New S Scale Manufacturer

From the S Scale Yahoo Board:

"Subject: {S-Scale List} New S manufacturer at Indy NMRA Trainshow

There will be a brand new S Scale manufacturer at Indy this week.  He will be exhibiting samples of his new S Scale line. As a favor to us (Des Plaines Hobbies/S Scale America), he will be showing an assembled model of our Thrall 2743 gondola. We received the production parts from our molder last week. They will be going to China for assembly shortly, but for those that can't wait, we will be bringing a few kit versions to Novi next month.

Oh, you want to hear about the new S manufacturer.  It is Fox Valley Models (almost sounds like an adult escort service), respected manufacturer of N and HO.  Sitting under our gondola will be a sample of their new S Scale flex track. It will be code 138, compatible with Lionel and MTH. What's that you say? We need switches, not just flex track. Well, sitting beside the track will be prototype samples of true #5 turnouts. Next question, scale or hirail? Both. He is doing both a scale #5 left and right and a hirail left and right.  Yes Mildred, that is correct, a total of 4 turnouts, two for scale guys and 2 for the hirailrailers.

Questions? Go to Indy and stop by the Fox Valley Models booth and see for yourself. Cost? Don't have a clue. Ask FVM. DCC  compatible? Come on, this is 2016.

Thanks for reading, and oh, thanks to all of you who participated in our 33rd anniversary sale and our July 4th flash sale. No man should be allowed to have this much fun.

Ron Sebastian

Des Plaines Hobbies/S Scale America

Disclaimer: I am not Fox Valley Models"

Rusty

Original Post
Rusty Traque posted:

 

 

 new S Scale flex track. It will be code 138, compatible with Lionel and MTH.  sitting beside the track will be prototype samples of both a scale #5 left and right and a hirail left and right.  

This sounds great. Now the flextrack guys can get an off the shelf matching #5 turnout. I would think with some creative cork and ballast effect they could be made to work well with the plastic molded roadway of the sectional track.

Mark

 

 

 

falconservice posted:

There should be more interest in S scale since O gauge guys keep saying O scale steam, diesel, and freight cars are way too big. If these guys do not have a lot of room for O scale, then they should get into S scale. 

Andrew

I’ve played around with S for years, but it can be extremely frustrating, as product availability is hit or miss. A lot of the stuff I want has been made, but often the money isn’t there during that 3 hour window when the magic item is actually available to buy.

S often just seems to take a little more dedication and patience than I can muster—but it’s fair to say that the above statement is just as telling about me as it is the scale...

Jeff C

leikec posted:
S often just seems to take a little more dedication and patience than I can muster—

Jeff C

 
 

I agree

leikec posted:
but it’s fair to say that the above statement is just as telling about me as it is the scale...

 I don't know if it is wrong to want certain items; other scales have that luxury.  It has been expressed on this forum in the past that it looked good for us when Lionel came out with the SD70s and ES44 units and some scale(ish) rolling stock but it has been somewhat downhill since.  Luckily, I am ok with traditional flyer, but that seems to have stalled, as well.

 

Brendan 

Brendan posted:

 I don't know if it is wrong to want certain items; other scales have that luxury.  It has been expressed on this forum in the past that it looked good for us when Lionel came out with the SD70s and ES44 units and some scale(ish) rolling stock but it has been somewhat downhill since.  Luckily, I am ok with traditional flyer, but that seems to have stalled, as well.

 

Brendan 

It's not wrong to want certain items.  I just wonder how long traditional style Flyer will be marketable, even with improvements like FlyerChief.

We'll have to wait and see where the Legacy Berkshire leads to...

Rusty

Tired of waiting...

Does anyone actually believe there will be MORE S products in the future when there are FEWER S scale modelers? Didn't think so. I love the scale, but I have limited time and no interest in becoming a scratch builder. Puts me in a tough spot...

-Jonathan

About a yer ago I was excited to go in to S scale but  thought it best to be patient.  I 100% love the size and quality as stated many times before in this forum.  I just don't think the manufacturers are willing to invest in S at all.  That leaves anyone who has committed to this scale at a disadvantage of collecting models of trains they like.  I like all eras and a lot of different road names as well as steam.  I am ready to spend money on my trains.  I work very long hours and do not have time to fiddle with things.   I need to buy it, put it on the track and enjoy it.  After all this is a hobby and hobbies should be enjoyed not causing frustration.  Sad to say but this sways me to HO which I can barely see. 

