RIP: Blue Box kits (1948-2009)

Athearn sent a special announcement to their email list today with sad news for kitbashers and modelers with lower incomes.  Rather than paraphrase, here's the important part of the notice:

Effective immediately, we here at Athearn have made the difficult decision to discontinue the production of our Blue Box line of kits.  There were several factors that contributed to this extremely challenging decision however, the primary issue revolved around affordability and ensuring that our Blue Box kit pricing remain aligned with what the market can bear.  Unfortunately,  due to increased manufacturing and labor costs it has been determined that we are no longer able to continue offering kits at competitive price points as compared to our already assembled products.

That means that you won't be able to buy new kits from Athearn very soon, and will instead have to shell out more money for a fully assembled product.  One consolation in this is that Athearn's line of assembled models is one of the better quality lines that I've seen in the industry, and their production runs aren't always quite as limited as some other manufacturers that I can think of.