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Customising Stock in Irreversible Ways


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I don't plan on selling certain stock but I am still a bit put off customising it so much that it can't be reverted back to "original".

 

For example, I have recently added people to a bunch of coaches.  Used a glue gun for most, which is easy to remove.  But for some I used PVA, which I guess won't be so "clean" to remove.

 

I've also added internal lights to two coaches so far but my method seems to inhibit their ability to turn round corners (4th radius) at the moment.  The wires go from the wheels through the bogie hole, which seems to be the recommended route for nearly all tutorials I've seen but I'm thinking I may have to drill a special hole instead.  This then makes a permanent change, although very subtle.

 

I know the answer is "just do it" but does anyone know where I'm coming from?

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You have to decide if originality is essential. I've always treated models as raw materials and been happy to alter them to make them "mine". Yes it ruins their value, but since we are talking about a mass-produced item, it's not like I'm messing with something rare. And I enjoy the success when things work out and I end up with the model I want.

 

Ultimately you have to decide if you bought them to enjoy. If you did, then modify.

 

The coach is a good example. You can drill the hole and it will run and give you pleasure, or you can not drill the hole and never be happy with it. If you prefer the later then sell the model, it's the nearest you'll be to happy.

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Some people will tell you have much a particular model cost them, back whenever.

The question is did you buy the models to enjoy seeing them working on a layout, to whatever standard you see fit. Or did you buy them to one day sell them at the best price possible? That is you or the person winding up your affairs. If the latter you need to think about cataloguing and make sure they're locatable in the condition on your list.

 

Only you can answer those questions.

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Conversions/modifications done reasonably well don't ruin the value but it changes the potential future market for a model. I can imagine a potentially good market for Desiros, Pendolinos and IEPS in 20 years time and I'm sure that not just 'perfect, boxed. never run' ones will get bought.

As someone who both 'collects' and 'models', I specifically search out unboxed/used/damaged models for my projects because I feel I am adding value. Conversely, where I pay for a brand new pristine model, I will generally leave it alone unless what I am doing is clearly going to be an improvement, I have a Class 375 Electrostar project on the go, acquired as an abandoned effort using Bachmann Class 170 bodyshells. The idea of carving up pristine Bachmann bodyshells at the price they are would not have appealed, the delight in finding that someone had already gone beyond the point of no return and I could only make it better was wonderful!

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My observation of eBay and other auction sites is that good customisation, particularly weathering and/or detailing, can actually increase the value of the item to a modeller, but will decrease its value to a collector. So a lot depends on how and where you plan to sell them on, if resale value matters.

 

Having said that, I don't really care about resale value for the things I buy. I buy them with the intention of keeping them and using them, and on the rare occasions that I decide I no longer need something then I'm happy to get whatever I can for it. The thing that puts me off extensive customisation projects is not so much the loss of resale value, but the replacement value if I bodge it.

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Surely it is just down to the loss of value that puts people off. For example you wouldn't write "I have some plasticard. What can I do to use it but without damaging it's newness," would you?

(mind you if it's Evergreen, at their prices sometimes I wonder if keeping it in the packaging as an investment isn't a bad idea)

In reality can I suggest that like a new car, as soon as you take it home and run it, it's value has already plummeted anyway. Unless it is a really rare item, such as the Rapido APT, just use it. I have a second hand Kestrel here, which I shall be keeping 'as is' (save for the detailing kit), but my APT- no, that's an investment and will not even receive P4 wheels.

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I'm not keen on modifying expensive things. I've wrecked the glazing on a loco which cost nearly £200, and which would cost more than that to replace (don't know about replacing just the glazing, but it's a US import and getting hold of such things doesn't seem easy). Since then I've decided to leave that stuff alone... It doesn't really impact how much I enjoy playing with then anyway.

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28 minutes ago, Zomboid said:

I'm not keen on modifying expensive things. I've wrecked the glazing on a loco which cost nearly £200, and which would cost more than that to replace (don't know about replacing just the glazing, but it's a US import and getting hold of such things doesn't seem easy). Since then I've decided to leave that stuff alone... It doesn't really impact how much I enjoy playing with then anyway.

 

Exactly.

 

There's quite a bit of difference between modifying £200 plus models, collectables and Limited Editions than detailing old Triang/Hornby/Lima stuff worth a tenner.

 

 

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Back before Covid19 came along I used to go to model railway shows and see people sitting behind tables stacked with used models they were trying flog. Unless they had knocked the price down by at least half they’d be loading those same models back in the car when the show was over. There are rare exceptions, the Japanese or Korean brass locos might go for close to what was paid for them originally but the market is limited because despite looking very good they weren’t the best for pulling. What I am trying to say, in a long winded fashion, is enjoy your models while you have them and if that means drilling the odd hole or splashing some paint around, do it. Buying them as an investment is a mugs game.

 

Cheers,

 

David

Edited by davknigh
Pedantry
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I buy my models to run and most have been altered in some way or another.  However, as well as my 00 stuff I have an indoor LGB layout under construction.  I’ve weathered all the buildings, locos and stock except for three steam locos.  I’m hesitating to do these as I’ve only weathered diesels, plus if I mess up they would be far too expensive for me to replace.

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I'm on the 'modeller' rather than 'collector/reseller' side of this debate, and for once agree with Admin Phil.  Models are either for display, in which case you never touch them, or use on layouts, in which case all bets are off.  My view is that an RTR model, irrespective of how much it cost or how 'scale' it is, is no more than an aid to achieving the model I want, which is my business and nobody else's; I am happy to take a knife, drill, slitting disc, paintbrush, bottle of glue, or whatever to it in order to achieve the closest I can to the result I want.  The better the model the more likely it is that I will want to do things to it, or put another way the more likely it is that I will want to do less to it than a model that is not so good.  

