A more modern model of an S scale NYC Hudson?

Anything besides the Flyer Hudson out there? I never see anything for sale in brass, so I'm guessing if one has been done it's for scale modelers only and is impossible to find while costing a ton of money...

Would there be a market for a Non-brass version in the sub $1000.00 category? Sub $500.00 range? Perhaps something similar to the new Lionel 2-8-4?

Jeff C

Original Post

 I'm actually surprised that Lionel or MTH don't seem to see an opportunity here...most of you know the S market better than I do--am I missing something?

NYC Hudsons (many of the different iterations, at least) would seem to be models that would be a guaranteed success story in S scale, given the NYC Hudson's place in toy train history.

Perhaps the reluctance on Lionel and MTH's part is a worry that an S model would bleed sales away from future O scale releases? If that is their concern, I think they are dead wrong. I seriously doubt that an S Polar Express model hurt the O scale offerings.

Jeff C

leikec posted:

 I'm actually surprised that Lionel or MTH don't seem to see an opportunity here...most of you know the S market better than I do--am I missing something?

MTH appears to have all but surrendered the S market with barely firing a shot, and Lionel without any serious competition can take its own sweet time.

Rusty

leikec posted:

 I'm actually surprised that Lionel or MTH don't seem to see an opportunity here...most of you know the S market better than I do--am I missing something?

I think a Legacy J3a would be big seller (esp if offered with scale wheel option and scale coupler compatibility), but I feel future Legacy offerings are riding on how well the forthcoming Legacy Berkshires sell.

leikec posted:

 I'm actually surprised that Lionel or MTH don't seem to see an opportunity here...most of you know the S market better than I do--am I missing something? <snip>

Jeff C

No Jeff, I don't think you're not missing a thing. My feeling is what the S market is missing is a well funded company that's willing to take some risks to see IF indeed there IS a market in S and if it can be grown with good product.

IMHO, both MTH and Lionel have concluded that, in their their opinion, the S market is contracting and not expanding, thus they're not going to risk serious capital in a segment of the hobby that they feel is in decline.

Andre

Hmmm...in my crazy moments (yes, most of them) I have this wild fantasy that Rapido will decide to make the J1 Hudson its first S scale model...

After all, The Central operated a Canadian mainline, and TH&B rostered two ex NYC J1 Hudsons--so it makes perfect sense...right?

Jeff C

Chuck K posted:
leikec posted:

 I'm actually surprised that Lionel or MTH don't seem to see an opportunity here...most of you know the S market better than I do--am I missing something?

I think a Legacy J3a would be big seller (esp if offered with scale wheel option and scale coupler compatibility), but I feel future Legacy offerings are riding on how well the forthcoming Legacy Berkshires sell.

I'm sure everyone knows but me--when are they expected to be forthcoming?

I saw the the FlyerChief Berk at a train show soon after it was released, and it looked like a nice little engine--which is odd, as I'm not really much of a Berkshire fan. But the funny thing is that I am always attracted to the S scale layouts at train shows, even when there are layouts (in all of the major scales) on display.

There's just something about the size of S scale trains--I've had an on again--off again flirtation with the silly scale for 35 plus years...and I don't think it's a coincidence that I also love my On30 trains, as the On30 rolling stock and motive power is somewhat similarly sized to S standard gauge stuff.

It always reminds me of a friend who swore he would never model in narrow gauge--even though he spent almost every vacation in Colorado. I can still remember the first time he ever saw an Sn3 layout. "Why...it seems...it seems so HO," he stammered, after walking around the layout transfixed for half an hour. He's been hooked ever since. 

I guess he had his comfort zone, and I seem to have mine.

Jeff C

 

 

Rusty Traque posted:
leikec posted:

 I'm actually surprised that Lionel or MTH don't seem to see an opportunity here...most of you know the S market better than I do--am I missing something?

MTH appears to have all but surrendered the S market with barely firing a shot, and Lionel without any serious competition can take its own sweet time.

Rusty

Seems somewhat similar to what MTH has done in large scale. At the very least, you'd think another round of F units would sell well enough to bother with.

Jeff C

A Legacy J3a Hudson is at the top of my wish list. In second place was a Legacy Berkshire. I ordered some as soon as they were announced. I would buy at least two Hudsons, more if multiple cab numbers were offered. I also think (personal opinion) that the S gauge pool of buyers is influenced by what Gilbert produced so the J3a would be more attractive than a J1.

