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From Facebook.

Micheal Ostertag has been in contact with Shane Wilson of Scale Trains:

"Ok so I am going to keep this very simple. I have been asked by Shane Wilson at Scale Trains to get a guage on what they might do first. Here is the deal and it is very simple. It has to be something that MTH currently offered or something SHS has offered in the past that they may have the molds for. NOTHING NEW!"

Well, now we know Scale Trains' intentions for the launch of S products under their banner.

Should come as no surprise.

Not mentioned at this time is HiRail/Scale options.  I assume that will come later in the discussions.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque
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As you you say, should be no surprise. I assumed everyone knew that they bought tooling to produce what that tooling can produce, not to start investing in design and production of other models unrelated to this tooling.  Unless a survey is for selecting among the tooling they own, I believe it would only build reluctance about S.  A wide open wish list survey or even emails to them of this nature would just demonstrate the scattergram of desires that I regularly see on all of the eight S scale forums on which I participate. That certainly would not motivate me to invest in advancing an S project when I have new steam loco and other tooling to play with in an HO market that is at least 50X bigger.  I even saw a suggestion elsewhere that such a survey should include track related items and structures!?!  Not only have they have never made either in the massive HO market, they didn't buy any structure tooling.

On a related note, I will not be running a survey, but I have the opportunity to send my recommendations to Scaletrains mgmt. for which tooling they should fire up for their first releases.

So feel free to post your thoughts here (hope you don't mind doing this on your thread Rusty). Let's make the assumption that the SHS approach with regard to wheels, couplers, power and controls (except obviously the Locomatic) will be followed.

I'll start with my views:

1) if they have the tooling for the E7 that was never produced, I think that should be first. I think this would be incredibly exciting for S.

2) Consolidations - these still regularly command $500 even for the non DCC ones and sell fast.

Bottom of the list - Billboard Reefers. SHS made 34,000 of them, far more than any of their other models. Then MTH made more.  Ebay is regular full of both SHS and MTH reefers.  Then L-AF piled on with more in recent years.

@Chuck K posted:

So feel free to post your thoughts here (hope you don't mind doing this on your thread Rusty).

No problem, that's why I started a new thread.

Anyhow, I think the E7 and bay window cabooses were in the design phase and no tooling was cut.  I remember Don Thompson saying something about not having the pilot drawings for the E7.

I'm not going to push for locomotives yet, because those will require the most work to reintroduce.

My personal choice: The 3 bay PS-2 covered hopper.  There's a lot of potential with those.  I mentioned in another thread that AHM offered 15 different ones back in the 60's and none were "fantasy."

The market is flooded with the two bay PS-2's, along with the aforementioned billboard reefers.

Given on how well the fishbelly hopper was received, it might be a good idea for more of those.  I understand B&O and N&W sold out quickly.  An additional 3-4 numbers for those would be good.

Otherwise, the place to start looking is what MTH didn't make from SHS tooling.

There's 4 versions of the open 2 bay hoppers (ribbed side, panel side, offset, composite) and one ribbed covered that MTH didn't get around to.  However, it's reported the car end tooling for those is missing.

Also MTH never got around to the outside braced boxcars, double sheathed boxcars and stock cars, along with standard flats and bulkhead flats.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

The first advice I would give Scale Trains is to recognize those who use the Facebook site are at most 20% of their potential purchasers. They need to also post on and read both the OGR and MTH sites.

ST should make Cabooses from the MTH tooling in an assortment of roadnames. If they are up for it, make The MTH turnout in wide radius. It was designed but never produced. I agree with the 2-8-0 and the E7.

@AmFlyer posted:

The first advice I would give Scale Trains is to recognize those who use the Facebook site are at most 20% of their potential purchasers. They need to also post on and read both the OGR and MTH sites.

That was just the medium that Mike Ostertag chose to generate some data for his response to Scaletrains. Scaletrains wasn't involved in the solicitation.

Start small. A boxcar, something like that.

NO WAY they need to start in on the sizable investment it will take to get a locomotive out the door.

No, IMHO, they need to keep the start up costs DOWN and get a simple product to market quickly so as to build confidence among those in the S market that Scale Trains is indeed going to go places with their S scale line, as well as get a feel for production numbers.

