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The only possibilities are Flyonel and River Raisin. In Flyonel's case I would not expect any new tooling, but perhaps a Legacy version of the Mike or new roadnames for the Legacy Berk or Pacific. AM is definitely not planning any new locos. In River Raisin's case, it would be at most announcing the next project and taking orders, but I think I think a new project on top of the 14 Pacific models produced last year which was a huge undertaking and on top of the current passenger truck project is unlikely.

@Francine posted:

I feared that, nothing new, just new road names.  S should be called the "disappointed scale?

Then we'd have to call it "D" scale...

However, it's always been tough to be in S, although it was a little easier in the mid-late 90's-2001 before the Sanda Kan purge.

Regardless, Lionel has really been the only one producing S on a regular basis.  I don't think MTH ever really wanted to understand the S market.  We'll have to wait and see if Scale Trains can do better, but last I heard was not to expect anything until 2023.  The passing of Ron Sebastian (S Scale America) leaves the SSA line in limbo, while American Models hasn't been a ball of fire at least they're still alive and kicking.

Rusty

I'm 40 - and my guess is I'm still among the youngest posters on OGR - despite having been on the forum since my early 30s.

I believe Nostalgia is the biggest weakness of S scale.  From 1966-2002, the only American Flyer trains that were produced were to meet the desires of nostalgic collectors - not the Millennials and Gen X who were children at the time.  At this point - American Flyer is a moot brand.  It appeals to a small, dwindling nostalgic audience.  There might be a few younger people who are interested in AF - but as the numbers dwindle, so will the availability of used product increase.

Gen X and Millennials witnessed the development of scale trains - with HO emerging as the most popular of gauges / scales.  In recent years, HO has continued to gain ground while others have suffered - stuck relying on nostalgia and a dying market.  Meanwhile, up-and-coming HO companies - like Scale Trains - have popped up and brought advanced products to market with significant success reaching Millennials and Gen X.  This is where the future of the model railroad hobby lies. This is who S needs to appeal to - not only to the buyers, but to the companies producing.

S scale needs a philosophical shift.  It's not American Flyer. It can't be.  Not anymore.  S needs to become the scale that potential HO buyers go to when they want something bigger - whether it's because they want more "heft" or their eyes or tactile abilities are failing - it needs to be that step-up from HO.  HO+.  That's why I'm interested in S - and I imagine if you asked others like me, they would offer the same answer.

Scale Trains involvement is a good sign from the HO camp - but S needs another major HO player - ideally one with a large investment in locomotives - like Broadway Limited Imports - to identify the value of having a larger scale than HO that their current clients could upgrade to - or age into.

If there's ever going to be new products, it's going to come from upsizing existing HO.  They have done the research already - from there, the cost is in Tool and Die.  They have built in audiences in HO - who they could convert to pay for those tooling costs.  And if you read most S Scale threads - on OGR and other forums - most posts are complaints - and they are always the same - there's no products.  IE: There is a demand - if the right people produce the product. 

Last edited by Jacobpaul81
@Jacobpaul81 posted:

I'm 40 - and my guess is I'm still among the youngest posters on OGR - despite having been on the forum since my early 30s.

I believe Nostalgia is the biggest weakness of S scale.  From 1966-2002, the only American Flyer trains that were produced were to meet the desires of nostalgic collectors - not the Millennials and Gen X who were children at the time.  At this point - American Flyer is a moot brand.  It appeals to a small, dwindling nostalgic audience.  There might be a few younger people who are interested in AF - but as the numbers dwindle, so will the availability of used product increase.

Bingo.  Nostalgia only goes so far.  Does anyone seriously think that 3-rail O would be where it is now if MTH hadn't gone independent and essentially force Lionel out of endless reissues of Postwar?  Now, I will give Lionel/Flyer its due, they have offered some new product that breaks the postwar mold, but they still tend to fall back on Gilbert nostalgia.  I reason that from their wheelhouse, that appears to be where the market is.  Fancy electronics only adds so much to 60-70 year old designs.

But even with new products like SD70's, how many times can you reissue them without any appreciable market expansion.

Gen X and Millennials witnessed the development of scale trains - with HO emerging as the most popular of gauges / scales.  In recent years, HO has continued to gain ground while others have suffered - stuck relying on nostalgia and a dying market.  Meanwhile, up-and-coming HO companies - like Scale Trains - have popped up and brought advanced products to market with significant success reaching Millennials and Gen X.  This is where the future of the model railroad hobby lies. This is who S needs to appeal to - not only to the buyers, but to the companies producing.

