Dear Rapido Customer,
Bill, Dan, Mike and I are delighted to bring you two brand-new HO scale product announcements which we are unveiling at the Amherst Railway Society Show in Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend! Full paint scheme, product number and ordering info will be released next week. But for now, enjoy the news!
IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE BUILT A BETTER MOUSETRAP...
OR A BETTER RDC!!!!!
Introducing the ABSOLUTE RDC from Rapido!
In the last few years we have seen an explosion of super-detailed locomotive and passenger car models hit the market. Many of the models available today are so true to the prototype that it's hard to tell if you are looking at a photo of the model or of the real thing.
But for us HO scale modelers looking to add some RDC (Rail Diesel Car or "Budd Car") service to our layouts, we have an unappetizing choice of models almost 20 years old or models over 60 years old. It's time for that to change.
Rapido is proud to announce Phase 1 and Phase 2 RDC-1, RDC-2 and RDC-3 models.
Why is our RDC called the "Absolute" RDC? Because once you buy our RDC models, you'll never need to buy another one again.
To answer the questions many of you might be thinking right now: If the RDC-1, RDC-2 and RDC-3 do well, we will produce the RDC-9. If the RDC-1, RDC-2 and RDC-3 do exceptionally well, we will produce the RDC-4. So please order your RDC models by the dozen!
In setting out to produce a worthy model of such an iconic and widely-used train, we had a number of objectives:
The only way we could encourage you, our customers, to invest in a new RDC fleet would be to achieve these goals. The first one was the most important - make sure the thing matches the prototype. The only way to do that was to go out and scan one. So we did! In fact, we scanned two!
- 100% accurate dimensions
- Full interior detail
- Hidden drive system
- Complete underbody including all of the glorious piping
With the help of our friends at VIA Rail Canada and Creaform 3D, we did a 3D scan of both the Phase 1 RDC and the Phase 2 RDC. There are significant detail differences between the two: ends, roofs, radiator blisters, corrugations, etc. In order to capture the correct details of both phases, we had to scan two prototypes. (We'll be uploading a video about the scan in the coming weeks.)
After we had completed the scan and sent the files to the factory, this was the email exchange between our chief engineer and me:
"Jason, we have problem! 我们有大问题！！ 3D scan is different from 2D blueprints in your earlier email. We use the blueprints?"
"NO!!!!! Use the 3D scan! That's why we did it in the first place."
"OK. We use scan."
Our blueprints were drawn by Bill using the usual sources: scale drawings in model magazines, Car Builder's Cyclopedias, etc. Yet the scan turned out a different result. This shows that our investment into the 3D scan was money well spent! You can thus be assured that the model matches the prototype dimensions precisely.
The next big challenge was the drive system. Having a big motor housing inside the RDC was a no-go, and while we are big fans of rubber bands here at Rapido, we don't think they should be used for powering RDC models.
The best solution ended up being the simplest! The prototype RDC has two engine compartments under the floor. So we've hidden two small motors and flywheels in those engine compartments!
Burying the engine meant that we could provide the full interior we were looking for. It also meant we could attack the underbody detail with our usual gusto and complete insanity.
RDC underbodies basically combine passenger car details (which we know too well) and diesel locomotive details (which we also know too well). The result is an incredible collection of pipes, conduits, reservoirs, control valves, generators - you name it.
Have a look at our interior and underbody detail:
The first release will be the RDC-1, in Phase 1 and Phase 2 versions. Here is a complete list of features:
- Accurate Phase 1 and Phase 2 details and fluting
- Numerous American and Canadian paint schemes
- Full interior detail with constant lighting
- Two five-pole, skew-wound motors hidden in the actual engine bays
- Crazy amount of underbody detail
- Separate underframe piping and conduit
- Lit number boards and class lights
- Working front door Mars light, if appropriate
- Fabricated or cast truck sideframes, as appropriate
- All wheels powered (Hauling a coach will void the Budd warranty.)
- Separate grab irons and front door chains
- Etched-metal roof grills and fan covers
- Wrap-around nose fluting, if appropriate (hurray PGE!)
- Separate diaphragms, if appropriate
- Loads of roadname-specific details (We're even doing the wacky rebuilt Phase 1 headlight/numberboard thingies for CN/VIA. And they work!)
- DC Silent or DC/DCC/Sound
The order deadline is September 30th, 2015. Delivery starts in January 2016. Tooling begins immediately after Chinese New Year, and we will have samples on display at the National Train Show in Portland, Oregon.