In a perfect world for me who is more of a scale guy I wished S was like HO in offerings and other characteristics.  I understand the market is just not large enough to  support this and I suspect the companies have their hands full with what they currently do.  I can not blame anyone who loves S and wants to stick with it nor can I blame anyone who as chosen not to pursue it.  For me I just don't think it is worth the hassle of lack of product availability.  It still pains me to think this way as again the appeal is the size but what good is the size if nothing is available?  Its too bad wished I had the funds to develop S scale I still think there is a potential market but it is a risk and not an immediate return as not only do you need to develop the products but you need to convert people as well.

Any new products from any manufacturer will grow the pool, probably from existing scales.  Either people downsizing from O Scale or upsizing from HO.  Everyone says S is the "Goldilocks Scale" - not too big, not too small.

There is a lot of stuff I would like to have, but if it starts to arrive after retirement, it becomes questionable.

Francine posted:

Any new products from any manufacturer will grow the pool, probably from existing scales. 

And that is the magic phrase.  However, there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of new product coming down the pipeline to wave the wand. 

MTH is missing in action.  Pure and simple.  They seemed to be more concerned with wi-fi, bluetooth and slapping mini-LED strings on everything.

While Lionel is producing some new stuff, they seem to be pretty much content with sticking with "traditional" styled Flyer.  FlyerChief or the Legacy Berkshire alone will not produce a great influx of new S folks, scale or otherwise.  Plus unless an aftermarket scale conversion becomes available for the Legacy Berk, the Scale Folk will ignore it.

While there's always American Models and they have come out with some new stuff recently, they lack the "bells and whistles" today's customer base has become so enamored with.  However, at least AM has everything on their website in stock.

Either people downsizing from O Scale or upsizing from HO.  Everyone says S is the "Goldilocks Scale" - not too big, not too small.

Unfortunately, Goldilocks is a fairy tale.  The lack of new product availability and glacial pace in S is the big bad wolf.  And the wolf is winning.  Modelers from HO will be disappointed there's no real equivalent to likes of Athearn Genesis, Broadway Limited, ExactRail, Rapido Trains and others. I doubt HOer's will really want to scratchbuild everything they can't buy off the shelf.  Given the glacial pace of S, I don't see a lot of downsizing O gaugers entering S.

There is a lot of stuff I would like to have, but if it starts to arrive after retirement, it becomes questionable.

That's the position I'm in right now.  While i have enough S accumulation over the past 30 years to keep me busy, I'm being very careful now on what I decide to buy new.

Rusty

 

Maybe It is not totally  grim American Models has some nice stuff.  However, I want modern era. There are a lot of guys in HO who do modern era.  If they had a quality offering in S and in a scale version, I'd bet they would switch.  I mean S is so attractive with 2 rail, scale track, scale wheels and smaller radius.  It is the curves in two rail O that makes it unfeasible for me.   S allows me to work with something that is a little heftier and I can see the detail.  All that being said I still think I'm barking up the wrong tree.

Classy Woods, LLC posted:

Maybe It is not totally  grim American Models has some nice stuff.  However, I want modern era. There are a lot of guys in HO who do modern era.  If they had a quality offering in S and in a scale version, I'd bet they would switch.  I mean S is so attractive with 2 rail, scale track, scale wheels and smaller radius.  It is the curves in two rail O that makes it unfeasible for me.   S allows me to work with something that is a little heftier and I can see the detail.  All that being said I still think I'm barking up the wrong tree.

I think I waffle back and forth about once a month. While there has been enough done in the past to make a railroad, that depends on what you want to do. If you want road specific equipment then you are in trouble. If you want a fantasy road then you are in better shape, but still lots of holes. Then there is the Scale or Hi-Rail problem. S has just divided itself into too many different factions. Example, the new Lionel Legacy Berk will probably be a really nice model. It will have Sound, Smoke, Kadee couplers, LED lights, etc... but it won't come with scale wheels. So how many scale modelers who have invested thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars into scale brass models do you think will buy the Berk? Maybe a few?

