Evening folks…

As you’ve just read in our newsletter, we’re on the cusp (good word that) of investing in a Laser Cutter to pre-cut the card base layers for our kits and to also offer much more detailed add-ons and upgrades not only for our kits, but for all aspects of your layouts & dioramas…

Here’s a couple of bigger pics of the ones in the newsletter…

So what do you think?
Should we go for it? Or is it a daft idea? Your comments & feedback would be very much appreciated! Just post them up in the comments form below and I’ll put them to the boss (Tina)

Cheers

Justin

82 Responses to Laser Cut Card Kits

  1. Dan says:

    Great idea especially for doors and windows etc.
    What would the cost be for shipping to the US.

  2. Chris says:

    Sounds like a great idea actually. Some parts are extremely fiddly to cut once on card. Stairs and fences will be easy to model

  3. Graham Maltby says:

    Its a good idea providing the patterns are simple and there are adequate instructions with it and for people like me that’s probably going to involve diagrams and pictures!!

  4. Robert Johnsey says:

    Hi – I would definitely buy pre-cut kits if they included pre-printed glazing like Metcalfe.

    Cutting out sharp corners to make holes for windows in N scale is a real chore which I can live without as is painting expensive etches – Metcalfe kits are a joy to work with by comparison.

    If you can match Metcalfe quality in N scale then YES – I would buy lots over time………

  5. Tony Ashley says:

    I Think It Would Be A Great Idea To Have Them Laser Cut, Because, I Am One Of Your Older Modellers And My Eyesight Isn’t What It Used To Be For Some Of The Cutting.
    Regards
    Tony.

  6. Stephen says:

    Yes definitely go for it I will buy them.

  7. David says:

    I think the Laser pre-cut kits would be great if the cost was not to high.
    Metcalfe already make Laser cut kits and intend to expand the range, so I think if you can produces good kits and be very competitive with the price I for one would be interested in them.

    Dave
    from Waterlooville Hampshire

  8. james says:

    i think it will be a good idea for quickness but it must cost more money but i think people would be willing to pay the extra cost i hope my input will help
    james

  9. rohbin griffiths says:

    Go for it what you have done for the hobby is great , not everyone has a colour printer, all the bets Robin

  10. John Morrow says:

    Hi Justin, I have downloaded several of your kits which I have been very happy with, I have also purchased pre-printed kits which again I have been very happy with, what I would like to see with your pre-printed kits is something along the lines of the Metcalfe kits, if you were able to supply your kits with pre scored lines I believe that this would be of benefit to a lot of modellers such as myself, I have a condition in my hands where at times my fingers would just go numb and leaving me with very little strength to actually do full cuts, I realise of course that you cannot accomodate everyone but something like this would of great benefit to those who have some sort of dexterity problem, I hope that this is the sort of comment that you are looking for. Kind regards, John

  11. Jim says:

    not really for me as I use a silhouette cameo cutting machine so am happy to download,print and cut
    but would be good for the manual worker as a cheaper than metcalf way

  12. Steve says:

    Hi
    I’m quite new to railway modelling and have started with a few ‘metcalfe’ kits as I was told these were good to begin with. Do you mean that you will produce similar kits or will I still have to glue the download to the pre cut card.
    On the positive side,if you can afford the laser cutter, I would go for it.
    Cheers
    Steve

  13. John Robertson says:

    Hi,
    Yes please pre-cut card would be great, like another John said on the lines of Metcalf.some of us more elderly modellers who suffer from a touch of arthritis would be ever so grateful. Cutting out is a great chore and kind off puts me off modelling because of the effort involved with the athritic fingers.
    So YES please.
    best regards
    john

  14. Harold Hopkinson says:

    I can understand why some people would prefer the pre-cut ones if their skills were limited,but
    in my case it would all come down to cost.Another thing is,I like to adapt the kits I make so I only need to print the sheets I would be using.
    Whatever you decide,I wish you every success Justin.

