MTH's impact on S

I'm familiar with MTH's PS-1 and PS-2, given clinics on TMCC and spent a week evaluating Lionel Legacy for a local shop 

 

Opinion:  The combination of S-Helpers locos and MTH's PS-3 DCC/DCS/Sound electronics (not to mention the track and freight car offerings) will cause Flionel blow-out sales, and Lionel will make a partial S gauge reteat.

 

 

What say you?  

 

 

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Original Post

Well…

  1. A great number (a plurality) S gauge layouts are established Gilbert or hi-rail layouts. DCC (and DCS) will not readily handshake with many of these without a good deal of effort. TMCC and Legacy work with existing layouts of this type with a simple connection. With its track-born signal quality issues, DCS is not likely to happily coexist with layouts built with traditional Gilbert-style track.
  2. TMCC is simple and robust in a way that DCS is not.
  3. Lionel is working on making future all-new Flyer DCC capable. Legacy-compatible speed control can be engineered for the DCC crowd.
  4. Historically, Railsounds have been and are of superior quality to PS-X, particularly for steam locomotives
  5. Lionel has the more interesting and numerous steam engines in their lineup at the moment.
  6. Lionel could decide to respond to the MTH-SHS news with numerous additions in rolling stock and to the Fastrack system in the next catalog.
  7. Lionel will likely be first out with an SD70Ace and new contemporary cylindrical hoppers.
  8. Lionel has the American Flyer tooling and name with which to continue to fulfill the interests of those operating and collecting S gauge in the style of traditional Gilbert. Some of our colleagues tend to loose site of the fact that a significant portion of S gauge activity continues to reside in the traditionalist camp.

Neither company will stand still and both shall coexist by servicing the wishes of various S gauge enthusiasts just as L-AF, AM, and SHS did in the past. The competition will be a good thing.

 

Bob

The impact won't be felt UNTIL MTH actually delivers something, and even then probably not until a year or two later.  Lionel already has a head start by default. 

 

I'm also pretty sure, regardless of whatever MTH has first, the first thing out of people's mouths will be "Why didn't MTH do..."

 

The effects will not only be felt by Lionel, but also American Models, S Scale America and the other small manufacturers.

 

Whether or not there will be positive or negative effects is pure speculation at this point, but the current existing crop of people in S Scale/Hirail/Flyer is likely not big enough to support a massive influx of product. 

 

There will have to be more folks drawn to S, pure and simple.  I'm sure Lionel and MTH will help do that.  I'm hoping they will do that.  The question is, how many will cross over and how many newbies will Lionel and MTH draw?

 

And if the "Flyer Faithful" and Scale Folks both thumb there noses at MTH and Lionel, well...

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by Bob Bubeck:

Well…

  1. A great number (a plurality) S gauge layouts are established Gilbert or hi-rail layouts. DCC (and DCS) will not readily handshake with many of these without a good deal of effort. TMCC and Legacy work with existing layouts of this type with a simple connection. With its track-born signal quality issues, DCS is not likely to happily coexist with layouts built with traditional Gilbert-style track.
  2. TMCC is simple and robust in a way that DCS is not.

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Neither company will stand still and both shall coexist by servicing the wishes of various S gauge enthusiasts just as L-AF, AM, and SHS did in the past. The competition will be a good thing.

 

Bob

I have to agree with Bob, particularly on the first two points. 

 

I have read with amusement all the buzz and hype that somehow MTH's entrance into S "legitimizes" the scale.

 

I think not.

 

I think MTH's movement into S is simply another step in their business model:

  1. Jump into a market niche and quickly flood it with product (however acquired or whatever its quality)
  2. When saturated or sales slow down or product quality issues start to erode profits, slow-roll new product releases and look for another niche, e.g. HO scale, European trains, S scale.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 & 2.

I also think the competition will be good for S, but don't expect Lionel to be blown away by MTH.  

 

George

 

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Sorry to disagree with Bob and George, but I actually find DCS easier to use than TMCC, but then pretty much all I want out of a command control system (including DCC) is forwards, backwards, stop, toot and ding (if sound equipped.)  I seldom play with any of the extra features.