So, again, IMHO: Whatever could be produced the quickest and cheapest in a new road name never before offered would be the way to go.

I can't help but feel it would be VERY encouraging to the S market to see product being shipped.

Just my thoughts.

Andre

@laming posted:

Start small. A boxcar, something like that.

NO WAY they need to start in on the sizable investment it will take to get a locomotive out the door.

No, IMHO, they need to keep the start up costs DOWN and get a simple product to market quickly so as to build confidence among those in the S market that Scale Trains is indeed going to go places with their S scale line, as well as get a feel for production numbers.

So, again, IMHO: Whatever could be produced the quickest and cheapest in a new road name never before offered would be the way to go.

I can't help but feel it would be VERY encouraging to the S market to see product being shipped.

Just my thoughts.

Andre

I agree with Andre, use the tooling for whatever is quickest -- though not necessarily cheapest.  If you have tooling the is ready to go, use that.  My guess, like Rusty, is the fishbelly hopper would be among the quickest and easiest to get running.  If the existing paint masks are useable, go with that for the first run.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Single and Double Sheathed Boxcars.

The original road offerings were pretty limited, they pair period-wise with all the Reefers, and when they are ready, they go with the 2-8-0 which everyone agrees should be the first locomotive.

Id buy a ton to get an assortment of roads I like - Frisco, MKT, MoPac,  Rock Island, Rio Grande, etc.  From SHS, the ATSF are impossible to find. 

Last edited by Jacobpaul81
@Jacobpaul81 posted:

Single and Double Sheathed Boxcars.

The original road offerings were pretty limited, they pair period-wise with all the Reefers, and when they are ready, they go with the 2-8-0 which everyone agrees should be the first locomotive.



Somebody help me with this, but didn't I see the 2-8-0 needs, or should be, retooled because it was too fragile?  Or something along those lines...

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

I second Rusty's list and would add it might be a good idea when the time comes for ST to review what was cancelled and not produced from the 2019-20 MTH S catalog. For example, the extended vision caboose is still in demand and appears to be cancelled on the MTH website. Also, will the F7s, NW2s, and SW8s in the catalog ever be produced....

Mike

@Tom Stoltz posted:

Somebody help me with this, but didn't I see the 2-8-0 needs, or should be, retooled because it was too fragile?  Or something along those lines...

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

The 2-8-0 is a complicated locomotive to assemble with close tolerances.  I think MTH was looking to simplify its construction.  It will likely be the last on Scale Trains list to make. (IMO)

@Flyer 52 posted:

I second Rusty's list and would add it might be a good idea when the time comes for ST to review what was cancelled and not produced from the 2019-20 MTH S catalog. For example, the extended vision caboose is still in demand and appears to be cancelled on the MTH website. Also, will the F7s, NW2s, and SW8s in the catalog ever be produced....

Mike

The F7's are still a go last I heard.  As I recall, the CSX "Safety First" NW2's and EMD Demo SW8's were cancelled, along with all the boxcars and EV cabooses.

Rusty

From the S scale io forum:

"Live Q&A with ScaleTrains.com
Next Thursday, we’ll be live on our YouTube Channel at 8PM EST to host
a Q&A session with our subscribers. If you’ve ever wanted to ask us a
question about our models, how model trains are made, or what the
future holds for the company - this is the perfect opportunity.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to receive a notification when we go
live next Thursday."

I'm assuming February 11.

Rusty

@AmFlyer posted:

The first advice I would give Scale Trains is to recognize those who use the Facebook site are at most 20% of their potential purchasers. They need to also post on and read both the OGR and MTH sites.

There are roughly 2000 people on the S scale FB board. I'd be willing to bet that's more than 20% of S modelers. I doubt there are that many people here. Michael is a pretty well known Youtube Modeler and took the opportunity to reach out to Shane. That's why it was brought up over there.

Anyone that wants their opinion heard can email them at ideas@scaletrains.com. He discussed that on tonight's Youtube Live stream. I know a lot of people don't like Youtube and Facebook, but that is the way ST communicates with their customers so...

