Question of the week (a bit late)

Discussion in 'The Caboose' started by N Gauger, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Is there a point and or time, where it's actually easier to buy something, rather than scratchbuild it and save a few bucks????
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Yeah, I think it's probably always easier to buy something ready-built or as a kit rather than scratchbuilding it. I don't think saving money by scratchbuilding is an important issue with most people though. Getting something unique, getting something exactly as you want it, getting something just as you need it to fit, or getting something done now rather than waiting for an order to show up might be more the reason people scratchbuild. Mostly though, the pride in knowing that you did it yourself can't be measured in dollars saved over buying ready-built or a kit.:)
  3. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Yes there is, all the time every time, I just don't have the patience for scratch buildingsign1 .

  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Don't forget the happy medium of kitbashing.
  5. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I love scratchbuilding, or scratchbashing, or kitbashing.I have very few structures that are straight from the box. Maybe three.....four at the most.
    I don't even condier the savings. In time and money.
  6. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Entirely depends on your modeling philosophy. One has to weigh the time to scratchbuild against the cost of a prebuilt model. Put another way, would working the same number of hours as it took to scratchbuild a model buy the prebuilt one outright?

    Another thought, what if you modeled the C&O in West Virginia in 1954? You'd need seventeen thousand coal hoppers. Would you rather scratchbuild each car or comission Micro-Trains to do a special run for you? Depends on the modeler, of course.
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Usually, it's not possible to buy a ready-made version of the stuff people choose to scratchbuild, which is exactly one of the reasons people choose to scratchbuild in the first place. If you can afford to buy everything rtr, and are satisfied with the results, go for it. However, you'll miss out on the satisfaction of having contributed to the end result: there's satisfaction, for some, in being able to assemble a kit, and perhaps more in accomplishing a kitbash. Scratchbuilding only heightens that satisfaction, and, even more than kitbashing, gives you a model that's unique to your choice of materials, techniques, and abilities. Scratchbuilding is one of the best ways to bring to life the pictures in your imagination, and, in my opinion, those pictures are the most important requirement for any scratchbuilder.
    However, unless you're harvesting basswood from your backyard, and have your own sawmill, scratchbuilding is often not cheap. Even the best scratchbuilders will tell you "if you can't build a part that looks as good as one that's commercially available, then buy it". Hence the popularity of Grandt Line windows, or commercially scribed siding, in both wood and styrene. I'm thankful that 1"x10" lumber, in either wood or styrene, is available, but a scratchbuilt load of lumber will cost you more than the flatcar carrying it! :eek:

  8. pennman

    pennman Member

    Cant really say you save money scratch building, I luv detail..But You have to admit if you really want that on particular item you either have to scratch or kitbash it. And there is always time for that.
  9. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I have to agree with Wayne, Scratchbuilding isn't nessasarily cheaper than buying a kit. By the time you add up all the grandt line windows and doors, stripwood or sheet styrene, decals, and other misc. materials you could pass the cost of a kit or ready built. Any scratchbuilding I do is because how many Canadian railway stucture kits are actually out there? A few I know (Kanamodels, juneco, sylvan)
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    It's like the difference between reading a book (or seeing a movie) or buying one that's already been read (or watched). How much of the fun do you want to pay Bill Walthers so that he can have the fun of building it?

    Of course, there are so many things to buy that are already just what I want, that I often don't get around to changing them or building something a bit different.
  11. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    This thread puts me in mind of one of the greatest scratchbuilders that I and many other Gaugers have known or ever will know. Robin could take the cheapest material available to anyone, cerialboard and cardboard, and make models that would put most manufactured kits to shame. If you're not familiar with his work, please visit the Academy and explore the awe inspiring legacy that he left us.

    Scratchbuilding doesen't have to be expensive, just imaginitave.

    :cry: :cry: Sorry, I just get choked up by his memory.
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I agree with you about the quality of Robin's work, it was simply outstanding. And, as you mention, it doesn't have to be expensive.

  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I like a mix of all, and I have to admit that getting what I want overrides any cost or time concerns. I have acquired some "RTR" structures - but they were kits that were finished by someone else.

  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't think economics really enters into the equation all that much regarding scratch building vs r-t-r. I noticed one post that mentioned the lack of Canadian prototype based models. It may be a bit more true for Canadian than U.S. prototype, but there are so many different possibilities that it is virtually impossible for any or even all manufacturers to make everything that anyone would want for their layout. If you are modeling steam era, the situation gets even worse. In the diesel era, most railroads buy equipment "off the shelf" from the manufacturer. In the steam era, the railroads generally went to one of the major locomotive manufacturers, although some such as the Norfolk and Western built their own locomotives in company shops. Even when they went to the major manufacturers, the railroads had a lot of input into the designs, so that a model manufacturer can't just come out with a generic steam engine to match everybody's prototype. When you get to structures, it gets even more complicated. The railroads tended to have company designs for standard structures, but even there they weren't necessarily standard throughout the railroad's territory. Once you get to nonrailroad structures, there is very little standardization.

    In short, if you want to do prototype modeling, you have to either scratch build or kitbash, or have a LOT of money for custom models.

    One other point that hasn't been made is that part of the enjoyment of any modeling hobby is the building. It is the difference between a modeler and a collector is the building vs just buying things. Also I remember reading once or it may have been in an interview with an O scale modeler when he was asked for justification for the price of the typical craftsman style kits that are just about required to do any serious modeling in O scale, his response was that it took long enough to build the craftsman kits that in terms dollars per minute of modeling time, they were really cheap.
  15. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Where do you derive your pleasure from...building or operating?

    I derive it from building...and therefore, RTR is hollow for me in an absence of kits, kitbashed, and scratch built. At the same time, I don't expect to be able to build everything I'd like to have...and my degree assures me that I'll be able to purchase a very large quantity of RTR and kits.

    For me, I'll derive most of the pleasure from building the NKP 80, and 90 series coaches that my RTR brass hudsons will pull...but I'll have an asortment of RTR berks and mikes with upgraded details to pull my fleet of hundreds of freight cars to serve as interactive scenery for my cars.

    Acquiring NKP Berks, mikes, consolidations, and switchers can be done in plastic...same thing with an adequate pile of freight cars. The same is true for much of their mainline passenger power (brass hudsons, plastic pa-1s, branchline and walthers passenger cars), acquiring the secondary line power (pacifics & R-class ten wheelers) and the other passenger cars requires scratch & bashing. The end result is that I get to build my 80-series coaches and then watch my Hudson pull them through a Nickel Plate world created by me with many commerical as well as bashed buildings, trains, and scenery. I'm glad I don't have to bash it all...but I really want to bash some of it!

    Now for my other interest...the DSP&P...things are different. Very few On3 locomotives are available...and they are way more expensive than HO brass. I do not know of any DSP&P freight cars available aside from a coal car available from Cimarron works. The only passenger cars available are from Cimarron also, and their the Pullman Palace cars which cost. Due to the cost, I'm inclined to strongly consider scratch building the Palace cars. Once I've constructed major assemblies, I'll cast them in resin. This allows me to get more cars for my dollar as well as save time. For the locomotives, it's the same thing. Mason Bogies are very $$$...but I can get castings and wheels for a fraction of the cost.

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