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https://www.facebook.com/Ameri...eos/707548193113134/

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Much less goofing around this time, although I haven't looked at their latest O gauge presentation.

Pre-orders were about half of what they were when they announced the legacy Berk last time.  A case of "Fool me once???"  They do stress the Legacy Berk will be made this year.  They also promise some close up photo's of the engineering sample.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque
Rusty Traque posted:

https://www.facebook.com/Ameri...eos/707548193113134/

Much less goofing around this time, although I haven't looked at their O gauge presentation.

Thank goodness.  I think we all can enjoy a little humor, BUT those last few videos were a cringing challenge to watch in their entirety.

Pre-orders were about half of what they were when they announced the legacy Berk last time.  A case of "Fool me once???"  They do stress the Legacy Berk will be made this year.  They also promise some close up photo's of the engineering sample.

I think everyone appreciates when Ryan and Dave provide substantive information and even when they might recognize recent production shortcomings but also address those issues and possible remedies or timelines for possible info updates.  I also realize that we can't expect total disclosure on everything but a little recognition of what they hope to accomplish provides many of their customers piece of mind and carries much weight as long as we see they are upfront & sincere.

Rusty

 

I'm sorry, this video says "amateur hour" to me. Why no close ups of the locomotive while they are talking about it instead of apologizing for showing it against a black shirt. And the guys--I don't know who is on the left side, but a plaid shirt over a black T shirt, and why do you keep rubbing your nose??  This is a video from "THE BIG L" I would expect a more polished piece. If I were a casual observer, I would change the channel!

 

traindavid posted:

I'm sorry, this video says "amateur hour" to me. Why no close ups of the locomotive while they are talking about it instead of apologizing for showing it against a black shirt. And the guys--I don't know who is on the left side, but a plaid shirt over a black T shirt, and why do you keep rubbing your nose??  This is a video from "THE BIG L" I would expect a more polished piece. If I were a casual observer, I would change the channel!

 

That would be Dave, Dave.   It looks and sounds like these things are shot with a cell phone.  Believe me, this was far better than some of their past videos.

The really need to take some lessons from Rapido Trains (HO) on how to make video's, although RT's sthick can get a little tiresome at times.

Rusty

Oh bother. These aren't supposed to be guys turning out trains in their garage. Marketing is what sells product (even bad product, look at Mc Donalds),  my input was meant to be suggestions that they need to improve their delivery. I am actually thinking about the new Berks, although I really don't NEED another engine on my layout--but I want to see the "new and improved" features (question, if something is NEW, how can it also be improved--isn't it either one or the other???.  OK, if you don't get it, that was an attempt at reality humor poking fun at typical marketing wording.) so I can make an educated decision.  I can no longer afford to just go out and buy stuff to "support the hobby" like I did with the Big Boy and the Challengers--back then I was an employee, now I'm just a part-time self-employed guy. I suspect more and more of us are becoming that, so new market share is critical to a viable group to support these manufacturers. Better video production will help!

Thinking about this, the idea of production to just meet pre-orders does not indicate any long term commitment to the product line. There is a major economy of scale when you produce stuff in larger quantities and production parts are interchangeable with other items.  Why do you think we can keep the old ACG products running? Because the same parts were used over a large variety of products. ACG was frugal almost to a fault on that point. So was the old Lionel.  But I'm getting far afield of the subject line now.

Dave, I talked with them several years ago about this.  The reason they don't overbuild is that they end up with inventory they didn't sell and the money it cost to build it cannot be recovered.

Gilbert built the same thing year after year and the left over went into uncataloged sets and dumped on the market.  The parts were interchangeable because of technology at the time.  That's no longer true.

Today when Lionel dumps product on the market at greatly reduced prices dealers and buyers scream.  

Greekchief posted:

Well I guess Lionel should raise prices to pay for better video production equipment then. For the record I'm fine with the video. It was informative and to the point. And much appreciated.

It can all be done with a PC, inexpensive or freeware video software and an inexpensive video camera. Pretty sure Lionel has a PC somewhere in HQ.

The problem is, live podcasting is like live TV: You only get to do it once.  They would be better served putting out a video without going live.  After all, most folks view these videos after they're "aired."

As I said earlier, this presentation was far better than their other videos.  Even the O gaugers got tired of the goofing around in the last couple of catalog videos.

Rusty

Bill said: The parts were interchangeable because of technology at the time.  That's no longer true.