I watched the presentation after the fact.  Quite frankly, I forgot about it being preoccupied with other things.

Anyway:  The presentation lasted about an hour and twenty minutes.  Not much was said about S.  To be expected as they still have to sort through the MTH stuff.

However, Shane mentioned their first release will be a freight car.  Notice: singular.  And he didn't indicate which one.  I don't think Scale Trains is set up to release a catalog-full like Lionel and MTH.

Possibly a locomotive will follow.  No time frame was given.  I noticed on the sidebar that only one S Scale question was asked, and that was about F-units in C&NW.  Not answered, likely because it was too specific for these early days.

No mention of the Scale/HiRail/Flyer conundrum.  I'm sure that's still something to be sorted out.

I noticed Shane mentioned several times that MTH locomotives have to be modified for their boards and motors.  While this was in reference to MTH HO, I would presume it also applies to S.

Any former MTH product releases will likely be near the end of 2021.

And as Jonathan has mentioned above, suggestions can be sent to ideas@scaletrains.com

------------------------------------------------------

Some tidbits I picked up on in general:

Scale Trains almost went belly up several times in their short life.

They were approached by interested modelers to make and S Scale locomotive and another group for an O Scale locomotive.  They will willing to work with both groups, but financing fell through for both times.

Undecorated models have low sales vs. labor costs.

Unnumbered models with decal numbers also have low sales and they get stuck with a lot of decals.

Scale Trains is willing to work with any brick and mortar hobby shop.  They do request the store carry a minimum of 6 locomotives and 12 freight cars.  It's not limited to 6 and 12 of one kind, it can be a mixture of products within the category.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

Rusty, thanks for the call summary. Not surprising ST was unable/unwilling to comment or speculate on S scale product plans. I thought from the initial announcement ST would prioritize getting new HO steam engine models into the market and S would be the lowest priority.

Jonathan, 2,000 registered participants at the FB site would certainly exceed the numbers of S gaugers using this forum.

@AmFlyer posted:

Jonathan, 2,000 registered participants at the FB site would certainly exceed the numbers of S gaugers using this forum.

That is a good question (well, not really a question).  So how many people are on the S-Scale.io, on the OGF, etc?  2,000 sounds like a lot to me.  On FB, is it a mix of Flyer, Hi-rail, and scale?  I really wish some day we could get an idea of how many people there are in S.  How do they get along on FB?  The scale .io is moderated a bit heavy-handed -- unless you are a true scale person.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

@Tom Stoltz posted:

I really wish some day we could get an idea of how many people there are in S.

Tom Stoltz

A difficult question, yet I suspect the manufacturers like AM, Lionel and MTH would have a good feel for the ratio of sales for the two different sub groups.

Problem is that they are not going to share any data, so it will be for most of us a best guess based on old historical assumptions.

Another source of data would be from the dealers on new items, parts dealers for AF parts but again getting this data is nigh impossible.

@Tom Stoltz posted:

That is a good question (well, not really a question).  So how many people are on the S-Scale.io, on the OGF, etc?  2,000 sounds like a lot to me.  On FB, is it a mix of Flyer, Hi-rail, and scale?  I really wish some day we could get an idea of how many people there are in S.  How do they get along on FB?  The scale .io is moderated a bit heavy-handed -- unless you are a true scale person.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

I find membership numbers can be a misleading indicator.  While they may show an interest, how many are active in S and how many are simply inactive followers?  It doesn't really matter which online group someone belongs to, it seems the same handful of folks are the ones providing most of the content.

Even the NASG doesn't have every single S enthusiast in their clutches.

Plus, now that there are two Facebook S Scale groups (one is more "scale" than the other)  I see duplicate and sometimes triplicate postings (if you include .io) appearing.  Again, mostly by the same folks.

But, no matter.  The ratio (80/20 or 85/15 depending on who you talk to) of Flyer/HiRail to Scale has remained pretty constant over the 30+ years I've been in S.  Assuming that Scale Trains understands that, they will be ahead of the game.  It will be interesting to see what approach Scale Trains takes.