 

Case in point; BR 3MT 2-6-2T, a favourite of mine since I can remember them on Cardiff Valleys work in the 50s.  I did my best with the old Triang model years ago, and managed a repaint, HMRS lining and unicycling lion crests and numbers (had to keep it as 82004 because the tooled smokebox door number plate was this number, but that was fine; I had no objection to this Barry loco on my layout).  She had cab glazing, real coal, separate handrails, and added detail such as lamp irons and vac bags.  You can't gild a t*rd though, and there was little I could do about the undersize driving wheels, out of scale length, or toy-like motion.  I even considered an Airfix 4MT mogul for the chassis and a motorising kit for that, but my attempt to motorise an Airfix 9F in this way put me off. 

 

Then circumstances dictated that I could not continue modelling for several decades, and when I came back, Bachmann had produced a very good RTR model.  Short of cash, I kept an eye out on the 'Bay for one I could afford and eventually one came up.  Right livery but a Southern Region loco, 82031.  Ok, new numbers, lamp irons, and Robert is at least one of your parents' brother, and I unhesitatingly ruined the resale value of my new purchase with transfers to convert her to 82001, another Barry loco.  

 

But I have done similar work on other locos, probably completely devaluing them; for instance I have a Bachmann 57xx from which I have removed (by means of violence and brutality judiciously applied) the top feed and the associated plumbing.  I have made good the scars, but they are still there if you look closely enough.  She is renumbered as 5707 (Tondu loco) in early BR condition, and I have no real idea whether or not that loco had a top feed or not at that time, and, I'll warrant, unless you know the exact boiler fitted then, neither do you.  If you do, please confirm that mine is correct or tell me it isn't and I'll refit the feed and the plumbing; all I know is that she had no top feed when she was built, but who knows what boiler she may have acquired subsequently.  My other Bachmann 57xx is renumbered as 5756, (Tondu again) but I have photographic evidence of a top feed on this loco at Abergwynfi in the period.

 

I am in the next couple of months to hopefully take delivery of a new Bachmann 94xx, 9487, which will need very little doing to it to represent the loco I want as i want it, but even this paragon will have new number plates as I want 8448, a loco which spent it's entire 4 and a half year working life at Tondu.  The minute I glue the plates on, I've 'ruined' my new loco; no I haven't, because 9487 was only an aid to achieving 8448!

 

My advice to Sir Topham is to continue to do whatever you want to your coaches and don't worry about resale, but to read the opening comment of this post and be aware that this is sort of bound to be my response.  For lit coaches, I use led strips powered on board the coach with a watch battery, in kits which came with battery holders, reed switches, and magnets to operate the switches.  This needed soldering but works fine, has no effect on the running of the coach, and of course does not flicker.  it is being used in Hornby A30 auto trailers which I've painted and detailed the insides of , and which have easily removed roofs so I can operate them by putting the batteries in the holders; I haven't managed to get the switches to work reliably yet.  They were a cheap and cheerful eBay buy, and I appreciate that Sir Topham is going to need a working switch, but my view FWIW is that messing around with pickups on bogies or wires from them to the inside of the coach is asking for problems unless the wire is very thin and flexible in which case it'll be fragile and tear off at the first derailment.  Can't recall how much I paid for the kits, but it wasn't much, and the delivery was quite prompt.

 

Whatever advice suits you, enjoy your models, enjoy using them on your layout, and enjoy your modelling.

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6 hours ago, Fat Controller said:

I once converted a Lima HO Class 33 to 00....

 

I thought they did that automatically when the monkey metal traction weight expanded ;)

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On 23/10/2020 at 17:33, Zomboid said:

I'm not keen on modifying expensive things. I've wrecked the glazing on a loco which cost nearly £200...


And this is what it really boils down to.
I've ruined a fair few (although less than 5) locos by trying to "improve" them so it's a big risk for me personally.

 

 

Some people may say "it's just modelling" but it's also worth remembering that some people are not confident and others don't particularly want to model in the same way as they do.

 

 

But overall, some really good thoughts here.

 

Turns out the problem with the coaches derailing round the curves was actually because the pickups were slightly too long to caught underneath, stopping the bogie rotating properly.  Bent it a little more and now it's fine.  Further ones will probably still make use of a special hole.  Safer, easier, a tiny drill shouldn't be too hard to use in this case.

 

While I always have "resale" in the back of my mind, I really can't see me re-selling these coaches.  Although I wonder what they'd fetch with passengers (Wizards! - hint at what coaches) and internal lights.

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On 23/10/2020 at 08:04, Sir TophamHatt said:

 

For example, I have recently added people to a bunch of coaches.  Used a glue gun for most, which is easy to remove.  But for some I used PVA, which I guess won't be so "clean" to remove.

PVA doesn't stick to many (any?) plastics as it's not a solvent based adhesive

I stick my Peco track down with PVA but I can always get it up and clean off the residue if needed.

Edited by melmerby
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27 minutes ago, Sir TophamHatt said:

While I always have "resale" in the back of my mind

I really don't care about resale, I'm more of a hoarder. But I don't want to break my own expensive stuff. A sub £10 eBay freight car is a different matter, and I've ruined a few of those.

 

It's not actually the value/ cost that deters me, so much as how much of a PITA it was too get hold of. But that's possibly a consequence of my toy trains being American HO.

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