Or the REAL reason: Because we are the best!
An easy statement to make and one you will likely read on many custom builders’ sites. However…….
EXPERIENCE: Look past the hype and closely compare PMD’s real and significant modeling expertise and experience with the qualifications listed by other custom builders. Their personnel’s “combined experience in years” (something many of them seem to feel is a significant qualification) might just amount to that many years of barely adequate modeling. Their backgrounds as hobby shop owners, theatrical set designers, museum curators or life-long model railroad enthusiasts cannot really serve as a qualification for building great model railroads.
Now... if you would like your dream layout to be designed and constructed by a talented team of professional model-makers — renowned throughout the Model Railroad Industry for artistry, excellence, ingenuity and reliability for over 30 years, then PMD is your best choice — and we look forward to working with you. (Oh… by the way, we do have 300+ years of combined modeling experience on our team if that number is important to you.)
CAPABILITIES: Many custom layout builders operate out of their home, garage or small rented shop. Their equipment may be minimal due to shop size or financial concerns. Although this may not detract from their modeling ability, it will certainly impose limits on what they are capable of doing. Ask about shop size, equipment and degree of automation — whether they use Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems for layout design and model-making. Then compare with PMD’s state of the art 7,000 square foot Model Studio, including our complete woodworking and cabinet shop, metal-working machine shop and our comprehensive list of modeling and production equipment.
PROFESSIONALISM: Most all of the serious custom model builders we are acquainted with are good, qualified modelers. They are also generally easy to get along with, because we all truly love our work. PMD places an extra emphasis on communication. We will give you FAR more detail in our proposals, quicker responses to your concerns and we will make certain that the only surprise you ever have with our layouts is how much they exceed your expectations.
SKILL: This is the tough one. Every custom layout builder will claim to be the best, and we all say we build “museum-quality” models. Pictures in brochures and on Web-Sites don’t really do justice. But they can be useful as a starting point for comparison. Most models photograph better than they look in real life. Look carefully at the details in these photos. Do they impress you? Could the scene possibly have come from real life rather than from a model? Do the mountains and rockwork look like they belong there, or are they set in odd positions that could never exist in nature? Does a steep rock face look like it was just stuck on the layout as an afterthought, or does the track carve through the mountains and cuts as it should? Do bridges cross real ravines, rivers and streams, as they should — or are they placed in strange locations as focal points but seemingly coming and going from nowhere. Is the water realistic? Look at the tunnel portals. Are any of them placed on the side of a small hill whose summit is only inches above the top of the portal? That would never happen in real life. Remember, a layout, to be believable, needs to impart a sense of continuity, where it appears that the mountains, streams, lakes and woods all existed before the towns, roads and railroads. We don’t build the models that way, of course. In fact, just the opposite. But at PMD, we strive to make every miniature scene as believable and as true to life as possible.
It’s what we call Proto-Realistic™ modeling.
So... look at the pictures in the various sites and brochures — and compare. But if at all possible, look at the custom builder’s work first-hand. Only there will the true level of artistry be apparent. Does it fill you with wonder?
PMD’s most certainly will!
COST: Most likely, we will not offer the least costly estimate you will receive. That will probably come from a small one or two person operation with far fewer capabilities. But, from what we know of our fellow builders, we will probably not be the most expensive, either.
Remember that you are paying for 3-dimensional artwork, and that this artwork is going to be a BIG part of your life for many years to come — PMD does have some of the finest artists and craftsmen in the country.
MOST IMPORTANTLY — our pricing to you will be FAIR. We are not looking to get rich off of you, but we do need adequate compensation to keep the very best on our team and to pay for our great facilities. Our highly-detailed estimate will provide you with all the information you need so you can see exactly where we expect to spend our time on your project, and just how much that time will cost you.
REFERENCES: Most custom model builders will have a list of qualified associates and satisfied customers that will attest to the skill and integrity of the company.
Ours include a previous CEO of The Lionel Corporation, 3 well known Rock Stars (really!), The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Bachmann Industries, the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, the president of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., a retired vice-president of the Santa Fe Railway Co., a number of past editors and regular contributors to the major model railroad publications, the Mineral Point Railroad Society, the owners of the Original Whistle-stop in California and Caboose Hobbies in Denver (2 of the finest hobby shops remaining in the country), numerous other hobby shops throughout the country as well as a substantial number of very pleased individuals.
WHY CHOOSE PMD?