General News Updates 2020

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10/18/20 - Today is a very special day in our family, the first birthday for our grandson Samuel! I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has asked about Sam during the past year and have offered their good wishes, it is difficult to believe that a year has passed.

A number of project updates are in the works and will be posted this week. There are hopeful signs ahead and I'm working to take full advantage of any and all opportunities. The continued interest and support expressed through phone calls and emails is sincerely appreciated as I, along with several builders, work through this challenging time.

Stay tuned!!

9/15/20 - As I continue to work through the current virus situation as it relates to my overseas supply efforts, I want to start this latest update by thanking everyone for the continued enthusiasm and expressions of support that has been offered throughout this year to date. The phone calls, emails and visitation metrics for this website have provided a continued affirmation that the efforts of all involved in our projects is not wasted. Our dedication to producing the finest models possible is unwavering and I personally will do everything possible to ensure an outcome that is acceptable to me, my harshest critic.

With that in mind, I felt that a bit of factual background information regarding the overseas situations may provide some insight into what importers domestic and otherwise are dealing with. You may have noted that some importers have actually given up, the reasons and rational very I suspect, but they will not be providing new projects in the future. This situation is not only here in the states, but in Europe as well, with one of the largest and most well known German importers going bankrupt and ultimately being consumed by new investors to reopen it's doors at least on a limited basis. You may have also noted that a number of other importers have not updated their websites in months so it's difficult to assess the extent of the virus damage on these businesses. The future is uncertain and the challenges will be many, but I will continue to provide what information I can regarding my own efforts so you will know with some level of certainty what Kohs & Company is planning to do going forward..

Despite the number of modeling blogs and websites, I have seen little in the way of factual information has been discussed about what has and is happening with the overseas modeling supply chain. Like importers here, builders overseas are fewer in number and the ones that remain in many cases are realigning their own supply chains to avoid reliance on unreliable sourcing, due to COVID, primarily in China. Depending on the areas of the individual countries involved, the virus situation is very much a day to day proposition in terms of the work that can be accomplished and trying to project a realistic time-line is nearly impossible as a result. The government control is much tighter in both South Korea and China so many times there is no option except to accede to the demands which can affect day to day operations. Having spoken and written about the importance of my personal inspection visits overseas from the beginning of Kohs & Company throughout my thirty-plus years of involved, that remains the greatest obstacle in my efforts to make serious progress on existing projects and planning new ones. If it is of interest, you can review the current status and requirements for travel to South Korea and China on the United States Department of State's website. You'll note on the China related page a complete ban on travel for United States citizens as well as other ominous threats. South Korea is slightly better since the absolute ban was removed, but remaining in place is an extended period of mandatory quarantine, currently fourteen days, the threat of illness is also still certainly present in both countries.

All matters of media and government prepared information remain as a source for making judgments, but my regular communication with builders and designers in both countries provide first-hand accounts that often times do not align with official reporting. Verifying acceptable progress and investing in projects blindly is not something that I am prepared or can afford to do. I again stress as I have for years, this attitude does not emanate from a fear of dishonesty, it all boils down to a matter of perception and a difference in how different people see and evaluate issues, this is what has made Kohs & Company models different and what they have become known for.

I have outstanding builders ready and willing to move forward and I continue to work with them to arrange 'work-arounds' for our one main issue while they organize their own businesses to insure that the path forward has as few bumps as possible. I will continue to share information whenever possible keeping in mind that this is still a very competitive and quite frankly, a cut-throat business. In the future I'll also address the issue of pricing and what affect all the challenging factors have had and are likely to have going forward with new projects

9/04/20 - I would like to provide a general notice that we will be doing some upgrade maintenance on our host servers. This will occur on 9/06 beginning at 3:00AM EST for a period of about two hours, the actual down time will only be approximately fifteen minutes. This will obviously not affect most visitors here in the states, but may be of concern to visitors in other parts of the world if they are not able to access this site. Thanking you in advance for your patients and understanding.

8/27/20 - I want to forewarn anyone that uses Brasstrains.com as a source for models that there are currently three listings for 'PRR Cabin Cars', which were originally listed as 'Kohs' models. They are now listed with unnamed importers since advising them again that the models they listed were projects rejected by Kohs & Company. Detailed information about the dishonest builder and descriptions of the problems with the models were again provided, but it seems that this time around that doesn't matter which speaks to the standards Dan Glasure and Roland Curtis apparently currently observe. Previous similar listings were pulled all together when they were notified of the situation. Be warned that they are selling junk at original Kohs price levels.

8/05/20 - Just a brief administrative update; if you attempted to contact Kohs & Company by Email between the dates of 8/1-4/20, as a result of a system glitch, your message may not have been received. Please resend any message sent to us during this period. Many thanks for your assistance.