That's no longer true because there is no thought given continuing production nor to using existing tooling to make new stuff.  It appears that every locomotive is designed independently of the rest of the line. The only tooling that is shared is the classic freight car tooling and passenger car  tooling. As for having product left over, That's an investment in the future. It used to be that companies were used to having product "on hand."  Now it's all about Just In Time manufacturing, which often becomes Never On Time.

 

What Lionel is selling is nostalgia and escape/fantasy. AF trains  were the only type that my parents gave me until I changed to HO in 1960. Now at 73 trying to live my fantasies one more time. Trying to get back into flying - yep bought a Cessna 150 and trying to get a sign off my by instructor. Guess if you worked on marketing toy trains 40+ hours a week you might get board too. Especially if you don't paid enough to buy these products. Lionel is really the only game in town like it or note. Just some random thoughts.

traindavid posted:

I'm sorry, this video says "amateur hour" to me. Why no close ups of the locomotive while they are talking about it instead of apologizing for showing it against a black shirt. And the guys--I don't know who is on the left side, but a plaid shirt over a black T shirt, and why do you keep rubbing your nose??  This is a video from "THE BIG L" I would expect a more polished piece. If I were a casual observer, I would change the channel!

Exactly!  I am a casual observer and barely made it past 1:00.

Lionel should be embarrassed...but maybe that appeals to their target market.  Makes ya think.

Old Goat

Last edited by Old Goat
Greekchief posted:

There are so many people on this board who apparently should be running Lionel. 

Um, actually, yes, I think there are--at least the S production!  There are folks here who have been around a long time, some who have had (or have) manufacturing experience and sales experience. We aren't ALL hiding in our parent's basement!

I watched the video and it should be judged for what it really is...a quick look at what is in the S Gauge catalog, rather than a polished retrospective of what is going to be available. Ryan and Dave did a solid job with the video and provided us with information we couldn't get on the digital pages of the 2020 AF Catalog.  It was worth it just to learn that Lionel is really going to produce the Legacy Berks. (Ar Last!) Thus reassured, I am pre-ordering two more.  Looks like I will putting one or two of the FlyerChief versions I have on the market as a result.

Also, this wasn't the only bit of product information that helped clarify and expand on what was in the digital AF catalog.

I was much more interested in information from Ryan and Dave, rather than "production values",and that is what we got.  In this case, immediate and timely, beats polished and "professional" by a country mile. This isn't the Golden Globes folks, it is  S Gauge info from the Lionel people who are actually involved in making Lionel/Flyer happen and who actually care about what they do.  Beats a "presenter" every time because we are getting actual, accurate information from two Lionel product/technical "doers" rather than a "presenter" who is a talking head.

Thanks Ryan and Dave. Appreciate getting the word from two guys who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to Lionel S gauge product.

Ed Boyle

 

Last edited by Ed Boyle

Lionel posted the 2020 catalogue on Monday. The video showed up two days later. Dave and Ryan were headed up to Springfield shortly after the video to set up for a weekend exhibition at the Amherst train show. I support my hobby by doing contract work making or editing videos for an engineering company, and  just the edits can take over a week for a presentation that lasts only an hour.  There wasn't much of a window for Dave and Ryan to squeeze a "professional" job into their schedule. 

I watched the video twice, the second time just to see what some people were complaining about. I learned even more the second time and appreciated two things in particular: 1) learning the back story behind some of Lionel's decisions; and 2) that Lionel devoted a significant amount of time to American Flyer in its own separate section.  Two years ago Dave posted a lot of information about the proposed Legacy Berkshire locomotive on this site, and that convinced me to place a pre-order shortly after. In this video he mentioned the working Mars light not mentioned in the catalogue (although it does appear on the picture of the American Railroads version).  This kind of information is invaluable, and the fact that they got it done and posted just before a trade show is impressive. I agree completely with Ed Boyle's view. We heard from the guys who have done the work, not from actors reading from a teleprompter.

I've stated before that this video was much better than previous ones.  And it was good to have a separate video for Flyer.

However, are schedules that tight at Lionel that they can only squeeze time for a video before rushing off to a train show?

At least Dave wasn't dressed up as Ursula from Little Mermaid or Paul Bunyon as he had in past videos, both schticks got tiresome really fast and was embarrassing (IMHO) for Lionel in general.

The goofing around in this video was kept to a minimum and as Ed Boyel stated, there was valid information about the Legacy Berks. 