 

Also, I don't think MTH will be "flooding the market" anymore than Lionel is.  We're not gonna see two mega-S catalogs a year out of either company for quite a while, if ever.

 

As far as quality, neither company has been "trouble free."  Just look at the threads on the 3-rail side or the Challenger and U33C threads here.

 

But, what I can say is for the past 20 some odd years I've had zero problems with AM and only one bad motor from the former SHS.

 

Rusty

Rusty is spot on here. It all depends on sales. There will need to be a lot of new faces in S that aren't here today if Lionel and MTH are both to succeed long term in S. Having said that, it is pure business logic... If sales are good they will make more. If not, they won't.  It is pretty amazing that they have both taken a "build it and they will come" approach in today's economy. I hope it pays off.

-Jonathan

I really like S scale but as others have said its is the economy of scale, there just aren't huge #'s of people or product in S scale. When I attend the large Amherst train show I only see a few S scale dealers and  maybe a layout. It will be interesting to see what price points MTH comes out with. The new used market in N, HO and O is huge meaning you can get a newer engine for 1/2 the price or less. I do not see that in S scale. Maybe I have it all wrong. One big postive, is the scale size of S, you can certainly fit more into the  S scale layout footprint verses O 3 or 2 rail.

George

Bob has some great points on TMCC, sooo easy to install.  The TMCC Command Set was value-priced, too.

 

S is legitimate without MTH, but they will bring a manufacturing facility, a dealer network, and advertising in magazines.  They advertise Tinplate in TCA pubs, O gauge in CTT, HO in Model Railroader and show them all at the WGH shows.  I don't think they'll wait for people to come to them.  

 

Is MTH Perfect?  Far from it, they've goofed here and there like everyone else.

 

In other posts it's been suggested that minority scales should go for converts vs. new model railroaders.  The SHS acquisition gives MTH a jumpstart over Lionel with the scale offerings; show that under DCC operation and I think you'll get a few converts from HO & N.  They already know DCC

Originally Posted by Brady Burdge:
The SHS acquisition gives MTH a jumpstart over Lionel with the scale offerings; show that under DCC operation and I think you'll get a few converts from HO & N.  They already know DCC


I totally agree with you there Brady.

 

I am a lifelong Lionel fan, but I was trying to build an S scale layout. The two kind of butt heads. Lionel is coming from the perspective of the traditional Flyer customer. MTH starts where SHS left off. I really expect their S scale offerings to be like larger versions of their wonderful HO products. I have SHS and Flyonel products and from an operational standpoint it is apples and oranges. Hopefully like in O, MTH and Lionel will make each other's products better through competition and innovation.

 

I may end up leaving S for HO unless things really pickup in the next couple years. The HO products are so good and so affordable compared to S. Especially MTH's HO offerings. If you are an average modeler that wants to do a scale layout of any specific area or prototype S is a really difficult scale to be in compared to HO and N. You really have to have a passion or nostalgia for S. Perhaps that will change over the next few years? That would be nice. All things being equal, I would rather model in S scale. All things are not equal though as it stands today. That's why I have gone back to just playing with 3 rail O gauge with my son until he gets a little older and we start our scale layout. Then I'll make the call.

-Jonathan

Well, first of all, there's got to be some interest somewhere, otherwise OGR wouldn't have dedicated a forum for S.

 

I won't deny S isn't frustrating at times.  S was really hurt by AM, SHS and SSA getting booted out by Sanda Kan two years(+?) ago.

 

I got into S Scale in 1985, after American Models was in already production.  (And it was going to be all scale, all the time.  None of this here Flyer or HiRail stuff... Yeah, right...) 

 

In fact, if it wasn't for AM, I probably would have stayed in HO.  There have been ups and downs along the way and there were times I seriously considered going back to HO or up to 3-rail O for various reasons.  I still pick up the occasional "other" scale stuff when it strikes my fancy, but I'm not really set up to model or run in HO or O.  It goes with the territory.

 

I guess I landed in S at the right time, things that came out were things I was interested in.  Today it's tougher, with S (both Scale and Hirail/Flyer) is being basically rebuilt from the ground up. (Or rising from the ashes, if you want to get poetic.)