The MSRP is $325 (DC/DCC/Sound) and $225 (DC Silent) in the United States, and $350/$250 in Canada. While the American MSRP is firm, the Canadian MSRP is a bit fluid, depending on the value of the Canadian loonie when the models arrive. (The loonie has lost a tonne of its value over the last few
months weeks days hours).
Full paint scheme and ordering info will be announced in the next Rapido News. We'll send that out in about a week. To put it simply, Bill and I couldn't get the publicity material ready in time. Bill's been a bit busy with some small train show in the Massachusetts and I've been busy picking daisies. We don't even have an RDC web site yet! So stay tuned!
HO Scale Superior Stainless New Haven 8600-Series Coaches!
When I started working on what would become our model of the TurboTrain back in 2002, I was introduced to this phenomenon called "The New Haven" and its associated phenomenon called "New Haven Modelers." I learned very quickly that New Haven modelers are like CN modelers - there are tons of them around, but very few accurate models available for them to purchase.
When it was time to do our first US prototype passenger car back in 2009, Bill introduced me to the New Haven's Osgood Bradley Lightweights. Through that project I met even more New Haven modelers and the dedicated and helpful members of NHRHTA, the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association.
Once we announced the FL9 we had passed the point of no return. Rapido is now most definitely a "New Haven manufacturer." In fact, we're Nuts about the New Haven... and it all started because of that TurboTrain! So it is my great honor (note I didn't say "honour") to introduce our latest New Haven prototype: the 8600-series "Stainless Steel" coaches.
In order to attract customers back to the rails after the end of WWII, the New Haven decided to modernize the fleet with new lightweight passenger cars. In December 1945 a large order was placed with Pullman-Standard for a variety of car styles, including 103 coaches, 25 parlor cars, diners, grill diners, combination baggage buffet lounge/parlors, and two tavern lounge observation cars. These were produced in the old Osgood Bradley factory in Worcester, MA, so they bear more than a passing resemblance to the Osgood Bradley Lightweights delivered in the 1930s.
The New Haven's stainless cars were not built entirely from stainless steel like the cars produced by Budd in Philadelphia. Instead, they were constructed from Cor-Ten steel and sheathed with stainless steel fluting panels. The New Haven touted the 8600s as "the newest of the new in coach equipment - gleaming stainless steel on the outside, the last word in attractive decoration and design on the inside."
The 8600-series coaches were ubiquitous, used on trains system-wide from delivery until the Penn Central years. Penn Central later sold 74 of the 8600s to MBTA and they remained in service in the Boston area until 1988! Northeastern modelers have waited far too long for accurate models of these iconic cars. The wait will soon be over.
Our HO scale model of the 8600-series coach is being produced in association with NHRHTA. It will feature:
Some product numbers will be exclusively available through NHRHTA. The MSRP is $99 per car (higher in Canada). The order deadline is September 30th, and these cars will be delivered in early 2016.
- Accurately scaled from original blueprints
- Designed with input from NHRHTA
- Correct tubular cross section with accurate Pullman-Standard stainless steel fluting profile
- Rapido's renowned stainless steel finish at the correct color temperature for New Haven's cars
- Partial skirting or no skirting as appropriate
- Full underbody detail with separate air, steam and electrical lines
- All-new 41-BNO-11 outside swinghanger trucks with blackened metal wheelsets
- Full interior detail including see-through armrests
- Operating diaphragms with end gates
- Track-powered constant lighting for DC and DCC layouts
- Separate grab irons, factory-installed
- Can operate on 18" radius curves (minimum 24" radius without any modification)
- Macdonald-Cartier metal magnetic knuckle couplers
- Many car numbers available per paint scheme
Like the RDC announcement above, if the 8600-series coaches do well, we will definitely produce the parlors, possibly produce the diners and combines, and, um, we'll get back to you about the tavern observation cars!
(There were only two prototype tavern observation cars made but we'd probably need you each to buy four of them in order for us to make a profit... unless there is a New Haven sugar daddy out there who wants to donate the tooling costs!)
Full product information about Rapido's new 8600-series coaches (paint schemes, product numbers) will be released in our next newsletter.
Here's one more RDC image because it is so awesome. Don't you love the safety chains in front of the door? I do!
Bill and I will be hard at work next week putting together the sales brochures for dealers, updating our web site, and writing the next newsletter. If you are a dealer and you are not currently getting our sales brochures by email, please drop me a line and I will add you to our dealer email list.
The next newsletter will have full details of these two new announcements, as well as the new RailCrew line of accessories and updates on the most recent deliveries (which include lots of N scale!).
All the best,
Rapido Trains Inc.
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