  15. ken says:

    Justin go for it as I have a problem cutting out myself and it would give a lot of time to construct more buildings for the layouts.Thanks for all your tips.
    Ken

  16. Colin Edwicker says:

    Hi Justin,
    Sounds like a good idea especially with some of the more fiddly things like litter bins and benches if they can be laser cut. Having buildings pre-scored would be a big advantage too.

    Regards,
    Colin

  17. Fred says:

    I think that laser cut card kits would be a great idea, much better than spending loads of money on printer ink cartridges with a miniscule amount of ink in them

  18. David Thomson says:

    Great idea go for it.

  19. Iain Price says:

    Go for it Justin it will be great

  20. Maurice says:

    Great idea.Would be a good investment for you and it would enable us to pack a little more detail into what are already very good kits.

  21. Gerry says:

    The only answer there could possibly be is… if there is a demand for it and it makes a profit, YES GO FOR IT. It is a business your running after all.
    Personally its not for me as I chop and change the card I use, depending on what I’m building plus if I messed up ( which has never happened so far, touch wood. ) with the pre cut version I presume I wouldn’t have the reprint option available. so I would have to buy the kit again. Which obviously is a bonus to you. At the end of the day whatever you decide, I hope it works to your advantage and wish you all the luck. Now to get back to building my pub, Gerry.

  22. NIGELHILL says:

    Go fot it Justin. I am not getting any younger so my eyes and my physical strength are on the wane. ANYTHING that makes card modelling easier and quicker would be welcomed by me.
    Your stuff is good, and I enjoy your newsletters. Keep up the excellent work.
    Regards
    Nigel

  23. Martin Hale says:

    I concur with the comments above that pre-cut components to go with both the downloadable kits and those purchased directly.

    Although I am not in the first flush of youth and can still cut a reasonable straight line, the day will come when that is going to be difficult.

    Any help ,in the form of pre-cut card components is going to be a boon.

    Keep up the good work.

  24. Mark says:

    Hi Justin, Tina

    With regards to pre cutting I think it is a great idea and it would certainly help as I’m sure it will cut a lot neater and straighter than I can. The only concern would be damage to thin bits during transit.
    So it is yes go for it if you believe you get it to pay for itself over time.

    Regards

    Mark

  25. David Littlewood-Tysoe says:

    Go for it! I started structure modelling (many, many, many years ago!) with pre-cut card kits, and although I now actually enjoy the ability to make my own cuts and creases (including adding extras or replacing parts I’m not wholly happy with) I think anyone who wants it, whether just starting out or simply preferring not to wield their own scalpel and ruler, should be offered the pre-cut option. Just don’t discontinue the downloads, please, because those of us beyond the long reach of Royal Mail’s first class delivery rely on them when we want something in a hurry.

  26. Paul Davies says:

    I similarly concur with opinions expressed above. One element that must be factored in is cost to the consumer. I appreciate you have to invest in extra machinery and will need to recover your costs…but how expensive will the finished kits be? If they are comparible in cost to Metcalfe kits they should sell like the proverbial hot cakes, as the quality is much finer. If they are much more expensive then they will not sell and modellers will continue to download/ purchase via ebay…..it would be helpful to know roughly how much the average kit would be……would it be advantageous to combine more than one kit in a package and offer a discounted price? I really think you need to conduct further surveys before you commit to purchasing a new cutting machine. Hopefully you will receive some useful feedback here! Best wishes!!

  27. Ronnie says:

    Hi Justin , would pre cut kits be more expensive? I’m all for it depending on cost.

  28. Chris Hemming says:

    As a satisfied customer of yours, I say yes, pre-cut kits please, keep them cheaper than Metcalfe and you will have a winner on your hands.

  29. Jeff Dann says:

    We have a Brother Scan and Cut machine. If downloadable templates could be made available these could be fed into the machine and it would cut 2mm card far more accurately and probably quicker than I ever could. I stress that this would be for my personal use only and not intended for resale.

