The full release from MTH:

 

M.T.H. To Enter S Scale Market In 2013


Columbia, Maryland, May 22, 2012 --- M.T.H. Electric Trains has purchased the tooling and production related assets of The Showcase Line® and the S-Trax System® previously produced by S Helper Service, Inc. of Cliffwood, New Jersey. The sale includes designs, tooling, marketing and trademark assets related to all of S Helper's S Scale, 1/64 model railroading products. All in-stock inventory and the general business assets of the company will remain with S Helper Service.

 

“We are pleased that the S model railroading products of The Showcase Line and the STrax System will be continuing with a company whose standards of prototype accuracy, prototype detail, state-of-the-art technology and high quality are commensurate with the standards we had set for ourselves with the products we have delivered to S model railroaders,” said Michael Ferraro, President of S Helper Service.

 

Don Thompson, Vice-President of S Helper Service explained further that, “As Michael Ferraro and I approached retirement age, we sought alternatives for the continuation of the line of S scale model trains, track and accessories that we had developed over the last 20 plus years. The transfer of the Showcase Line and S-Trax products to M.T.H. will further boost the continuing growth of S model railroading within the model railroading industry. M.T.H.’s resources and strengths, in particular their digital sound and train control technology, will take S to a whole new level. The infusion of features like synchronized puffing smoke, LED lighting, cd-quality sound, remote uncoupling and a host of unique operating functions will make S more exciting than ever before and that has been our hope for the products we created.”

 

Founded more than twenty-years ago, S Helper Service was formed to advance the S scale segment of the model railroading industry by providing more new and diverse products, establish entry-level starter sets for S and provide products made to the highest standards in the model railroad industry. Since that time, The Showcase Line of locomotives, rolling stock and accessories has expanded to include eight locomotives, eighteen diverse freight cars and a variety of accessories. The S-Trax System now includes thirteen sectional and flex track components along with track accessories. At the time of the sale, both The Showcase Line and S-Trax System have additional products under development.

 

All of the products from S Helper Service had become the standard to which all products for S model railroading are compared. The detailed models and operational qualities of the products are unsurpassed in the model railroading industry. The S-Trax System is the leading track line for S scale.

 

M.T.H. Electric Trains, founded in 1980 by Mike Wolf, has become one of the very largest and most diverse manufacturers of model trains in the United States. The company originally began as a mail order toy train retailer before establishing itself as a model railroad manufacturer of classic tin-plate reproductions from the first half of the Twentieth Century. By 2006, M.T.H. had product lines in 3-rail O Gauge, 2-rail O Scale, HO, One-Gauge and O and Standard Gauge tinplate reproductions.

 

Today, M.T.H.’s DCS Digital Command System and its line of onboard Proto-Sound® digital sound and command control locomotive modules comprise a technology package considered the most versatile in all of model railroading. Proto-Sound 3.0, the latest onboard package found in all M.T.H. locomotives, will be incorporated into M.T.H. S Scale products in the 2013 product line which will be unveiled later in 2012. Proto- Sound 3.0 equipped locomotives operate under AC or DC track current, in conventional or command modes in both 2 or 3-rail environments. Most importantly, Proto-Sound 3.0 equipped locomotives respond to DCS or DCC command control protocols ensuring that M.T.H.'s expansion into the S Scale market will provide the S Gauge marketplace with locomotives unmatched in their versatility, features and performance.

 

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

Original Post

Was there some sort of problem with the earlier thread? I'm aware that some people were expressing displeasure with MTH, but there didn't seem to be any reason to poof the thread, IMO.

 

I notice that the thread in the S scale forum has also disappeared, which is even more surprising. Most comments in that thread were supportive of MTH, and simply expressed optimism about the future of S scale.

 

Jeff C

Originally Posted by jonnyspeed:
What happened?

In a word:  Politics.  Some just can't seem to resist, so I imagine that's why it disappeared.

 

There were many useful comments in those earlier threads as well, and I hope those who contributed meaningful input--pro, con, or somewhere in between--will do so again.

 

This is especially meaningful news for the S scale community, of course, but I'm confident it also is of interest to the hobby world outside S scale.

We as hobbyists (consumers) must always keep in mind that this IS a business and involves people's livelihood, investment, and time. A business must earn a profit.