 

Lionel's had several false starts expanding the Flyer line over the decades and seems to finally have made a decision to apply some serious resources to it.  And they're trying to attract the scale market to boot.  I really hope the new "scale Flyer" pans out into a sustainable product line.  And even though my interest in "classic Flyer" has waned, there still should be a place for it in the market.  Heck, one of my favorite trains is the Silver Flash reproduction of many moons ago, plus I'm a sucker for Flyer EP5's in ANY roadname.

 

MTH is starting S anew, even though they have acquired the former SHS tooling, research and good name.  We really have to wait for the first "official" product announcements from MTH to see how it's going to go.  There's a lot of potential here, MTH could go several different ways with the Showcase line.  I hope they don't blow it.  There's already been some anxiety with the scale crowd concerning swinging pilots and fantasy paint.

 

We all want more track, locomotives, cars, even structures and accessories from both MTH and Lionel.  But both companies have to dovetail S into already crammed production schedules.  Lionel's already out of the gate, MTH has to play catch up.

 

Those coming from the "2 catalogs a year scale" are bound to experience some disappointment that things don't seem to be coming fast enough.  S was never an "instant gratification scale" and I doubt it ever will be. 

 

But I'd sure like to be proven wrong!

 

Rusty

Hmmmm.... I'm sort of torn on this issue.  On one hand, I think MTH + SHS = a better product right off the bat than what Lionel has done up to  his point.  Also, IF MTH makes the same stuff in S that they have made in HO over the last few years, I think Lionel will have a hard time keeping up.  That being said, there is alot of market support for Lionel. I would have to say that I hope the presence of MTH in S instills the effect of competition and products across the board progressively get better.  That would be a win-win for S scale.

 

 

 

"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

 

While this banter about MTH and Lionel is going on, I wonder what AM is doing.  MTH and Lionel both make O scale versions of just about every model AM makes.  Will this new competition with AM sink their ship?  Ron’s FP7 is what got me into S so many yrs ago.  I hope he hangs in there.  MTH has stuck with HO and made a go of it while Lionel seems to abort their HO before really giving it a chance.  MTH will stick with S, and if their track record with HO is any indication we scale people will benefit.  MTH has been considering S for a long time.  I talked with Mike Wolf in 2006 about S.  But Lionel’s doing more than sticking their proverbial toe in the water, since they jumped from a U33C to an SD70ACe and scale cylindrical hopper.  I’ve never seen Lionel do that with their HO.  Only time will answer our questions but it sure is fun to hypothesize……   .

 

Greg

Originally Posted by Greg Elems:

 

While this banter about MTH and Lionel is going on, I wonder what AM is doing.  MTH and Lionel both make O scale versions of just about every model AM makes.  Will this new competition with AM sink their ship?  Ron’s FP7 is what got me into S so many yrs ago.  I hope he hangs in there.  MTH has stuck with HO and made a go of it while Lionel seems to abort their HO before really giving it a chance.  MTH will stick with S, and if their track record with HO is any indication we scale people will benefit.  MTH has been considering S for a long time.  I talked with Mike Wolf in 2006 about S.  But Lionel’s doing more than sticking their proverbial toe in the water, since they jumped from a U33C to an SD70ACe and scale cylindrical hopper.  I’ve never seen Lionel do that with their HO.  Only time will answer our questions but it sure is fun to hypothesize……   .

 

Greg

A good question, Greg.  AM has always been rather low profile.  Their ads in Trains and Classic Trains must be paying some dividends, otherwise they wouldn't continue to advertise there.

 

The last "new" thing I can think of from AM was new roadnames for the E8's and Budd cars (MP Colorado Eagle, SP Daylight, MKT/SLSF "Texas Special") and the addition of MKT to the Pacific and heavyweights.  All are nice, but not exactly barn-burners.

 

The last I heard was all the tooling was back in Michigan, but I don't know what AM's capacity for manufacturing is.  Whether it will be in-house or farmed out is unknown.  It took almost 9 months for AM to get last years' S Fest Burlington trailer out.

 

Still, I would hate to see AM get lost in the shuffle.  They provide a solid, reliable product, that even though appear somewhat dated by what most train manufacturers are offering nowadays, there's no reason to apologize for.

