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"Ouch" -- Thoughts on costs and other things

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    Posted: 12 Dec 2016 at 9:34pm
Originally posted by In another thread el Gato Gordo In another thread el Gato Gordo wrote:

Ouch!  When you count shipping, that makes more than $180 for a booster (+ separate power supply, without which the booster is useless).  One would think that the power supply and cord would be integral to the booster, with input voltage from 115 to 250 volts, like computers.

Cheers!
Gordon


(I’ve moved this to a new thread because the following comments aren’t necessarily relevant to the discussion of reverse loops and boosters.  I’ve also tried to post this several times during the past week, but the forum was always down.)


As with all things model railroad, costs are relative – to what you want to accomplish and what you can afford.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t exactly have a lot of money to spend on model railroad items.  Most of my major (that’s anything over $100 for a single item) purchases are budgeted months in advance.  I’m constantly weighting spending decisions between what I really want to have (such as limited run items that may not be available in a few months) and items I really “need” for the next steps of building my layout.


But, for the last few weeks, I’ve been spending most of my time working on a single structure – a multi-floor department store that will be across the street from my main station.  As I read Gordon's comment, I thought that, all things considered, this is turning out to be a very expensive project.  Probably north of $250, for reasons detailed below – and that’s not counting the huge amount of time invested.





(This is just a preliminary test to see how some of the parts fit together.  There are several places where the paint needs to be touched up!)


Yes, I could have found a kit for a model of a commercial building – probably for well under $100.

However, about two years ago, I got the idea for this structure-- one of those weird modern Austrian buildings that unleashed my inner architect -- made mostly of components of three Kibri kits – two copies of the station Altburg and once copy of the station Kehl  (The two kits are actually different size versions of the same building, using mostly the same castings.) – and began acquiring the necessary materials.

I already had one very old copy of the Altburg station, which I was able to partially dismantle without doing too much damage.  Some of the broken pieces were replaced from a partly-built copy of the Altburg station that I bought on eBay (which had some parts missing).  I then bought another complete unbuilt copy of the Altburg station on eBay.  (This particular version of the kit has apparently not been produced by Kibri in many years.)  And, finally, a few months ago, I bought a new copy of the Kehl station (when Kibri did a new production run).

That gave me most of the components for what I was trying to bu8ild – though I knew I was also going to need some Plastruct shapes to make some of pieces fit together.  And, so I ordered those from Walthers.


You probably get the basic idea from the illustration above – but it’s important to note that lots of details have not been added yet.  The roof will get some chimneys and vents, among other things.  And, there will be a railing that goes all the way around, as shown on the far right of the roof.

Lots of things have not been glued yet – and some parts may never get glued, to allow me to open the structure later on.

I’m not particularly happy with the elevator housing (made mostly from leftover parts) on the roof.  I may end up redoing that later on.  And, of course, there will be lots more tables, chairs, and benches on the roof  -- in a more logical configuration.

Also still missing are some exterior signs.


Why did this kit get so expensive?  Well, there are the three basic kits, which probably came in at around $150, though the earliest version was bought about two decades ago.  Then, there was paint for the parts and the Plastruct shapes to make special components.

The Kehl station came with a starter kit of the Viessmann floor lighting system.  Unfortunately, that only handles about one floor of this structure.  So, I need more components and LEDs.  (And, I’m only lighting on face of the building, the one you see here.)  I still have to order those.

Then there are the figures.  The left ground-level display window actually has a bunch of figures in it to simulate a real clothing display.  So far, I’ve just added a few exterior figures from what I had on hand.  But, the roof-top cafe will also need some customers.

And that same café should also have some type of lighting.  I’m thinking about some old-style lanterns.

And, the list goes on.


The good part is that from the kits I used, I have some walls and windows as well as passenger platforms that I can later use on other projects.  Some I already have ideas for.


Was this structure a good investment?  I don’t know.  It certainly was a challenge  -- and an interesting project.  And, it produced a structure that will be unlike anything anyone else has on his or her layout.

If I can find another unbuilt copy of either the Altburg or Kehl kits, I may even add another floor.

(By the way, Kibri also makes a similar kit in N scale.)

-- Ernest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RRVRR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 5:24am
The Building looks nice, I also facing the challenge to build multiple high structures for a modern city scene in the back of a part of my layout but will properly use my laser cutter and AutoCad to keep the cost low and develop it myself since kit's are rare and expesive if you are able to find some. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote el Gato Gordo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 6:39am
Originally posted by Railwriter Railwriter wrote:


(By the way, Kibri also makes a similar kit in N scale.)

-- Ernest


Ernest, you are such a trouble-maker!LOL   But my layout is so over-packed that I have no room for another structure.  But I am in the process of building a detachable staging yard so that I can keep more trains actively on the layout.  Detachable, because I won't be taking the yard to shows.


Not intended to be prototypical, just a place to hold more trains.  And I still don't have room for  modern high-rise!

By the way, I like the name of your department store: "Kaufhaus Ganz Gross"!

Cheers!
Gordon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Railwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 7:22am
Originally posted by el Gato Gordo el Gato Gordo wrote:


By the way, I like the name of your department store: "Kaufhaus Ganz Gross"!

Cheers!
Gordon

Yes, that's sort of an inside joke.  First, for those who don't speak German, Kaufhaus is department store; "Ganz Gross" translates as "really big." 

Now, the joke:  In Vienna, there is (or at least was) a famous large downtown department store called "Gerngross."  I think that was based on the founder's name, but it could be translated as "liking it big."  (Some of my early toys as a child in Vienna came from there.  And, on one trip to Austria, where the weather was unexpectedly cold, I went there to buy a winter coat!)

Then, there's the well-known Swiss company Migros, also active several other countries.  (It has some dedicated railcars lettered for it, many of which are available as models from various manufacturers.)  That name was based on Mittelgross -- medium large -- or somewhere between wholesale (Grosshandel) and retail.  Of course, Migros has gotten quite large.

I chose the name for my store, in part because it's not really all that big -- but apparently has big ambitions!

That's part of the fun of naming things on our model railroads.  

-- Ernest

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