  30. Norman says:

    Hi Justin, I live overseas so downloading is my only option. When I visit the UK, I sometimes come home with Metcalfe kits, which I find easy to assemble. I even have a couple of very old unmade Superquick card kits which were forerunners of this genre of kit. I might buy some ready cut, but what I like about the downloads is how you can alter and personalise things. As an overseas customer, on balance, it would make no difference to me really.

  31. dave says:

    Hi I have trouble cutting so laser cut would be good for me especially for walls and fencing Best wishes Dave

  32. Gary George says:

    I tried hard to find a supplier for Metcalfe in the USA to no avail. The closest I could come is Canada. I got kinda burned when I made my last purchase in Canada. The product was cheaper but the shipping duty ran the price up over what I could have paid in the US. On top of that I had to pay a surcharge on my credit card. So I say please go fro it as long as you can match the quality and detail of the Metcalfe Kits.

  33. MG says:

    Justin
    Excellant idea, it is so much easier to use especially for the fiddly bits arouns windows etc

  34. Mike Ware says:

    Hi Justin. The issue for me is how you would you cover the scored printed card on external corners, the problem with the old Superquick kits I recall. Indeed one of the mags included a free card kit of Hampton Loade GWR platform shelter a couple of years ago and its a great strong little building but let down on the corners where the scored card is very visible. Good luck, Mike

  35. Peter Fitness says:

    I think it would be a big step forward for you to offer pre-cut kits, so my response to your question is go for it.

  36. Peter Horton says:

    Justin,

    I run a small business too and to me it is a no brainer.

    Okay there is the investment, but immediately it can place you in another marketplace at a new sales price model, a la half way house from Metcalfe’s to something nearer scratch building.

    Everyone goes through those levels at some stage.

    Go for it!

    Peter

  37. George says:

    Excellent idea! I live in Australia, so download kits are excellent for me. However, pre-cut for the fiddly-bits would be terrific! Especially if you get to the stage of including windows, fences and carved lintels and the decorative brick/stone work, etc. Also, my wife does most of the cutting for me and it will be great if I can do it for myself.

  38. Tony Rush says:

    Hi Justin,
    I problems with my hands( age related) and anything that helps with cutting will be a godsend.
    Best wishes Tony

  39. Mike Robinson says:

    It’s horses for courses (of course!) I like to download, print and cut my own, and make alterations along the way to personalise my buildings and will continue to do so for as long as the arthritis is kept at bay.
    However, laser-cutting is certainly becoming more popular, and we must accept there will be a premium for the extra expense of buying (and maintaining) the equipment.
    It’s great to have the choice. Well done, MRC!

  40. Pete hoult says:

    Hi Justin , as per the other posters above I think kits along the lines of Metcalfe would be great
    But do more reserch as the old saying goes measure 3 times and cut once, I do enjoy
    Your mails keep up the good work
    Regards Peter

  41. Clive Nurse says:

    I agree with all the previous cooments which have neatly covered my own thoughts. Small items, such as fence posts and rails, window frames (i have just received some pretty expensive frames from York Models which i’m going to use on my next batch of terraced house), gutters and down pipes and so on would enable greater realism to be achieved. More importantly, it will bring the kits into the reach of younger modellers. Go for it!

  42. Chris says:

    Laser cut would be a good idea. I have just started construction of my 8ft x 12ft layout which will have a BR Southern Region 1960’s urban theme, so lots of buildings. At the moment I can cut fairly well but I am sure my hands (or my sight!) will not be as good next year as they are now!!! I think I will be buying more ready printed kits and pre-cut is definitely the way to go even if it ups the price a bit. If you manage to do it for less than Metcalfe that would be good.

  43. Brian says:

    Yes pre cut kits would be great thanks

  44. Tony Rush says:

    Hi Justin
    I have problems with my hands( age related ) and anything that aids my modelling will be
    a real blessing.
    Best Wishes Tony.

