MTH Catalog

Sounds like the same "kick the can down the road" gibberish they told everyone about the 2016 S-Fest cars.

At one time I was an ardent spokesperson for the wonderful things MTH was going to do for the S scale world when they bought out SHS. 

No more.

Their complete lack of attention to our scale has soured me on any hope MTH will produce new S scale product or even revamped SHS product.

I think their focus has been on the DCS APP development for some time now. Too bad a shrinking S scale customer base won't wait around to use it.

Lionel's development of FlyerChief for the S scale line has left MTH in the dust IMO. It's simple and it works.

Maybe MTH  will turn things around in the future but I doubt it.

Mark

FlyerRich posted:

Still waiting for my 2016 MTH Railroaders Club boxcar. Or reefer. I forget. And they wonder why I didn't renew.

They are in the process of inverting a few numbers on the box to reflect the anticipated delivery date....2061  MTH Railroaders Club...

Mark

Roundhouse Bill posted:

I just heard from an informed source that MTH is not releasing a S Gauge catalog till June or July.  Has anyone heard this or some other date?

This is real discouraging as they have been pushing a new catalog out for at least 3 years.

Ah, the old 6 month punt.  Must be being done on the same production line as the F3's...    MTH has effectively squandered SHS's reputation.

At least American Models has sent out a latest products flyer the last few Decembers.  The latest highlights the Seaboard set.  Other than that there's nothing really new, but they at least maintain some contact with the customers in their file.

Rusty

DITTO!

Sounds like the same "kick the can down the road" gibberish they told everyone about the 2016 S-Fest cars.

At one time I was an ardent spokesperson for the wonderful things MTH was going to do for the S scale world when they bought out SHS. 

No more.

Their complete lack of attention to our scale has soured me on any hope MTH will produce new S scale product or even revamped SHS product.

I think their focus has been on the DCS APP development for some time now. Too bad a shrinking S scale customer base won't wait around to use it.

Lionel's development of FlyerChief for the S scale line has left MTH in the dust IMO. It's simple and it works.

Maybe MTH  will turn things around in the future but I doubt it.

Mark

Ray

()

Having met Mike Wolf and company many times during the 90s at the Fort Washington East Coast Modelers show, I realized that when he got a hold of S Helper that it wasn't going anywhere. It was more of a strategic move to block Lionel/Flyer, Fortunately for S, Lionel threw a "Hail Mary" pass with the Berk and Flyerchief and probably saved the scale.  To be honest, I don't think even Lionel realized how much demand there could be for good, original product.

After conversations with Dave & Ryan at York, I have a feeling they are beginning to see the potential of S.  The February catalog will tell the tale and probably decide the fate of S.

Keep in mind that it usually take a year and a half to two years before we (customers) receive the product, which ties in with the time it took for reruns of the Flyerchief Berk.

Finally, with movement in S, this may tempt Wolf and company to take S seriously, but who knows.

I am also hopeful for American Models, they do some good stuff, but the plastic couplers on four wheel passenger cars is a problem.  The easy fix is to offer metal replace couplers (they won't droop). Let's hope they monitor this site.

HAPPY NEW YEAR - S Fans!

I think MTH had also hoped their HO DCS would work in S.  When not robust enough the need for new meant additional investments and delay.    

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

Specializing in S-gauge train repairs, upgrades, and DCC conversions

Member NASG, TCA, BAAFC, and founding member ACSG Old Dominion Division 

 

Believe it or not, S has been through leaner times than this.  There was a time when there was no new Flyer being made, no AM and no SHS.

I'm not sure we can credit FlyerChief Berks and Geeps to "saving" the scale, but they certainly have made things more interesting.    And something more interesting is much better than nothing.

After playing with a FlyerChief Geep for a little while, I find it's a very nice system for it's overall ease of operation.  The GP7 certainly (and I assume other F/C locomotives) runs better under FlyerChief control than conventional.  Even an old curmudgeon like me enjoyed operating it.

The big drawback is one locomotive, one controller.  Even with the universal remote, if Lionel were to come out with different locomotives than the GP7 in the same roads, you can't MU them.  The only way to MU locomotives is if they are of the same roadname and number.

A second drawback is there isn't (and isn't likely to be) any aftermarket F/C upgrade to other models (like AM) to FlyerChief.

Now, the HO Polar Express was supposedly DCC compatible.  If true and if incorporated into the FlyerChief electronics, this could make some inroads for those that like to run multiple locomotives on one train.

Now, (VERY BIG) IF Lionel were to do something like re-release the U33C in FlyerChief with DCC compatibility and optional Scale conversion, they could hit gold (or at least pyrite...) while MTH still scratches at the ground.