 

Rusty

Being part of the "generation now" demographic, for me I want my instant gratification. Will MTH be able to deliver on time or will they have the same issues as Lionel? They may now for all I know, I don't really follow them in o gauge to know. Lionel just pushed back the second run of the u33d and the Texas special set. I am not going to hold my breath on the sd70ace making an appearance until 2013. I know this does not matter much to some and they handle the delays with more patience then I do. But the new blood that needs to carry the s gauge touch will have equally less empathy for production delays and might look to a scale with more product like HO or O to make up do delays in delivery. If MTH can get their product out in a more timely fashion, I think that had the potential to hurt Lionel, AM and others down the road. After all, what good is a new scale steamer (2-8-8-2) in the context of product competition if it won't be here until late 2013? I do have one on order though! Hope the world does not end in December like they all say.... Ben
Originally Posted by NotInWI:
Being part of the "generation now" demographic, for me I want my instant gratification. Will MTH be able to deliver on time or will they have the same issues as Lionel? They may now for all I know, I don't really follow them in o gauge to know. Lionel just pushed back the second run of the u33d and the Texas special set. I am not going to hold my breath on the sd70ace making an appearance until 2013. I know this does not matter much to some and they handle the delays with more patience then I do. But the new blood that needs to carry the s gauge touch will have equally less empathy for production delays and might look to a scale with more product like HO or O to make up do delays in delivery. If MTH can get their product out in a more timely fashion, I think that had the potential to hurt Lionel, AM and others down the road. After all, what good is a new scale steamer (2-8-8-2) in the context of product competition if it won't be here until late 2013? I do have one on order though! Hope the world does not end in December like they all say.... Ben

"If you think that takes long, try digging the Pamnama Canal!"

 

Virtually everbody has trouble meeting the estimated delivery dates, it's not a problem unique to MTH or Lionel.  All you have to do is look at the threads on the 3-rail side about delays and cancellations.

 

I have an Athearn HO SP semi-streamline MT4 (4-8-2) on order that was due last summer/fall, then December 2011, now officially listed "TBD."  PBL is running about 2 years late on their 60 ton S Scale standard and narrow gauge Shays.

 

Bachmann has also experienced delivery delays with their products, and they're the Big Kahuna at Sanda Kan.

 

Even Boeing couldn't deliver that little thing called the 787 on time...

 

The delays with HO and N products look less obvious because there's just so much available on the street by comparison.

 

Rusty

Rusty

 

You hit it on the head...no one else is making a u33c, a Texas Special, Challengers, SD70s and the like.  For the time being at least, Lionel still has the market cornered for new stuff.  I understand the hold up in manufacturing, it just does not make it any easier to see that engine you are looking forward to getting continue to slip further and further back. 

 

Ben

LCCA

Originally Posted by NotInWI:

Rusty

 

You hit it on the head...no one else is making a u33c, a Texas Special, Challengers, SD70s and the like.  For the time being at least, Lionel still has the market cornered for new stuff.  I understand the hold up in manufacturing, it just does not make it any easier to see that engine you are looking forward to getting continue to slip further and further back. 

 

Ben

Well, actually...  American Models makes a Texas Special.  And a darn nice one, too!

KGB 111309 11

KGB 111309 16

KGB 112009 07

 

I've had mine since November 2009.

 

Rusty

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I can understand your frustration NotinWi, but the sky isn't following yet. The U33, SD70, and Y3 are all still due Sep-Oct according to the website. Was there an announcement that I missed?

 

I have also found myself frustrated by the pace of S. I am hopeful that things are headed in the right direction and this is just a bump in the road because of all the China issues. It's a minor miracle that the scale has survived these past 3-5 years at all.

 

The biggest problem for S is that it is a minority scale that is divided within itself into the Flyer vs. Scale camp. Lionel is taking steps towards including more scale offerings and MTH has stated that they intend to continue the practice started by S Helper to support both Flyer and Scale sides. If the products support both, and they can come up with some common denominator for an operating system (DCC) then there could be  real growth coming that will draw in modelrs from other scales.

 

While I'm rambling... There is another issue that needs addressed. There are no RTR and very few structure kits in S scale. What about bridges, prototype signals, etc...? Very slim pickings. I asked MTH about these things and they gave me hints that we may see RTR structures like they have in their O gauge line. I don't think it is coincidence that the biggest scales have the most RTR product available. That's what the vast majority of todays model railroaders want. 

