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Hello from the 39th Annual National Narrow Gauge Convention! (with Product Announcements)

The Crystal River Products Crew - Seth and Rand Johnson

It seems like only yesterday that Seth and I attended the 38th National Narrow Gauge Convention in Minneapolis as new owners of Crystal River Products and met fellow narrow-gauge modelers from all over the US and abroad. Here in Sacramento at NNGC 39, we’ve renewed old acquaintances and made new friends.

Lots has changed in twelve months! Last year, we had just acquired Crystal River Products and the legacy of Tom Fitzgerald’s exceptionally well-engineered and beautiful scale model kits. We were excited. Since then, we've updated the kit-fabricating technology and our own skill sets. We took baby steps at first to get our footing, and we've gradually climbed the production learning curve. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve turned a lot of fine-quality scale wood into very expensive cinders. It’s been challenging, but we’ve learned almost as much as we’ve burned. And we’re still excited.

What does this mean for our customers and friends? It means we're finally able to make product! We started with a simple and attractive kit, the Coal Shed, #112-11 (HO), #112-21 (S), and #112-31 (O). We offered a show special on these. By way of background, these structures were ubiquitous across the D&RGW’s narrow- and standard-gauge systems. Whether you model D&RGW or RGS or some other railroad, these little sheds will complement your layout.

We'll next produce the stock yard in HO, S, and O scales, followed by the round-roof water tanks in S and O. (Yes, I admit that that one is sort of selfish on my part, since I want one for my layout.) What comes after that?

Well, since NNGC 38 in Minneapolis, about 120 of you completed the “Help us make product decisions” survey on our website, identifying which kits you'd like to see first. And the results are in!

Here are the top ten most-requested kits:

1. The two-stall engine house came in first place by a country mile, with an almost even split across all three scales (HO, S, and O)

2. The 100-ton Ice House from our Station Grounds set took the silver medal, again with an almost-even split across all three scales

3. Rounding out the top three was the Ore Pocket with Tram House—likewise with an even split across all three scales

4. Engine House Interior – Ditto

5. Commercial Building, Silverton Supply Company - Leaning a little more toward S and HO scales, but with enough interest from O scale modelers to merit production

6. Stock Yard – Most interest was in S and HO scales, but O scale was also represented

7. Water Tank, Octagonal Roof – An even split across all three scales

8. Cumbres Section House – A strong candidate in HO scale.

9. Gunnison Coal Tower – Ditto

10. Gunnison Sand House – Ditto

Here’s the fun part. We will be reaching out to you, our friends, who responded to the survey to confirm that you’re still interested (it’s been a while for some of you) and nail down scale preferences. Don’t worry: we won’t interpret your feedback as an order yet. We simply want to confirm/validate the survey results before we fire up the lasers.

If you haven’t yet completed our product survey, please do! You can also send us your feedback by email at and let us know what kits and in which scale you want to see us produce sooner than later. We value all feedback.

Stay tuned.

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