I've been following the thread and would like to share my thoughts about "wishers/waters/dreamers". I also want to briefly address the AEM7 issue.
First the AEM7
Expect the popularity of the locomotive to grow as a new generation of model railroaders makes up the market. How many versions of the GG-1 do we have from how many manufacturers? I won't go into the extensive detail about this projection because I have already done so in another thread. All I have to say is that it is not impossible for Atlas to produce another run, it's more of a matter of when. As the hobby shifts to a younger/newer generation who also look to live out their childhood desires or dreams that they couldn't afford before (much like the current generation who dominates the industry now does), these locomotives will be come a more prominent (although not as prominent as diesels and other roads) than they were when Atlas initially released the AEM7.
Additionally, they are NOT as easy to find as some may make them out to be. The ones that sell for 30-50 bucks are mostly commuter roadnames and more than likely un-numbered. The most I've paid for an AEM7 with commuter markings is 50 bucks. The numbered Amtrak units rarely sell for less than their original MSRP.
I will say that it is less likely to see a variant of that model (i.e. AEM7AC or added openings for ditch lights) and that's ok. The fact that a base model exists that is accurate in its dimensions is a very fair compromise for any future re-release of the AEM7.
I've been a wisher/wanter/dreamer for years and is well documented on the forum in its current incarnation as of 2004. In some cases I still am.
Everyone is not on the same playing field. Either they don't have the experience or resources (tools, space, financial, etc.). That's fine. I started there myself and I certainly appreciate knowing where I came from and refuse to forget that especially when I come across new, enthusiastic modelers who are where I once was. Furthermore, the last thing I would do is condescendingly burst their bubble. I will however encourage embracing the idea of kitbashing (without the sarcasm of course
Additionally, I would encourage those who do make attempts at kitbashing and share their results, no matter how "crude" the project may seem. I'll NEVER stick my nose up at someone else's work. They've already earned my respect by taking it upon themselves to be creative. Hey, it's only fair. Besides, how else can one save a "dying hobby"? It certainly doesn't save it by walking over newcomers (but that's a completely different topic).
So to the "wishers/wanters/dreamers" keep doing just that. Patience is a virtue. I won't lie and say they'll all become reality but I would encourage kitbashing as others have already. That's what I resorted to and I feel I've gotten better at it over the years. I've shared some of my projects on the forum here and have gotten kind words from fellow members either in the thread or offline as well as constructive criticism for which I truly appreciate. It's has motivated me to up my game. I know not having the resources is a limiting factor and I still deal with that at times when facing other projects.
My advice when kitbashing is to really think about the process before you start chopping, slicing, painting, etc. I started my P32AC-DM project back in 2004 but it wasn't until 2009 when I really thought about the process that I re-visited the project (virtually starting from scratch), but it moved quickly. It also cost WAY less than a brass locomotive (I can probably easily make two for the price of one brass loco, if not less although the caveat is that the roof panels weren't modifed on the Athearn model, only around the area where the fan is located). Now I have this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSGyShaop-w
Here's a picture of the roof:
So don't let criticism be one of the things that discourages you from kitbashing. Anyone willing to offer anything BUT constructive
criticism should be willing AND ABLE to do the (better) work for you, for free. Make them put their money where their mouth is (in this case I guess that would be literal since they'd be doing it for free
Now back to the topic of the thread
My top wish right now is the MP36's from True Line Trains. They've been announced since 2008 and were expected Fall 2009. TLT has no release date and we're going on year 4. Fortunately a substantial amount of work has been done on these models so this project is farther along than some other wishlist items. I just hope to see mine within the next year!
I also hope that a manufacturer develops the new electric locomotive that Amtrak has ordered from Siemens. Hopefully 2 to 3 years after it enters service. Bachmann did that with the HHP-8 and I'm extremely grateful for that.
I also hope to see a re-tooled Amfleet I from Walthers. When I noticed that Walthers retired the existing models, I got my hopes up for them to re-tool and release the Amfleet I in the latest Amtrak livery. That hope was thwarted when Amtrak stepped in and comissioned walthers to produce the latest livery on the existing tooling. Now that that has been introduced, lord knows when/if Walthers will actually do what I had speculated. Since the models are only available through Amtrak, perhaps this doesn't effect anything at all. My hypothesis was developed based on my observations of how they handled the superliners. Walthers upgraded the tooling and finish of the superliners before releasing them with the latest livery. I thought they were thinking of doing the same with the Amfleets albeit more extensive tooling modifications.
Another Walthers hopefull are Amtrak California and Surfliner Cars. I think they released the respective superliners (true to prototype) to not only sell more units but gauge market interest in these cars. I think these cars sold fairly well (I even bought a couple myself to help the long-term cause) and if so, I think we can expect to see the real California and surfliner cars within the next 5-10 years but they likely won't be cheap. Perhaps they'll sell four-car sets given the different configurations. After all, if they invest in tooling for the different car-types, they'd better be sure to sell each type right?
I've given up on wishing/wanting/hoping for mass-produced EMUs. I disagree with the generalization of the WMATA and BART Metro cars. The tooling of those cars had serious issues. The DC METRO cars were too round with respect to their angular sides. Also, if one was to find them on eBay, one would know that they sell WELL above MSRP and are hard to find. I would agree with Walthers decision not to re-run them as they are. I don't expect them to re-tool the model and re-release them either. I think they would have had slightly better success doing a Metro-North M1 which could have also been painted in LIRR colors. Who knows; Metro-North might have even commissioned them to run more for their 25th anniversary like they commissioned Lionel. They had already had a similar arrangement with Walthers with regard to their commet/AMD-103 train set back in ?2004?. Selling them as married pairs also guaranties double the per-unit sale as pairs are a MUST for thsese models. I dont recall if Walthers sold the BART or WMATA cars as pairs or singles.
I hope Atlas will to a GP-15 in phase V Amtrak colors although I'm not aware of any other road that has a similar engine. If there isn't, it'd be nice to get some direction on a what existing models might be out there in which to use as a base for kitbashing.
Other than that, that's all I can think about...