S-Helper was the company that introduced me to S. That's why I fell for the scale. MTH has all but killed that company's legacy. Then Lionel did the great about face on S scale Legacy engines. Ugh...

Let's be honest, the best AM models are only about as good as the economy models in HO. There are no companies in S like Rapido, ScaleTrains, Athearn, Atlas, Bachmann, or Walthers in HO. Heck there aren't even any companies that are as good as the smaller niche players in HO.  

Most of all, I want the scale I choose to model in to have a future. I want to be able to purchase new products. I don't want to wait years between new offerings. As I see it, the pace in S is only going to decline.

6 years ago I had optimism. It's gone now... Sorry.

-Jonathan

Me too Jonathon I am in the same boat.  I agree with your comments.  It probably does not matter what any of us say these companies are not going to recognize the need and potential.  What gets me is why did M.T.H. invest all that money in the SHS tooling and now just leaves it sit gathering dust?  With their presence in the marketplace it seems they could set the pace.  Can't blame them if it all comes down to profitability and if they feel they can not swing it in  S.  Oh well to each his own it just sucks we can not have what we want. 

You scale guys have been singing the same tune on this site for years.  I feel sorry for you as your glass in always half empty.  However, you still must enjoy the hobby and the scale product you have bought through the years.   Perhaps your glass is more than half full if you consider your success in S.

The fact is S Scale is only about 15% of the S Gauge market and that probably won't change.  When some new products do come out in S Scale the best you can do is support the producer and buy them. 

Roundhouse Bill posted:

The fact is S Scale is only about 15% of the S Gauge market and that probably won't change.  When some new products do come out in S Scale the best you can do is support the producer and buy them. 

Oh boy, yet another platitude...

The 15% number has been tossed around for as long as the 30+ years I've been in S.  It's nothing new.  Yet, somehow during it's lifetime S Helper Service managed to inject excitement and new products every year suitable for both the scale side and the Flyer/Hirail side.  AM, although not as aggressive as SHS was in releasing new products, also manages to sell successfully to both markets.  This fact seems to escape the thinking at both Lionel and MTH.

There has to be S Scale products available to purchase to entice the Scale Guys...  Not warmed-over Gilbert Flyer or re-purposed O27.  The Flyer wood reefer duplicates the SHS/MTH reefer, (only not as detailed and costs more.)   While the 40' waffle side boxcar has possibilities, but is such an odd duck few Scalers are interested in it.

Scalers were looking forward to the 57' mechanical reefer, but Lionel pulled the rug out from under that one.  Had Lionel not screwed up the trucks on the cylindrical hopper and done more "real" roadnames and not all those silly NS fantasy paint jobs, they would have gotten a better reception from the scale side.  (I guess it's the Scale Guy's fault for not snapping them all up...)  I've converted 4 cylindrical hoppers to scale, BTW...

As stated earlier, something like the upcoming Legacy Berkshire is useless to a Scale Guy if there's no way to convert it to scale wheels (and it's a little more involved that attacking the flanges with a file...)

If Lionel were to start seriously duplicating some of their O Scale rolling stock in S, they would surely find a home on quite a few S Scaler's railroads.

Rusty

 

Bill, 

I was in Highrail singing the same tune as the scale guys.

Lack of new product is lack of new product, no matter what kind of wheels or couplers the model have.  Short of the Berkshire (and we can thank the Polar Express for that) none of the companies have come up with a new model locomotive since 2012 for steamers (Lionel Y3) and 2013 for desiel (Lionel ES44). Edit - I forgot about the RS11, a fine model, I think in 2015? But even then, when was AMs last new locomotive announced prior to that?

I get your attempt at being positive, but for many people that positivity lacks the perspective of the reality of what is going on with S. There IS justified pessimism here, after all, how else would anyone bring change to the situation without recognizing the situation needs change? I had a substantial amount of money into S, more than I’m willing to admit. Lionel, MTH and even AM (to a far lesser degree) were not willing to commit to me, and I wanted them to!  S will never be anything more than a nitch Gauge, built on the nostalgia of the post war Gilbert era.  Once that generation is completely gone S will fade into the sunset with them.

