotives which do not have to run on tracks as the design of locos is interesting in itself. There was obviously a market in the late 50's as the Kitmaster/Airfix kits seem to have sold well as they were still produced many years later. I would love to see a black 5 for example produced as a static kit to 21st century standards.

Cheers, Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If no-one's already mentioned here..... Trumpeter produce some German WW2 locos in 1/32nd scale. From what I've read, they are good kits (but wouldn't be up to "rivet-counter" specs - but no company has ever produced a kit that's up to those lofty standards...).

 

Chris. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trumpeter are but one of several companies producing locomotive, rolling stock and track kits in 1/35th (not 1/32 as mentioned above).  Primarily all WW2 German with a few Russian pieces also available.  I have taken two of the Trumpeter German BR52 kits and have been using several key components to build a Rhodesian Class 15 Garratt.

 

IMG_0414.jpg

 

So far it has got to this stage.

 

41467199201_a73b6d0546_c.jpgIMG_0726 by tankienz, on Flickr

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with plastic loco kits is that they're too light; most railway modellers will want a working loco and that means metal or resin to get the weight for traction. So even as Kitmaster/ Airkix were producing plastic kits most manufacturers such as K's etc were in white metal.

I suspect that large scale IM British outline would be far too niche a market, but with 3D printing coming along, I could be wrong. Well I might still be right but the start up costs would change the economics of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Mjwomack said:

The problem with plastic loco kits is that they're too light; most railway modellers will want a working loco and that means metal or resin to get the weight for traction. So even as Kitmaster/ Airkix were producing plastic kits most manufacturers such as K's etc were in white metal.

I suspect that large scale IM British outline would be far too niche a market, but with 3D printing coming along, I could be wrong. Well I might still be right but the start up costs would change the economics of it.

Point put well but I have no space or finance for a layout so would like to see static scale loco kits.

Cheers, paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at it another way -static kits are being tooled of most other forms of transport. Trains are hugely popular but there is nothing new. 

I count the German 1/35 stuff as AFV as all are WW2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...