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Title: Why Do Model Railroad Manufacturers Compromise On Product Details?

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Often a result of personal preference, buyers place different utility values on various aspects of models and model railroading.

While some might consider ease of use and/or operational characteristics to be most important, others may be more concerned with the fidelity, and/or the perceived, and/or the future value of purchased items.

In an attempt at replicating a given local during a specified period of time, with different goals set for their layouts, modules, control systems, locomotives, roiling-stock, and scenery, model railroaders often have to balance any preconceived requirements for prototype authenticity with that of providing the overall impression that what is modeled is believable.

"Ignorance is bliss" certainly comes into play in-so-far as commercially produced model accuracy is concerned.

Whether or not to engrave heavy cast on details in molds, rather than use individually applied scale (or semi scale) sized details, which cost more to produce, require additional manual labor, and can be problematic when not applied properly, is one of several important components of every model manufacturer's pre-production discussions.

In order to maintain a palatable price-point, a delicate balance (i.e., compromises) must be reached.

Appearing in various permutations, in the words of the famous poet John Lydgate (c. 1370 - c. 1451), which were later adapted by Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865):

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."

Basically, it boils down to accounting and statistics:

How does a manufacturer please the majority of its customers, while utilizing the minimum amount of limited resources (e.g., labor and capital) that are on hand at any given time?

A firm's goals and expectations must be weighed against those of the marketplace as a whole.

While companies must strive to keep their customers happy, which in turn creates brand loyalty and generates repeat business, with the advent and popularity of the Internet, future endeavors can be compromised by the jaded opinions of a very small group of individuals.

When dealing with consumers at large, manufacturers might find that their objectives were set too high, or too low.

Successfully positioning oneself in an ever-changing marketplace is always a compromise between product cost, features, and retail price.

Unfortunately, given the nature of the business, model railroad manufacturers are not privy to the future product discussions of competitors, which (negatively) results in duplicate model releases of the same prototype, which only differ in construction details, fabrication, place of production, and/or price.

As nobody intentionally sets out lose money through the design or fabrication of a poor quality product, the release of such an item is typically related to a combination of any (or all) of the following factors, alternative, yet competitive products, capitalization, design compromises, component, labor, and/or production limitations, poor or incomplete research, the existing trademarks of competitors, and/or unanticipated changes in the marketplace, and/or manufacturing, and/or distribution costs.

Though positive criticism can be an invaluable tool, end-users need to take into consideration the rational driving the kinds of business and/or manufacturing compromises that must be made, and/or any existing limitations, and/or unanticipated events that culminate in the production of a lesser than expected model release.

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