  45. Mike says:

    Hi Justin. It seems to me to be the next logical step for your business. Offering downloads for those of us happy to handle the printing and cutting as well as pre-cut would appear to be an ideal combination. I would expect that all sales via eBay would be of pre-cut kits, unless there is a significant price difference. I find windows the most troublesome and if they are pre-cut I would seriously consider going for that option rather than a download, particularly on a kit with a lot of windows.

  46. Whilst I agree with everything that has been said, I also think that you need to be different to be better, one thing I would like to see is some embossing done on the brickwork to add to the texture of the models.

    But yes I have to admit that I have ordered Metcalfe models for the front of the layout where more precise work is needed as it is closer to the viewer.

    Graham

  47. Mark C says:

    I’d suggest that you get the best of both worlds. Market the precut card base layers as an ‘optional extra’ for both online and mail order purchasers. As it stands now, with wrap around cover layers your kits are a big notch above the preprinted kits that you can buy in any hobby shop. That way, both you and the purchaser get the best of both worlds and more options.

    So go ahead, Justin, finalize the deal for the cutter and move SMS to a new business level! As Clive Nurse says, go for it!

  48. Gavin Atkins says:

    Go for it Justin. It would help a lot of people

  49. Alan roberts says:

    I agree with all that’s been said, I enjoy the cutting normally, but athritis is beginning to develop in my hand joints and it is quite painful sometimes so pre cut cards would be nice. It would save on
    Scalpel blades too. I also like the suggestion of embossed card, but maybe the cost would be prohibitive. Go for it!!

  50. John R Church says:

    Read most of the comment’s Re / your idear to produce your building kits with a laser cutter machine. Your Idear is a sound one it should open up a new market, for modelers who find it difficult
    to cut out the parts to build up the kit , but there are modelers who injoy semi scratch building and find it a challenge , but don’t abandon the down loads. My advice is go ahead with the venture
    and if the finished kits look has good as the test print it will be a winner.

  51. Richard Noble says:

    Hi ya
    For my part.
    Yes, go for it!
    I have all sorts of problems cutting stuff out so any help is awesome.
    I wish you every success with your new venture, if you decide to go for it!
    Rgds
    Richard Noble

  52. Mike Street says:

    Hi Justin, as somebody who has a great many of your downloads, I agree with most of the comments, but don’t abandon your roots, please keep on with the downloads. The ability to get a new kit straight away without waiting for the post, like I did last week with the corrugated fencing, is just great .
    I can see the advantage of pre printed for those who don’t have a decent printer and pre cut cardboard for those who find cutting difficult. So if both types can co-exist and its not going to break the bank go for it.
    Cheers Mike Street

  53. Colin Galloway says:

    It’s a no-brainer. Move up into the elite professional. Your previous kits were (are) top notch so this next step is just a natural progression of a great model maker. Time to show everyone that you’re a “pre-cut” above the rest.

  54. Stephen Hopper says:

    Hi Justin – as someone who has currently started my first Train Layout Project, I think the pre-cut is a great idea . Keep up the great work.

  55. Frank Organ says:

    Sounds great, but how will the pre-cut models travel to places like Australia without damage & how much would the postal costs be, if these comments can be justified it sounds ok to me.
    Keep Up the good work
    Frank

  56. Arthur Clarke says:

    Hi Justin,
    Unfortunately, economics is a very big factor when dealing with any model kits these days.With your current download system the download price when you are looking at the possibility of producing a number of similar models is extremely attractive.
    However, with a more “specific” kit where you are likely to just produce one copy, then the Metcalfe kit is the winner. When you take into account the download price then add the cost of suitable card ( I don’t find the cereal box card to be particularly suitable ) plus the cost of the ink (even when you use non-manufacturers ink) then the cost does add up. The Metcalfe kits produce a good quality kit and are quick and very easy to build. Hence, they will always be first choice when just one kit is needed. But if you have the need to produce a number of similar houses for example then the download route will always be the attractive one.
    Yes – a bit off topic I agree. However, the laser kit route will have to compete with Metcalfes kits .
    If you are able to produce similar quality kits at a competitive price, then you will get the return on your investment. But to do this people will judge your kits directly with Metcalfes. They do not develop new kits very often which makes me think that they have to sell an awful lot of kits to justify their investment. The success of their business seems to be based on a very long production run of each of their kits, but I think it is likely that the new machinery which they have installed fairly recently to produce such things as laser cut benches for example sees a very healthy rate of return probably compared with the return on their other kits.
    Good luck with your decision. Not an easy one thats for sure.

