Bonnie Dundee

Bonnie Dundee

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Taking Account of Costs

I had one of those moments recently. Of the kind that normally involve an expletive and a realisation that you are not just as smart as you thought you were. Despite all of the effort I have put into pre-planning a future project, it started to become clear that I had not taken enough account of a couple of critical factors. One was probably apparent and should have been better considered, the other has come about from practical experience.

The obvious missing element was cost. This does not stand alone of course, as whatever we do will have a cost implication. Most of us will give some consideration to the potential financial requirements of either a single project, or indeed a larger scheme and it is probably the case that we do generally underestimate the amount we spend, but this is unlikely to be the defining factor in our decision making. If we are determined to model a particular location, we will no doubt find a way. Where I have found my problem was not that I hadn't thought about cost, but rather in the fact that rapid progress made using RTR equipment leads to a regular spending pattern which increased not the overall cost but the timing of the spend. I was finding that too quickly I was looking to the next item on the workbench. Now if these happen to be wagon kits, that is one thing, but when they are pacific class locos at £100 plus, this becomes a problem. 

I have long held the view that a layout with one pacific looks wrong. Now I know there will be places where it would be possible to see a single example, the Corstorphine branch in Edinburgh being one that I can think of, but in general terms a line side view where one pacific could be seen, would likely produce others during the day. And, when these are named and become easily recognisable, the need for a rotation of stock becomes apparent. Again, not in itself a problem but when these are being produced quickly it starts to become a significant spend. I have found that that renumbering and re-naming can, with the addition of a bit of weathering, produce a reasonable representation of what I was trying to achieve. For example a Hornby A3, or Bachmann A1 or A2 would quickly be turned around, which is great for producing items quickly and says a lot about the high quality of the RTR product, but I would now have to summarise my modelling approach as "more" rather than "better". That isn't something that sits comfortably, especially given my very limited modelling time.

Producing a decent number of Big Power locos by renumbering RTR has proven to be expensive and less satisfying than initially planned for.

What I hadn't taken full account of when I was planning for this project was the fact that I enjoy building as much as I enjoy running. Yes I had considered it and I thought I had the balance about right, but clearly the combination of limited satisfaction from rapid production and the need to keep re-supplying the workbench are not ideal. My advise to others would be to really scrutinise what it is that you want not just from a layout, but from your modelling time. So the bad news is; I have spend a bit of time on the wrong road, the good news is that nothing had been done layout wise that is wasted or needs to be undone, but it is back to the drawing board. 

Does anyone want to buy some pacifics?

1 comment:

  1. Funny enough John, I get exactly what you mean here.
    To model the Waverley in full flow over a 13 year period could be rather expensive and the decision to convert to EM became an opportunity to rein things in a bit so a lot of equipment has been sold and the period drawn into 1956-61 to allow for focus for the short to medium terms. After all, it costs about £40 for an Easichassis and about the same again for the wheels.
    Even more curiously, the stuff I've produced for EM so far has all been more suitable for South West Scotland, but that's another story and one that Jamie understands!
    It has to be said, it's a very liberating experience, breaking away from that cycle of constant acquisition of new models and I've very much been enjoying going back to more 'hands-on' modelling.
    I could probably give a couple of pacifics a home, mind! :-)


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