You could build the same thing out of Balsa Wood, But it would take up so much time and effort (and probably loads of cash) do make it do what this thing does, including run a train, that I'd much rather spend $160 on this. Not worth it? Whatever.
You would be amazed at the amount of balsa wood you blow through on even a small coaster like this. And the price does add up. Not to mention the tedium of building 5 million bents that are almost but not quite identical! And trying to get it to actually operate is another headache in itself.
I've been there, unsuccessfully :) $160 is a good price. Especially compared to other HO items made for the model railroading market. These days you're talking around $100 + for a good quality engine. How much does the Faller coaster go for now? And that isn't even half as cool.
The model received rave reviews at the show, thankfully. Young and old alike were amazed by the fact that it worked so consistently. In fact, it ran for 3 days with 1800 cycles per day. Try to get your Faller Big Dipper to do that. lol. We will have more pictures, including ones with passengers in the trains and lights in the high turns (way cool) coming soon.
Anyone thinking they can build the same from balsa wood should give up on those thoughts. I have been building operating models for many years, and have sold a couple also. To build a model on the scale CoasterDynamix does, and have it work, is not easy. Building a model out of balsa and having it work will cost more that what thier kit does. Trust me I know, as I have tried. Everyone do yourself a favor and just buy the kit. You will have something that works and is nice to look at in the end. I can't wait to get my hands on one myself.
How extensible is the kit going to be? For example, can I buy two kits and make a longer layout with a little scratch building and the parts from the kit? Can I make something that is more akin to a figure eight layout using these pieces?
I heard you could but it would take a very long time and alot of effort. I heard the model isn't supposed to be taken apart and rebuilt in a different layout. You could if you wanted but it would be a very long process.
I grew up on Lego's, Lincoln Logs and Erector sets. That being said, I'd pay 160.00 for it. I've worked with balsa, and it's fine to make planes with but the time to do that from scratch for a coaster would be insane. Hell, a big set of Knex or Lego's could cost you close to 160 bucks anyway, so buy the CDynamics instead. Looks fun to me.