General News Updates 2021

All information and images protected, Copyright © 1997- 2021 Kohs & Company Inc, All Rights Reserved

7/22/21 - Just a brief update to advise that I am no longer maintaining a dedicated fax number. Since email became the dominate means of non-verbal communication, the use of our fax capability has been non-existent. In the event that someone needs to send a fax communication, with prior notice I can provide instructions for how to accomplish that. With the passing of one form of communication Kohs & Company is working to expand other means of more advanced communication to make providing information to clients and interested individuals more exciting and useful. More information regarding these advances will be provided as we move forward.

7/01/21 - Just a few brief comments regarding the appearance and function of this website; the basic 'construction' took place over twenty years ago and the technology and software have made huge advancements during that time. In the days of dial-up Internet connections a great deal of attention had to be paid to things like file sizes and image quality in order for a website to realistically function and be accessible to the general public. In recent months when I have gone back and looked at the pages related to early projects the photos in particular have been very disappointing for their lack of clarity compared to more recent postings.

With that in mind, a while back I began to upgrade photos, many being the same image, but resized and adjusted based on more current standards. I mention this now, because several people have noticed a difference in some of the images and were curious if there were issues with their computers or Internet service providers on occasion that were affecting what they were seeing. The older pages are present as a resource for those project owners, people looking to acquire an example of a past project in the secondary market and to chronicle our past efforts. This will be an ongoing effort that will take some time since there are well over 4,000 images on the site. If nothing else, I will be more satisfied with the presentation of our early years.

6/26/21 - I am again updating all that are interested regarding the situations Kohs & Company is facing in dealing with South Korean and Chinese builders. I continue to maintain development conversations with builders while we mutually wait for the travel requirements to normalize. There are hopeful sign regarding South Korea with the advisory level now being lowered to Level-1 from Level-2. Unfortunately, the fourteen day mandatory quarantine requirement remains in affect regardless of vaccination status. The situation in China remains unchanged with the most daunting issues being more political in nature. The latest postings from the U.S. Department of State are included at the end of this current update.

The continuation and completion of our Big Boy project is the primary focus for the immediate future. The development of my next locomotives and a series of unique and interesting rolling stock projects, prototype subjects seldom or never before seen in O scale, are also taking shape. As we get a bit further along and closer to enacting our plans, more details will be made available and opened up for discussion and consideration by our client base.

The status of existing projects will be updated over the next couple of days, so be sure to check back if there are projects of interests to you. As always, I sincerely thank everyone that has expressed interest in what I am continuing to work on. I can report that the number of visitors to this website on a monthly basis has never been greater in our twenty plus year history. If this level of interest can be met with some model deliveries, all would be well!

South Korea Travel Advisory:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for South Korea due to COVID-19, indicating a low level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in South Korea, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine which remains in effect.  

If you decide to travel to South Korea:

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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China Travel Advisory:

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws. Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong, due to COVID-19. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

The PRC has resumed most business operations (including day cares and schools). Other improved conditions have been reported within the PRC. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in the PRC, as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Hong Kong. Visit the Consulate General's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Hong Kong.

Please monitor the Hong Kong government's website for further updates on COVID-19, as testing, transit, and travel requirements frequently change.

Country Summary:

The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.
In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including Hong Kong, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries, have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Propaganda: A PRC propaganda campaign has falsely accused individuals, including U.S. citizens, of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong. In some cases, the campaign has published their personal information, resulting in threats of violence on social media.

Read the country information page for the PRC and for Hong Kong.

If you decide to travel to the PRC, including the Hong Kong SAR:

  • See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19 for mainland China. See the Consulate General's COVID-19 page for updated information on COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • For the Hong Kong SAR, review your Hong Kong flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Visit the CDC's webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
  • Enter the PRC on your U.S. passport with a valid PRC visa and keep it with you.
  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate immediately.
  • If you plan to enter North Korea, read the North Korea Travel Advisory. Travelers should note that U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter, WeChat, and Weibo. Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for the PRC and Hong Kong SAR.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist
Last Update: Reissued with updates on COVID-19.

4/23/21 - I have been writing frequently about my efforts to stay in touch and consider all of the available information looking to get back to a productive posture with existing and future new projects. Yesterday I received the latest updates from the Department of State pertaining to conditions and considerations for travel to both South Korea and the Peoples Republic of China.(PRC) so I thought that I would again share that latest information as shown below. For anyone interested in the future of brass railroad modeling and modeling in general, these STEP statements will provide some insight into what importers and producers are dealing with.

I will continue to provide the latest information possible and correlate what it means for Kohs & Company going forward.

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South Korea Travel Advisory: Level 2, Exercise increased caution, April  22, 2021

Exercise increased caution in South Korea due to COVID-19.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)has issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for South Korea due to COVID-19, indicating a moderate level of COVID-19 in the country. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in South Korea, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine which remains in effect.

