Putting all the bits of kits into a box is actually a very time consuming and labour intensive process. From the manufacturers perspective it's actually easier to build the model than box all the kit parts. Take a look at the exploded diagrams of the SDS or Southern Rail tankers, now imagine the logistics required to box the kit with those 100+ pieces. It costs a lot to do because it isn't a quick or easy process.
I'm only thinking along the lines of a very basic shake the box "kit". ie: have the basic model assembled and then the purchaser simply adds the detail such as grab irons, etc... Surely it would be less time consuming to put these parts in a box rather than carefully locating and applying each handrail, etc.. into the right holes and then gluing them in place.
The point I was trying to make was that according to that Canadian Model Trains letter the big issue is with not all the factories having the skilled labour required to assemble these fine detail components. If there was a shift to shake the box for certain models it would get around this problem.
Now I think a6et hit the nail on the head with this comment
One reason they charge extra for shake the box or detail not fitted is that they see it as not supporting their workers
Unless the Chinese change their business model (or we go elsewhere), it's not something that will happen
I've seen photos of BP tankers with badly warped walkways. I'm sure if I was fitting them myself I could do a far better job. The point is that the chinese do not actually care about what they are doing. It's just a job to them. If I'm adding parts, I'm doing it because I actually have a passion for the hobby. This is a big difference.
In what ways were the detail parts not fitted correctly?
From what I have found in all 7 models I have, the issue is not so much the fitting of them but more so the actual size of a couple of parts being wrong lengths which causes them to work against each other, & it also depends on which model you have. The ladders are a bit short which means being attached to side fram & walkway the two are pulled together causing an upwards force against the side frame. While the shunters step grab irons that are attached into the barrel are slightly too long which pushes the side frames down, thus two forces working in the opposite to each other.
If the holes don't quite lineup or the ladder is a fraction too short, somebody who takes a bit of extra time and care can easily correct for this without the assembly faults displayed on those models..
Valid points in some ways however, from my experience in China & knowing the people they do care about their work, & in many ways take more pride in it than many Australians do these days, I have met many of them on several visits there in recent years, & they remind me very much of the old time workers here who did have pride in their work.
Each person on the assembly line has a specific task, & when they see a problem they report it to their supervisor, & he is the one who more than likely say do you best & just fit them in place, or similar. The primary problem has been in the lug holes not being big enough, the ladders being short, & the grab irons that mount into the barrels being too long, & while the modeller might pick those things up with a shake the box setup, given how fine the grab irons are, they are likely to loose them owing to the slightest hint of clumsiness thus a new modeller may well have problems assembling the fine detail, & risk losing the parts.
This is not just something found on the SDS RTC's but on other models as well. They get it right with the final production samples but, what happens with the production run? A reason that SDS has taken the stand they did & move to another factory with the hope & expectation that they will be better, just like Southern has done.
Its easy to blame the worker, who is like the armies private who is the end of the head kicking chain.
I think that A6ET has a very valid point. In a niche, luxury market why would a manufacturer provide a 'budget' kit product which would only detract from sales for a 'full service' assembled one?
[Who said anything about a "budget" kit alongside a RTR model. What I was suggesting was that some wagon projects would be suitable for factories to produce the model up to the almost completed stage and then the purchaser adds the fine parts which the factory seems to have issues with doing.
Sentiment is nice but the importers are not here to steer the hobby in any such direction. They produce a product to sell the product to get the best deal out of it. And given the apparent success of the Aussie RTR market, modelling tastes have changed and won't be going back any time soon.
[/quote] This is to the detriment of the hobby. It's very rare now that I see a Victorian or NSW exhibition layout that I don't find completely and utterly boring. A typical scene at an exhibition is the latest plastic fantastic on every layout in the order in which they were pulled out of the box, plus a few of last year's releases along for the ride at the rear of the train. Anybody can pull something out of a box and run it. It takes zero skill and I have no interest in that. While there are exceptions, many of the layouts with RTR rolling stock also have unimaginative scenery, etc... as well..[/quote]
Most of the layouts which I find interesting these days are from other states outside the big two or narrow gauge layouts based on aus, freelance or overseas prototype. Basically where there is less RTR available. I want to see someone attempt some modeling when I pay money at an exhibition.
Regarding shake the box, at least it would get people thinking of modeling. Commercial reality means it probably won't happen.[/quote]
I agree with this aspect of everyone loving the RTR model which arrives in pristine condition, & even after the equivilent of a years in service operation the models remain the same. I see exh layouts that are around for years & the same pristine models are on show as they were in the layouts first showing around all the scenes for the past ??? years. In all my time as an engineman, it generally only took one trip especially on a steam loco, or Alco to see the affects of road grime. I too get sick & tired of the parade ground spick & polished layouts on show.
The other side of the coin is that I have been put down for daring to weather my models in as service condition. I have quite a lot of models to weather, & once the current round of models I have on order arrive, I see at least a day in the paint shop for the models for weathering, yet I keep around 4% of the models in there new out of box condition, to represent overhauled models.