Greetings TrainBoard members and guests. We are pleased to announce our upcoming special run project and that we will begin taking orders. Before moving forward, I would like to address some issues that I believe will be questions that you folks are likely to ask. Why is TrainBoard trying to get into special runs? Well, simply put, we want to be! If we can successfully enter this market, we will be able to be the catalyst that will cause some pretty neat model railroad products to come into existence over time. This will not be limited to N Scale, although we are starting with an N Scale project. Second, over time, TrainBoard has been forced to look for additional, creative sources of funding. Right now, we are funded primarily by advertising and donations. Neither one of those things will pay our bills today alone but the combination of the two has gotten us by. As we get larger, we need more money to pay our bills. Right now, we need to raise close to $500 per month just to survive. You folks don’t hear me talk a lot about this because we have made it through so far, but it is a constant concern. From time-to-time, we receive large donations (which help a lot) but we survive on small annual donations of $24 (or $2 per month) and some larger subscriptions like our $5 per month plan. My wife has a saying, “Many hands make light work” and that applies perfectly in this case. If 100 people gave $2 per month, that would be a great help. But, let’s take this one step further; how about a plan where we can ask people to help us financially, but we would be able to give something in return. Now, this does not mean that our special run project would be a 100% funding plan for TrainBoard. It won’t work that way right now. We will still need donations and advertising. But, this could help us a lot. How much profit will we make? Not a lot compared to normal retail markup, but enough to make it worthwhile. Final numbers are not in as to what is possible, and we do want to keep the price as affordable as possible for you (by the way, I will pay the same price as you), but we will make less than 30% and that translates to a little less than $10 per car from what we see now. In other words, with 300 N Scale cars produced of our first special run, we will make less than $3000 profit. Plus, I will have the fun of packaging and sending every one of these cars. What is the price going to be? It looks like the final price will be $29.95 (+ $5.95 shipping to any U.S. address). We will probably lose a little bit on shipping but you folks said that you don’t want to pay a lot for shipping. We do need delivery confirmation in order to not lose product. International orders will be taken at the same price but folks will have to agree to pay any actual shipping charges above that amount. For U.S. orders we will ship by USPS Priority Mail in the small flat-rate box. If you need another shipping service, you will have to pay actual charges to make that happen. (We will do it though.) So, what’s it going to be? A boxcar. We will tell you the road name and number soon, but we are starting with a little bit of a tease. Most of our staff agrees that this car will have a lot of appeal. We are not aware of any other N Scale boxcar ever issued for this road. Plus, it should be period appropriate for the masses. In a few days, we will tell you what it is – once everything is finalized. Who’s making it? Micro-Trains. Enough said there. When will it be delivered? The forecast is February or March 2013. Delays are always possible in the model railroad world (as you know). So, when can I order? Now! This is an early-bird, blind order announcement. Right now, we will offer a $2 discount (yep, big money) to people who said that they were willing to support TrainBoard by ordering whatever we decided to offer. We listened to many suggestions and we have this first run, and great ideas for our next run, which could be as soon as just a few months from now, In fact, I am pretty sure I know what the second run will be too! So, right now, $27.95 plus $5.95 shipping. (Handling is free unless you just want to pay me to handle your order.) If I order, is this guaranteed to happen? No. I am going to honestly lay out what is happening here: We need to sell 300 cars. If we get orders for 150, we are good to go for sure. If we can sell 150 we can sell 300. That’s based solely on gauging interest, not on money collected. Huh? What I mean is that we are not going to spend money that you use to order to pay for the production of these cars. We are going to have to spend several thousand dollars in order to have these cars produced. I will pay for this myself and not use money from your orders. The money from your orders will sit in a different PayPal account (details below) until the time that the products are delivered and shipped. When the whole thing is concluded, the profit will just be transferred into the regular TrainBoard account. What was spent to get this going will be deducted. The goal being to build an account that will sustain this for future runs with surplus funds going to help pay TrainBoard's bills. If, for any reason, you order and these cars are not produced, all we have to do is hit “REFUND” and your money comes back. In other words, we are not going to spend the money from the orders and then somehow not be able to refund it if there is a problem. We have been here since the year 2000 and I don’t think anyone has ever accused us of financial impropriety, so there should be no worry that we are taking your money, never to deliver a product. Simply put, this is basically all set (except officially commissioning production) and if the orders come in, we will pull the trigger on production. If not, all money will be refunded and we will re-evaluate the feasibility of the project. What was that about a different PayPal account and do I have to have a PayPal account to purchase? You do not have to be a PayPal customer. Right now we will take PayPal orders only and later we will accept orders through the mail. If you are not a PayPal customer, you can still order and make payment with a credit or debit card through PayPal (without having an account). Remember also, we never receive your credit or debit card number. We only receive the funds. Funds can be refunded in PayPal by a simple click on our end. For those of you that have donated before or made a payment to us, you know that our PayPal account is firstname.lastname@example.org. We are pleased to announce that our special run project will be conducted from the site http://www.specialruns.com and our PayPal address for special orders is at that site. So, how do I order? Go to http://www.specialruns.com and click on the yellow “Buy Now” button. You’ll see a big red question mark. That means we have not announced what the road name and number of the car will be. As soon as we do, a picture will appear. MAKE SURE THAT A VALID SHIPPING ADDRESS IS ON YOUR PAYMENT! DOUBLE CHECK! Questions? Feel free to ask!