 

So what I have learned is that there is reason to think that S is headed in the right direction, but I also had to realize that it will not happen as fast as I would like. That's why I never gave up my O gauge trains. Personally, I'm going to give it another year or two and see what happens. I'm anxious to see the new catalogs from Lionel and MTH. I think they will tell us a lot about the pace that we should expect.

-Jonathan

Originally Posted by VidKidz:

I am really digging that American Models set.  I didn't realize (being into O and not S) that there were fixed pilot models available in S..  I am going to have to look closer into S scale now..  

Both American Models and the former SHS had "fixed pilots."  The E's and SHS F's have a removable insert in the pilot for the Flyer-compatible coupler.

 

AM's SD60's, FM's, U25B's, PA's, FA's and FP7's have a slot for the Flyer compatible coupler.  SHS SW's, AM's S12's, GP9 and GP35's have a regular opening for couplers.

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by jonnyspeed:

 

While I'm rambling... There is another issue that needs addressed. There are no RTR and very few structure kits in S scale. What about bridges, prototype signals, etc...? Very slim pickings. I asked MTH about these things and they gave me hints that we may see RTR structures like they have in their O gauge line. I don't think it is coincidence that the biggest scales have the most RTR product available. That's what the vast majority of todays model railroaders want. 

 

 

100% agreement.  Structures and lineside items can be found, but one REALLY has to look for them, and many time they're available once then *poof*, they're gone.

 

Rusty

My perspective comes from my G scale garden RR as an adjunct to O, and the experience of having MTH enter the large scale market briefly, only to orphan their line of G products by backing out of their commitment to this "other scale." No doubt, a lack of sales in a smaller market drove their decision to pull the plug. Not exactly a confidence booster for S scale offerings from them.

Originally Posted by electroliner:

My perspective comes from my G scale garden RR as an adjunct to O, and the experience of having MTH enter the large scale market briefly, only to orphan their line of G products by backing out of their commitment to this "other scale." No doubt, a lack of sales in a smaller market drove their decision to pull the plug. Not exactly a confidence booster for S scale offerings from them.

It seems like part of the problem with MTH "G" gauge was doing the products in true "1" (1/32) scale rather than the well established rubber scales (1:20, 1:22.5, 1/29, 1/24...) running on "G" gauge track.

 

I think there's a waiting market in S for structures and other lineside items, along with the trains.  S verions of RailTown structures should do well.

 

Rusty

Rusty

I hope for the sake of S scale ( which I grew up with) that I am completely off base. I think all of my purchases of late have always been the subject of a cautionary wariness, that was underlined by the demise of K-Line. So, I could be tainted, and again, you may be right. Time will tell. I think with age I have a sort of cynical pragmatism and I don't mean this to rain on a parade..I respectfully disagree with your reasoning behind MTH's departure from G after a fairly large investment in it..Well, Lionel did the same thing in a minority scale through G..I still have their G scale Atlantic which still runs great..as an orphan.

Originally Posted by Brady Burdge:

Rusty

 

I was looking through pages 40-69 of the MTH R-T-R catalog http://www.mthtrains.com/sites...2012_ortr/index.html

 

Do you think S gaugers will spend that kind of money on these products?

 

Brady

 

I know some S gaugers that already use the MTH 30-90094 station and several of the farm houses which are almost perfect S scale.

 

Besides, Bar Mills laser cut structure kits (apples to oranges, I know...) run from $49.95 to $149.95, assembly and painting required.  Even the short-lived (for reasons other than price) NASG modular brick factory kit wound up being about a $100 kit. 

 

There's another small manufacurer who makes some S structure kits, but his name escapes me right now.  "Greg's Groceries" was one of his kits.  His kits are over $80 bucks, also. 

 

The $5-$10 wood or plastic structures are long gone. Same for accessories. Ain't nuthin' cheap anymore.

 

Rusty

Johnny,

 

I was referring to the never ending delays of the big boy, challenger and u33.  Even models that have been in production for decades get pushed back month after month. The first run of U33Cs have been out for a while, but the second run has already been bumped back one.  I will be pleasantly surprised if the 2-8-8-2 steamers show up as scheduled but I will not hold my breath, same with the scale rolling stock.