  57. Paul says:

    What would the additional cost be?

    I have trouble with my hands, so would be great for me..

    Look forward to your musings every week.

    Thanks

    Paul

  58. James Simpson says:

    I agree with John Morrow as I also have similar problems with my hands. So I wish you all the best with the new venture.
    Thanks for all the tip’s and advice and keep up the good work.
    Best Wishes.
    Jim.

  59. mikky powell says:

    Hi Justin,
    I have trouble cutting out also i would recommend laser pe-cut would be good a fantastic step in the right direction. I think down the line a lot of people have had or used metcalfe kits I have so great go for it regards Mikky

  60. Robert MacDougall says:

    Hi Justin,
    I have built a lot of the download kits and been very pleased with the results. The pre cut versions would be very popular and I agree with all the comments already mentioned and yes I would also buy them also (saves time cutting out the pieces!) and it would also provide a new customer Base as some people don’t feel confident enough to build the downloadable versions.
    I like the download kits as I can modify and adapt them to fit the space available and print out extra pieces as required.
    Yes I all in favour of it
    Robert.

  61. F says:

    Great idea!

    Maybe you can make some models ‘deeper’, for example your end unit wall. By making it deeper you can add chimney’s etc.

  62. Steve Clark says:

    Hi Justin,
    As mentioned above, Metcalfe kits produce a good quality kit but the brickwork colour is all the same on all the buildings, not very realistic; and those raw edges at the corners are a real eyesaw. But I am sure you will improve on your competitors efforts.
    Best regards,
    Steve

  63. steve ratcliffe says:

    great idear justin as some times hard to get card and some cuts are not easy
    as you get older

    Regardes Steve

  64. Catalin says:

    Yes, its usefull. Become easy to build, to expand one little layout…

  65. John Richards says:

    Hi Justin, having read through the comments so far, I can’t find any negative responses, so I feel it would be a good move. You don’t mention the capital outlay required for a cutter, so you may not feel comfortable if you have to commit to a large debt, but I’m sure there’s a market for these products if you can afford the set up costs. Good luck

  66. Anthony Butler says:

    Hi,
    As I prefer the textures and scaling of your kits to Metcalfs unknown scale buildings (do terraced houses really have 9 foot tall doors?) I would buy them for the quick to build, repeated buildings like houses and shops and also or the more unusual, one-off buildings buildings. For projects like walling, I`ll stick with texture papers though.
    Regards
    Anthony
    PS – with the stupid new EU VAT rules, hopefully you`ll not need to be charging VAT on these kits.

  67. Ray Oakley says:

    Justin, your proposal to introduce ready cut kits is a step in the right direction.
    Your kits offer a viable alternative to other card kits in the modeling world and
    what you have to date are excellent, good luck for your future projects.
    Best regards,
    Ray

  68. Steve G says:

    Hi justin

    as others have said with metcalfe as the benchmark you know where you are heading, as long as you do not mirror the types of models they produce the laser cut must be the way forward – I think you have to set a lead in this market – the type and variety of models sets you out from the start – good to see you thinking ahead and not sitting back

    Steve G

  69. Peter Collins says:

    A great idea. It also leaves plenty of room for choice. Not having to cut fine detail by hand can only be a plus in enhancing models. Hopefully the price and competition from other companies can only improve the quality of product in our hobby. Go for it!