Lionel and MTH are taking substantial steps to try and keep O Gauge trains relevant to the next generation. All one has to do is look at the RTR catalog to see that.  Lights, new products representing modern equipment, various themes in modern and past pop culture, customizable equipment with pictures and messages, strong patriotic themed products and such a quick changing catalog of roadnames really show how hard the companies are working to keep the younger generation in trains. S is NOT getting the same life supporting attention that O is.  

I fought the idea that S was not going to be a prosperous endeavor into model railroading for me but it’s just not true. 

However, to the guys who look for nothing more than the Gilbert roots in their trains, more power to you! Run your trains and enjoy life.

Ben 

NASG&CASG

I guess the frustration for me is I have to deal with it and move on.  I just feel bad for the guys who have committed to S scale.  I love real trains, I love model trains of all scales.  Model railroading is a great hobby and I have met many wonderful folks thanks to it. We do not get rich making display cases for trains but I keep it going when possible.  I can relate to what the train companies go thru to some extent.  It is what it is.  I just like to provide my input in hopes it will help you guys.    I'll be selling my S items. I have just a few cars if anyone wants a deal.  They are all SHS rolling stock in mint condition.  Good luck gentleman and have fun with your trains.

Ignoring the lack of scale offerings, the traditional offerings are not getting any better.  I've harped on the woodside reefer issue before.  Even the Berk - can we get an SD40 already.  The Flyer guy in me will still buy traditional cars if the road names or even the colors appeal to me.  However, it would be nice to see a new, never before done, car every few years like the cylindrical hoppers (but not).  On the credit side of the ledger are the FC control and the extra road numbers that they have now started adding.  Menards figured that out pretty quickly.  

I think a lot of people in O three rail, certainly l,  have that feeling about HO...  I get in traiin catalogs better than those from luxury auto makers, and it is much a recyling. I go through them several times and find old history repeated.  No new prototypes, much only suited for 096 curves...same old same old..  There must not be enough of us for the market, either.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

I do feel bad for those who model in S scale and are not scratch builders. There is little new product and it is unlikely to improve on the future. Those who want models of modern prototypes are also dealing with a lack of options.

S high railers who model in the 1950's are in pretty good shape. MTH and AM offer a large variety of quality rolling stock, more than I could ever use on my layout. Lionel makes some rolling stock but the wheel gauge is 1/10" narrow and I am tired of regauging all of them, so I now only purchase engines from Lionel.

Spent the last hour running trains on my layout. There are 30 TMCC and Legacy engines on it. In a month I do not manage to run them all. Most of the TMCC engines are converted AM products. I have a Legacy Berkshire on order. The only engine I really still want is a detailed Legacy J3a Hudson. If Lionel does not announce one in the next year I will buy a used AM Dreyfus streamlined NYC Hudson, have it converted to TMCC and fan driven smoke and call it good.I bought 3 FlyerChief engines but never run them on my layout. I might if the Cab 2 could control them.

The decision to build a scale appearing layout but use .138 rail rather than .125 and .100 rail has proved to be the fortunate. Modeling the 1950's also helps a lot. I built the layout so I could run River Raisin engines but so far have not purchased any. I do not think the investment manufacturers will make in S will change much in the future but I am very happy with what I have now since I focus on and enjoy what I have rather than what those O gauge 3 railers have that we do not.

Tom

"There are a lot of guys in HO who do modern era.  If they had a quality offering in S and in a scale version, I'd bet they would switch."

And I'll bet they won't. The prototype engines and train cars of today are LONG. Seasoned modelers know that equates to needing large curves to look acceptable, to say nothing of the need for same for reliable tracking/coupling/etc.

Unless an HO modeler has a very generous space, they struggle to get large enough radii and such in order to reliably operate (or even handle) those long cars, to say nothing of the aesthetics of long equipment on too tight radii. No, I seriously doubt they will up size to S, which would significantly compound the issue.

In addition, the HO modeler of today is USED to quality engine performance (amazingly slow and smooth), factory installed sound/DCC, and more, plus a plethora of product to select from all at a price point that S scale mfg'ers simply can't match.

One is just not facing the reality of the situation if one thinks a meaningful amount of HO modelers would jump to S if S scale models of modern prototypes were offered.

Ain't happening.

Wish it were different for S scale, but as they say: Reality sucks.

Andre

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