 

How does Lionel get the O Gauge Santa Fe Northern, 2-8-8-4 and Mikados on the boat before they are even cataloged, but they can't stick to a production schedule on our stuff?  It is what it is I guess, I have been, and will continue to buy them.  

 

I also think that RTR sets should be a top priority for obvious reasons.

 

Rusty,

 

The AM Texas Special is nice, and prototypical as apposed to Lionel's, but everything I have is TMCC/Legacy and I love the look of the ALCO Pa's.  I was thinking about maybe getting a second one down the road if this Pa with the new electronics works well, and swapping out shells with some of my older PA sets.  TMCC and smoke would be cool on the Pennsylvania set, or Santa Fe set from 1997!

 

I have the AM C&NW A.C. high rail FM Trainmaster.  It is a great model, and once I learned that I have to handle it differently then the flyer stuff I have (broke a window out of the cab and broke a detail piece off of the undercarriage taking it out of the box for the first time) I have been doing well with it. 

 

Brady,

 

I would pay the same for some of the MTH buildings if they were in S.  I love that green barn.  It might be pricey, but if one is willing to spend 800 on challengers, big boys, and 2-8-8-2's, whats 50 bucks for a nice barn or house to run them by? JMO.  Despite the production issues, I hope that Lionel announces another new steamer and diesel for next year.

 

On a side note about the s gauge fast track, I have noticed that the pickup shoes on the PA sets (the ones prior to the new roller style) slip off the rail on the inside of the curve and end up running along side the outside rail of the curve.  Then when the track straightens out the shoe binds and causes a derail/short.  This happens on all the PAs I have (about 5) that have the old style shoe pick up.  The new style with the roller does fine.  My guess is that the rail head on the old flyer track is wider then what is on the S fast track, and there is a lot of side to side play in the spring loaded shoes.  

 

Ben

 

LCCA

Originally Posted by NotInWI:

How does Lionel get the O Gauge Santa Fe Northern, 2-8-8-4 and Mikados on the boat before they are even cataloged, but they can't stick to a production schedule on our stuff?  It is what it is I guess, I have been, and will continue to buy them.  

 


 

I think Lionel was using up parts inventory and also taking advantage of MTH's Premiere Steam drought.

 

Still, it is a mystery as to why the Flyer Texas Special is so late, with the exception of command control and smoke, (which should fit easily) there's nothing new or ground breaking with the set otherwise.

 

Rusty

Good Day,

 

My thinking, there will be no blow-out sales or partial retreats from Lionel. As I have said before on the forum and to Lionel personnel, S Scale is the “Diamond in the Rough”. It is the right scale and right size for the 21st Century. The American Flyer brand will be the leader in innovatoin. I look for to seeing the 2013 line-up. Lionel has the dynamics, technology and innovatioins for the 21st Century Model Railroaders! I’m anxious to view the Union Pacific Heritage SD70ACe’s this fall.

 

Model Railroading is a journey..............enjoy the ride!

 

Regards,

Swafford  

 

  

 

Originally Posted by Swafford:

Good Day,

 

My thinking, there will be no blow-out sales or partial retreats from Lionel. As I have said before on the forum and to Lionel personnel, S Scale is the “Diamond in the Rough”. It is the right scale and right size for the 21st Century. The American Flyer brand will be the leader in innovatoin. I look for to seeing the 2013 line-up. Lionel has the dynamics, technology and innovatioins for the 21st Century Model Railroaders! I’m anxious to view the Union Pacific Heritage SD70ACe’s this fall.

 

Model Railroading is a journey..............enjoy the ride!

 

Regards,

Swafford  

 

I too am looking forward to the SD70ACE from Lionel.  I think for myself, if the SD70ACE is a winner, then I'll stay interested in what Lionel has to offer.  I would say that it certaintly has the potential to be outstanding.  Also, I look forward to having product from both Lionel and MTH to speculate about on here!

A potential (and unintended) byproduct of the MTH acquisition of the SHS tooling may be some new or renewed interest in original Gilbert S gauge. Collecting and operating vintage toy trains is an activity that sometimes starts with an interest in currently manufactured trains and, in turn, eventually promotes to a heightened awareness of the historical (in this case, S gauge) predecessors.