Rusty

Following on Rusty's comments, what matters most to Scale Trains is how many people will be active purchasers of their new S scale products. Active posters on a S Forum are not a reliable indicator. There are many people who post but either purchase nothing or just the occasional old Gilbert item for their collection or layout. I think partitioning this group out of the high railer pool brings the scale vs high rail closer in percentages.

As a member of the high rail group that spends an excessive amount of money buying new trains each year (a direct quote from my wife), I hope SC can design the engines and their power train arrangement to facilitate retrofitting the old tech and large, TMCC/Railsounds and cruise control boards into a DC only version. If they cannot be easily converted then I will not purchase any. For me, scale wheels and large radius requirements are fine.

@AmFlyer posted:

Following on Rusty's comments, what matters most to Scale Trains is how many people will be active purchasers of their new S scale products. Active posters on a S Forum are not a reliable indicator. There are many people who post but either purchase nothing or just the occasional old Gilbert item for their collection or layout. I think partitioning this group out of the high railer pool brings the scale vs high rail closer in percentages.

As a member of the high rail group that spends an excessive amount of money buying new trains each year (a direct quote from my wife), I hope SC can design the engines and their power train arrangement to facilitate retrofitting the old tech and large, TMCC/Railsounds and cruise control boards into a DC only version. If they cannot be easily converted then I will not purchase any. For me, scale wheels and large radius requirements are fine.

I would imagine at best, there would be conventional DC versions with a DCC plug.  That's how they do it in HO.

Rusty

@AmFlyer posted:

The electrical is usually easy. It is the physical space and arrangement of the drives. When the AM RS11 came out the only way to convert it was a complete disassembly, milling the chassis then rebuilding it. Not up for that anymore. ST needs to consider where the motors are to leave space for the boards and speaker.

My guess would be they will consider the space for DCC and speaker.  Anything else is outside mainstream of model railroading.  Remember Lionel is a proprietary and not part of the club.  Sorry to be a wet blanket.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

@AmFlyer posted:

The electrical is usually easy. It is the physical space and arrangement of the drives. When the AM RS11 came out the only way to convert it was a complete disassembly, milling the chassis then rebuilding it. Not up for that anymore. ST needs to consider where the motors are to leave space for the boards and speaker.

Well, there's not a lot of available space in the F-units.  This is the MTH F3 with DCS.  The cab bulkhead indicates where the roof line is:

MTH F3 AT&SF 040217 001

MTH F3 AT&SF 040217 003

There's a motor in there somewhere...  It's partially visible when the fuel tank is removed.  The speaker is mounted under the roof on both MTH and SHS and takes up part of the space above the rear truck.

The EMD switchers have even less room.

Rusty

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Last edited by Rusty Traque

MTH did a good job redesigning the F to fit in DCS. They even managed to fit in a control station, an engineer and a fireman. The DCS system seems to be more compact than the current TMCC, Railsounds and Cruise Commander boards. The motor location must be low and centered, that likely was key to getting it all in the F.

Tom, I am fully with you, I just hope they do not lock into a physical arrangement that makes a retrofit harder than necessary.

@AmFlyer posted:

MTH did a good job redesigning the F to fit in DCS. They even managed to fit in a control station, an engineer and a fireman. The DCS system seems to be more compact than the current TMCC, Railsounds and Cruise Commander boards. The motor location must be low and centered, that likely was key to getting it all in the F.

Tom, I am fully with you, I just hope they do not lock into a physical arrangement that makes a retrofit harder than necessary.

The basic "bones" of the SHS drive was unchanged.  The cab interior was already there, as is the low mounting of the motor.  I don't recall exactly what the SHS F-unit frame looked like, but it may have been taller in spots.

But, in SHS's time, there were 5 options available: Conventional DC, Conventional AC, DCC, DCC w/Sound and the departed and not lamented Loco-Matic AC w/Sound system, all easily swapped out thanks to the 8-pin standard socket.

Rusty

Well, there's not a lot of available space in the F-units.  This is the MTH F3 with DCS.  The cab bulkhead indicates where the roof line is:

MTH F3 AT&SF 040217 001

MTH F3 AT&SF 040217 003

There's a motor in there somewhere...  It's partially visible when the fuel tank is removed.  The speaker is mounted under the roof on both MTH and SHS and takes up part of the space above the rear truck.