7/22/20 - As a result of a number of recent requests for help and inquiries regarding Fine Art Models projects, I have posted some new information on the Historical Archive page on this site. In short, I do have a good level of knowledge regarding many of the models produced by Fine Art Models and I am happy to help when possible, subject to the limitations of time and available related resources. Please refer to the page for more information.

Updates regarding our pending projects will be posted yet this week. Extensive communication continues with builders in both South Korea and China and we are carefully plotting a path forward in order to get our existing project wrapped up and new projects officially launched. I understand that actual information regarding the state of the hobby is scarce with few producers/importers offering their take on the situation, but I will continue to lay out the future as I see it based on the work that I am doing with my counterparts overseas.

6/29/20 - I hope this update finds all of our followers and supporters in good health and thankfully, I have not been informed of any customers directly affected by COVID-19. I am happy to report that all is well health wise within the Kohs & Company family and I continue to push for progress on existing projects as well as the new projects that have been waiting for some clarity on a number of issues, not the least of which is the financial viability of the builders still looking to produce models.

You may be aware that several importers have ceased their business efforts which is unfortunate for the hobby, but I can assure you that Kohs & Company is looking to produce the finest models ever and just as soon as the related situations allow. I can report that there are some old friends that worked for builders known to me in the past that are now establishing their own operations which provides real promise for some of my future projects. Quite frankly, the biggest hurdle to be dealt with is access to production operations once that part of the project process has begun. I have written many times over the years about the importance of making the effort to be present and personally inspect the processes under way which has resulted in nearly two hundred visits to South Korea and China. I have to stress again that it is not a matter of trust, but rather perception, different eyes see issues differently and it has always been my eyes that have been the final judge and that cannot change. Once an amicable solution is reached for this situation until the government regulations in place allow for travel we will be headed in the correct direction.

I have no doubt that we can still improve upon our O scale efforts despite having set a very high bar. After evaluating the most recent HO brass projects and the best from the past, I feel certain that the bar can be raised a significant amount in this scale as well. The current higher prices have set an expectation for higher quality and more serious features, it's now a matter of actually delivering these types of models and I feel certain that Kohs & Company can do that. With an eye on On3 where little has been produced for quite some time in brass, that too is a target for my ambition!

One last subject for this update, that being shows planned for the remainder of this year and early next. I will be evaluating the shows that promoters have scheduled and will make a decision regarding attendance based on the COVID-19 situation and the cancellation policies that are put in place so hundreds of dollars are not potentially lost. Shows in general still have a place in this hobby if properly planned to provide a positive experience and Kohs & Company will support such shows whenever possible.

I have a positive outlook knowing what can still be accomplished in this hobby and Kohs & Company will do it's part to contribute to the future progress!

5/14/20 - I hope that the COVID-19 situation where ever you are reading this from is improving and that life for you and your family will be back to some degree of normal in the coming weeks. As it is for most everyone, the level of frustration here is severe as an effort is made to be productive despite the limitations presented in our specific locations.

I am happy to report that I have been maintaining regular contact with all of my suppliers/builders overseas and they are all still doing well health wise and they have begun to make progress with regular work, although at times they are prevented from doing so as a result of fluctuating public health situations. An ongoing effort is being made to reorganize or restructure our businesses in order to allow for future work to continue with as little interruption as possible. As I have mentioned previously, my projects have required my routine presence at the builders to make sure that the work being done meets the standards set and agreed to at the outset. Few other importers have made this effort over the years, so it is somewhat of a unique situation for us to deal with going forward, but it will be worked out so that no project will be compromised in the end. Component parts and production supplies for projects is another issue that I have been dealing with. With many parts and supplies being sourced from the United States as well as a couple of European countries, the affect of businesses being shut down has also presented challenges. Regular contact is being maintained with these organizations as well in order to hopefully expedite our needs when possible.

In addition to all the other matters of concern, I have done some test postal mailings to make a determination of how reliable planned mailings would be and unfortunately the results have been dismal at best. Priority Mail 2-Day delivery packages have taken on average thirteen days to be delivered with unreliable tracking along the way. First-Class letters have taken anywhere from one to two weeks for delivery with some still missing/undelivered. A frank discussion with a postal customer service agent revealed the unsurprising fact that mail delivery is a problem of getting workers to show up for work. I'll be keeping an eye on this situation as well so that future offering can be effectively handled.

It is encouraging that based on the number of views for this site that not many have lost interest in the hobby or at least what Kohs & Company is doing and I thank you for that! I will continue to update on all matters of related importance and I look forward to delivering our finest models ever in the not too distant future!!