Scale trains is still the big unknown.  It looks like we won't see any of the former SHS/MTH Showcase Line until late 2022-early 2023.  Scale Trains' reputation may be of benefit, but we'll have to wait and see.  Trouble is, new folks don't want to wait.

S scale needs a philosophical shift.  It's not American Flyer. It can't be.  Not anymore.  S needs to become the scale that potential HO buyers go to when they want something bigger - whether it's because they want more "heft" or their eyes or tactile abilities are failing - it needs to be that step-up from HO.  HO+.  That's why I'm interested in S - and I imagine if you asked others like me, they would offer the same answer.

Unfortunately, just as O can't escape the Lionel name, S can't escape the American Flyer name.  Even when one says American Models, you can just about see the "thought balloon" above folks heads thinking American Flyer.

Scale Trains involvement is a good sign from the HO camp - but S needs another major HO player - ideally one with a large investment in locomotives - like Broadway Limited Imports - to identify the value of having a larger scale than HO that their current clients could upgrade to - or age into.

I don't think any current HO would be willing to "take the plunge" without being able to purchasing an existing line to minimize the investment.  There's nothing out there with a "For Sale" sign on it right now and with the passing of Ron Bashista, the family as stated they intend to keep running the company.

Probably about the only company with sufficient resources to take a gamble on S would be Bachmann.

If there's ever going to be new products, it's going to come from upsizing existing HO.  They have done the research already - from there, the cost is in Tool and Die.  They have built in audiences in HO - who they could convert to pay for those tooling costs.  And if you read most S Scale threads - on OGR and other forums - most posts are complaints - and they are always the same - there's no products.  IE: There is a demand - if the right people produce the product.

Well, Lionel has successfully scaled down U33C's ES44's, SD70's, Challengers, Y3's, and the cylindrical hopper from O. The Pacific's and Mikado's don't count, they came out before Lionel had O scale versions of these USRA locomotives.   It can be done.  Why they pulled the rug out from under the 57' mechanical reefer I'll never understand.  That car had potential.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque
 

Bingo.  Nostalgia only goes so far.  Does anyone seriously think that 3-rail O would be where it is now if MTH hadn't gone independent and essentially force Lionel out of endless reissues of Postwar?  Now, I will give Lionel/Flyer its due, they have offered some new product that breaks the postwar mold, but they still tend to fall back on Gilbert nostalgia.  I reason that from their wheelhouse, that appears to be where the market is.  Fancy electronics only adds so much to 60-70 year old designs.

But even with new products like SD70's, how many times can you reissue them without any appreciable market expansion.

Scale trains is still the big unknown.  It looks like we won't see any of the former SHS/MTH Showcase Line until late 2022-early 2023.  Scale Trains' reputation may be of benefit, but we'll have to wait and see.  Trouble is, new folks don't want to wait.

Unfortunately, just as O can't escape the Lionel name, S can't escape the American Flyer name.  Even when one says American Models, you can just about see the "thought balloon" above folks heads thinking American Flyer.

I don't think any current HO would be willing to "take the plunge" without being able to purchasing an existing line to minimize the investment.  There's nothing out there with a "For Sale" sign on it right now and with the passing of Ron Bashista, the family as stated they intend to keep running the company.

Probably about the only company with sufficient resources to take a gamble on S would be Bachmann.

Well, Lionel has successfully scaled down U33C's ES44's, SD70's, Challengers, Y3's, and the cylindrical hopper from O. The Pacific's and Mikado's don't count, they came out before Lionel had O scale versions of these USRA locomotives.   It can be done.  Why they pulled the rug out from under the 57' mechanical reefer I'll never understand.  That car had potential.

Rusty

Just as the adherence to Nostalgia is the biggest weakness of S, Incentive is the key to it's future expansion.   Lionel has no incentive to expand AF or explore Scale AF - because AF is in direct competition with Lionel.  On the spectrum of scale, Z - N - HO - S - O - G,  Lionel and AF sit on the same half.  They are both larger scales and these are two products which have directly competed for the same audience since they were founded. So why spend money on ne AF tooling?  It's not like Lionel customers are going to move to AF  - if anything, Lionel want's AF customers to move to Lionel.

Bachmann is similar to Lionel.  They own the Williams tooling. They've also demonstrated zero desire to reproduce Aristocraft in 1:29 despite there being significant market demand for motive power in that scale.  There's just no incentive for them to even use tooling they already own!  They just want to do what they do.  The in-roads aren't through Bachmann.