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:

 

The big drawback is one locomotive, one controller.  Even with the universal remote, if Lionel were to come out with different locomotives than the GP7 in the same roads, you can't MU them.  The only way to MU locomotives is if they are of the same roadname and number.

 

Rusty

Yeah that is something Lionel will need to work on. On the O gauge side using the Universal remote you CAN pair up say a AA engine set or an ABA engine set. But like you say as of now the engines are of the same road name (but can and will have different cab numbers)...from Page 14 of the manual:

Who knows...maybe Lionel will add a "Channel Selection" switch or some such thing in the future to allow you to "Change the Channel" of the signal the engine operates on so the user can run multiple engines together. They'd also need a starting direction switch to allow for reverse running in a consist of engines. TMCC already does all that but costs more.

There's probably a warehouse in China that has a ton of old TV channel selector knobs in storage but they might be a tad large:

 

Mark

 

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Hi Rusty,

Why I believe that Flyerchief & Berks saved S is because it brought people like me, who were casual observers from other scales, into the S fold. I have 2 Flyerchief engines and 2 50s DCC updated engines with 2 more Flyerchief on order.  How long could S have continued on old stuff from the 50s with small smattering re-released products? 

I know alot of people from other scales who are now seriously looking to see what comes next in S, and if they see a trend toward expansion, they will convert to S.  The concern (as we all know) is lack of product choices - favorite roads, engines etc.  Once the dam of lack of product begins to crack, a flood of new customers is possible.  Why?  for the reason we all say over and over - S is not too big, not too small, it should be the go to scale.

I am hoping that American Models will offer something new in steam, or maybe work with Lionel to offer a "Flyerchief" option for their engines,  Either one would be a boost to S Gauge.  Remember Lionel offered TMCC to K-Line and Atlas O back in the late 90s.

I am still hoping someone does a Reading T1 in the future.

I would think if one was looking at S and wondering when the best time to jump in....it would have been in 2012.  That catalogue made it seem like the sky was the limit and that Lionel was in a faithful marriage to S.  FlyerChief seems more like a very narrowed and limited strike to the S gauge market. Not an overall grand expansion.  I’m not knocking it, I like the Berk and the update of the Flyonel tradional tooling.  But this fails in grandeur compared to Challengers, Mikados, U33s, ES44s and SD70s.  THATS when I felt we were going places! 

IF Lionel tools another NEW locomotive to run FC in then maybe Francine is onto something....

Ben

NASG&CASG

I'm pretty much aware of the abilities and limitations of the"Chief" control by following the 3rail side.

It seems the 3railer's gave been trying to convince Lionel to add more features. "Legacy Lite" if you will. 

The folks at Lionel have given no indication of expanding the system.

Rusty

I appreciate what FC has done to the Flyonel product line up and S gauge in general.  For me, however, the dawning of TMCC in S-gauge in 2005 and the subsequent introduction of Legacy are what saved the scale for me.  Right about that time I was starting to wonder if Gilbert Flyer alone was going to be enough to keep me heavily involved in just "S" for the foreseeable future.  Add to that my envy of O gauge having already had TMCC for 10 years and the seemingly limitless variety of engines and rolling stock in HO, and my S-treadfastness was starting to waiver.  Since then, however, a variety of TMCC, Legacy, DCC, other-brand conventionally controlled, and conventionally controlled engines that I converted to TMCC have kept me happily specialized in S gauge without interruption.  I don't own any FC.  It's not that I don't like it or think that it looks like fun.  It's just that whenever I get the chance to run my double-header of N&W Mallets, or double-header of LV ES44, or a Challenger, Pacific, SD70, U-boat, Mikado, etc., I go - why bother?  To me they collectively represent the pinnacle of S loco's so far.  

BTW, I think the ES44's come the closest to "getting it all right" in terms of a truly RTR engine that stays that way.  I haven't had to work on mine or send them back (fingers crossed).  The Mallets come in at a close 2nd.  They're beautifully built.  I've only had to enhance their smoke production.      

I don't own or plan to own MTH S other than some track to augment the SHS S-trax that I already have.  Nothing wrong with it I suppose, just not interested in DCS and I already have an adequate number of SHS engines -- many of which I've converted to TMCC.  And some of which I've already sold off.  

Now don't get me wrong.  All of this would be lost if it weren't for the Gilbert AF that I have and enjoy running.  They are the bedrock or foundation of it all that continues to fascinate and please me no end.