All stay well!!!

4/23/20 - The amount of traffic this website has garnered has continued to increase in recent months, as a result we are making some technical changes to stay up to speed, literally. Between the 25th and 28th of this month between the hours of 8PM EST and 6AM EST we will be moving this website to a new and more robust server within the same hosting facility. This move will increase the bandwidth of the site, enhance the security features and generally take advantage of all the latest technology that has come Online since our last major hosting move. This upgrade will also help with the substantial email load we typically have. During this window of opportunity for the move, the site will only be unavailable for less than one hour, so no worries if you try to visit during that time and the site is off line. If you happen to send an email during this period, you may receive a 'no delivery' message, but as soon as the new server is up to speed the message should still be delivered.

This seemed to be the best time for the upgrade as we prepare to launch new projects and our work in general comes back up to speed. I'll try to get some new updates posted prior to the move, but there will definitely be some immediately following. Thanking you in advance for your patience if you happen to be affected.

4/12/20 - A brief message to wish our friends and visitors a Happy Easter and/or Passover. I sincerely hope that the COVID situation in your area is approaching a controlled status and that if you are reading this, your future is healthy and bright!

3/30/20 - Many modelers are finding themselves with more time to spend actually modeling these days. If you have any projects involving Kohs & Company models that you would like to share with our community, I would be very happy to post photos on this page: Kohs & Company Models In-Service Photos.

3/26/20 - Just a brief announcement to let everyone know that all of the books available on our 'Library Page' are on sale at 30% off the listed price until April 30, 2020.

3/25/20 - I just received a new video from Mr. Lee at Sun Jin Model Co, my original builder with whom I worked for more than thirty years. The video was shot by KBS which is a major television network in South Korea, it highlights Mr. Lee's model museum that he now operates in place of his model building business and was shown on their network as a promotion.

The video starts with an aerial view of the neighborhood where Mr. Lee lives and works. Models featured in the video are from the productions of Fine Art Models and Kohs & Company as well as one-off pieces either collected or constructed by Mr. Lee over the years. I presented a number of still photos of the museum taken during my last visit there, but there are many new features since that time and the live action certainly enhances the viewing pleasure. Be sure to watch until the end to see Mr. Lee's pièce de résistance which is a testament to his tremendous ingenuity.

The museum is available for viewing should you ever visit Incheon, South Korea, if you contact me before hand I will arrange a special viewing opportunity with Mr. Lee. I was happy to supply the design materials for the 'Golden Spike' locomotives that operate the food and drink delivery service as well as some of the reference for the special feature at the end of the video. Some of the large scale trains operating on the overhead rails were delivered with the assistance of Mike Wolf at MTH Trains.

In case you are going to view the video on a mobile device it is a large file, 475MB and is twelve minutes long.

I hope you enjoy the visit with my good friend!

3/22/20 - Regarding new pending projects, I've had a number of inquiries about the start of our PFE reefer and AAR flat car projects. Until I was reasonably certain of the status of our builders and other circumstances, I haven't wanted to start the reservation process and collect deposits with major factors in limbo and then have to put the project on pause or cancel it as others have done. My approach to this business has been to start reservations when all factors are correct, there have typically been enough delays even when things are 'right'. There will be more news on this front on the individual project sites soon.

The TCA Spring Meet in York, Pennsylvania next month has been officially canceled. I have updated our show schedule to include the Fall Meet which will be lengthened to three days considering the cancellation for next month.

3/18/20 - There are several topics to cover with this update some of which are administrative. Availability of this website will be interrupted on March 22nd beginning at 3AM EST, the interruption will last for approximately one hour while the firmware on the server is updated. The actual interruption will be only about five minutes within the window of time beginning as indicated. We have tried to schedule the maintenance for a time with the least impact, but for our overseas followers, I apologize in advance!

My planned attendance at the Spring York TCA Meet in York, Pennsylvania will apparently not happen as the York Fairgrounds website indicates that all event until May 10th have been canceled. I have not received any notification from the TCA as yet, their last word was that a directors meeting would be held during the first week of April to make a decision about the show, it now seems that they have no choice in the matter. If the situation changes, I will post the latest information on this page.

I have been in contact will all the builders that I know and have relationships with in South Korea and China, they are all well and they indicate that the situations in those countries have begun to slowly return to normal. Production time has been lost for most of the builders since they had little choice for a time about whether they could report for work or not. The affect on South Korean builders was almost immediate when the problem started in China since many of the builders rely on contract work there for their projects. Just as we are beginning to experience financial issues here for businesses, the early indications are that the builders are feeling those same affects from the Coronavirus.