The incentive is far greater for these new N / HO builders.  As modelers age, they tend to move up to O or G or they give it up cause they don't have the space.  Only Atlas has a multi-scale presence - and it's in O which doesn't cover that space issue.  S offers these new N / HO builders the perfect step-up.  It's not too large but it's large enough to maintain their client base.  It's also large enough that some people interested in O scale 2-rail - but not the space limitations (like myself) - would explore it.  They are spending big $ getting customers - they need to move up a scale to maintain them indefinitely.

BLI has shown that a company can expand into a scale without purchasing existing tooling.  All of their HO / N locomotives have been designed in-house.  And despite their HO / N pedigree, they are also familiar with lower production numbers - as they have produced low volume Hybrid Brass locomotives in HO.   I think if any one company could make it happen without buying existing tooling, it's BLI.

As for AM - I hope the family does keep it going as I intend to purchase a large quantity of items from them in the very near future.  I hope when they are ready to give-up-the-goose, they find a buyer who wants to continue the production.  If I could afford to take it over, I would.  I think it's a quality product that could be very successful - if it tapped into the N / HO market.


Last edited by Jacobpaul81

As someone who has been into S since I could walk (I'm 68), it is sometimes difficult to understand the depths of despair that many exhibit regarding the availability of product. I spend a sizeable amount each year on both old and new. My collection runs the gamut from the beginning of Gilbert S to the present and includes Flyonel, American Models, S Helper and MTH. I have more stuff than I could ever use in a lifetime. Yes there are times when I'll wish someone made this or that in S but the fact is that if they did and I bought it something else would sit on a shelf or in a box not being used.  I'm grateful for what I have and enjoy it for what it is. Please don't misunderstand, you are all entitled to your own wants and desires. I guess mine are simpler.

I agree with Rich. I came into S six years ago. Despite having bought more than I can display on my wall of shelving and therefore easily operate, I still have my eyes on many items not yet in my collection.

As for seeing never-done-before-in-S steam locos in the future, I have nearly zero hope of that with the possible exception of another project or two from River Raisin.

As for diesels the best bet for such is 3D printed shells for locos that have the same wheelbase and wheel arrangement as existing S Helper, AM or Flyonel locos. Some of these are available on shapeways and more will be coming in the future. I know painting, decaling, and detailing don't work for those seeking RTR, but this is the only certain option out there for new diesel types.

@FlyerRich posted:

As someone who has been into S since I could walk (I'm 68), it is sometimes difficult to understand the depths of despair that many exhibit regarding the availability of product. I spend a sizeable amount each year on both old and new. My collection runs the gamut from the beginning of Gilbert S to the present and includes Flyonel, American Models, S Helper and MTH. I have more stuff than I could ever use in a lifetime. Yes there are times when I'll wish someone made this or that in S but the fact is that if they did and I bought it something else would sit on a shelf or in a box not being used.  I'm grateful for what I have and enjoy it for what it is. Please don't misunderstand, you are all entitled to your own wants and desires. I guess mine are simpler.

...and there-in illustrates my point.  For you, what's available is fine.  But you're 68.  That's not a criticism.  Your worldview is simply different.  You're not simple. But what you grew up with - what you expect a model train to be - is based on a 1950s experience. Mine is based on the 1980s. You were 28 when I was born. If there is to be more S, new S, you are, and should not be, the audience.  And that's 100% ok. 

Last edited by Jacobpaul81

I'm  with these guys........all I have ever known is American Flyer.....I remember when I used Ho Buildings and 1/32 cars to create a layout........I was not in any loop so I was not aware of many things .......One of my best sources was the pictures of AF in Bennett's Blue Book........and dreams of owning that big engine at the bottom of the page.

Jackie

@Jacobpaul81 posted:

...and there-in illustrates my point.  For you, what's available is fine.  But you're 68.  That's not a criticism.  Your worldview is simply different.  You're not simple. But what you grew up with - what you expect a model train to be - is based on a 1950s experience. Mine is based on the 1980s. You were 28 when I was born. If there is to be more S, new S, you are, and should not be, the audience.  And that's 100% ok.

I'm not sure I can 100% agree. 🙂

As he pointed out, Rich may have started "back in the day", but I bet his focus, wants, needs evolved with the passing of time. Heck, in the times "he  could walk", American Models, S Helper and MTH  were years away; yet, as their stuff became available, he purchased. So when you say his "experience is based in the '50s", I think you might be missing the point he was trying to make. (I guess I should let him speak for himself...) 😁

Mark in Oregon

Thank you Mark. I couldn't have said it better myself. jacobpaul81 is entitled to his opinion however and I understand his viewpoint which is why I didn't respond initially. Now if you'll all excuse me, my S-Helper 2-8-0 needs some smoke fluid and there's a newly-acquired Legacy Challenger I haven't unpacked yet that's calling my name...

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