Tom

My feeling is what the S market is missing is a well funded company that's willing to take some risks to see IF indeed there IS a market in S and if it can be grown with good product.

IMHO, both MTH and Lionel have concluded that, in their their opinion, the S market is contracting and not expanding, thus they're not going to risk serious capital in a segment of the hobby that they feel is in decline.

Andre

Maybe someone like Bachmann?

After all is said and done, they do produce a ton of HO (not just US but Euro models).

They invested in G scale when Piko and LGB were feeling the recession.

Bought out William's for the O market exposure.

Most everything is made in China.

justakid posted:
My feeling is what the S market is missing is a well funded company that's willing to take some risks to see IF indeed there IS a market in S and if it can be grown with good product.

IMHO, both MTH and Lionel have concluded that, in their their opinion, the S market is contracting and not expanding, thus they're not going to risk serious capital in a segment of the hobby that they feel is in decline.

Andre

Maybe someone like Bachmann?

After all is said and done, they do produce a ton of HO (not just US but Euro models).

They invested in G scale when Piko and LGB were feeling the recession.

Bought out William's for the O market exposure.

Most everything is made in China.

I wouldn't count on Bachmann.  They lost a lot of their Williams mojo in O to Menards.  I don't think they'll make any investments in S.

Rusty

Do we know who supplies Menards?

Is it made by a Bachmann supplier and sold independantly.

I doubt Menards has the market exposure that Bachmann does. Menards is primarily a "lumber/hardware" store not based nation wide.

Bachmann is known and sold Internationally...more than Lionel.

It would take someone with a mindset (and latitude within the company) similar to the late Lee Riley at Bachmann (or the late Jim Weaver at Atlas) to move a minority scale such as S scale into a different league of popularity. Those people don't tend to come around very often, but the history of On30 proves that it can happen.

Jeff C

Roundhouse Bill posted:

You all know that Lionel is our only real hope at a price the market will buy anything in real numbers.  Some companies build a couple of hundred a very high priced product.  We need products priced so thousands will buy and grow the scale.

It's more than just price.  It's also about variety and availability.  Given the glacial pace of the "Big 2," I don't see great improvements in that category anytime soon.

Even during the "glory days of S" of around 1990-2010 when product availability (and good price points between AM and SHS) was at it's highest, the thousands were nowhere to be found.

Rusty

Rapido seems to be very successful doing an eclectic spread of models in HO with their build to order method. Another example is 3rd Rail, doing small runs. Small runs mean higher prices, but at the same time a build to order strategy should provide a means for fitting the market to the product.

Obviously, it is easy for me to spend imaginary money...

Jeff C

leikec posted:

Rapido seems to be very successful doing an eclectic spread of models in HO with their build to order method. Another example is 3rd Rail, doing small runs. Small runs mean higher prices, but at the same time a build to order strategy should provide a means for fitting the market to the product.

Obviously, it is easy for me to spend imaginary money...

Jeff C

Practically the whole model railroad world has gone the way of the pre-order.  The likes of Athearn, Walthers and others have based their production on preorders for years now.  The only difference is, hobby shops are willing to order these HO and N products for store stock.

Rusty

Roundhouse Bill posted:

You all know that Lionel is our only real hope at a price the market will buy anything in real numbers.  Some companies build a couple of hundred a very high priced product.  We need products priced so thousands will buy and grow the scale.

I think growing the scale is going to be geared toward smaller, more expensive runs--but the question of how expensive is too expensive is worthy of consideration and debate...

Jeff C

leikec posted:
Roundhouse Bill posted:

You all know that Lionel is our only real hope at a price the market will buy anything in real numbers.  Some companies build a couple of hundred a very high priced product.  We need products priced so thousands will buy and grow the scale.

I think growing the scale is going to be geared toward smaller, more expensive runs--but the question of how expensive is too expensive is worthy of consideration and debate...

Jeff C

Short, very expensive runs are not going to encourage people to switch to S.

I don't think anybody has jumped into S because of the 77 (How's that for a small run?) $2600.00 (How's that for expensive?) ESU DCC/Sound River Raisin Berkshires...  Even RR's NKP Berk was around $1800-$2000 back in 2001 without DCC or sound.

Rusty

Which goes directly to my point--how do importers and manufacturers set pricing to a. make enough profit to bother, and b. to actually grow the hobby.

A $2600.00 model would be too expensive for me to enjoy--even if it was a locomotive that I wanted very badly. I'm too old, too poor, and way too cheap.