If you decide to travel to South Korea:

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

China Travel Advisory: Level 3, Reconsider travel, April 22, 2021

Reconsider travel to the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws. Reconsider travel to the PRC's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) due to both arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong, due to COVID-19.

The PRC has resumed most business operations (including day cares and schools). Other improved conditions have been reported within the PRC. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in the PRC, as testing and travel requirements frequently change.

Country Summary:

The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans to:

  • compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
  • pressure family members to return to the PRC from abroad,
  • influence PRC authorities to resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
  • gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC, including Hong Kong, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Foreigners in the PRC, including but not limited to businesspeople, former foreign government personnel, and journalists from Western countries, have been arbitrarily interrogated and detained by PRC officials for alleged violations of PRC national security laws. The PRC has also threatened, interrogated, detained, and expelled U.S. citizens living and working in the PRC.

Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.

The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.

Last Update: Reissued with updates on COVID-19.

4/11/21 - As the ebb and flow of the COVID situation continues with the vaccination effort progressing and the number of new COVID cases rising again, job-one here remains staying healthy and available to move ahead with the earliest opportunities to get model production back to some sense of normalcy. There is talk and planning again for the return of train shows as early as this weekend, during the coming summer and heading into fall. The participation of Kohs & Company will depend on a reasonable evaluation of the circumstances present as each show date approaches, but I reasonably do not expect to participate before this coming fall at the earliest all factors considered, despite the promise of increased vaccinations country wide.

On the subject of production, I've heard during virtual events and read Online the ruminations of many individuals questioning the availability of future new models, particularly brass......these are typically people with little or no direct experience in the process of producing models, brass or otherwise so are they correct? I won't pretend to know what the future holds for the numerous suppliers in the hobby, especially with many of them remaining silent leading up to and throughout the COVID situation. I can tell you that the situation has been obviously difficult for everyone and for most businesses including the overseas producers who are now even fewer in number then a year ago. The expectation and plan for Kohs & Company is to return to producing the absolute best models we can and at an even higher level of quality, detail and performance than ever before. Communications with our friends and associates overseas have been and remain ongoing as we all try to work through the challenges presented. In terms of new projects, the hope has been realized that two capable builders are willing to share the risk of project development from afar as I do everything possible to gain direct in-person access.

What I do know is that had my previous efforts to foster mutual cooperation among a hand-full of importers worked long term, producers would be in a much stronger position with better bargaining power among suppliers and the hobby in general would also be stronger with a more predictable supply. Had we an organized collective of importers that builders could rely on, builders too would be in a healthier position going forward. Many people and I dare say most, could never understand why I actively promoted and aided the work of other importers going as far back as Henry Bultmann and his Car & Locomotive Shop efforts which started at the same time as Kohs & Company.

My intent was not unique, even though I was not aware of the Associated 'O' Scale (ad below) efforts, the thinking of those involved was much the same. Invested individuals and companies working together to build a hobby community while still pursuing their individual aspirations and goals. The ad includes some long-lasting names which is a message in itself and it appeared in this instance in Model Railroader magazine, date uncertain.

Efforts like those of Associated 'O' Scale and mine have given way to partisan bickering often fostered by companies or individuals closely associated with them in an effort to gain an advantage when unable to compete product to product. As a result, it should now be obvious that we have all lost something!

In short, with all of this said, from my perspective the best is yet to come from Kohs & Company and I and everyone associated are working with that mutual intent.

3/08/21 - Since the 2/28/21 post I have had a couple of people ask to know who the 'offender' resellers are which misses the point or intention of my post. Rather than calling out specific resellers and starting a social media war, the intent is to offer assistance in successfully purchasing Kohs & Company models from whoever the seller may be, this is something I have done routinely when asked. Quite frankly, there are some buyers just as bad as some resellers, individuals that seek out 'deals' based solely on low prices and then cry when the model they receive is not the pristine gem they were hoping for among other practices. Establishing purchase parameters up front in dealing for a model makes it easy for everyone, particularly what the return policies are if there has been some misrepresentation about the item being purchased. For example, if a model will not operate or is functionally deficient upon receipt and the seller has indicated that the model will be or has been track tested, what is the established recourse? Make it simple and request the policy in writing prior to payment. Not wanting to be a policing agency for model resellers and buyers, my only interest is hearing from happy new owners of Kohs models and avoiding the hard feelings and disappointment when I am contacted to make bad situation 'right' and I cannot accommodate the request.

2/28/21 - The resale of Kohs & Company models is always a serious discussion with typically a good deal of money involved in the sale and and resulting purchase. I have written in the past about problems with some resellers delivering models to customers that were functionally damaged falsely claiming they were rail tested prior to shipping, the result being me receiving a phone call from the buyer hoping to make the situation better. This has happened so many times with several resellers that I will no longer provide support for models purchased from these individuals or companies and I have made this information available to anyone that wants to make the effort to know more about who they are potentially buying from. I have encouraged buyers in these situation to return the models or request corrective action on the part of the seller, but some times it boils down to hearing from the buyer that 'the price was so good I hate to return the model', in which case please do not call me!