I'll provide more detail about the situation on a project by project basis on my individual project sites going forward. Doing business overseas has always been a challenge for a variety of reasons, so I anticipate an even more difficult time in the near term, but feel certain that we'll all work through the issues based on the positive attitude that I am hearing and reading about from my contacts.

More information soon!

3/14/20 - Following the pleas and requests of the federal, state, local governments and my family, I opted not to attend the O Scale March Meet this year. It is regrettable that our country finds itself in the current situation, but as a reasonable citizen, observing the requested social distancing seemed to be the best course of action for all involved. The decision was made more difficult by the fact that this, for all intent and purposes, will be the last March Meet held and I'm sure that the impact on the Hill family has been severe. The Hill's deserve a great deal of thanks for maintaining the show for the many years it has been held and this is one show that will be greatly missed.

Regarding the attendees that I missed meeting at the show, I am preparing updates for all active and new projects with the latest information from our builders regarding the Covid-19 situation. The updates will be posted on the individual project sites in the next couple of days. If you have specific project questions, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

I sincerely hope that all attendees of the show return home unaffected by the virus situation!

3/13/20 - Regarding the Chicago March Meet, it is understood that the show is going on despite the number of closings and statements by the Illinois state officials. I remain undecided at the point about attending and it is not for fear of the virus, but rather how many people will end up attending making the trip and effort worthwhile considering all of the hype and hysteria. I have already heard from a large number of usual attendees that they do not plan to attend. Perhaps it will mean an early morning drive to Chicago based on feedback about the number of people gathering to attend?

3/12/20 - I wanted to provide a brief update regarding the March Meet in Chicago and my attendance. I have been looking forward to attending and as of this minute, 6:44EST, I'm not sure what I will do. I have had a number of contacts from people that had planned on attending who now say that they will not be there. At this point, it's a matter of perhaps doing the responsible 'thing' and not possibly contribute to making the virus situation worse. It's a minute by minute evaluation of the situation and not getting caught up in the hysteria leading up to making the final choice about whether or not to attend, that will have to happen by morning in order to be at the show on time. I will post the final decision by morning. Good health to all!!

3/04/20 - We're a couple of months into the new year and there are lots of issues to be dealt with as you may well imagine, not the least of which is the Coronavirus (COVID-19). I'll take a few lines here to address the immediate subjects of importance in order to set the stage for what to expect in the coming weeks.

As you may already know, the 2020 O Scale March Meet in Chicago is coming up in a little more than a week. I have had several inquiries regarding my planned attendance and let me say that I plan on being there as planned. Some individuals in the west coast area have indicated that they will most likely no attend in order to avoid board aircraft from that area of the country. The hope is that the majority of people that have long planned on attending will follow through and I feel certain that all will be well if everyone simply follows the recommended protective practices without exception. This may well be the last March Meet, unless something changes in the near future, so it would be a shame to miss it.

I again plan on hosting a gathering of interested individuals on Saturday evening in a suite located in the Westin hotel, more specific information will be provided at my display location once the show gets underway. This will provide an opportunity to discuss a range of subjects in a relaxed setting most likely after the dinner hour so everyone that's interested can get out for food and drink before hand.

Regarding the Coronavirus and the impact that it is having on our modeling efforts, it has definitely had a impact with workers being restricted at times from going to work first in China and then South Korea. A number of Korean builders rely on parts work being done in China, so although a model project is South Korean in nature, the initial China situation had an impact right from the start. For me, the situation is more difficult since I am far more 'hands-on' with my projects than other importers and that requires frequent visits to oversea the work as it's being done rather than waiting until the mistakes have been made.

In the fall, I delayed making my planned visits due to my family commitments which I previously mentioned. My modified schedule called for visits immediately after the holiday season, but before the holidays were even finished, I started receiving STEP travel advisory notices from the United States State Department which increased in frequency and level. Serious thought was given to making a quick visit to get my new rolling stock projects started and to check on the Big Boy, but it rapidly became apparent that although I could get there, I may well have wound up stranded there in quarantine. All involved are now working to make alternative plans so work will continue with as little delay as possible. Information received from clients living in China has been extremely helpful in evaluating the situation and creating work-arounds.

More specific information regarding the virus situation is included in the project update that is going out for the Big Boy project and I will endeavor to keep general interest parties informed about our activities in the coming weeks through this web page. Wishing good health to those individuals living in areas of the country that are already affected!

1/21/20 - Just a brief message to share the latest version of the Southwest O Scale Newsletter that I recently received. The hobby is alive and doing well in that part of the country. Project updates for the new year will be following shortly.......time is my enemy!

1/01/20 - A new year is underway and I hope to have interesting and exciting news to share throughout the year, please check back here for the latest information. Happy New Year to all!

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