Jeff C

 

We have touched on the scale vs high rail decision in S gauge. I would pay the price but with 36" minimum radius curves it will not run on my layout. I have a lot of 30" R curves. I would seriously doubt Lionel would ever bring to market an S gauge engine that will not operate on Gilbert track or the Lionel S gauge FasTrack. Also like the majority of S gauge operators I do not use DCC. In order to sell more that about 70 to 100 units of any engine the engine would have to be able to work with AC track power and the Legacy control system as well as run on 20" radius curves.

Tom

AmFlyer posted:

In order to sell more that about 70 to 100 units of any engine the engine would have to be able to work with AC track power and the Legacy control system as well as run on 20" radius curves.

IMHO: And that, in a nutshell, is the biggest obstacle that scale S guys face. It is such a shame that the two major persuasions within S scale (Hi rail/scale) require different operational parameters.

I suspect that one of the main reasons for HO's current total domination within the model railroad industry is that decades ago, the mfg'ers got on the "same page" so to speak, and began to unilaterally embrace the applicable NMRA's recommended practices. Thus, "train set" wheel flanges went the way of the do-do bird, and the later, the awful "horn hook" couplers followed. The result is you can purchase essentially any engine/car and can be assured (given the length of the model) that it WILL go through the NMRA spec switches/etc, and will couple to the nearby car without issue. Along with those changes, you can now figure that DCC is almost universal within the HO modeling world. Again, though, a common standard was embraced by the mfg'ers. Of course, in the realm of control systems, I seriously doubt there is any way that Lionel or MTH will EVER surrender the proprietary concept of their operating systems.

All of the above is only my opinion, and thus should be taken with a grain of salt.

Andre

AmFlyer posted:

We have touched on the scale vs high rail decision in S gauge. I would pay the price but with 36" minimum radius curves it will not run on my layout. I have a lot of 30" R curves. I would seriously doubt Lionel would ever bring to market an S gauge engine that will not operate on Gilbert track or the Lionel S gauge FasTrack. Also like the majority of S gauge operators I do not use DCC. In order to sell more that about 70 to 100 units of any engine the engine would have to be able to work with AC track power and the Legacy control system as well as run on 20" radius curves.

Well, my scale code 100 curves are 33" radius and 29" radius on the passing sidings.  There is scale equipment that can't take those curves, my SP MT4 (4-8-2) for example.  I suspected it wouldn't when I bought it, but it is such a nice locomotive...

But that hasn't stopped me from enjoying S, I just run my smaller power.  My AM Santa Fe Northern's will take my curves no problem, but look a little awkward doing so.

And while I do have a DCC system wired into the Great Plywood Glacier, most of the time I run conventional DC.  Again, running conventional DC hasn't stopped me from enjoying S.

I also have MTH's DCS, Lionel's TMCC and conventional AC from my O gauge misadventures, which I use on my Christmas loops.  And FlyerChief is sorta neat, simple command control without needing an EE degree to get things running.

As a sidebar:  One thing I noticed is that 3-Rail O really took off when it broke out of "O31 thinking" and stated offering locomotives that required larger curves.  Kinda counter-productive thinking to be sure, but if 3R folks wanted to run the larger stuff, they rebuilt their railroads.  It seems like many S Gaugers will only part with R20 out of "their cold, dead hands."

Now, Lionel has managed to get everything to go around R20 curves so far.  Awkward, but operational...

Y3 overhang

Both old and new Flyer Northern's run on R20.  Even the AM HiRail version Northern will do R20 as will the rest of their product line.  Everything SHS made handled R20, as will the MTH F3's.  So that's not really an issue, at least not yet.  Although, there might be an issue with switchstands and some rolling stock...

R20 6

R20 isn't really the problem it's sometimes made out to be.

So, would a FlyerChief or Legacy an NYC J3 bring in the masses?  No.  It would make the most of the current customer base rejoice, but have little effect outside of S.  Would any one specific locomotive bring in the masses?  Again no. 

The problem rests with our beloved suppliers.  American Models has been the one consistent thing in S for the past 30 years.  But, I guess their products are simply too boring for today's market being conventional control and an out of date sound system.

MTH is wandering in the desert and Lionel can't really make up it's mind what it wants to do with Flyer.  For now, it seems Lionel's sort of settled on upgrading traditional Flyer with occasional gusts of Legacy.  But, if there's another management change in the future, all bets are off.

