A long time ago, in a hobby shop not really that far away, two guys met. There was no evil empire to revolt against, just a how-to class teaching kids to build models. One guy, in desperate need of a shave. The other guy had a couple of young kids and a wife who dealt with model building and all its vagaries. It was the beginning of something really good.
The real start of KenRay Models was pretty simple. Ken was a repressed model railroader and interested in WW II modeling. Ray was interested in almost every kind of modeling. Ken was a draftsman by trade and able to discern infinite details. Ray was an award-winning master modeler and model painter with an eye for colors that were spot on. Both were very attuned to accuracy, solid details and wanting to share a passion for both those things.
Ray saw some WW II tanks that Ken built and mounted on flatcars and asked a question that was to have a farther-reaching effect than either would imagine: "Hey, you think we could make some money selling those?" Ken's answer was pretty much standard Ken: "I don't know, let's see." Ray's next question led to something on the business cards that stayed for a long while and will probably make a return. "A business needs a name, so what do we call this?" Ken's answer was vintage sarcastic Ken. "Two ******* Guys Models." Ray intelligently nixed this idea and the name KenRay Models was born in 2005.
There were five models at the start. A four-ingot mold car and four military flatcars with loads. We've come a long way since then, folks. The military cars line was expanded, with steel mill equipment and detail parts added. The product list grew slowly, but steadily. In 2008, Ray was diagnosed with cancer and Joan entered the picture. Joan often introduces herself at shows by saying she's the half of KenRay Models that is neither Ken nor Ray. Yes, this adds up to three halves, but the beauty of model railroading is when it's your layout or model train manufacturer, you can make it anything you want it to be.
That same year, some great guys in Kentucky hosted the N-Scale Collector and N Trak National Convention in Louisville. KenRay Models was there with products that weren't widely available in N-scale. Military flatcars with loads, vehicles that were single loads and steel mill cars. Distressed gondolas, artillery pieces and tanks. Jeeps, trucks and a plethora of detail parts including those cement steps you see in the middle of a field that go absolutely nowhere! (What is that about anyway? Did those steps have a purpose at one time?)
In 2009, KenRay Models introduced our first model made with 100% rapid prototyped masters, the 150 ton bottle car. Since that time, we've gradually converted to having the majority of our masters created this way. It allows for a level of detail that is difficult to achieve without needing a month to build a single car. Model railroaders are patient folks, but that's asking a lot!
Ray passed away late in 2008. We bought the business outright from his wonderful wife, Donna, in 2012, with the understanding we'd never change the name from KenRay Models. In mid-2012 we built a 12x16 foot shop building in the backyard, installed the equipment and got back to work.
It's been a good run so far and we've no intention of stopping any time soon. We've met great people, made good friends, created a business we enjoy. Keep coming back to the site and stopping by our tables at the shows. We promise that we'll always make time for you.
Thanks, Ken and Joan IzzoProud Owners of KenRay Models