Dave 

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

Specializing in S-gauge train repairs, upgrades, and DCC conversions

Member NASG, TCA, BAAFC, and founding member ACSG Old Dominion Division 

 

Getting back to MTH.  Here's what former SHS I figure hasn't been re-released by MTH yet:

Locomotives: F7A&B, SW1, SW8, SW9, NW2, 2-8-0.

Freight cars: EV Caboose, Twin Open Hopper (Offset Side, Composite, Panel Side, USRA Rib Side,)  Twin USRA Hopper w/Cover, 40' Wood Stock Car, 40' Double Sheath Wood Box Car, 40' Outside Braced Wood Box Car,  53' Standard Flat Car, 53' Bulkhead Flat Car, P/S Three Bay Covered Hopper.

So, MTH has a looooong way to go if a new catalog ever shows up.  At the current rate it'll probably be another 20 years before the entire former SHS line will have been re-released.

Therefore, I'm not holding my breath for either product or catalog.

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:

Getting back to MTH.  Here's what former SHS I figure hasn't been re-released by MTH yet:

Freight cars:  53' Standard Flat Car, 53' Bulkhead Flat Car

 

Rusty

Exactly. These two cars alone could account for many releases with new add on parts.

The Standard flat car is frequently enhanced by the user with common loads:

The addition of the bulkhead  can add to the variety of loads:

It shouldn't be too hard to make a different modern bulkhead for the car:

 

Image result for bulkhead flatcar

that would allow for the addition of a separate center beam to make a lumber car:

Centerbeam rail car - Greg Aziz or 

 

So four cars for the price of two new molds...new bulkhead and new center beam. No one else offers cars like this. Lionel offers nothing scale sized. American Models offers the flats but no bulkheads. Look in any modern freight yard and they are full of them. You can pull them with nearly any power source and they will be believable to all but the rivet counters.

It really is confusing when customers (us) tell a manufacturer (MTH) PLEASE! TAKE OUR MONEY! and the response is "meh"...

Mark

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The problem is, MTH has put out a pretty good S Scale product when they finally do put something out.  They even honored the warranty on one of my F3's, even though I was obviously poking around with the wiring. 

But, even the most staunch supporters of MTH's acquisition of the SHS line have just about given up.  As Mark indicated: "Have money, will spend" doesn't seem to carry any weight with MTH with regards to S.

The last "new" S product from MTH was the piggy-back car, and that was about 18 months ago.  Even that wasn't without controversy because of the use of the "O27" RailKing trailer. (Yeah, yeah...  I know it matches the dimensions of a contemporary trailer.)  Since then, not a peep, other than the "Less than 5 in stock" weekly emails...

Folks in S tend to have long memories.  Once burned, it's hard to get back in their good graces.  It's not necessarily right, but second chances are hard to come by in S. 

Given the glacial pace of the S releases, it's up to MTH to turn things around, not the customer base.

Rusty

Quick Casey posted:

New bulkheads and a center beam are not on the 53' flat car. You'd need another car for them. I'd rather have no product than inaccurate product.

You're right of course...even the earliest center beam cars were converted 62' bulkhead flatcars. However I never say never as an internet search shows that the CN did construct some 52' Bulkhead flatcars to be used in lumber service. . CN Rail converted both some 52' and 66' regular bulkhead flatcars to lumber cars of the same concept and usage of a centerbeam by adding rows of center posts, deck risers and ratchet tie downs:

The true centerbeam was a structural part of the frame and allowed longer cars to carry heavier loads. I'd be OK with the above car as substitute for a centerbeam car. Longer cars will of course pose problems for those operators who use r20 curves either original Gilbert or later track such as SHS/MTH or Fastrack. Right now we have NO product and I'm not pleased with that.

Mark

Well, that CN car is a one roadname prototype. And definitely not representative of the other 99.9999% of centerbeam cars. Even being a 53' car, the sidesills on the CN are different from the SHS/MTH car.

Just trying not to encourage manufacturers to take flights of fancy in their offerings.

The S in S Scale should stand for Superb, not Slapped-together. 

banjoflyer posted:

The true centerbeam was a structural part of the frame and allowed longer cars to carry heavier loads. I'd be OK with the above car as substitute for a centerbeam car. Longer cars will of course pose problems for those operators who use r20 curves either original Gilbert or later track such as SHS/MTH or Fastrack. Right now we have NO product and I'm not pleased with that.

Mark

I seem to remember something about a year ago where the Flyonel O27 autoracks scaled out to about 68' long in S and were no trouble on R20...

I know the 75' AM Budd cars will negotiate R20 with no problem, but may hit the AF switch motor housings.  I also know they scrape the SHS switch stand.

