Dear Rapido Customer,
Welcome back from the summer slowdown and I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter while procrastinating from the 5000 "urgent" emails you need to respond to at the office!
I'm working on a longer newsletter with new product announcements (think new passenger cars, new freight car trucks and wheels, and other new stuff) but I thought I would give you a quick shout with some delivery and tour updates as it's been a while!
In this issue of Rapido News:
I spent four weeks on the road in July and August, making over to 20 public and private stops on my "GMD-1 Wild About the West Tour." I brought samples of our GMD-1 locomotives, Ultimate Canadian Gondolas, F9B locomotives, and other new products. As you can see from the photo above, there was a lot more than just the GMD-1 models on display. It was exhausting but good fun and I met well over 300 of my fellow modellers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
The tour continues with presentations in Ontario and Quebec:
- Mon. 9 September - Ottawa, ON: Hobby House - 17:00-19:00
- Tues. 10 September - Ste-Foy, QC: SMFQ - 18:00-20:00
- Wed. 11 September - Laval, QC: Van Horne Hobby - 18:00-20:00
- Thurs. 12 September - Dorval, QC: Hobby Junction Express - 17:00-18:00
- Thurs. 12 September - Dorval, QC: West Island Modular Railroad Club - 20:00-22:00
- Sun. 15 September - Mississauga, ON: Credit Valley Railway - 13:00-16:00
- Tues. 1 October - London, ON: Broughdale Hobby - 17:00-19:00
- Thurs. 3 October - Markham, ON: George's Trains - 17:00-19:00
On the trip I wrote a weekly(ish) blog entry which was part travelogue, part railfan trip report, and part rant. (The one where I talk about why the CNR 1954 paint scheme should be described as "yucky" generated the most heated
condemnation discussion on the forums.) You can read the entries here:
Hmmm. The individual blog entry titles seemed more original at the time... Do you think people will figure out that I was out WEST? Along with lots of trains, the blogs include some photos of my (gorgeous) wife and my kids, so here's a shout out to my mother, my brother, my in-laws, and my uncles: please read the blog! (My father never reads these newsletters so no shout out to him! Oh, fine. Happy 68th birthday, Daddy! Somebody please tell him I wrote that.)
Every time I do a blog entry I update our Facebook page and Bill updates the banner on the front page of our web site. So if you enjoy the blog please check in to our web site now and then or like us on Facebook to ensure you don't miss any further entries.
What's Just Arrived
Over the summer, we've had a few shipments arrive from our factory in China. Just a couple of weeks ago, the final CN "wet noodle" FP9A locomotives arrived from the factory. How can you not love such a bold paint scheme? I address the relative merits of this scheme versus the older black, green and yellow scheme in the 11 August blog entry mentioned above.
Love the noodle or hate the noodle, I think we can agree on the absurd level of detail in our FP9A locomotive. I can say with certainty that it is the most detailed F-unit model ever produced in plastic, down to the electrical and air conduits under the floor. Look in front of the fuel tank in the photo above and you can just catch sight of a rerailer hanging from the frame with a real metal chain! More information can be found here. We might have a couple of these still left in the warehouse because of two stores that closed down. Give me a shout if you're interested and Dan, Mike or I will go digging, though I can't promise anything.
The CP wide-vision cabooses arrived in July and have all been shipped to customers. As I have mentioned to people on my tour, our costs have gone up enormously on these cabooses. If we ever do them again, they will retail for north of $90. So if you find one still available at your LHS, I advise that you pick it up ASAP. I have been told they are selling very quickly and will likely be sold out continent-wide within a couple of months. We're already sold out at Rapido.
We've also delivered two custom runs of the CP caboose for Canadian stores:
The first custom caboose, shown above, is CP #434508, which has been produced for Prairie Shadows Model Railway Co. in Winnipeg. This van is still in service as a rider car and has some pretty extensive graffiti on it. The graffiti has been recreated on the model by taking photos of it, shrinking the photos down, and then printing them on the model using a printer that can print in four colours on 3D surfaces. We use a pad printer to put down the white base for the four-colour print. Looks good, eh? I love the "4 5" repainted over the graffiti by shop crews or conscientious vandals!
More information about this caboose, including pricing and ordering information, can be found here. This is a very limited run and when they are gone, they are gone.
The second custom caboose is CP #434704, which really does look like that! This is a custom run for George's Trains here in Markham. The prototype was parked under a bridge in Agincourt yard and the graffiti was added to the exposed side. You gotta wonder if someone at CP was involved... Either that or there are some serious railfans in the vandalism community!
The prototype can still be seen in the Toronto area and the model can be ordered from here. I particularly love the plywood effect on the windows. This is yet another Rapido innovation rarely seen on other ready-to-run models. Like the Prairie Shadows caboose, this is also a very limited run.
I'd like to state for the record that, while these models are an accurate reflection of the reality of modern railroading, Rapido Trains Inc. does not support or condone graffiti or trespassing on railway property. On my own layout, graffiti art will stay where it belongs: on an HO scale art gallery wall.
The final new model to arrive this summer is our wide-vision caboose decorated for CSX's unique "Safety First" scheme. This is the third time we have run this scheme and every time we do the curses and shouts from the factory get louder and stronger. Do you have any idea how many different printing processes are involved in this paint scheme? Neither do I. But it's a "very lot."
We are sold out of this caboose, but some stores may still have it in stock. Like I mentioned just above, if we ever rerun this caboose it will be north of $90 so I advise you to pick one up now.
