Yes, High Level, it would (when I get around to it). But I may mean something different to you by 'basic chassis'; I mean a complete chassis, including motor, gears, wheels, pickups, everything needed to build it and a attach it to a locomotive body, place it on the track, and pull trains with it, but not incorporating such detail sa working inside motion or spacers for EM/P4, intended for 'basic' level modellers. i reckon a 'basic' (in this sense) range of chassis kits, possibly fold-up brass or nickel silver and carrying rivet and spring detail, designed for 00 use as replacement for proprietary chassis, would sell well (even if you branded them as Low Level...), especially with your 'patent' gerarbox. The internal motion, aprung axleboxs, EM/P4 spacers could be be dispensed with; a sort of 'High Level Light' approach. I went on Wizard's site yesterday to investigate Comet chassis; the site is a bit dense and difficult to navigate, and I came away little the wiser and having spent nearly an hour of my life that i'll never get back, Perceverance seem to be moribund, and Crownline are not exactly easy to find out about either. I appreciate the reasons for this and intend no criticism of the people concerned, but I seriously think that there is a market for replacement chassis' for rtr steam outline locos out there.
Now, I'm not a marketeer, or a business minded person in general, and may be talking through a hole at the wrong end of myself. I have no idea what is involved in designing, producing, marketing, or distributing a range of products for a niche market in difficult economic circumstances, and the problem with Mashima motors must be hitting you hard. But. I consider myself an average modeller, not a good or skilled one, and can, just, cobble a decently designed chassis kit together. As an example, albeit from some years ago and the loco has since expired, I once built a perfectly good Westward 64xx, which had a fold-up nickel silver chassis and, IIRC, Romford motor and gears, something else which seems to be no longer obtainable. I appreciate that the supply of model railway motors outside replacements for rtr are a problem these days, and given Hornby's current spares policy, probably inside the rtr world as well; we seem to be moving towards 'disposable' locos with 'no user serviceable parts inside'. This might work to the favour of a small company offering replacement chassis'!
But, speaking firstly as a Johnster, and secondly as an 'average modeller', I would be interested in a chassis kit with the following features:-
: A fold-up chassis, with rivet and spring detail, or a simple block with brass overlays for the detail
: A gearbox giving better slow running than existing rtr (the Westward 64xx managed it 30 years ago), with a final drive ratio of about 40:1
: Motor, pickups, and wheels included, circumventing possible sourcing problems; the kit must be complete, even if basic
: Clear instructions written (a) by someone whose first language is English, and (b) by someone who has built the kit without guidance from it's designer. That means I should be able to follow what is going on.
: Screw or nut and bolt assembly as far as possible to avoid solder assembly. Many of us are a bit hit and miss with soldering, and it is not part of our comfort zone.
: Easy access to wheelsets for occasional lubrication, cleaning, and adjustment of pickups, possibly a keeper plate design, and motor for eventual replacement.
: The availability at a reasonable extra cost, of a finished, built, and running version that can be disassenbled for painting and maintenance; I would expect this to cost not far short of the original rtr loco it is designed for as a replacement available to modellers without the skill to build one, but who wanted to replace a damaged or worn out rtr chassis or upgrade it under an existing loco body which they may have spent some effort in detailing, repainting, or weathering.
Not asking for much, am I? To my mind, the most important points are that the kit is complete with all the components needed to build a running chassis in the packet/box, and that it should be as able as an rtr chassis to provide for cleaning, lubrication, and motor replacement.
I’m not in the market for a chassis kit (far too much else to do) but I think you might be on to something. You never know, if a nice, easy, smooth running chissis were made available I might be tempted. Not for a Lima 94XX – I steered clear of those – but I can think of some newer stuff which might benefit.