MTH Catalog

Time is over ! At the extremly shrinking market of modelrailroads "S" is a dead horse and will not survive. Other, more popular scales, have the  same problems. A friend, a major producer for brass parts here in Germany, told me that the annual sales brake down from 400000 USD to less than 8000 USD in the last 10-15 years.  "S" is no longer a commercial interesting product for the mass production manufactors...

'S' stands for survivor, so let's see what happens over the next few years and not make any rash statements at the moment.

'S' has plodded along through some tough times in the past but has always maintained a loyal following which believes in its future.

BigAl posted:

Time is over ! At the extremly shrinking market of modelrailroads "S" is a dead horse and will not survive. Other, more popular scales, have the  same problems. A friend, a major producer for brass parts here in Germany, told me that the annual sales brake down from 400000 USD to less than 8000 USD in the last 10-15 years.  "S" is no longer a commercial interesting product for the mass production manufactors...

I dunno...

Back in the day, A.C. Gilbert was the only mass marketer of S Gauge trains.  Everyone else was pretty much "cottage industries."

A.C. Gilbert shut it's doors in 1967.  There were no new American Flyer trains (such as it was, a gondola, a box car, a tank car and a caboose) until 1979 by Lionel.  American Models didn't hit the street until around 1982.  SHS was originally a small cottage industry under a different name making kits of interesting quality before "helping" AM introduce some new products and finally offering their own products around 1989.

Even though they're hardly ever talked about compared to Lionel and MTH, sumptin's goin' on if American Models was recently able to build and move into a larger building.

S is more like a cat with 9 lives and it hasn't reached #9 yet.

Rusty

BIGAL, you are such a pessimist!!!  S is not dying any faster than the whole toy train hobby.  The problem is that the people who love "Toy Trains" are dying.  

At 72 I am one of them that can see the end of their rails.  With this happening I have to believe that the toy trains we leave behind will find new hands to play with them.  I am a member of most every Flyer and S Gauge group on Facebook.  There are a lot of people out there in these groups more than write here.  And yes a lot of them are younger.  There is a future for Toy Trains!!

Roundhouse Bill posted:

BIGAL, you are such a pessimist!!!  S is not dying any faster than the whole toy train hobby.  The problem is that the people who love "Toy Trains" are dying.  

At 72 I am one of them that can see the end of their rails.  With this happening I have to believe that the toy trains we leave behind will find new hands to play with them.  I am a member of most every Flyer and S Gauge group on Facebook.  There are a lot of people out there in these groups more than write here.  And yes a lot of them are younger.  There is a future for Toy Trains!!

S is the new OO. Sorry to say it but it just is. Enjoy what you have because there won't be much new coming. Especially if you are more scale oriented.

It isn't about being pessimistic or optimistic, when the ship starts taking on water it is sinking... positive or negative won't change the fact.

-Jonathan

I agree with Rusty, for the reason that I stated before, MTH only wanted to block Lionel from obtaining S Helper - it was a strategic business move, although I hope I am wrong.

If you don't see at more than 4 pages of S, MTH is only committing to enough to say they are in S.  4 pages would be only 4 products - a joke.

Francine posted:

I agree with Rusty, for the reason that I stated before, MTH only wanted to block Lionel from obtaining S Helper - it was a strategic business move, although I hope I am wrong.

If you don't see at more than 4 pages of S, MTH is only committing to enough to say they are in S.  4 pages would be only 4 products - a joke.

Sorry, but Don T had a hard time peddling SHS.  Lionel wasn't interested.

Rusty

Rusty,

That's ashamed to hear that no one wanted S helper.  They, Lionel, MTH, Train America, K-line and many others attended the East Coast Hobby show in Fort Washington. 

I was very temped, at that time, to switch over to S, but didn't - I didn't know anyone doing it.

Made some great friends there, Nick Ladd, Mike Reagan and others.  Sorely missed.