Rusty

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Good points as always Rusty. I agree bringing a Legacy Hudson to market will not bring in new people to S gauge. I do think a predictable and consistent stream of new engines would help.

I bought 17 AM engines and had 15 of them converted to TMCC and Railsounds. The two Northerns also were modified to have modern fan driven smoke units. My layout would be missing a lot of really nice engines and rolling stock without AM. My average cost for the AM engines including all the mods is about $600/engine, and they are sure not boring now.

I think what Lionel did with the Berkshire, selling a FlyerChief and a Legacy version is clever and may expand the market. I hope they keep doing this with a Hudson and new prototypes not yet made in S gauge.

Tom

AmFlyer posted:

Good points as always Rusty. I agree bringing a Legacy Hudson to market will not bring in new people to S gauge. I do think a predictable and consistent stream of new engines would help.

No argument there.

I bought 17 AM engines and had 15 of them converted to TMCC and Railsounds. The two Northerns also were modified to have modern fan driven smoke units. My layout would be missing a lot of really nice engines and rolling stock without AM. My average cost for the AM engines including all the mods is about $600/engine, and they are sure not boring now.

I think what Lionel did with the Berkshire, selling a FlyerChief and a Legacy version is clever and may expand the market. I hope they keep doing this with a Hudson and new prototypes not yet made in S gauge.

The only thing I wonder about is if Lionel does the same thing with another locomotive, would folks take a pass on a FlyerChief model in anticipation of a possible Legacy model?

Rusty

leikec posted:

Well kids, I'm quite sure that not bringing product out will only hurt S scale, and that's true for scale or hi-rail. Innovative companies have been able to successfully target both markets.

Jeff C

Something that seems to escape the powers that be at both MTH and Lionel.

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:
AmFlyer posted:

Good points as always Rusty. I agree bringing a Legacy Hudson to market will not bring in new people to S gauge. I do think a predictable and consistent stream of new engines would help.

No argument there.

I bought 17 AM engines and had 15 of them converted to TMCC and Railsounds. The two Northerns also were modified to have modern fan driven smoke units. My layout would be missing a lot of really nice engines and rolling stock without AM. My average cost for the AM engines including all the mods is about $600/engine, and they are sure not boring now.

I think what Lionel did with the Berkshire, selling a FlyerChief and a Legacy version is clever and may expand the market. I hope they keep doing this with a Hudson and new prototypes not yet made in S gauge.

The only thing I wonder about is if Lionel does the same thing with another locomotive, would folks take a pass on a FlyerChief model in anticipation of a possible Legacy model?

Rusty

leikec posted:

Well kids, I'm quite sure that not bringing product out will only hurt S scale, and that's true for scale or hi-rail. Innovative companies have been able to successfully target both markets.

Jeff C

Something that seems to escape the powers that be at both MTH and Lionel.

Rusty

I wonder too about FlyerChief and Legacy working against each other. As far as American Models is concerned, I think the freight cars are fine. The FP7 is pretty basic for today's world, but when it came out I thought it was great, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy a few more.

The FA's and the PA's look good to me, and I would certainly buy an A-A pair of D&H PA's if they became available. The new RS-11 looks great.

Jeff C

When I interviewed Lionel 2 years ago for the S Gaugian they said that they could do a lot on saving money for buyers with plastic steam engines but felt the market would reject them.  I did a survey here and 60% said they would buy plastic, the people at Lionel said they were still afraid to try it.  Wish they would because all diesels are plastic.

The S gauge market is different than O gauge since we in S have so few engine models available. A painted plastic shell done with adequate detail would sell to almost all high rail buyers. It would not impact my purchase decision. Those who want engines for scale layouts are a different pool of buyers. My personal opinion is plastic would be acceptable for those buyers if scale wheels were made and could be swapped easily.

Just my opinions but if it were my money I would take the risk and do a painted plastic steam engine.

Tom

 

Actually, for kit bashing steam, I PREFER plastic. It is SO much easier to work with than, say, brass, or (shudder) pewter. Non-bashed, "used as it comes": No preference between plastic, brass, die cast metal as long as it performs acceptably.

Of course, the above FWIW.

Andre

Okay, I'll chime in here in case someone from Lionel, etc. would read this I would not think twice about buying a scale proportioned, nicely detailed plastic steam locomotive. (as in no cast on handrails) The material the "shell" is made of does not matter to me. Of course they would have to put in a weight as the plastic boiler doesn't have the mass those who revel in pulling long trains need. 

But a plastic steamer, no problem. Bring 'em on.

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