Dear Rapido Customer,
Rapido Dan helped a lot in the construction of Coach 5647 (he's awesome), but I take all responsibility for the mistakes I made in building it. Folks, you have no clue how many screw-ups you are capable of until you try to build something completely out of your league. But I now know:
Please have a browse around KingstonSub.com when you have some time to kill. There is a construction gallery for the coach; a series of photos of the real Kingston Sub in the 1970s and 1980s; information about the planned triple-deck model railroad; and even a shop where you will soon be able to buy railroad memorabilia and exclusive Rapido models.
Thanks for letting me share this with you. It is probably refreshing for you (and your wife/family) to know that there is someone out there just as obsessed with trains as you are. In fact, you might want to forward your wife a link to Sidura's Globe and Mail article, "I wish I had a basement." You can find it here.
Rapido is moving!
Dan and I are moving Rapido's world headquarters to our new location at the end of this month. I am very excited about this, as the back door opens on to CN's York Subdivision. I am concerned that we may not get any work done! The new office is also four minutes from my favourite restaurant, so give me a year and I won't be able fit through the front door.
We're temporarily moving Rapido's office to my basement until the new location is ready. Good thing the layout's not started yet! So please bear with us for the next few weeks as we will be a bit slow in getting warranty items and other correspondence out to you. A lot of our stuff is going into storage until we're in the new place and we'll probably have trouble finding everything else. Also please note our fax line will be offline until we are in the new place.
Once we are settled in the new office, we plan to host monthly open houses so everyone can come by, shoot the breeze, have some coffee, tea and nosh, and watch the trains go by. Stay tuned to the newsletter for more info on that in the spring.
In the meantime, please use our PO Box for all written correspondence:
Our phone number will stay the same for now. If you get the voicemail, please leave a message and Dan or I will call you back. Please keep in mind that we can't handle drop-in visits until we're in the new place.
F9B "dummy" price increase
I've often been accused of giving away too much behind-the-scenes corporate information to my customers, and I am proud of that accusation. If something is up that affects our delivery, pricing, production, etc. you guys should know.
We've now realized why so few people make dummy (unpowered) locomotives any more. Our HO scale F9B dummy locomotives cost us $9 less per model than our F9B powered models. We thought, "nobody will ever pay $170 for a dummy!" so we decided to price the dummies virtually at cost, thinking that the sales of DC and DCC models would subsidize the sales of dummies.
Then the orders started coming in. And would you believe - about 85% of the orders were for dummies. This suddenly made a profitable project very unprofitable, so we had to raise the MSRP for the dummy units to $129.95. We still won't make much on them, but at least we won't lose money on them. After eight years of manufacturing model trains, it's nice to know I can still royally screw up.
We plan to stretch the order deadline until after the CNR FP9A locomotives arrive from the factory, which I am told should be in the early spring. That way those of you on the fence can see that we know how to make a CN F-Unit before placing your order for the F9B. I will keep you posted about FP9A delivery news! Full information on the F9B locomotive can be found here.
Progress on the final Canadians
On Friday afternoon I arrived back from Washington DC and waiting at my house were the painting samples for the Canadian Pacific "Action Red" nose stripes. We've been struggling with these since May 2011. They are not difficult to do, but they are extremely difficult to do well.
We would normally use pad printing for nose stripes, but to use pad printing on the FP9A nose would have caused too much distortion and they would have looked like rubbish. We have seen the models from other manufacturers where one painting mask was used, and the result was fuzzy stripes that don't align at the edges. So we designed multiple painting masks: each nose uses six different painting masks to get the nose stripes, and you can imagine how long that takes! But the result is awesome.
After the shells arrived Bill and I were having a Skype meeting from my coach to his attic office, and he snapped a photo while I was goofing off with the shells. The scary picture above is the result. But it's nice to see some progress on these!
The CP Action Red (5" stripes), CP Action Red (8" stripes) and VIA/CP Mix Canadians will all be leaving the factory at the end of this month. Their expected arrival is in late February. And then we will have actually delivered all of these Canadians and our factory can get started on the huge backlog of other projects. Woo-hoo!
Above is a great photo that Andrew Castle sent us of his VIA Canadian, along with his heavily-kitbashed F40PH-2D locomotives. You can read more about Andrew's layout in last month's blog entry, located here. Here's another shot. Gorgeous!
A new era for Rapido
On 20 December 1967, the TurboTrain achieved the North American speed record for a production passenger train: 170.8 MPH. To this day, that record has not been broken.
Exactly 45 years later to the day, I completed the purchase of Rapido Trains Inc. For the first time since 2005, I once again own all of my company. I extend my thanks to my former financing partners for helping Rapido get to where it is today. The future is even brighter.
We now have several people investing in new projects, so you'll be seeing many new product announcements over the coming months. You will also see production ramped up at our factory to bring out all of the projects that were stuck in the queue behind The Canadian. 2012 was our biggest year ever, and 2013 will be even bigger.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jeff and Joann Birmingham. Jeff and Joann have invested in Rapido out of their sheer love for model railroading and Canadian model trains in particular. With their generous assistance, Rapido has the capability to double our release schedule by 2015. We've got some big things planned...
Jeff and Joann are big supporters of Roger's House, a children's hospice in Ottawa. Jeff would like to coordinate the construction of a model railroad for the kids at Roger's House, and he's asked me to call out to those of you who are in the Ottawa area. If you could donate some of your time and maybe some of the models and supplies you know you'll never need on your layout, I am sure the kids at Roger's House would very much appreciate it. Please email me and I will put you in touch with Jeff if you can help.
Jeff's done a huge favour for the Canadian model railroad community by helping Rapido grow and prosper. If you've enjoyed our products in the past, please consider making a donation to Roger's House, and help kids with life-limiting illnesses get the most out of their precious time. Click here to visit the Roger's House web site.
That's about it for this edition of Rapido News. Bill and Dan (and possibly Matt) look forward to seeing you at The Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show in Springfield, Massachusetts, 26-27 January. We're in Section 144 of the Mallary Building. Click here for more info.
I will be at the Copetown Show near Hamilton on Sunday 12 February. Click here for info on Copetown.
And before I forget - there is still a 25% discount offer on the new and improved TurboTrain models. Just type "I WANT TO SAVE MONEY" in the "coupon codes" box when you place your order and we'll take off the 25% before we charge your card. Click here to order the TurboTrain.
As always, thanks for reading!
Rapido Trains Inc.
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