 

Bob

Originally Posted by Bob Bubeck:

A potential (and unintended) byproduct of the MTH acquisition of the SHS tooling may be some new or renewed interest in original Gilbert S gauge. Collecting and operating vintage toy trains is an activity that sometimes starts with an interest in currently manufactured trains and, in turn, eventually promotes to a heightened awareness of the historical (in this case, S gauge) predecessors.

 

Bob

That is a possibility, but I would put my money on the whole thing taking a decidedly scale slant. That would bring in modelers from other scales.  There are a lot of HO modelers that I have talked to that may potentially be interested in larger models. But they all want scale fidelity, not toy trains. The other comments I have heard is that the S scale models need to operate as well as their HO models. Everyone I have talked to also has said they want DCC support because they want one common command system.

-Jonathan

Originally Posted by jonnyspeed:
Originally Posted by Bob Bubeck:

A potential (and unintended) byproduct of the MTH acquisition of the SHS tooling may be some new or renewed interest in original Gilbert S gauge. Collecting and operating vintage toy trains is an activity that sometimes starts with an interest in currently manufactured trains and, in turn, eventually promotes to a heightened awareness of the historical (in this case, S gauge) predecessors.

 

Bob

That is a possibility, but I would put my money on the whole thing taking a decidedly scale slant. That would bring in modelers from other scales.  There are a lot of HO modelers that I have talked to that may potentially be interested in larger models. But they all want scale fidelity, not toy trains. The other comments I have heard is that the S scale models need to operate as well as their HO models. Everyone I have talked to also has said they want DCC support because they want one common command system.

By simple linear thinking, you are correct. But, view the situation coming from "the other side". Judging by recent activity on the train boards (here and elsewhere), the LCCA contemplating a Lionel Flyer set, and so forth, the MTH announcement has contributed to peaking and/or revitalizing awareness of S gauge in the hobby as a whole. This situation may lead to some fraction derived from hi-railers, vintage train enthusiasts, etc., including some from other gauges to consider dabbling in Gilbert.  A loco such as the die-cast Gilbert 0-8-0 has considerable charm. Gilbert Flyer has the added allure for some in the hobby of having been made here – not in China. As I am suggesting – a potential unintended consequence.

 

The collectors among us will know what I am getting at.

 

Bob

I hope you're right Bob. It would be great to see an across the board increase in popularity for S. Having two camps that have different standards, track, power, etc... has been a big limiting factor for S INMHO though. So on one hand I am glad to see products being made to satisfy both groups, but I can't help notice the correlation of success for those scales that adopted NMRA standards years ago. Or is that just more simple linear logic? :-p j/k

-Jonathan

Originally Posted by jonnyspeed:

I hope you're right Bob. It would be great to see an across the board increase in popularity for S. Having two camps that have different standards, track, power, etc... has been a big limiting factor for S INMHO though. So on one hand I am glad to see products being made to satisfy both groups, but I can't help notice the correlation of success for those scales that adopted NMRA standards years ago. Or is that just more simple linear logic? :-p j/k

 

Well, yes.

 

A goodly part of the hi-rail community (e.g., those big 'awful' Gilbert or Gilbert-compatible couplers in S) and virtually none in the toy train community worry very much about the NMRA. Think TCA, not NMRA. Different cultures.

 

Hope this clarifies.

 

Bob

Getting converts may be the best way to start.  I used to like looking at the N scale layouts at the shows, but now I have progressive bi-focals.. 

 

O gauge hi-rail gets more and more scale, use of Kadee couplers is slowly increasing, and I think MTH has been offering scale profile wheel sets.  No longer are O gauge hi-railers "collectors who operate", they're model railroaders, although TCA and NMRA may not know how to view them. 

 

Those in O gauge toy have plenty of products from several makes, S does not have this, and clean Gilbert products will get harder to find.  Flyer might maintain status quo, growth there may be too much to ask.

 

As for control systems, someday they may all end up all on one circuit board, allowing the user to choose.  Until then I'd hope that folks will approach the choice of system from a problem-solution standpoint and not turn it into a holy crusade.

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