Author Topic: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down  (Read 2329 times)

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C855B

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American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« on: February 22, 2024, 10:06:26 PM »
+3
Joining the sad parade of MRR companies calling it quits is AMB/laserkit.com. This letter was shared with the local NMRA chapter:

Quote
I hope this email finds you doing well.  I have some serious AMB news that might be of interest to you and the local NMRA folks.  Through a lengthy series of events it has become necessary for us to close AMB but what we have is a bunch of rolling stock, detail parts, books, back issues of MR and RMC dating back to the 1950s, perhaps some of the builtups of our kits that we would like to offer to the local NMRA members.  This would have to happen pretty quickly as I am starting a new job March 4 and the other guy will be leaving the following week and the owners will be clearing out the rest by the end of March. So basically we were looking to have this stuff available during our normal business hours 7:00 - 3:00 next week sometime.

They are not accepting internet or phone orders for the remainders from closing their office - local pickup only.

This is a shame, they made a variety of nice building kits in N and HO. I have two unfinished station kits on my bench, and really should get a couple more while dealers still have 'em in stock.

Chris333

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2024, 10:15:38 PM »
+2
All they have to do is sell the files.

peteski

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2024, 11:28:01 PM »
+1
That is a sad news indeed.  The were one of the early laser kit manufacturers, and their kits (unlike laser kits from some other manufacturers) were very well made.  They often used micro-plywood where others used flimsy basswood, and the kits had excellent fit.

I found it interesting in that letter from a "guy" that there is another "guy", and also "owners".  Owners of what? Kind of curious of the company's structure.
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C855B

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2024, 12:21:38 AM »
+2
I have no idea, and no contact with anybody who might know. I'm on the local NMRA chapter's e-mail list, and what I quoted is from this evening's distribution. That's the extent of the information I have.

EspeeGoldenState

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2024, 01:02:26 AM »
+1
The website says the same thing...

http://www.laserkit.com/

American Model Builders is now closed and
the LASERkit product line has been discontinued.

The family of the late John Hitzeman, founder and owner, and the extended AMB family,
would like to thank the model railroad community and our contract customers
for over 40 years of patronage!

Site Last Updated - February 22, 2024.
Attempting to model a modern Southern Pacific based in 2015/2016...

Also, I have a passenger train addiction...

spookshow

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2024, 04:18:56 AM »
+2
That's unfortunate, I've bought lots of their stuff over the years.

-Mark

mplsjct

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2024, 09:35:54 AM »
0
That is a sad news indeed.  The were one of the early laser kit manufacturers, and their kits (unlike laser kits from some other manufacturers) were very well made.  They often used micro-plywood where others used flimsy basswood, and the kits had excellent fit.

Agree completely, they were the standard for laser kits.
I’m not here to argue

thomasjmdavis

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2024, 09:54:10 AM »
0
As with all previous comments, I am sad to see the company close. I've built some of their structure kits, and a couple of baggage cars from their sides. It surprises me that the company was not sold. I would have thought Blair Line or another similar company would have an interest in acquiring, if not the equipment, at least the designs and the trademark, to expand their own line. Heck, if I were 20 years younger, I might have been interested myself.

But...as with much in our hobby, it may be that the construction of wood kits has fallen by the wayside to pre-built plastic structures and 3D printing. I was in a reasonably well stocked brick and mortar hobby shop last week, saw lots of Woodland Scenics in little boxes for $60 and up, a few Walthers kits...and not much else in the way of structures. (Did pick up a couple of nice N scale freight cars I'd been looking for and couldn't find online, and lots of good conversation, so the trip was worthwhile).

Well...I have my Santa Fe station to build yet, and may well have one or two others stashed away. 
Tom D.

I have a mind like a steel trap...a VERY rusty, old steel trap.

Dave V

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2024, 12:26:51 PM »
+1

But...as with much in our hobby, it may be that the construction of wood kits has fallen by the wayside to pre-built plastic structures and 3D printing.

Yet on my side of the hobby, laser-cut wood kits are rapidly expanding. Wild West Scale Model Builders, McCarville Studios, Banta Modelworks, Berkshire Valley, BEST, Mount Blue Models, etc... The cost of owning and operating a wood laser cutter has dropped significantly over the years.

The difference may be in niche modeling (specific narrow gauge prototypes) versus the broad market. It's possible that the broad market can't support a wide range of generic laser cut wood structures.

Meanwhile on my RGS, I've purged almost every last plastic structure in favor of laser-cut wood and resin kits and wood scratchbuilds.

wazzou

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2024, 12:45:26 PM »
0
I would have thought Blair Line or another similar company would have an interest in acquiring, if not the equipment, at least the designs and the trademark, to expand their own line. Heck, if I were 20 years younger, I might have been interested myself.


I've heard Dale Rush at Blair Line is looking to wind down as well.
Bryan

Member of NPRHA, Modeling Committee Member
http://www.nprha.org/
Member of MRHA


jargonlet

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2024, 12:52:51 PM »
0
This is really a shame. I loved their kits. It’s a good thing I got the replacement steps for my nkp and n&w caboose back in December

Sokramiketes

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2024, 01:43:36 PM »
0
All they have to do is sell the files.

Peteski went into this also, but AMB had the attention to detail that most laser cut companies don't.  Superior materials, fit, and more.  Yes the drawings could be used by another company, but that doesn't mean the parts will fit (thickness of material is just as important). 

I learned some of the intricacies from Mullet River.  They laminated their own micro-ply becuase that was the only way to insure the kits were perfect. 

AMB was one of the first, blazed the trail and did it well.  I'll miss them. 

nickelplate759

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2024, 01:47:16 PM »
+2
Here is a reminder (albeit poorly photographed) of how nice their laser-cut passenger car sides could be when built up:

Illinois Central 11-bedroom Pullman  Benton as leased to NP.
George
NKPH&TS #3628

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

dem34

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2024, 04:31:37 PM »
0
The cost of owning and operating a wood laser cutter has dropped significantly over the years.

The difference may be in niche modeling (specific narrow gauge prototypes) versus the broad market. It's possible that the broad market can't support a wide range of generic laser cut wood structures.

Think this is the nail on the head. 10yrs ago there was a big market for the usual suspects of metal pre-fabs. Lineside sheds. Freight houses etc. With a basic laser, FDM printer or cricut that can do those easily for the cost of a new Locomotive that has to have taken a big bite out of their market. Quality may not be up to the same snuff but people often look the other way if its only costing them pennies per unit rolling their own.
-Al

peteski

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Re: American Model Builders (laserkit.com) Is Shutting Down
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2024, 04:57:17 PM »
+2
Think this is the nail on the head. 10yrs ago there was a big market for the usual suspects of metal pre-fabs. Lineside sheds. Freight houses etc. With a basic laser, FDM printer or cricut that can do those easily for the cost of a new Locomotive that has to have taken a big bite out of their market. Quality may not be up to the same snuff but people often look the other way if its only costing them pennies per unit rolling their own.

Looking at the big picture I really don't think there are *THAT* many model railroaders who own and use laser cutters, or skills needed to produce viable projects. Same  goes for 3D printers  Actually I think more modelers own 3D printers than laser cutters.  I suspect that these kits were still selling well - it is just that owners aged and wanted to retire (or passed away).  Not sure why the business aren't passed or sold to others. Maybe nobody wants to run a business.
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