S Gauge news

From a reputable source I heard that Lionel senior management wants to cater to younger potential customers and cut back on high end products.  I understand the drive for younger customers, but not at the expense of established customers.

Also heard not to expect much from MTH, nothing beyond that.

To me is't starting to feel like the manufacturers are abandoning S, when this could be a period of growth for them.

Original Post

Why do you think that this is a period of growth for S?  There is nothing in the wind to support that.  I think we are lucky if we are maintaining in S.

Most people in S usually complain about price.  I think people are happy with Flyerchief products because its price is lower than Legacy's higher price.  In my club of 34 people most only buy Gilbert Flyer.  Only about 6 have Legacy and I am one..  Now about a dozen have bought Flyerchief engines.  I have bought 5 of the Flyerchief.  

If lower price makes a difference to get people into the hobby and most in the hobby want lower priced products I think the high end people will only get a new Legacy product now and then.  Too bad, but I would rather have Lionel put new tooling money into what most people want.   

 

Francine posted:

From a reputable source I heard that Lionel senior management wants to cater to younger potential customers and cut back on high end products.  I understand the drive for younger customers, but not at the expense of established customers.

Also heard not to expect much from MTH, nothing beyond that.

To me is't starting to feel like the manufacturers are abandoning S, when this could be a period of growth for them.

MTH really hasn't abandoned S because they never seriously got in.  I stopped believing MTH would get serious about S after the way they handled the delays, shipping slips and erratic release of the F3's.  Plus after the TOFC cars in 2016, they never released any else from the SHS tooling.   Plus, I think they still owe Badgerland some reefers from several years ago.  So MTH is sorta off my list.

I had hopes MTH and Lionel would engage in some S competition, but MTH surrendered early.

If Lionel want's to go with traditional style Flyer and FlyerChief that's fine with me, but I'm not in the market.  As far as scale or Legacy, well I'm SD70 and ES44'd out.  Fine locomotives to be sure, but as contemporary is mostly a curiosity for me, they're snug in their boxes, waiting for a time when the "modern bug" bites again.  I plan on a new cylindrical hopper or two mainly to evaluate the new trucks. 

I'll admit I had fun testing some FlyerChief locomotives, but traditional style Flyer is not in my current interest, but it may help Flyer hang on for decade or so.  The Berks aren't bad, but the big turn off for me is the molded on handrails.  If another FlyerChief steam locomotive is developed with wire handrails, I'd give it a serious look.

And all bets are off if Lionel goes through yet another management change...

Rusty

I think I was misunderstood, by low end, they mean entry level train sets like in the late 60s.  Flyer chief would be mid range with legacy being hi end.

I also said this should be a great time for manufacturers to expand S, but they are risk averse, so S is close to foundering.

Brendan posted:

I think their re-entry into HO is a sign that they see money in lower cost starter sets.  They don't seem to be targeting the scale crowd in that arena.  

Brendan  

I'm not sure what's happening with Lionel HO.  The HO Polar Express landed with a thud.  They've cataloged three similar HOChief (along with a new PE)  sets with (incompatible magnetic) track, power and controller, but none have hit the streets yet.  They MSRP out at $360, which doesn't seem "low cost" to my wallet and also costs more than some of the typical O gauge FlyerChief sets.   As to Lionel acquiring Mantua, nobody knows what that will bring.  It wasn't exactly going gangbusters under MRC.  I'm sure Lionel would like to cram the HOChief electronics into the Mantua stuff, which may prove difficult in current its form.

Francine posted:

I think I was misunderstood, by low end, they mean entry level train sets like in the late 60s.  Flyer chief would be mid range with legacy being hi end.

I also said this should be a great time for manufacturers to expand S, but they are risk averse, so S is close to foundering.

I dunno, the FlyerChief docksider set MSRP'd for $330.  I don't see how you'd get much lower than that unless things were cheapened considerably like molded in color cars, plastic trucks and minimal decorations.  (Similar to the old Pikemaster line, and that didn't save Gilbert.)  Yanking out the F/C could save a couple of bucks, but Lionel likes to push their technology.

Rusty

jonnyspeed posted:

It's so frustrating not to be able to buy new products in one's favorite scale. I hate the feeling of being "forced" to other scales. That's modern day model railroading though. 

Too true.  In HO & O you choose what you want to model, in S, it chooses for you.

Brendan

I used to refer to S as "An Acquired Taste."

2009-2010 was the pinnacle of S, especially when viewed the scale side.

However even before Sanda Kan pulled the rug out from under quite a few model train manufacturers (particularly S-Helper service,) there still wasn't the variety of locomotives and rolling stock and availability in S in general that O , HO and N enjoy, either then or now.

Rusty

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