Super Scale

For the Buying/Selling/Trading of items of interest to those of us in the Live Steam Hobby.

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Super Scale

Post by ChipsAhoy » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:33 pm

Anyone have any word on Super Scale or anyone selling injector or boiler check parts that actually fit Barrys stuff?

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Steven E. Kuhn
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Re: Super Scale

Post by Steven E. Kuhn » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:23 pm

I did notice that the Superscale website is no longer available if you Google it.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by BAdams » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:01 pm

It appears the website in not online any longer.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by steamingdon » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:06 am

I have heard through the R.N.N. ( Rumor News Network) that Barry`s daughter wants so much for the business that nobody is interested in that type of investment. This should jump start an answer ( maybe). Last time I heard anything positive about selling Super Scale was about a year back. This might be another fine Live Steam pioneer who`s business will pass into oblivion.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by Harold_V » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:48 pm

It would not be necessary for one to purchase the business, as new molds (dies) can be remade. What's important to success is the mindset of the individual, which would require thinking in keeping with that which was displayed by Barry. His products are what they are because he was a stickler for quality and faithful reproduction in miniature. One of his die makers is still very much in business (as far as I know) and would most likely be willing to make new dies as required. The original line of products could, thus, still be offered, assuming one was willing to be uncompromising in quality-----a quality in humans that is often difficult to uphold, as greed has a way of interfering.

Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by Cary Stewart » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:52 pm

To Harold's comments I will add. Barry was in business to make a good living at the hobby he loved. Even if you purchased the complete set of molds, etc you would still have to acquire the CNC machines that had the kind of accuracy and capability that his did. They were not large machines but were of the highest quality and precision. The cost of re making the molds to duplicate his design work would/will cost nearly as much as buying the lot from his daughter. I don't know what she is asking for the business but remember that the engineering and proofing the designs of all the items he produced took decades to accumulate. The buyer is getting Barry's time and skill as well as some hardware. What ever she is asking is probably worth the price. However, there may not be anybody in the hobby ready to make that kind of investment to cut the time to sell parts. If you are as young as Barry was when started with the safety valves in he early 1970s and as Barry did worked at a "day" job until the business would sustain him go for it. Unless you are related to him there will be no gift. If you think you can really pull it off then go get a loan and buy the business on time. By the way. Barry did have lots of help from several fellows in the hobby. The late Bruce Ward was one of them. Bruce did most of the drawings for the glad hands and other items.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by Trainman4602 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:17 pm

Hi All
I have been watching this post for quite some time and now it is time to comment.

As most here know I have been in the supply business for 40 plus years. I started Mercer Locomotive in 1975 with one product, a switch stand of which I purchased the pattern. From there I started to develop a product line. I was offered the Reading 0-4-0 camelback patterns and drawings and that was my first and only locomotive. In 1984 I made coupler patterns and 10,000 plus couplers later I still get orders occasionally. The Mercer coupler was the industry standard for years much the same as SS products have become. When I stopped making couplers in 2000 someone else took up the slack. I will always sell couplers but I will never see the 1000’s sold like before.

The live steam supply is not an easy business to be in, especially now with the advance of the computer generated and 3D printing. Builders think they can just print it out. Ha Ha.

The Super Scale business grew over a 40 year period much the same as Mercer did in that same time frame.
When I heard the Barry was thinking of selling the business I called him and he told me he wanted in the Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Well I’m not sure if that would be a sound investment. It would take you years to recoup the money. So unless there is someone that has a lot of money to literally throw away then I done think that it will sell soon.

Barry also stated that most of the knowledge of how to manufacture the products was in his head and that he would have to work with the new owner. Well that knowledge died with his death.

Right now I make a similar safety valve that work as well as SS valves.

Eccentric Engineering is making a very good injector and I also have a check valve similar to SS that will be available in a month. Other people are making pipe fittings.

Barry made some great looking parts for the heavy Mikado but he discontinued them because of the lack of sales. The price on those parts was just too high.

People just seem to forget that this is a hobby and money, especially in this economy is tight. Sales are slow particularly around the holiday season.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by NP317 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:35 am

I miss Barry and his exceptional products, but am grateful for the other suppliers (such as Dave S.) that continue to make quality products available.
Looking forward to the boiler check valve that Dave will offer, and other items in our Hobby Pipeline.
Thank you all.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by Trainman4602 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:05 pm

Thanks I will continue to produce products. no retirement for me I love making train parts. I'll be 70 this Saturday

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Re: Super Scale

Post by tyleire » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:14 pm

I agree there will be others to take up the torch left by Barry. Someone mentioned Eccentric Engineer. Anthony is a young man in his twenties who is passionate about making the highest quality injectors that in my opinion exceed the performance of Superscale. And his product line is expanding all the time. Literally the next generation of suppliers proving that this hobby isn't dead at all. I love that.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by Howard Gorin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:51 am

I do not know what Barry's daughter is asking for the Superscale business. A realistic price would be about two years gross sales. If Barry's daughter will not sell the business for a realistic price, she will discover that other people will find ways to produce what Barry did and the Superscale name will fall into oblivion and what she has to sell will become worthless!
Barry told me that he thought his daughter had an interest in running the business, maybe she should.
Barry's two CNC machines border on obsolesce and are worth very little. Barry told me that getting repair parts for the machines was becoming difficult. I am not sure if the programs that Barry had for his machines could even made to work on newer machines with out rewriting. His CNC lathe has no live tooling which makes parts a secondary job on a milling machine and an indexing head. An example would be making a union, make three blank parts on the lathe then 3 x 8 index and mill operations = 24 index and mill operations per union. Another example, when I made injector cones the delivery cone with two converging tapers and twelve #68 cross drilled holes came off a machine finished, no burs in about ninety seconds.
I made unions for Barry but he passed before the job was finished. I made then on a friends CNC screw machine. All the parts came off finished ready to be assembled. A machine like that is financially out of the reach (about $200,000 including a bar feeder, software, accessories, etc) of most people in this business and is only possible if you have continuous work for the machine.
One other factor is how much of what Barry did is documented and how much was lost with him when he passed.
At my age I am more interested in finishing my own projects rather then taking on more new ones. I would gladly contribute my knowledge of casting and screw machine work to anyone who can pick up Barry's torch.

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Re: Super Scale

Post by cbrew » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:22 pm

this has turned into a very interesting topic. i will throw my two cents on the table.
I have kicked around the idea of starting and growing a business for the hobby and i have always backed away from the idea because the ROI is just not there.
if i was to walk away from my day job, I would have to clear ~$4k a month to keep the roof over my families head, food in the cabinet and lights on. on top of that,
i would need to clear enough to pay for the costs of running the business.
so in turn i have decided to take my plans a different direction to offer up design, machine and fab for those in the hobby that do not have the skill or tooling to do so.
Needless to say, I have to turn away business cause I just do not have time to split between my day job, family, my projects etc.
As a younger member in the hobby at the ripe old age of 43. I still have a number of years to go and as much as I would like to have my own business. I just cannot justify risk required to buy another business like SuperScale.
I am sure I am not alone with this mind set.
It is sad the likely hood superscale disappearing all together. As others have already said, there is very little gap left.
If it is not live steam. its not worth it.

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