Doug-Sr posted:

Any one who wants s gauge,there is more out there we can afford to buy finding it is easy , i hope they will still make it,but if they don't good used s gauge will always be out there to buy

Well... must depend on one's S persuasion. I was into the scale side of S when I tried to do S scale. I most certainly did not find things plentiful. I looked for several years to find even ONE of these:

OMI_S2_014a

OMI_S2_013a

And it wasn't CHEAP once I did find one. Finding enough of the above to even represent a couple/three of the Kansas City Terminal's S-2's was out of the question.

Then there was the issue of lack of variety, but no need to go there.

S scale really is a great size. It is such a shame that it has never really taken off, and that is has received the shaft over and over again.

Andre

 

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laming posted:
Doug-Sr posted:

Any one who wants s gauge,there is more out there we can afford to buy finding it is easy , i hope they will still make it,but if they don't good used s gauge will always be out there to buy

Well... must depend on one's S persuasion. I was into the scale side of S when I tried to do S scale. I most certainly did not find things plentiful. I looked for several years to find even ONE of these:

OMI_S2_014a

OMI_S2_013a

And it wasn't CHEAP once I did find one. Finding enough of the above to even represent a couple/three of the Kansas City Terminal's S-2's was out of the question.

Then there was the issue of lack of variety, but no need to go there.

S scale really is a great size. It is such a shame that it has never really taken off, and that is has received the shaft over and over again.

Andre

 

That was my experience as well Andre.

If you are interested in the scale side of S you better like frustration and be willing to pay for it. If you are lucky enough that what you want was actually been made then you will have to #1 Find someone with one that wants to sell it and #2 pay whatever they want for it.

Example: GP30's are my favorite diesel. Greenbrier made them in brass in S scale. I paid $750 for an unpainted model with no electronics, no lights, and no sound. To get all of that done and painted puts the total at around $1500 for that engine. In HO I purchased a Walthers Proto GP30 which is better detailed than the Greenbrier was and it was already painted with lights. I installed a $125 DCC decoder and speaker and all in I paid about $250. Did I mention that the HO model runs better and quieter AND I didn't have to go on some grand search to find it in someone's collection and pry it from their fingers? 

How about a second example? Omnicon S PRR K4 - unpainted bought from brasstrains. Paid $850 it got to me and had fallen apart during shipping. I sent it back. Vs. Bachmann Spectrum HO PRR K4 - $250 with DCC/Sound (TCS) runs like a Swiss watch and sounds great.

S is the best scale that will never be for me. I wish it would get better, but with Lionel and MTH behaving the way they are I'm pretty sure the best days are behind us.

-Jonathan

I still think there's opportunity with the scale side if things. A decent s scale loco is still cheaper than an o scale one. That's one of the reasons I changed from N to S instead of O. The scale SHS switchers  and rolling stock, even second hand ones were cheaper than the scale Atlas ones. That and I could build a larger layout in the space.

Anyway, back the the original topic. If someone like MTH really wants to expand the scale, I would offer a ready to run, rechargable battery powered, radio controlled locomotive. Just think, no track wiring, no worries about dirt, no real issues with running more than one train at a time.

The current state of S kind of reminds me of the state of N when I first started in model railroading many moons ago. There wasn't a whole lot of variety, and what was available that was decent running and looking was expensive. It was pretty much Trix engines and MicroTrains or Atlas rolling stock . 

S is a perfect size for me, but I really enjoy kitbashing and scratchbuilding. That approach is not everyone's cup o' tea.

 

Joe the Katyfan

Doug-Sr posted:

Mikes mite not make a lot but they do have one very nice engine plus a lot of cars,track and switches be happy for that

 

Yes, MTH made one locomotive (the F3's) and it took over four years to get them out using former SHS tooling.  I'll grant the MTH F3's look and run every bit as good as their SHS fore-bearers.

Since the 2013 catalog, there have been no new roadnames for the products cataloged in 2013 and only one new product flyer (the piggy back flat) in 2016.  (Since 2013, American Models announced the Seaboard S12 and T&P GP9 "sets", new roadnames for the GG1's, developed the Budd dome cars and RS11's.)

When SHS owned (and developed) the tooling, there was usually one new product announced and new roadnames for existing products every year.  SHS catalogs came out annually.

