2 Rail Companies

Have any of the 2 rail brass companies such as Precision Scale, Overland Models, and Key Imports ever given any thought into entering the 3-rail market?  I think it would be great to see other brass companies besides Sunset Models make their products available in 3-rails.  

 

Lionel Forever

Nick Marakovits

Original Post

If it were profitable there would be more companies making three rail brass.  Why do you not change their wheel sets or trucks to your liking?  I have one KMT/US Hobbies pregnant whale tank car and a Max Gray covered hopper For Sale, contact me off list if you are interested.  John in Lansing, ILL

Well for one thing I think they'd be scared of Sunset. Sunset makes such gorgeous and amazing models it would be very difficult to compete unless the other companies offered lower prices which probably wouldn't happen. Lower price means you have to cut corners somewhere. 

Weaver and Williams both did brass imports in 2 and 3 rail.    And yes the compromises for 3 rail were made.    The most visible were locos with 4 wheel lead trucks.    They seemed to make the pilot decks and trucks longer to allow them to swing around the cylinders on sharper curves.

You can still find many of these 3 rail brass locos at shows and on ebay.    Just add the electronics of your choice.    Weaver did about 2 a year for 10 years.    Williams did a bunch of USRA stuff and others.

Right or Way models, another small 3 rail company imported brass models only in 3 rail. 

Carworks brass diesels use Weaver drives, now P&D Drives.    You can buy 3 rail wheelsets from P&D and easily convert them.    The gearboxes unscrew apart.    You do have to add 3rd rail pickups.    Carworks did a bunch of  FM models and Alco models.

So there has been a lot done in 3 rail in "nice" brass.   

Remember brass is pretty much still hand-built and imported in much smaller batches than the diecast or injection molded stuff.    Therefore it is generally not warehoused or inventoried.    Product is often sold out by the time it gets into the country which is starting to happen to other stuff too.

prrjim posted:

Weaver and Williams both did brass imports in 2 and 3 rail.    And yes the compromises for 3 rail were made.    The most visible were locos with 4 wheel lead trucks.    They seemed to make the pilot decks and trucks longer to allow them to swing around the cylinders on sharper curves.

You can still find many of these 3 rail brass locos at shows and on ebay.    Just add the electronics of your choice.    Weaver did about 2 a year for 10 years.    Williams did a bunch of USRA stuff and others.

Right or Way models, another small 3 rail company imported brass models only in 3 rail. 

Carworks brass diesels use Weaver drives, now P&D Drives.    You can buy 3 rail wheelsets from P&D and easily convert them.    The gearboxes unscrew apart.    You do have to add 3rd rail pickups.    Carworks did a bunch of  FM models and Alco models.

So there has been a lot done in 3 rail in "nice" brass.   

Remember brass is pretty much still hand-built and imported in much smaller batches than the diecast or injection molded stuff.    Therefore it is generally not warehoused or inventoried.    Product is often sold out by the time it gets into the country which is starting to happen to other stuff too.

Weaver made far better models than Williams. Better attention to detail and more variety.

Going 3 rail for those companies (Overland, PSC, Glacier Park, Key, etc) conflicts with their stated objective:  make models as close to the prototype as possible.  More or less "price be d-----ed" !      There remains a market for high end, highest fidelity models.   And now-a-days, it is a worldwide market.

Mark is correct, you will never convince a brass importer to compromise a model to put 3 rail wheels and pickups on it. If your commitment is to as accurate a scale model as you can get how can you go backwards and put giant pizza cutter wheels on it. the 3rd rail isnt accurate. Besides, I only know a few 3 rail guys that would drop $3000 on one diesel loco

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Luckily for 3rs fans, Sunset has shown the ability to do both without major compromises.

Certainly 3rd Rail isn't Key/GPM/Kohs in fidelity but SS/3rd Rail give the most bang for the buck in the hobby today. 

The biggest issue would be at what point do compromises to make both 3r/2r start driving away the 2r share of the offering.

Only Scott and Co. know that point and I suspect they do this exact dance when they offer up a new model.

And they seem to be doing darn quite well at it.

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

Well, the 3R/2R mix of Sunset 3rd Rail has allowed the production of a number of locomotives that probably never would have seen the light of day.  Recent examples: CN/GTW 4-8-4's, CPR 4-8-4, 2-10-4, CB&Q 2-8-2 and the upcoming CGW 2-10-4.   Like "orphan drugs", these would have been "orphan locomotives" !  But I am enjoying them now,  or will be soon !

mark s posted:

Well, the 3R/2R mix of Sunset 3rd Rail has allowed the production of a number of locomotives that probably never would have seen the light of day.  Recent examples: CN/GTW 4-8-4's, CPR 4-8-4, 2-10-4, CB&Q 2-8-2 and the upcoming CGW 2-10-4.   Like "orphan drugs", these would have been "orphan locomotives" !  But I am enjoying them now,  or will be soon !