 

There were several interesting comments made earlier but one that struck me was Mike's purported statement to one of the Forum members that "O Scale is flat". Think about that for a minute. Mike is certainly in a good position to make that assessment.

 

We in O gauge are indeed fortunate that there is so much new product coming our way! 

 

If it is indeed 'flat', as an O Gauge business owner, what would be YOUR approach to grow your operation and continue to make money?

 

Mike's entry into S can be nothing but a positive one.

Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:
Originally Posted by jonnyspeed:
I really dislike this heavy handed approach. I thought it was a good discussion. I didn't see any personal attacks or anything. Are we afraid of upsetting an advertiser?

I don't think upsetting an advertiser was the reason.

I can assure you, without qualification, that concern over advertising/advertisers had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I must admit that about the only scale I've never owned is S.  I have modeled in Z, N, HO, O, On30, Std. Gauge, and Large Scale at various times, but never really had any exposure to S scale.

 

That said, I'm glad to see the S scale community being served once again after a couple of pretty rocky years in terms of production of their favorite items.  They may be a small niche within the small niche that constitutes the overall "model railroading" community, but it's a very nice in-between scale for those who find HO to small and O gauge a bit too large for the space they have available, or who wish to create a large empire even if they have a significant amount of space.

 

As I see it, the important thing is that the hobby of model railroading flourish and be enjoyed, and I really don't care which scale the individual modeler may prefer.  And I say that as the editor of a magazine devoted to a particular scale.  Here's hoping that this new venture in S is a great success for all involved!

S-Scale is a great product and it has alot going for it. I for one think MTH made a very good move. It will be good not only for the MTH bottom line, but it is also a big plus for those who model these trains. I can't see any logical reason not to happy for our toy train brethren.

 

As for the charm of 1/64 scale that is and always will be in the eye of the beholder. But, I have to admit with all the wonderful sound systems we enjoy today that air cylinder generated choo-choo of the Post War American Flyer Steam is still hard to beat.

 

Keep Your Rails Polished!

NJ HiRailer

(Just Picture The Image)

OK, here's a reposting of images to illustrate what MTH has to start with.  For SHS being such a small company, they left big shoes to fill...

 

EMD SW1:

CP SBD SW1 1200r

 

EMD SW1200:

CP CB&Q SW1200 9271 9270r

 

The switchers came with 2 sets of pilots.  A pair for non-MU and a pair for MU.  Originally, the non-MU pilots were the "HiRail" pilots with a gap to allow for coupler swing.  SHS discovered the gap wasn't necessary on the SW's and redesigned the pilots without the gap, but still included both sets.  The SW1 also included a short stack.

 

There's also an EMD NW2 and SW8, looks just as good, but I don't have an example.

 

EMD F3:

CP CB&Q F3A-B 121A 121Br

 

CP UP F3A-B 1402A 1402Br

 

The SHS F3's and F7's included two sets of pilots, also.  The "passenger" pilot was the HiRail pilot and installed on the locomotive.  It has a removable coupler cover insert to allow for a Flyer compatible coupler.  The CB&Q units shows one I modified with the coupler cover in the open position per CB&Q practice.

 

The "freight" pilot is the scale pilot for using with Kadee couplers and was included in the box.

 

EMD F7:

CP AT&SF F7A-B-B 37L 37A 37Br

 

CP AT&SF F7A-B 206C 206Br

 

Same deal with the pilots.  The F3's and F7's were also equipped with steam generator castings or single/Mars light headlights per prototype.  The Santa Fe passenger F's are properly equipped with steam generators in the B-units but not the A's.  The freight units have no steam generators.

 

All of SHS's diesels came equipped with HiRail wheels installed and scale wheels included in the box.  The F units also included assembled Kadee compatible couplers with mounting brackets.

 

2-8-0 (B&O E-27 Prototype)

CP B&O 2-8-0 2860r

 

CP AT&SF 2-8-0 2513r

 

The only SHS product where you had to specify whether you wanted HiRail or Scale wheels.  Roads other than B&O had the center mounted headlight.

 

SHS also had a varied array of wood side and steel boxcars, covered and open hoppers, 70 ton ore cars, stock cars, wood reefers, standard, bulkhead and TOFC flat cars and an extended vision caboose.  All freight cars came equipped with HiRail wheels and Flyer compatible couplers installed.  Scale wheels were included in the box and the modeler was left to supply Kadees.