What's on its Way
I think it's been almost four years since I first announced the FP9A Locomotive in HO Scale. Another manufacturer had announced one shortly before then, and their "FP9A" was an FP7A with a louver added and a port hole moved. Two changed details do not an FP9A make - it is actually quite different from the FP7A.
I realized at the time that I could accept an inaccurate model (as I've been forced to do with GO Transit coaches) or I could make an accurate FP9A. Seeing as the FP9A represents more than half of my planned passenger locomotive fleet, I felt that I had to make one and hope it would be profitable. Turns out it was a good gamble - the FP9A has proved to be our third-most profitable project to date.
A lot has happened in four years, and it is with considerable shocked disbelief that I finally get to tell you this: the CNR (1954 scheme) FP9A models are on the water and will be arriving around 30 September. Yes, it's really happening! The model in the photo above was pulled from the production line and sent to Canada by courier for me to use on the tour. You can see (above the windows) that we've included the black trim that is so small it is usually left off stand-in models of the CNR FP9A. Once these arrive I suspect there will be a lot of non-Rapido passenger F-unit models on eBay.
Thank you very much for your patience over these few years. I am sure you won't be disappointed when the models finally arrive. Because these engines are arriving a bit later than I thought, I've decided to extend the order deadline for the F9B Locomotives. We won't close the order desk until Hallowe'en. That should give you enough time to get your FP9A models, see how awesome they are, and call your LHS to order the F9B.
We are waiting for our first shipment of Bendy Track. The production samples needed some tweaking because the rails were too tight due to shrinkage when the tie strips came out of the moulds; production was stopped and we're adjusting the moulds. We expect to restart production in a couple of weeks and have the first shipment here by late October or early November. They will still be here before Christmas. If you haven't seen our very silly Bendy Track product testing video, have a look here.
The factory is still working on production of the GARX Meat Reefer, and they should leave China around the end of the month, along with the Algoma Central, Conway Scenic, VIA Grey Ghost, and Undecorated FP9A locomotives.
The factory is also working on a new custom run of passenger cars that I'm not allowed to announce yet - stay tuned to our newsletter for that one. The New Haven and B&M Osgood Bradleys will be made as soon as the reefers are done. They should arrive about a month before Christmas, but based on past experience delivering passenger car models they will probably arrive three days after Christmas!
The LRC Locomotive moulds are still being worked on, as they have been for several months. (Obviously the factory is taking their sweet time. Bill and I are working to change that....) There are 13 LRC locomotive moulds. You can see most of them spread out on the floor in the photo above, taken just last week. All needed major work to upgrade this model from 2007 quality to 2014 quality. As soon as the modifications are finished we will start production, with delivery in the first half of next year. I look forward to being able to tell you in a future newsletter that the LRC is on its way. I started the designs for this in early 2005!!!
Upcoming Order Deadlines
There are three big order deadlines coming up.
4 OCTOBER 2013
31 OCTOBER 2013
15 NOVEMBER 2013
I've said it before and I'll say it again: we don't make inventory. If we get orders for 1000, we make 1003. Someone recently told me he won't buy the Northern Alberta GMD-1 until he sees one, even though he saw three CN GMD-1 models at one of my tour stops. Unfortunately he'll probably miss out on the NAR GMD-1 as we won't have Northern Alberta samples before the order deadline. Even if we could get a sample in time, it would be impossible for all of our potential customers to see the model in person before production begins. If you have been happy with our recent releases, please take the plunge and reserve the models you want with your local hobby shop or pre-order them directly from our web site.
Here are some more pre-production sample photos of our new HO scale Ultimate Canadian Gondola for your enjoyment. These can be ordered in any quantity from your dealer but only in boxes of six from us directly.
And Now For Something Completely Different: TT Scale!
Those of you who are familiar with the history of model railroading will remember TT scale. Those of you who don't know what TT scale is, prepare to learn.
TT scale was introduced in the 1940s by a company called H.P. Products Co. in Hartford City, Indiana (not to be confused with Indiana Street in Hartford). At 1:120 or 10 scale feet to the inch, TT is roughly halfway between HO scale (1:87.1 or just over 7 scale feet to the inch) and N scale (1:160 or just over 13 scale feet to the inch). This is not to be confused with British TT scale, which is 1:101.6 or 8.5 scale feet to the inch. Those Brits just love to be different!
TT is often relegated to the history books but there is in fact a thriving TT modelling community. These guys are proper modellers - TT layouts, especially North American prototypes, are usually 97% scratchbuilt.
After my presentation at Hobby Wholesale in Edmonton last month, TT modeller Mark Sazavsky showed me the first North American, ready-to-run TT model I have ever seen - an SW1200! Mark has started a company called SazModel and is funding this project. If it does well, he'll make more North American prototypes. I'm buying one for the coolness factor. Full info about Mark's new models can be found at www.SazModel.com. I should note that I have no financial or other interest in SazModel - I just think it's AWESOME.
Below is a photo comparing the TT model with cousins in HO and N scales. You can see how it fits nicely between them on the size range.
That's all for this unusually brief newsletter - only 2400 words! I'll be in touch in the next month with our 50th edition of Rapido News. This will be chock full of new product announcements. Please remember to get your Gondola and GMD-1 orders in by 4 October! Also please follow us on our Facebook page where Mike and I regularly post interesting stuff.
All the best,
Rapido Trains Inc.
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