Completely agree. I doubt anyone in 3-rail other than Sunset thought of doing the CPR 2-10-4 Selkirk. Speaking of CPR, I think Sunset would have done a CPR 4-4-4 Jubilee if Weaver hadn't done such a good job. Wouldn't be much of a difference fundamentally as both models would be brass with high detail and TMCC/Railsounds.

GenesisFan99 posted:

Completely agree. I doubt anyone in 3-rail other than Sunset thought of doing the CPR 2-10-4 Selkirk. Speaking of CPR, I think Sunset would have done a CPR 4-4-4 Jubilee if Weaver hadn't done such a good job. Wouldn't be much of a difference fundamentally as both models would be brass with high detail and TMCC/Railsounds.

 Joe Hayter and I would compare notes at York and over the telephone so that Weaver and Sunset did not do the same locomotives. We discussed Canadian Pacific at York and agreed that Joe would do the Jubilee and Scott would do something else.

R. Heil Sunset Models / 3rd rail

We are blessed with Sunset models in the 3-rail market.  While their models may not have the same level of fidelity as Key Imports or Overland, they certainly hold their own.  Unfortunately, it was a shame to see Weaver leave the business.  I only hope we gain another manufacture importing brass locomotives in the 3-rail market.

I believe there is still a plethora of steam locomotive models yet to be done in the 3-rail market.  Would be great to see a LV 4-8-4 wyoming done in brass!

 

 

Lionel Forever

Nick Marakovits

My impression: if it is commercially viable in O Scale brass, it most likely has been done.  If you want a 3-rail Wyoming class, with or without those maroon feathers, the way to do it is by underwriting the production and sharing the profit (or loss).

Bob #2:    At the high water mark, there were 25,000 steam locomotives and XXX # of diesels.  Somewhere in that mix must be a few more locomotives with commercial potential.  Otherwise, Sunset and the other importers should shut down.  Think of the wide array of offerings in HO scale; O Scale has done maybe 20% of that population.

But if you want a Wyoming you can either wait for Scott to do it and never get one or get fifty of your best friends to reserve one.

i wanted an MM-2 2-6-6-2, starting in about 1955. I would have waited six decades had I not done something about it.

prrjim posted:

Weaver and Williams both did brass imports in 2 and 3 rail.    And yes the compromises for 3 rail were made.    The most visible were locos with 4 wheel lead trucks.    They seemed to make the pilot decks and trucks longer to allow them to swing around the cylinders on sharper curves.

You can still find many of these 3 rail brass locos at shows and on ebay.    Just add the electronics of your choice.    Weaver did about 2 a year for 10 years.    Williams did a bunch of USRA stuff and others.

Right or Way models, another small 3 rail company imported brass models only in 3 rail. 

Carworks brass diesels use Weaver drives, now P&D Drives.    You can buy 3 rail wheelsets from P&D and easily convert them.    The gearboxes unscrew apart.    You do have to add 3rd rail pickups.    Carworks did a bunch of  FM models and Alco models.

So there has been a lot done in 3 rail in "nice" brass.   

Remember brass is pretty much still hand-built and imported in much smaller batches than the diecast or injection molded stuff.    Therefore it is generally not warehoused or inventoried.    Product is often sold out by the time it gets into the country which is starting to happen to other stuff too.

Case in point with Weaver. I have Weaver's Milwaukee 261 4-8-4, a good model except for the front truck and mount. The front of the loco is too high in 2 rail. There are instructions how to lower this but she is a shelf loco for me.

Dick 

Dick Donaway

VietNam Veteran

Lionel16 posted:

Have any of the 2 rail brass companies such as Precision Scale, Overland Models, and Key Imports ever given any thought into entering the 3-rail market?  I think it would be great to see other brass companies besides Sunset Models make their products available in 3-rails.  

Too small of a market. I think very few modelers that want the accuracy of brass would be operating on non-prototypical 3 rail.

Kevin C posted:
Lionel16 posted:

Have any of the 2 rail brass companies such as Precision Scale, Overland Models, and Key Imports ever given any thought into entering the 3-rail market?  I think it would be great to see other brass companies besides Sunset Models make their products available in 3-rails.  

Too small of a market. I think very few modelers that want the accuracy of brass would be operating on non-prototypical 3 rail.

Yes, but the  question still is - would the company make money on the offering?

SS/3rd Rail obviously does.     Would the cost outweigh any profit for any of the other brass importers?  Only they would know. 

Three railers have deep wallets at times and there are a lot of them.  Still, can an offering be done in 3 rail without having so many compromises destroying it's appeal to the 2 rail market? 

That's the two big issues IMHO. 

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

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