 

So, MTH will be off to a good start.  Given what MTH has made in HO and O, combined with what Lionel's now doing with Flyer, S is going to get really interesting.

 

Rusty

Attachments

Photos (8)
Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:

 

 

EMD F3:

CP CB&Q F3A-B 121A 121Br

 

 

 

 

So, MTH will be off to a good start.  Given what MTH has made in HO and O, combined with what Lionel's now doing with Flyer, S is going to get really interesting.

 

Rusty

Thomas,   what color is this please?  I'm familiar with several of the silver units but this is unusual....

Originally Posted by c.sam:
Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:

 

 

EMD F3:

CP CB&Q F3A-B 121A 121Br

 

 

 

 

So, MTH will be off to a good start.  Given what MTH has made in HO and O, combined with what Lionel's now doing with Flyer, S is going to get really interesting.

 

Rusty

Thomas,   what color is this please?  I'm familiar with several of the silver units but this is unusual....

The color looks a little off because of the cool white lighting I used when I took the picture.  Here's a little better, more recent one using daylight CFL's:

KGB 042212 11r

 

This is the CB&Q F-unit freight scheme, referred to as "Graybacks" by CB&Q employees. 

 

As I recall, it's officially a non-metallic silver-gray, but appears more of a light gray with a touch of tan.  I've seen the official EMD paint chip and like the model, the color shifts slightly from gray to tan under different lighting conditions.  It's a real pain to match.  I wound up using Accu-Flex "CSX Tan" to touch up the pilot after reworking it.

 

BTW, with the exception of the 2nd and 3rd hoppers, the entire train is SHS.

 

Rusty

 

Attachments

Photos (1)

Rusty,

 

Thanks for posting these pics.  I have a bunch af SHS rolling stock and also an ABBA set of the F3's.  Overall, I think the F-3's are very high quality and the pilot/wheel options that come in the box are a nice feature.  My only points for improvement would be to have metal side grills/chicken wire and mine tend to have a bit too much motor noise for my taste.  The upside is they are built like tanks and run super smooth with outstanding low speed performance on strait DC power. 

 

I currently have about 30 - 35 pcs. of SHS rolling stock.  Comming from O scale, I was really impresed with the level of detail and quality that they displayed.  Detail wise, again from an O scale POV, IMO they are as good or better than Atlas O.  One personal pet peave of mine are fragile detail parts and mine seem to hold up very well. The only thing I would improve on are the trucks which seem a bit loose and I would personally enjoy having metal trucks, but so far I have had no problems.  The paint and decaling has been flawless.

 

I would say that MTH got a very solid point of entry into S with buying SHS and if they can integrate what they do well in HO and O into what SHS already has, it will be a winner!

 

 

 

"Moreover, experience proves that there is virtually no limit to the amount of cars, track, equipment, etc., the scale model railroader will buy once you have planted the "system" idea in his head. The more he has, the more he still wants." A.C. Gilbert Co. - 1947

Originally Posted by CSX Troy:

Rusty,

 

Thanks for posting these pics.  I have a bunch af SHS rolling stock and also an ABBA set of the F3's.  Overall, I think the F-3's are very high quality and the pilot/wheel options that come in the box are a nice feature.  My only points for improvement would be to have metal side grills/chicken wire and mine tend to have a bit too much motor noise for my taste.  The upside is they are built like tanks and run super smooth with outstanding low speed performance on strait DC power. 

 

I'll agree, the F-units are a tad noisy, but not objectionally so.  The big, honkin' frame tends to amplify the noise somewhat. At least it's the noise of smooth, not the noise of poor fitting components. 

 

Where most companies would cut corners, SHS would add corners.  In some ways, SHS products are over-engineered, IMHO. 

 

But, that's not a bad thing.

 

Rusty

25 years in "O" scale 2R and 5 years (off and on) in "S" scale and IMHO the SHS locos and rolling stock are right up there with the very best of any plastic RTR products in "O" and better than many. Very quality built models. My SHS F units do have a whine while running but as Rusty stated nothing objectionable and the accuracy is outstanding. My greatest fear with the MTH takeover is they will replace the SHS horizontal drives with china drives so they can fit their electronics inside as Lionel did with their new "S" products. I really, really dislike the china drive even though its better now with all the electronics controlling it than before. My new "O" 3rd Rail E7's have a very smooth horizontal drive that I think will overshadow the china drive in "O" in the future.....or not. I really don't know how the 3R guys feel about it and they seem to control the "O" plastic RTR market.

