Bowser, what have you done. WOOO-IS-ME!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by toptrain1, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

    Jan 2, 2007
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    WOOO-IS-ME! THIS IS NOT GOOD! While checking Bowsers site, because I rely on them for replacement parts for my Bowser, Varney, and Penn Line locomotives. I came upon this information. Bowser is stopping production of it's steam locomotives and this includes parts.
    My way of getting their parts was to check their site. Make my list. Then go to the Model Railroad Shop in Dunnellen NJ and check their first. They almost always stocked the part. A few times I had to order directly from Bowser and had no problum at all. Their service was fast and very pollite. THIS IS GONE NOW! Does this mean they will stop making Selly parts also.
    Back to WOOOO-IS-ME! I am at a lose as to what I will do. This company was allways their for the modler. Not like Athearn and Model die casting being bought up by a fast buck radio control toy company and going to China. Now they are becomeing just another outlet for Chinnese trains. Just another fast buck company. When this glut of diesels destroys the market for diesels, you can only sell so many diesels. Then these fast buck companies will fold. Replaced by the new Ma and Pa companies.
    This is what happens when sales and production rule a market. Who is to blame. We send our young to bussiness collages to learn the latest sales methods. The collages are factories turning out businessmen. Teaching efficiency, and economics. After these new young businessmen practice their learned lessons. Things always seam to fall apart.
    I will miss the old Bowser. For me it was Penn Line, and Gilbert, and Varney, and Mantua, and John English. Now it is nobody.
  2. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Aug 21, 2004
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    Indeed, this is a sad turn of events but I suppose not unexpected. It is certainly true that the nature of the commercial end of the hobby has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. There was a time when the companies nearly all were owned and run by people with a deep love for the hobby itself and they directed their efforts to help and improve it however they could. They and that concept are all gone now, replaced by a management that sees it only as just another business - make a quick run of something expensive, move it out as fast as possible and go one to the next item. They'd be just as happy making wiggets as model trains.

    Sad to say, but I get the impression that the hobby is slowly and progressively driving itself out of existence. It's not difficult to foresee a time when the prices commanded by locos, rolling stock, track and all the other basic items, will be beyond the reach of the average hobbyists and likewise, if it doesn't come RTR, most folks will be virtually helpless.

  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Oct 11, 2006
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    Ultimately, I find myself determining that they aren't worth the price tag. I've come really close to buying them before, but I have a hard time shelling out $140-$200+ for a locomotive which needs its gearing and motor replaced...and for the most usable kits for an NKP modeler, new valve gear and a half the parts replaced. Their most useful locomotive was a the USRA 2-8-2 light, but it cost about the same or more than the BLI (and Athearn) version, had many dead wrong details, and lacked the features of the BLI. Further, it is far easier to kitbash a plastic locomotive than a white metal locomotive.

    I'm sad to see the source for drivers to disappear, and that newer 0-6-0 which is actually a solid model, but by and large...their models are obsolete. I'm sure that BLI is what killed them...their decision to duplicate the more useful engines in the Bowser line to such a degree that few would want the Bowser engines.

    Please don't jump to the conclusion that I am a RTR fan...on the contrary, I prefer scratch building. The last kit I built was a made in the USA...and unlike Bowser's steam, it exceeds the quality of anything that has been imported (even in brass)...

    I find it sad. The saddest part is that Bowser never modernized. The British and New Zealand kit manufacturers have truly taken their products beyond what the best RTR can offer, but our domestic manufacturers have followed the steel mills: obsolete practices lead to obsolete, overpriced products.

    Here is a quality US kit...tooling dates from the early 1980s...

    There are still plenty of excellent rolling stock kits out there, and a few locomotives (Grandt Line's On3 Porter is still a wonderful locomotive).

    I'll probably order a few wheelsets from Bowser...I have an NKP 4-6-0s to build at some point. It is a shame that so many of the old manufacturers put in too little too late to bring their products up to modern standards.

    So, who will fill the void? There is at least a small demand for quality kits. Is there someone out there whom will put together etched brass frames, resin detail parts, pewter (or resin shell) boilers, resin cabs, and quality gear/motor based kits?

    Look at what the New Zealanders have done with this sort of technology:

    (of course, there are less brass offerings in New Zealand and the UK)
  4. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Jan 24, 2007
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    Frank, Hi ! Seeing your post, e-mailed Bowser and got the following from Lee English...also queried about possible N steam conversions...

    Lee English
    2:51 PM (8 hours ago)

    yes we have discontinued HO steam loco kits. parts are still available.

    no plans to make N steam.
    the market does not support conversion kits - all has to be ready to run in HO and N

    Thank you
    Lee English - Bowser Mfg

    seems the KITs are gone, but RTR and parts will still be available. Bob C.