I suppose a question to be asked is if the the working Mars light will be added to the 765 version or will it be exclusive to the American Railroads version.  Hopefully. well get some images of the engineering sample soon, particularly to calm some concerns that folks have about the Legacy Berks. (Something about a picture vs 1,000 words...)

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:

<snip>. 

I suppose a question to be asked is if the the working Mars light will be added to the 765 version or will it be exclusive to the American Railroads version.  Hopefully. well get some images of the engineering sample soon, particularly to calm some concerns that folks have about the Legacy Berks. (Something about a picture vs 1,000 words...)

Rusty

Planning to wait until there is an advanced development sample of the Legacy Berk to view. It appears that some clarification is required about the Mars light and I still have concerns that the smoke box might be painted Honda silver (or something).

"Trust, but verify". 

Bob

I've done amateur video work, and it would not have been hard at all for them to have zoomed into the Locomotive on the table so we could see some of the detailing. We don't need to see the "talking heads" the entire time! I'll bet some close ups of that engineering prototype would have answered a lot of the questions here, and on the "2020 catalog" thread.

Roundhouse Bill posted:

Planning to wait until there is an advanced development sample of the Legacy Berk to view. 

Bob, In the video they said production was going to be very close to the number of engines preordered.  Are you not going to order unless you see the advanced development sample?  You might miss out.

Bill, I hope that you are not working the usual scare tactic behind BTO.

One can not see much of the sample in the video. Future closeups of a developmental sample are promised in the video and hopefully they are presented before an ordering deadline. Based upon previous experience, I would prefer to know with some specificity the nature of the product that they are actually going to deliver. Once bitten, twice shy.

Bob

Last edited by Bob Bubeck
Bob Bubeck posted:
Roundhouse Bill posted:

Planning to wait until there is an advanced development sample of the Legacy Berk to view. 

Bob, In the video they said production was going to be very close to the number of engines preordered.  Are you not going to order unless you see the advanced development sample?  You might miss out.

Bill, I hope that you are not working the usual scare tactic behind BTO.

One can not see much of the sample in the video. Future closeups of a developmental sample are promised in the video and hopefully they are presented before an ordering deadline. Based upon previous experience, I would prefer to know with some specificity the nature of the product that they are actually going to deliver. Once bitten, twice shy.

Bob

Well, at least we can see the Berk now has freestanding handrails, and not molded on.  I'm expecting the detail to live up to the cad drawings Dave posted earlier.

Hopefully, they will post some pictures of the engineering sample this week.  (And in a separate, new thread.)  Doing so just might result in the outrageous concept of increasing pre-orders...

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque
Rusty Traque posted:
Bob Bubeck posted:
Roundhouse Bill posted:

Planning to wait until there is an advanced development sample of the Legacy Berk to view. 

Bob, In the video they said production was going to be very close to the number of engines preordered.  Are you not going to order unless you see the advanced development sample?  You might miss out.

Bill, I hope that you are not working the usual scare tactic behind BTO.

One can not see much of the sample in the video. Future closeups of a developmental sample are promised in the video and hopefully they are presented before an ordering deadline. Based upon previous experience, I would prefer to know with some specificity the nature of the product that they are actually going to deliver. Once bitten, twice shy.

Bob

Well, at least we can see the Berk now has freestanding handrails, and not molded on.  I'm expecting the detail to live up to the cad drawings Dave posted earlier.

Hopefully, they will post some pictures of the engineering sample this week.  (And in a separate, new thread.)  Doing so just might result in the outrageous concept of increasing pre-orders...

Rusty

That's precisely the idea behind my gentle prodding. 

We have about 6 weeks yet to commit, .... or not.

Bob 

Yeah, the scraping of the locomotive across the tabletop was annoying at least. If I were them I would be flooding the S social media with close up photos of the engine and other information to get the buzz going.

And once again they do a fantasy train, Gilbert Gravel. Hmm, why not Granite Rock, who had steam engines, one very similar to the docksider that is now hauling the passenger train for the California Railroad Museum?

I see two things here that, IMHO, don't bode well for their faith in the S market growing; 1)NO printed catalog, we just get an online one, so you can't just share with others easily. Not everyone has high speed internet abilities. 2)only building enough for advanced orders--no thought to how popular it might become once a few folks have theirs in hand. Having product around--READY TO DELIVER--was once considered standard practice and part of the cost of doing business. Just In Time production doesn't balance well with niche markets like toy trains--IMHO. It use to be that if you had faith in future sales, you had product made to fill that upcoming demand. Past runs of the Berks seem to show an ongoing interest in the engines.