 

Butch

My question to MTH would be, are you going to expand beyond the product line you are buying, developing new models that S Helper was not producing?  I do hope though that MTH hits the F3's and F7's hard.  I also look forward to potentially having a wide selection of reefers to chose from again!  I would love more of the PFE reefers to pull behind my Challenger.

 

Ben

LCCA

Originally Posted by NotInWI:

My question to MTH would be, are you going to expand beyond the product line you are buying, developing new models that S Helper was not producing?


Ben, I think you can absolutely count on that. Including RTR structures at some point in the future.

 

If MTH can do this in HO, there is no reason not to expect the same in S:

-Jonathan

Originally Posted by up148:

25 years in "O" scale 2R and 5 years (off and on) in "S" scale and IMHO the SHS locos and rolling stock are right up there with the very best of any plastic RTR products in "O" and better than many. Very quality built models. My SHS F units do have a whine while running but as Rusty stated nothing objectionable and the accuracy is outstanding. My greatest fear with the MTH takeover is they will replace the SHS horizontal drives with china drives so they can fit their electronics inside as Lionel did with their new "S" products. I really, really dislike the china drive even though its better now with all the electronics controlling it than before. My new "O" 3rd Rail E7's have a very smooth horizontal drive that I think will overshadow the china drive in "O" in the future.....or not. I really don't know how the 3R guys feel about it and they seem to control the "O" plastic RTR market.

 

Butch

Butch,

 

MTH is not Lionel. MTH has the standard horizontal drive in HO, so there's no reason to do away with it in S. MTH already has full-featured DCS in HO with DCC compatibility, so the size of the electronics is not an issue.

 

Lionel's method of "broadcasting" the TMCC signal limits how much they can presently minimize the electronics.  The receiver components are only made so small.

 

That's what delayed the U33C for so long, trying to squeeze all that stuff into a smaller, S Scale package.  Add in the DCC compatibility that Lionel is working on, and it gets even tighter.  They will have a hard time squeezing it into an even smaller locomotive.  Lionel has indicated that a smaller locomotive with all the electronics and China Drive may have to sacrifice one motor.

 

Rusty

 

 

 

Originally Posted by GARDNER:

I`m interested to see if at sometime MTH will have an S-Gauge Premier Line & Railking Line.. Also I`m very interested in seeing Wireless Drawbars in S-Gauge and Steam Whistle & Swinging Bell Effects in all the Gauges including HO and S...

I'm all for wireless drawbars and dependable smooth operation, be it AC, DC DCC, TMCC or mental telepathy.  Smoke, whistle steam and swinging bells are just extra cr** as far as I'm concerned.

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:
...Smoke, whistle steam and swinging bells are just extra cr** as far as I'm concerned.

 

Rusty

I occasionally use the smoke feature on locomotives (very occasionally unless I have visitors who might enjoy seeing it), but I can definitely do without such things as whistle steam, swinging bells, and the like.  Just more stuff to add to the cost and to break down at some point.

With tooling and development cost being rather high, I would guess MTH will take advantage of existing tooling and product lines with maybe minor changes. This will allow them to begin recouping some of their $$$$ while they simultaneously begin designs of new features and new items.

 

Steve

Steve "Papa" Eastman

Yorba Linda, CA

Left Coast, Home of the lunatics

Once again I applaud MTH for making this totally logical business decision. By purchasing the S Helper line they are buying an established brand well know in the S scale market.   With their resources and marketing expertise they are in a perfect position to grow the S scale market over time.

 

The S scale market is relatively small and the folks who model in that scale have not had the abundance of product or accessories available to the HO and O scale markets.

 

This is a wonderful opportunity for MTH to expand their business to accomodate S scale modelers and make the company one step closer to being a one stop manufacturer for the entire model railroad hobby.

 

Steve Tapper    

I posted on MTH's Facebook announcement that they should consider introducing newly tooled locomotives and rolling stock once the existing tooling was up and running and they responded that "...MTH is thinking along the same lines as to the future of the MTH S Gauge Line."


