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I know we can get production numbers from the webside of Southern Steam Trains or some other Aster Dealers, but they are base on total production. I have ask a few times for how many were produced in steam or electric. How many are Kits or RTR. How many are black or green, etc. It seems that , the information is not available.  I n my personal opinion, it would be nice to be able to have more specific information of specific production numbers of every engine. 

The other day i was talking to Pete Comley, and to my surprise i was told that they sell more KITS than RTR engines in a 2:1 or 3:1 on Aster Engines, but he was not able to find out more specific numbers.  For me and i guess for many of you, if were to have such information available, that will help us a lot whenever we spot an Aster engine on Ebay, etc. and find out if the information supplied is correct considering the information available or for buying purposes or resale purposes.
 

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Privero,

On most of the Aster engines, the serial plate usually gives an indication as to being a KIT or RTR. Usually the serial number is preceded by a letter, such as B035, which stands for factory built # 035, in this case a GS-4. On the Berk I built, it was K001 on the box, but the serial plate was just 001. Early aster serial numbers are especially confusing in that they normally gave a letter then 4 or 5 numbers after that, on either a stamped frame piece, or on a sticker placed somewhere near the footplate. most all of the serial plates give a proportion of the serial number of that particular engine to the total production run (ie 125/350, etc).

Numbers such as the total for different color schemes can be difficult to assess, as in the case of the S2, the black engine is pre-order only, so final numbers will be limited to just those that already laid down the cash. You will not know how many of a certain color were produced until the final run totals are tallied, as there can be surplus kits or RTR's that will be held up in a warehouse, or become part of the 1/3 surplus for spare parts.

Of course there are more kits produced, as most owners of Aster's love to see the new ways that items are put together, and most would like to be able to trouble shoot the engine with some sort of working knowledge of the parts. While it may be eaiser to do a RTR engine, you have to remember that aster is a small company, with an equally small staff. If the same workers who are building 1 RTR a day can package 3-4 kits in the same amount of time, then what is the most efficent choice of man power? Kits, although more expensive to initially package and send out the door, once all the drawings and instructions are finalized, they become a cost-effective way to mass-produce items.

Think of it as the collector car market, some cars are showroom pieces that come with the pedigree and medals to prove it, meticulously documented by previous owners, while others are simply cars that the little ol' lady had stowed away in the barn for 30 years. Are they both the same basic car? Yes. Will they bring equal values if restored equally? No, as that depends solely on the parties interested at the time of sale. It does not matter what the production numbers are, as very few people have a data log on the engine's service record, nor do I think anyone would care to document all the ~10,000's of kits that were produced over the past 30 years.

Besides SST, be sure to check out Andrew Pullen's site, carries many good tidbits of information in regards to the production numbers of Aster's past.

Collecting engines
 

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Hello Ryan

Thank you for mentioning the pages on my website which list the various models made by Aster Hobby Co Inc since 1975. I'm sorry that the website seems to be off-line at the moment but I am working with the ISP to get it back ASAP. The list and notes need updating with new info which I will do when time permits. 

Generally we know how many models+kits were made by Aster of a particular prototype and also the number in each livery variation if offered. What we don’t always know is the exact number of kits and factory built that make up that total. It was the case that Aster marked the registration plate affixed to each loco with a K or a B to denote whether it was a kit or a factory built model. This does not occur anymore although in the case of the recent Bulleid pacific and the BR 9F a separate plate saying ‘Built’ is affixed to every factory built model.
 
However the box in which the loco or kit is supplied is a good indication since that is clearly marked Kit or Built with a circular label and a registration label confirming the format. However problems can creep in since Aster will, at the end of a model’s run, take a kit and build it in the factory if customer demand requires it. You can then get a label on a box saying Built but the registration label says Kit.  For total peace of mind I always encourage my customers to keep the box and all its contents with their purchase receipt so that if there is ever a question about a model’s exact provenance then clear evidence of the model’s origin can be provided.
 
For the record the recent Aster BR 9F had a total run size of 315 pieces. 110 were supplied as black kits and 205 were supplied as 92220 Evening Star of which just 60 were factory built up.
 
Finally if anyone wants information on a particular model then I will do my best to provide it. Please contact me off-line.
 
AsterUK


 
 


 
 
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