 

traindavid posted:

Yeah, the scraping of the locomotive across the tabletop was annoying at least. If I were them I would be flooding the S social media with close up photos of the engine and other information to get the buzz going.

One would think their Facebook page for Flyer would be a start.  I'm sure the NASG would be willing to post some photo's on their site, also.  Keeping the light under the basket doesn't serve anything.  I noticed there's zero discussions about the new catalog on S-Trains.io or the Model Train Forum.

And once again they do a fantasy train, Gilbert Gravel. Hmm, why not Granite Rock, who had steam engines, one very similar to the docksider that is now hauling the passenger train for the California Railroad Museum?

I would have to agree.  Capitalizing of the Gilbert name pretty much appeals only to the diminishing market of folks who remember who A.C.Gilbert was.  Unfortunately, old ACG isn't as much a household name as JLC.  I guess Lionel's true marketing genius in the postwar period was plastering "Lionel Lines" on whatever they could, particularly steam locomotives.  Perhaps Gilbert should have used "Gilbert Lines" rather than "American Flyer Lines."

I see two things here that, IMHO, don't bode well for their faith in the S market growing; 1)NO printed catalog, we just get an online one, so you can't just share with others easily. Not everyone has high speed internet abilities.

MTH isn't printing an S catalog either and AM's last printed catalog is a couple of years out of date, although AM's provided some update inserts.

It's another way of the world, more and more companies in general are encouraging online for whatever.  Try and do mail order with Amazon.  Credit card companies encourage on-line use, utilities encourage going paperless, banks are eliminating passbooks, so if you want to check your balance, you need to go online.  It's a trend that's not going to reverse or go away.  The internet has become a utility.  I don't particularly like it, but I'm trying to adapt.

2)only building enough for advanced orders--no thought to how popular it might become once a few folks have theirs in hand. Having product around--READY TO DELIVER--was once considered standard practice and part of the cost of doing business. Just In Time production doesn't balance well with niche markets like toy trains--IMHO.

BTO is pretty much the way of the world nowadays, practically all of the HO/N companies are using it now.  No manufacturer/importer wants to carry inventory anymore.  It's not going to change.  Admittedly, this really hurts S because so there are few S dealers around to carry additional stock to act as a buffer.

It use to be that if you had faith in future sales, you had product made to fill that upcoming demand. Past runs of the Berks seem to show an ongoing interest in the engines.

I'm guessing the FlyerChief Berkshire sale have plateaued.  They may have sold well on the first release, encouraging a second run.  But some sales of the second run were probably "torpedoed" last time by the first announcement of the Legacy Berks.  It's not a third run of F/C Berks that appears in the 2020 catalog..

Rusty

 

 

Last edited by Rusty Traque

Man, show me any major player dedicating communication time to S gauge product like Lionel is...

Its a Facebook live video and some people are complaining about production quality??? Be happy someone manufacturing in S is communicating with you.  You can not like the product selection, or the delivery of the message, but at least there IS a message, a delivery...thank you Lionel for posting the video.  

Ben

NotInWI posted:

Man, show me any major player dedicating communication time to S gauge product like Lionel is...

Its a Facebook live video and some people are complaining about production quality??? Be happy someone manufacturing in S is communicating with you.  You can not like the product selection, or the delivery of the message, but at least there IS a message, a delivery...thank you Lionel for posting the video.  

Ben

Part of effective marketing is attractive presentation.  Kinda hard to "sell" a product when it's a small, undefined blob on the screen.

Valid criticism encourages Lionel to improve their presentation.  After all, it appears they've taken the criticism to heart about the excessive goofing around on previous presentations.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque
Rusty Traque posted:
NotInWI posted:

Man, show me any major player dedicating communication time to S gauge product like Lionel is...

Its a Facebook live video and some people are complaining about production quality??? Be happy someone manufacturing in S is communicating with you.  You can not like the product selection, or the delivery of the message, but at least there IS a message, a delivery...thank you Lionel for posting the video.  

Ben

Part of effective marketing is attractive presentation.  Kinda hard to "sell" a product when it's a small, undefined blob on the screen.

Valid criticism encourages Lionel to improve their presentation.  After all, it appears they've taken the criticism to heart about the excessive goofing around on previous presentations.

Rusty

"Presentation is everything". 