SHS developed 4 different EMD switchers, F3's, F7's, a 2-8-0, about 15 different freight cars, a caboose and the track.  All this is in MTH's hands now and what they have released so far pales by comparison.

Now, I never expected MTH to re-release everything at once and even allowing for time to fit the former SHS products into their methods, it seems MTH is working S in geological time.

MTH also owes one club a convention car from around 2 years ago.

Plus, I think at least 2 delivery dates have slipped by for a new catalog.  The last one was December 2017.

This is why S folks get a little grumbly with MTH...

Rusty

Doug-Sr posted:

Some people are just to negative to enjoy this hobby

Gee!

Nope... love the hobby. Having a great time and spending lots of money in HO scale.

For me it simply turned out that once I understood firsthand all the issues within S scale, said issues pretty much killed my intention to do my "model railroading thang" via the scale persuasion of S.

Whereas I could have enjoyed scale S, my decision to leave is S scale's loss, not mine.

Andre

 

Doug

I don’t think that is quite a fair evaluation of the situation. We are (or were) consumers of the product that is being produced.  Sharing the concerns, frustrations and experiences that people have had with product in this hobby specific to S is exactly what this little community is about.  

Your view is different than others.  So what.  If not for the ability to grieve the shortcomings of S and it’s place in the hobby, how will we keep it around? 

Ben

NASG&CASG

My, my, "DOUG-SR", a bit sensitive, there, aren't you?  Apparently you find those that have had different experiences (or preferences) than yours offensive?

Before you get your panties in too much of a wad, bear in mind that my experiences/comments pertain to the scale side of S, not the hi-rail/AF side. I suspect your interest in S lies within the hi-rail/AF persuasion? If so, you DO have it much better than those that invested into the scale side of S and, after many $$, found that it was not going to be able to deliver regarding their "givens n' druthers" and personal preferences. Had hi-rail/AF been my thing... I'm sure my experiences would have differed significantly than what I experienced in the scale side.

FWIW: Back when I was involved in scale S and trying to make a go of it, there were several others here doing likewise. We all had a pretty good camaraderie going.  In fact, the scale guys and the hi-rail/AF guys co-existed together nicely. We would cheer for both sides and be happy when someone scored a touchdown.

In fact, "back then" we all pretty much felt it was going to be a great boon to S (both scale and hi-rail) when MTH purchased the stagnated SHS line and we were cautiously optimistic about S scale's future.

Then the delays started... the missed schedules... on and on. That's when some of the other scale S guys also began to suspect that very little, if any, new product for scale S was going to be coming down the pike any time soon. Unfortunately, as the drought continued, one by one some of the scale guys fell by the wayside and moved on to other scales due to some of the issues I (and others) have mentioned. Even some of the most stalwart scale S guys began to get discouraged. Eventually, I too had to face the facts that I would not be able to do the things I wanted to do in scale S on account of lack of variety and lack of product. So,  I left the scale also and went back to HO. Simply put: Some of us are at the age that IF we're going to get something accomplished we'd better get to doing it. That was my conclusion, too, so I returned to a scale where I knew there would be product and availability and I could get on with the business of amassing product/supplies that would cater to my desires within the hobby.

So now, about the only scale S guy left here that still regularly participates is Rusty. There have been several that have left.

And perhaps you're right, maybe I should move on... but I still hang around and hope for a touchdown for Rusty's (and any scaler's sake). I recall hooting and cheering loudly here when AM surprised S scale with it's beautiful RS-11. It may be hard for you to believe, but it DOES pain me to see such a nice size (S) with so much potential within the scale side of modeling to be getting such a short-ended stick. 

For the sake of all you S scale enthusiasts (regardless of your persuasion), I really do hope the situation improves, and if it does, I'll be one of them on the sidelines cheering you on. However, I do reserve the right to call a spade a spade if that's the way I see it, and along that line, IMHO, MTH ain't cuttin' it, plain and simple. Your mileage may vary, and that's fine too.

Finally, yes, I frequent HO forums (check out the HONGZ forum here, for example) and there I generally have enjoyable interchange with others regarding their approach to the hobby, even those that have differing opinions/choices/experiences than mine.