R20 4R20 6

So it would seem reasonable to say anything a scale 70' long in S should have no trouble on R20 curves.  Anything in the 60'-65' range even better.

Rusty

 

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Roundhouse Bill posted:

I just heard from an informed source that MTH is not releasing a S Gauge catalog till June or July.  Has anyone heard this or some other date?

This is real discouraging as they have been pushing a new catalog out for at least 3 years.

How SAD that they let all that S helper tooling sit idle with no effort to revitalize S gauge.  Looks like they have surrendered this gauge to Lionel. I hope Lionel continues to produce Flyerchief locomotives. 

Sgaugian posted:

I appreciate what FC has done to the Flyonel product line up and S gauge in general.  For me, however, the dawning of TMCC in S-gauge in 2005 and the subsequent introduction of Legacy are what saved the scale for me.  Right about that time I was starting to wonder if Gilbert Flyer alone was going to be enough to keep me heavily involved in just "S" for the foreseeable future.  Add to that my envy of O gauge having already had TMCC for 10 years and the seemingly limitless variety of engines and rolling stock in HO, and my S-treadfastness was starting to waiver.  Since then, however, a variety of TMCC, Legacy, DCC, other-brand conventionally controlled, and conventionally controlled engines that I converted to TMCC have kept me happily specialized in S gauge without interruption.  I don't own any FC.  It's not that I don't like it or think that it looks like fun.  It's just that whenever I get the chance to run my double-header of N&W Mallets, or double-header of LV ES44, or a Challenger, Pacific, SD70, U-boat, Mikado, etc., I go - why bother?  To me they collectively represent the pinnacle of S loco's so far.  

BTW, I think the ES44's come the closest to "getting it all right" in terms of a truly RTR engine that stays that way.  I haven't had to work on mine or send them back (fingers crossed).  The Mallets come in at a close 2nd.  They're beautifully built.  I've only had to enhance their smoke production.      

I don't own or plan to own MTH S other than some track to augment the SHS S-trax that I already have.  Nothing wrong with it I suppose, just not interested in DCS and I already have an adequate number of SHS engines -- many of which I've converted to TMCC.  And some of which I've already sold off.  

Now don't get me wrong.  All of this would be lost if it weren't for the Gilbert AF that I have and enjoy running.  They are the bedrock or foundation of it all that continues to fascinate and please me no end.

Dave 

Completely agree Dave (except for the minor point about MTH/DCS which I have now added to my layout - chose it over adding LCS so I could run my TMCC, Legacy and DCS locos all from same app).

NotInWI posted:

One of the big crying shames here is SHS caboose.  For my money, in plastic, I have not seen anything in any other scale that beats its detail.  I loved it.  

Ben

Amen, brother. I bought one road number of every paint scheme they offered in the extended vision caboose and they are without equal in S scale. AM cabeese have their place and Flyer cabeese are still rather toy-like. It seems the MTH business model of "Profit...Schmofit!...who needs it?" is wacky.

Mark

banjoflyer posted:
NotInWI posted:

One of the big crying shames here is SHS caboose.  For my money, in plastic, I have not seen anything in any other scale that beats its detail.  I loved it.  

Ben

Amen, brother. I bought one road number of every paint scheme they offered in the extended vision caboose and they are without equal in S scale. AM cabeese have their place and Flyer cabeese are still rather toy-like. It seems the MTH business model of "Profit...Schmofit!...who needs it?" is wacky.

Mark

You'd have thought there would have been a caboose release with the F3's.  Seaboard had International Car Co. EV cabooses like the SHS model and Santa Fe had similar EV cabooses. 

While the NYC, PRR and UP never owned any Extended Vision cabooses, that never stopped many of the train manufacturers before.

Rusty

I wonder if MTH just bought SHS as a test of the S scale waters and released just enough new products to cover their initial costs when those items sold out, and now has decided that there isn't really enough money/volume/interest there to be wildly profitable. If they own the SHS tooling at little to no cost, at least no one else can use it to compete against them.

Bill Nielsen posted:

If they own the SHS tooling at little to no cost, at least no one else can use it to compete against them.

Well without that tooling they'd have zero presence in S scale and they wouldn't be in competition with anyone. Right now they offer zero competition anyway so the tooling is just a wasted S scale asset. If they offered it for sale to another manufacturer they'd be no worse off than before they bought it.

Mark

Roundhouse Bill posted:

MTH posts here so I wounder if they are listening?????

If you are why don't you say something encouraging to us MTH??????

I suspect that if they engage in conversation then they will always be on the back foot with regards to the questions being asked. To say nothing keeps the status quo and keeps everyone guessing still and speculating.