Bob

Ben,

"be happy"??  Lionel doesn't make Flyer just to be nice to us S guys/gals; they make it to make MONEY. If they want to sell more, then promote more, and promote so folks can see what a wonderful item they (are going to) make.  The idea that people are going to "line up" to spend money on something they've never really seen is a bit far-fetched, but it does happen! They say the Polar Express is selling well for them, well, of course--you order it and it comes, and many other folks have them and talk about them and show them to their friends. I don't know how much longer it will be so popular, but notice "the ride" it is getting.

I also think their "starter sets" would sell even more if they did a run with the slope-back tender 0-6-0 engines. that is an engine that, priced right, I'll bet many folks would purchase as it can be so many different things, Yard switcher, shortline engine, logging engine and not many of the ACG made ones are around.

traindavid posted:

 

<snip>

I also think their "starter sets" would sell even more if they did a run with the slope-back tender 0-6-0 engines. that is an engine that, priced right, I'll bet many folks would purchase as it can be so many different things, Yard switcher, short line engine, logging engine and not many of the ACG made ones are around.

The Gilbert 21004/21005 (0-6-0) is known in the prototypical world as a PRR B6b. Being a pretty accurate toy train derived model complete with a Belpaire firebox, it shouts Pennsylvania. Remaking it has been suggested to folk at Lionel for the last 20 years. I own very nice originals, but a reissue would be nice to have.

However, ... nice Gilbert originals are coming down in price, as is most Flyer. Save your pennies up and buy an original 21004, which has the advantages of being the real item made in New Haven Conn. and not in Red China. And, an operator (or basket case) sample can be restored and painted with whatever road name one's heart desires. There are better ways to spend one's hobby time than standing on one leg and waiting for Lionel to "do" something, which the past indicates one will likely do 'til the End of Time.

Bob

Last edited by Bob Bubeck
Roundhouse Bill posted:

OK, the original was plastic and not cast.  Would you accept plastic now?

A couple of years ago Lionel said that if people would accept plastic steam engines the tooling was a whole lot less.  I did a survey of sorts here and the result was about 50/50.  Lionel is afraid that plastic wouldn't sell.

Opinions??

I personally don’t have a problem with steam locomotives having plastic bodies. If it enabled production of new locomotives to the bland repetitive offerings now, then I can only see it as a bonus. 

I also see an advantage of greater detail which would be a plus for both the hi-railers and the scaly groups, a win win to me.

On the flip side what are the advantages of die-cast bodies for some people, they have heft to them but what else do they offer?  I don’t see extra traction being a real positive for die-cast bodies, look at the plastic bodied PA’s with traction tyres, they will probably pull more than most people need and are lighter for a combined weight of chassis and body. 

At least plastic doesn’t suffer from zinc pest which is always a worry, especially if you have a lot invested financially into a locomotive.

Ukaflyer posted:
Roundhouse Bill posted:

OK, the original was plastic and not cast.  Would you accept plastic now?

A couple of years ago Lionel said that if people would accept plastic steam engines the tooling was a whole lot less.  I did a survey of sorts here and the result was about 50/50.  Lionel is afraid that plastic wouldn't sell.

Opinions??

I personally don’t have a problem with steam locomotives having plastic bodies. If it enabled production of new locomotives to the bland repetitive offerings now, then I can only see it as a bonus. 

I also see an advantage of greater detail which would be a plus for both the hi-railers and the scaly groups, a win win to me.

On the flip side what are the advantages of die-cast bodies for some people, they have heft to them but what else do they offer?  I don’t see extra traction being a real positive for die-cast bodies, look at the plastic bodied PA’s with traction tyres, they will probably pull more than most people need and are lighter for a combined weight of chassis and body. 

At least plastic doesn’t suffer from zinc pest which is always a worry, especially if you have a lot invested financially into a locomotive.

100% agree.  It is not 1950 anymore.  Being built of metal is not an indication of quality.  The die cast locos still had traction tires.  And, one of my standard gripes, get rid of the stamped steel frames; make plastic ones with coupler pads.

Brendan

Yes, it's a PRR prototype, but very close to what the WP had with its 16X  series locomotives (165 will likely be steamed up this year in Portola CA, and 164 is sitting here in Oroville in the park. ) and I'm certain many other railroads had similar engines.  picture from the WPRR Museum Steam facebook page.

Plastic?? NO PROBLEM! Isn't the Docksider still plastic? I would like to see them make slightly longer handrails so they actually go into the cab front wall, and I'd like the crossheads to be flush to the cylinders, I still don't understand how ACG got that wrong. Heck, I've seen some HO plastic engines that look as detailed as brass engines.  I'd even take a plastic boilered GS4!!

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