Railroad Line Forums - Old School Kit Production
Railroad Line Forums
Username:
Password:
Save Password


Register
Forgot Password?
  Home   Forums   Events Calendar   Sponsors   Support the RRLine   Guestbook   FAQ     Register
Active Topics | Active Polls | Resources | Members | Online Users | Live Chat | Avatar Legend | Search | Statistics
Photo Album | File Lister | File Library
[ Active Members: 4 | Anonymous Members: 0 | Guests: 124 ]  [ Total: 128 ]  [ Newest Member: rkovvur ]
 All Forums
 Model Railroad Forums
 Startin' from Scratch
 Old School Kit Production
 New Topic |   New Poll New Poll |   Topic Locked | 
Author Previous Topic: Carls Clay Works little Critter! Topic Next Topic: Ventilation louvers  

Archbar Jesse
New Hire

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  3:25:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit Archbar Jesse's Homepage
The old kit thread got me thinking (I know, I know . . . thinking is dangerous . . . cant help myself. )

Ive often wondered how all those great old kits got designed and produced back in the days before CAD and laser cutting. Well, our primitive forbears used cast iron T-squares and coal-fired saws, obviously, but I was wondering more about the whole process. How were prototypes selected? How were materials selected? How were precisely (or in some cases not) fitting parts cut, and how were dies for part cutting set up? How did decal sheets get printed? What subcontractors were used to produce parts, and did they find the notion of little bitty replicas amusing? How was packaging designed to attract the eye of potential customers? How were price points established?

If anyone has had experience on that end of the supply chain, Id love to hear about it. Also, me being somewhat cynical and perverse, are there any Now It Can Be Told stories of intrigue, treachery, and dirty pool in our otherwise idyllic hobby? What, precisely, were the nice people at Lytler and Lytler on when they designed those ads (reference November 1974 MR) back in the day?

Im throwing a log in the stove and putting a pot of coffee on if anyone wants to put his feet up and reminisce.
"In capitalism, man exploits man. In communism, it's the other way around."

Country: USA | Posts: 14

Archbar Jesse
New Hire

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  10:12:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Archbar Jesse's Homepage


44 views and no replies?



Let's broaden the pattern, then-- speculation, opinion, and conjecture regarding the aforementioned topics are hereby solicited.



"In capitalism, man exploits man. In communism, it's the other way around."

Country: USA | Posts: 14 Go to Top of Page

Archbar Jesse
New Hire

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  10:12:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Archbar Jesse's Homepage


44 views and no replies?



Let's broaden the pattern, then-- speculation, opinion, and conjecture regarding the aforementioned topics are hereby solicited.



"In capitalism, man exploits man. In communism, it's the other way around."

Country: USA | Posts: 14 Go to Top of Page

MikeC
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 10/21/2005 :  6:12:59 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Archbar Jesse


Ive often wondered how all those great old kits got designed and produced back in the days before CAD and laser cutting. Well, our primitive forbears used cast iron T-squares and coal-fired saws, obviously, but I was wondering more about the whole process. How were prototypes selected? How were materials selected? How were precisely (or in some cases not) fitting parts cut, and how were dies for part cutting set up? How did decal sheets get printed? What subcontractors were used to produce parts, and did they find the notion of little bitty replicas amusing? How was packaging designed to attract the eye of potential customers? How were price points established?

If anyone has had experience on that end of the supply chain, Id love to hear about it.



Jesse, while we have a sizeable number of manufacturers who are forum members, I don't believe any of them were producing kits in the time frame you're asking about. So a lot of your questions may go unanswered simply because none of us have the experience or knowledge to answer them.

As far as my own "experience" is concerned, I have known a few manufacturers over the years and most of them became personal friends. However, we almost never discussed their production and manufacturing techniques. Some of them even considered their methods to be so proprietary that they wouldn't discuss them. In fact, I know a couple of "modern" manufacturers today who are that way.

Having said that, I can offer these few insights: Jim and Jan Haggard, the former owners of Builders in Scale, mastered their white metal castings using a method Jim called "lost styrene casting" (if you're familiar with the "lost wax" process, then you've got the general idea behind "lost styrene.)

Leo Campbell based many of his kits on actual prototype structures that were in and around the area where he lived in California. He selected them because (A) they interested him personally and (B) they were "unique" as opposed to the more ubiquitous "eastern industrial" or Colorado mining structures that were on so many model railroads of the era. For example, all of the kits in his "Quincy" series were based on actual railroad and industrial structures found in Quincy, CA. Also, it's well known that he employed professional designers and architects (such as Sherry) to help him with the drawings and sub-assembly construction sequences.

As for water-slide decals, those were made using original hand-drawn art, silk screens and waterproof silk screen inks. Many professional decal makers still use that method.

About 20 years ago, MR ran several articles on various manufacturers and how they produced their products. I remember reading articles, for example, about PBL, Northeastern Scale Lumber, and others. If you have access to any of those old issues, you might find some answers to your questions.




Country: USA | Posts: 21584 Go to Top of Page

MikeC
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 10/21/2005 :  6:12:59 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Archbar Jesse


Ive often wondered how all those great old kits got designed and produced back in the days before CAD and laser cutting. Well, our primitive forbears used cast iron T-squares and coal-fired saws, obviously, but I was wondering more about the whole process. How were prototypes selected? How were materials selected? How were precisely (or in some cases not) fitting parts cut, and how were dies for part cutting set up? How did decal sheets get printed? What subcontractors were used to produce parts, and did they find the notion of little bitty replicas amusing? How was packaging designed to attract the eye of potential customers? How were price points established?

If anyone has had experience on that end of the supply chain, Id love to hear about it.



Jesse, while we have a sizeable number of manufacturers who are forum members, I don't believe any of them were producing kits in the time frame you're asking about. So a lot of your questions may go unanswered simply because none of us have the experience or knowledge to answer them.

As far as my own "experience" is concerned, I have known a few manufacturers over the years and most of them became personal friends. However, we almost never discussed their production and manufacturing techniques. Some of them even considered their methods to be so proprietary that they wouldn't discuss them. In fact, I know a couple of "modern" manufacturers today who are that way.

Having said that, I can offer these few insights: Jim and Jan Haggard, the former owners of Builders in Scale, mastered their white metal castings using a method Jim called "lost styrene casting" (if you're familiar with the "lost wax" process, then you've got the general idea behind "lost styrene.)

Leo Campbell based many of his kits on actual prototype structures that were in and around the area where he lived in California. He selected them because (A) they interested him personally and (B) they were "unique" as opposed to the more ubiquitous "eastern industrial" or Colorado mining structures that were on so many model railroads of the era. For example, all of the kits in his "Quincy" series were based on actual railroad and industrial structures found in Quincy, CA. Also, it's well known that he employed professional designers and architects (such as Sherry) to help him with the drawings and sub-assembly construction sequences.

As for water-slide decals, those were made using original hand-drawn art, silk screens and waterproof silk screen inks. Many professional decal makers still use that method.

About 20 years ago, MR ran several articles on various manufacturers and how they produced their products. I remember reading articles, for example, about PBL, Northeastern Scale Lumber, and others. If you have access to any of those old issues, you might find some answers to your questions.




Country: USA | Posts: 21584 Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic: Carls Clay Works little Critter! Topic Next Topic: Ventilation louvers  
 New Topic |   New Poll New Poll |   Topic Locked | 
Jump To:
Railroad Line Forums © 2000-19 Railroad Line Co. Go To Top Of Page
Steam was generated in 0.22 seconds. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000