I have some SHS' rolling stock and it's the equal of Atlas' O master line with the exception that the KD mounting holes actually line up on the SHS' cars!  I actually asked the late Jim Weaver if Atlas had considered S and he indicated they had zero interest there.  I hope that MTH leaves mostly well-enough alone on the existing tooling and gets some new cars and engines into the line.  Unlike O, where a lot of "standard" engines have already been done, S is still ripe for new tooling. 

 

Should be an interesting 12-24 months.

 

Brian

Originally Posted by Lackawanna1223:

I posted on MTH's Facebook announcement that they should consider introducing newly tooled locomotives and rolling stock once the existing tooling was up and running and they responded that "...MTH is thinking along the same lines as to the future of the MTH S Gauge Line."


 

Brian

I'm pretty sure MTH didn't buy SHS just to continue to crank out what's already been done.  There's some things in the O Gauge Premier line that will make me weak in the knees if they show up in S.

 

Back in 2004, SHS announced plans for an E7, but it got shelved because the 2-8-0 sucked up all their resources plus some.  Wonder how far along the R&D was on the E7 and if MTH will pick up on the project.

 

I would also hope to see switches to match the S-Trax 25" and 29" radius curves.

 

Rusty

Is it possible that Lionel and MTH are working together on the idea that the time has come for a S gauge resurgance?  Lionel recently released the largest number of new American Flyer trains since they took over the company in the 1950's and a new track system that looks a lot like the S service track.  Now, another large player is going to offer S products.  What better way to make potential S scale customers comfortable that it is a scale with a future?

 

Just a thought!

 

Happy railroading,

Don

 
Originally Posted by DGJONES:

Is it possible that Lionel and MTH are working together on the idea that the time has come for a S gauge resurgance?  Lionel recently released the largest number of new American Flyer trains since they took over the company in the 1950's and a new track system that looks a lot like the S service track.  Now, another large player is going to offer S products.  What better way to make potential S scale customers comfortable that it is a scale with a future?

 

Just a thought!

 

Happy railroading,

Don

It's probably more a case of "Anything you can do, I can do better!"

 

Lionel's S FasTrack was simply a good idea to be compatible to the established SHS S-Trax.  Well, with a few swipes with a razor saw anyway...

 

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/d...ent/4527055137442588

 

I'm pretty sure that in spite of the cooperation on Lionel Corporation Tinplate, Lionel and MTH both have they're little secrets from each other. 

 

At least they're not hurling lawyers at each other anymore.

 

Rusty

As I said in the post that was deleated. It was only a matter of time. The S-Gauge folks have been out in the cold for so long. Who knows, maybe MTH can help phase out the (funky looking pilots, IMO) that have ruined the S-Gauge choices for years. With the addition of DCS, the sky is the limit. Congratulations S-Gauge runners and collectors.

Respectfully,

"Pappy"

My Two-Cents                 

 

Originally Posted by DGJONES:

Is it possible that Lionel and MTH are working together on the idea that the time has come for a S gauge resurgance?  Lionel recently released the largest number of new American Flyer trains since they took over the company in the 1950's and a new track system that looks a lot like the S service track.  Now, another large player is going to offer S products.  What better way to make potential S scale customers comfortable that it is a scale with a future?

 

Just a thought!

 

Happy railroading,

Don


My thoughts exactly Don. I believe that both Lionel and MTH see a new opportunity to develop the S scale market. All's good with that as that market sorely needs a shot in the arm!

 

Steve Tapper

Ah, the other thread got the bomb.  Oh well.

 

Can't remember what I said in it anyway... so it must not have been very important!

 

ANYWAY...

 

For those O scalers here that the "MTH gets into S scale" news has knocked your hat in the creek, thought you might get a kick out of browsing an online magazine devoted to S scale.  Here's a link:

 

http://sscale.org/

 

Note one recent article is by an O scaler that has moved to S scale.  His thoughts are interesting.  Here's a direct link to said article:

 

http://sscale.org/679/volume-1-no-10-on2-to-s/

 

Johnnyspeed: 

 

Thanks for that video.  I didn't have a clue what MTH has done in the HO world. That MTH HO engine performs nicely.  However, the sudden stops are kind of unsettling.

 

Andre

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×