  70. Allan Bartlett says:

    I think that the Laser Cut Templates would be a great alterative option.
    I would like to add that I print out the entire Kits onto A4 size labels which makes construction much cleaner (less glue involved) and considerably faster.

  71. David says:

    I’m a little slower in my old age and haven’t responded as fast as many others seem to have done.

    I think the idea is a brilliant one, I was hoping that some of the laser cut parts for kits (eg railway arches) would/could be made available for scratch building.
    I also wondered if it would be viable to provide pre-cut strips for making walls.
    I enjoy your approach to modelling and greatly appreciate the dioramas and galleries.
    Best of luck.
    David

  72. Brian Davis says:

    I hope that you would continue to produce the downloadable kits as I rely on these. Our postal service is problematical

    Brian Davis

  73. jeff bamford says:

    great idea Justin, my interest is in scratch building my architecture (I do build the occasional printed ones from howard scenic) sourcing laser cut windows to suite my models being difficult (York, truetexture are very good but not always of the size req’d,.i look forward to seeing your products I think I would buy a kit just for the details(windows doors etc)
    ps ,the Metcalf laser cut gates are brilliant if you match these you should be onto a winner

  74. Chris Marshall says:

    Great idea, how about combining a download kit and pre-cut sub strata? That would be brilliant for someone like me who has a pretty severe disability that effects only one hand – making holding the card for cutting the hardest part.

  75. Alan Tewson says:

    I am going to go against the trend a little.
    The almost unique ability to download high class model scenery is your business model and like Scalescenes etc you have been successful, the introduction of ready printed kits has serviced those with no printer, as you are mainly reachable by computer its a fair bet most users have or have access to a computer therefore the majority of pre printed sheets you sell must be for convienience rather than necessity.
    To go one step forward again is I think a fairly large gamble on your part, if you have worked out the commercial implications than I wish you every success, but I have my doubts regarding the commercial success of this venture, without a lot of advertising cost to compete alongside the two established suppliers.
    I hope not a downer on the job just an observation from one of your satisfied customers-
    .Alan Tewson (Munich)

  76. Martin Cussell says:

    I would like to say “I think you are looking at this future development of your kits in the right context and there is a market for these items and if people want them I should think they would pay that bit more for them”. If you also was to look at some of your competitors you would see that their range has not grown and Laser Cut Card Kits for your range would just enhance what you offer just now. I for one would be buying them if they were as good as (if not better) than your printable ones are to go by.
    Good luck and please give them a go.
    Regards Martin C.

  77. Brian Tapper says:

    Hi Julian,

    The concept of doing laser cut kits would be a big bonus from may I say “all of us modellers” and that I would purchase these kits from you even there would have to be a slightly higher cost to them.

    Keep up the good work.

    Brian

  78. Terry Coyne says:

    It is a great idea. When making a number of cuts to a piece of card you are only one step away from disaster. For example, if cutting out six windows you might get five of them right and then mess up the sixth and have to go back to square one. Laser cut card would put an end to that lottery.

  79. Steve Roberts says:

    I think it would be a good idea to offer both. As some of the comments above have said, if you make a mistake then just reprint a downloaded one, but on the other hand, how many water towers etc of similar design can you have on one layout. Various walls fences and other widely used structures could be down loadable, but relative one offs would benefit from being a cut item. Maybe at some time a downloadable sheet would be available, at reasonable cost, if an eror has been made on the pre-cut kit. Just a thought.

  80. Troy German says:

    I believe it would be a good step forward for the business, and further your range by 100%. Go for it!

  81. Brian Moore says:

    Hi Justin i really like the downloadable kits because you can adjust the model your making and if you make a mistake you can print off another sheet. also you can make several different/ same buildings from one download and still make them individual. as for the pre printed pre cut kits they would be great if you can retail them for less than the metcalf kits i think they would sell well. but please keep the downloadable kits going as well. keep up the good work. regards Brian

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