(Rich: LOL! I understand! I'm still able to see "fair"... but for years I've used magnification to work on models, even during my S scale years.)

Sincerely,

Andre Ming

Doug-Sr posted:

Some people are just to negative to enjoy this hobby

Gee!

And you don't have a clue about my interests!  If you've ever read any of my reviews, I have no trouble singing the praises of products from MTH, Lionel and American Models, along with pointing out any warts I might see.

If I didn't enjoy S Scale I wouldn't have been stayed with it for over 30 years... 

And model railroading in general, including my childhood trains, for over 60 years...

Rusty

"DOUG-SR":

I tried to be civil and courteous. I was trying to explain that, in spite of your perceptions, I hope for the best for S scale as a whole, and for my online friends that are in S.  Seeing as you posted here in the S scale forum, I mistakenly assumed you are in, or interested in, S scale.  Mea culpa.

You, on the other hand, apparently do not see the need to extend said civility and courtesy.

Fine. Let's do it your way. Thus, I'll be frank this time in my response to your last quip:

I actually don't care what you're interested in or do with your hobby.

Andre Ming

 

 

Rich:

Reading glasses ain't too bad if it comes to that. Wally World has some decent reading glasses of various magnifications if/when that time arrives. Also: Been a while since you've shared some pictures of your layout. Long overdue. How 'bout a round of pics soon?

Still say my S scale outcome might have been different had I taken the hi-rail approach. There are some REALLY nice S scale hi-rail layouts "out there".

Ah well, it is what it is... or was... or whatever!!

Andre

laming posted:

Still say my S scale outcome might have been different had I taken the hi-rail approach. There are some REALLY nice S scale hi-rail layouts "out there".

A thought that has also crossed my mind from time to time...  If I ever have to tear down the Great Plywood Glacier, it's a possibility.

Rusty

I've been following this thread and have seen and appreciated some of the arguments back an forth about the state of S guage/scale. I'm a lifelong S scaler who started out with a 4904T set in 1952. I've had AF, highrail, scale and Sn3 layouts through the ensuing years. Like many of you, I saw the demise of Gilbert and went through those years afterwards where it seemed that S would completely fade away. Those were the years that I was happy with Kinsman kits and converted AF (Ace parts). I also did most of the Lehigh Valley Models structure kits and thanks to the wonderful techniques suggested by Frank Titman that I learned, I honed my skills as a scratchbuilder. I'm from the old school that says you make due with what you have.

A good example of that is my experience with SN3. I live near the East Broad Top RR and decided to include a section of it with my scale layout. BTS had announced several kits. But, after trying the waters, BTS has pretty much ceased producing EBT equipment due to lack of adequate sales. I've soldiered on however and once again resorted to scratchbuilding and kitbashing (MDC HO hoppers for example).
Outside of two others that I know about, there are only 3 of us modeling the EBT in S.

I'm certainly not bragging because I won't win any modeling contests. What I'm saying is that being an S gauger/scaler is what you make of it. I won't disparage those who move on to other scales because S can't satisfy their particular needs. Maybe it takes a lifelong S gauger to have the kind of loyalty it takes to stick it out no matter how many manufacturers or modelers abandon the scale. All I know is that I'm in it for life and will always love everything S, from scale layouts featured in MR to circles of AF under the Christmas tree. The folks in the other scales, just don't now what they're missing when they just judge the scale by what's available to buy.

 

royhoffman.com/pwrr

This post might serve an unintended purpose. What with the release of the LIonel 2018 catalog and all the corresponding hubbub about the S scale offerings on just this forum alone MTH should now see that there is a big interest in S scale.

But if they decide to let their contribution evaporate they have only themselves to blame.

Mark

banjoflyer posted:

This post might serve an unintended purpose. What with the release of the LIonel 2018 catalog and all the corresponding hubbub about the S scale offerings on just this forum alone MTH should now see that there is a big interest in S scale.

But if they decide to let their contribution evaporate they have only themselves to blame.

Mark

Right now, Lionel and even AM are running rings around MTH S.

Rusty

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Roundhouse Bill


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