 

I don't think Lionel would have had any interest in S Helper.  Why would they since they own American Flyer.  S Helper was a small player in a small market.  Their tooling would have meant nothing to Lionel as they had all their own for similar product items.

So many guys who write here are scale people and really liked S Helper.  In the larger S market including American Flyer post war guys S Helper wasn't bought much.  I think MTH got in easy, not paying much, just to test the S Market.  It seems that S is just a priority for now or maybe forever.

Bill

Why would Lionel produce K Line, or buy Weaver, when Lionel already has their own line of O Gauge tooling??? Expanding a product portfolio is expanding. At this point, I agree, Lionel would have made better use of the SHS tooling.  Lionel could have called it “Flyer-Sacle”.  Wonder where I got that one.

I would also argue that anyone who was buying Flyonel for the past 30plus years, likley also bought something by SHS and AM.  I think the only “purist” in S Gauge (not scale mind you) is the old AC Gilbert or bust guys.

Ben

NASG&CASG

Bill come on now...."Their tooling would have meant nothing to Lionel as they had all their own for similar product items."

From Rusty's list way way up in this post...

Locomotives: F7A&B, SW1, SW8, SW9, NW2, 2-8-0................Lionel has none of these. The 2-8-0 Consolidation alone would have filled a hole in the Lionel line-up of highly detailed steamers like the Pacifics, Mikado's, Big Boy, Y-3's etc. The plain-Jane Lionel Baldwin switcher could have taken some beauty tips from all the SHS switchers. By the way all those SHS switchers run like Swiss watches...I NEVER had to return one for service.

Freight cars: Lionel makes an assortment of reefers, boxcars, hoppers, flat cars and the like but none of them have the detail of a  similar SHS car.

Like Ben said above the intricate detail of the SHS models would be like a magnet to the detail-oriented purchaser of S scale cars. Just like you said in the Flyer-Chief post that the Flyer-Chief engines would be sufficient for many Gilbert guys while the Legacy SD70's and high end steamers would appeal to the "scale" guys.

With all the blather about Lionel not having the $$$ to develop new tooling for new models the purchase of the SHS line would have been a windfall.

I think the real difference here is that SHS was just two guys. MTH is one guy. Lionel has been a variety of guys through a revolving door. Corporate decisions/acqusitions  can be made quicker with fewer people involved.

My 2 cents.

Mark

 

 

 

Roundhouse Bill posted

So many guys who write here are scale people and really liked S Helper.  In the larger S market including American Flyer post war guys S Helper wasn't bought much.  I think MTH got in easy, not paying much, just to test the S Market.  It seems that S is just a priority for now or maybe forever.

It definitely wasn't the scale guys keeping SHS in business.  Like AM, about 85% of SHS's sales were to HI rail and Flyer guys.

Rusty

I just started in flyer 2 years ago, but am leaning toward FlyerChief Engines with S Helper Cars.  People seem to have them at the shows - a little on the expensive side, but worth it.  Planning to get rid of most of the hold Flyer for new Flyonel, S helper and AM cars.  They look and roll much better.

 

Roundhouse Bill posted:

I have not changed my perspective.  We have 34 guys in our club.  Some have bought AM stuff including me.  Only 1 has S Helper (because he is a scale guy at home) and none bought an F3 but me.  All have Gilbert and Flionel. 

Maybe in your little corner of the world, but I'm sure Don Thompson would dispute your perspective.  In talking with him at an S Fest long ago about possible new products, Don once specifically said the prototypes he chose were because they were size compatible with Flyer.  Being taller, only the piggy back and bulkhead flatcars broke away from that plan.

Don knew where the bread and butter was.

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:
Roundhouse Bill posted:

I have not changed my perspective.  We have 34 guys in our club.  Some have bought AM stuff including me.  Only 1 has S Helper (because he is a scale guy at home) and none bought an F3 but me.  All have Gilbert and Flionel. 

Maybe in your little corner of the world, but I'm sure Don Thompson would dispute your perspective.  In talking with him at an S Fest long ago about possible new products, Don once specifically said the prototypes he chose were because they were size compatible with Flyer.  Being taller, only the piggy back and bulkhead flatcars broke away from that plan.

Don knew where the bread and butter was.

Rusty

To add to what Rusty said - Why do you think S Helper chose to outfit their products with Hi Rail wheels and Flyer compatible couplers?  Ready to run out of the box for Hi Railers, but Scalers had to switch out the wheelsets and purchase their own couplers.  The only exception was the 2-8-0 which could be ordered as Hi Rail or Scale.

Mike A.

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Roundhouse Bill


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