With the importance of the secondary market continuing to grow as a result of the COVID-19 situation, knowing who you are buying from is extremely important. A particular case in point is a current ebay listing for a Kohs & Company produced PRR GG-1 locomotive. In another cut and paste effort from my website, the seller describes the listed model based on the original project intent without making reference to the subsequent project updates that indicate that the model he is describing does not even exist! There are a couple of resellers that have worked very hard to develop a very good base of knowledge regarding models they sell, but this individual certainly isn't one of them. Misrepresenting the rarity of a particular model within a production run has happened numerous times with sellers even with the largest, but representing a model that doesn't even exist is a new low, whether intentional or otherwise.

2/22/21 - I wanted to offer a few lines here to thank everyone that has been in recent contact with me to express continuing or new interest in our projects. The last several months have obviously been extremely difficult for all concerned and the impact on the model train world has been staggering to say the least. That said, the number of visits to this website are at a new level and there seems to be a great deal of enthusiasm looking forward. I believe that Mark Twain made a comment at some-point about the pending death of.....I think, the model railroading hobby. As usual, the modeling blogs are littered with commentary about the situation from people that don't have a clue about this or much of anything else quite frankly.

I have previously written at some length about the situation overseas as reported by friends/builders in both South Korea and China. From the outset, as I explained to everyone with which I have had direct contact, I have maintained three goals from the outset of the COVID-19 situation; first and foremost to stay healthy, without accomplishing that not much else matters both from a personal as well as a business perspective. My entire family has remained vigilant in observing recommended precautions, I have personally been test for COVID multiple times and have also been tested for the COVID-19 antibodies, all results have been negative thankfully. Secondly, to make good use of the extra time created by the COVID delays to improve the final results for all affected projects. Finally, to maintain a communication network with builders and friends around the world to better understand the ongoing status of possible production and to avoid the pitfalls of trying to rush through the problems created and ultimately compromising our final project results.

For anyone starving for modeling news and ideas, there have been and are ongoing virtual gatherings to share modeling projects and even virtual train shows. I have taken part in a number of these events and while they are not without problems, there has been some great information shared about modeling in general as well as prototypes. Hindsight 20/20 and NewTracksModeling.com are two of the groups involved in regularly scheduled events. In addition, some of the regular large train shows have begun to organize virtual events to replace their canceled in-person shows. As I said, they are not a perfect answer to a difficult situation, but the people making the effort deserve a great deal of credit. If there appears to be enough interest, I'll do a listing of virtual events that I am aware of.

As always, I will continue to update everyone one interested in Kohs & Company with the latest information that I can put together.

2/07/21 - Updating my comments from the 2/4/21 post; seeming, Brasstrains.com has acknowledged their impropriety by removing the prototype descriptive text from their 'Queen Mary' flat car listing. Enough said.....until the next time.

2/04/21 - Just a brief update to again call out the business practices of Brasstrains.com. On two previous occasions the owner/managers of this business entity have been informed of the illicit business practices of the builder that created models they have again chosen to represent, in this case an O scale PRR FD-2 'Queen Mary' flat car. Being very familiar with this project having produced the same model with another builder after E.K. Models attempted to defraud Kohs & Company, the model Brasstrains.com is selling is substandard in quality although their price is nearly what Kohs & Company has charged for the same model which was built to a much higher standard. The final insult is that Brasstrains.com has cut and pasted, word for word, their model prototype history from the Kohs & Company PRR FD-2/FW-1 project web page.........at least they did not make reference to Kohs & Company in their listing this time...........caveat emptor.

1/27/21 - The listing for sale of unique, one-of-a-kind and rare items has begun. The first small batch are things related to the years that I worked on the Lionel trains projects with Fine Art Models, the listings can be accessed on the Collectibles portion of this website, more specifically at the following LINK. There will be more to come as time allows to get items listed so stay tuned if you are interested.

1/16/21 - Just a brief heads up that I have been in the cleaning/organizing mood for the last several weeks and have come to the conclusion that it's time to clean up my archive and storage area which means that a variety of sample models, parts and printed materials of all sorts will be offered for sale in due course. This will be done as time allows and quite frankly as I am able to make the difficult decisions about what should go. Please do not write and ask about the availability of specific parts or models, I will not be able to respond to those types of inquiries. I can tell you at this point that the items to be evaluated/offered date back to my involvement with Fine Art Models and the Lionel Smithsonian projects.

I have yet to decide where on the website the items will be offered, but further information will be provided as decisions are made and items are organized.

1/01/21 - Happy New Year to all, wishing all of our visitors a prosperous new year and happy modeling. With the new year comes the hope that daily life will begin to return to some degree of normalcy which will allow the projects of Kohs & Company and others that have survived the COVID experience to begin to move forward without further delay and loss. I will be beginning the new year with project updates for all of our active projects in the next few days, so please return for another visit to learn the latest about our projects and plans.

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