The EMD switchers have even less room.

Rusty

Rusty, my question with the F-unit and space isl doesn't MTH suffer from the same problem that Lionel does?  That is, way more electronics than is really needed because of all the compatibility problems.  If you took out the MTH boards and just had DCC, and I  guess sound boards, would there be more room than the unit you show?

@AmFlyer posted:

MTH did a good job redesigning the F to fit in DCS. They even managed to fit in a control station, an engineer and a fireman. The DCS system seems to be more compact than the current TMCC, Railsounds and Cruise Commander boards. The motor location must be low and centered, that likely was key to getting it all in the F.

Tom, I am fully with you, I just hope they do not lock into a physical arrangement that makes a retrofit harder than necessary.

It might be hard enough to fit the DCC in there.  I have zero experience in this area though.

I just hope they don't go a scale route only... get rid of 80% of the market for some market that might be there in 20 years???

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

@Tom Stoltz posted:

Rusty, my question with the F-unit and space isl doesn't MTH suffer from the same problem that Lionel does?  That is, way more electronics than is really needed because of all the compatibility problems.  If you took out the MTH boards and just had DCC, and I  guess sound boards, would there be more room than the unit you show?

It might be hard enough to fit the DCC in there.  I have zero experience in this area though.

I just hope they don't go a scale route only... get rid of 80% of the market for some market that might be there in 20 years???

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Yep.  DCS is bulky by comparison to DCC.

I recall SHS used Soundtraxx Tsunami or Tsunami 2's for their DCC w/Sound locomotives.

Image:  Tsunami 2, Soundtraxx 1.4"x 0.7"x  0.24"

I haven't done any DCC/sound conversions on my locomotives, just added Lenz JST Gold DCC decoders, (Lenz has since left the US market.) which are about 5/8" square.  They were HO decoders but handle the load OK.

I've actually gotten pretty blasé about all this tech they're shoving into trains nowadays.  I'm not going to rip it out if it's factory installed, but I'm also not going to go out of my way installing it either.  The hi-tech stuff is neat, but not all that important to me.

My former railroad could run conventional DC or DCC at the flip of the block switches and I found myself operating my conventional stuff more than anything else.  I expect to do the same when I eventually get around to building a new railroad.

As far as how Scale Trains is going to market the SHS/MTH S products, we'll just have to wait and see.  I agree they would ignore the 80%-85% at their peril, I don't see swarms of shiny new S Scalers rushing in for essentially rebranded Showcase Line rolling stock.

Rusty

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Last edited by Rusty Traque

Tom wondered:

"It might be hard enough to fit the DCC in there.  I have zero experience in this area though."

DCC is far less bulky than Mike's ponderous DCS modules.

In the video below, this is my HO scale Kato NW2. (Maybe 5" long?) It is equipped with a full featured (like 40 or so horns/etc) Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 decoder, a speaker, and a "keep alive" circuit... all contained within the tiny (by S scale standards) inside compartment within a Kato HO scale NW2.

I was shocked at how MTH was having problems miniaturizing their DCS system so the modules could fit inside an S scale F unit locomotive. Ridiculous. Must have been a really poor design, or an example as to how it complicates circuit board circuitry in the attempt to retain proprietary content and yet be compatible with the competition's proprietary content. Such a deplorable state O scale is in with two separate systems that were constantly at war with one another. (And MTH tried to bring that same mentality into the HO and S scale segment.)

DCC was/is the biggest leap forward to come along for model trains since my involvement in model railroading. It is wonderful to be able to replicate prototype moves without regards to the old toggle/rotary constraints as well as purchase engines equipped with decoders of various mfg'ers and yet my NCE DCC system can communicate with all of them. (They can even be MU consisted together!)

We 2-rail model railroaders never had it so good.

Andre

I would imagine at best, there would be conventional DC versions with a DCC plug.  That's how they do it in HO.

Rusty

This is what I would like to see, if I could acquire the locomotive in dc and not have to throw away MTHs electronics and add TMCC mini-2 , even without sound,  that would make me more likely to purchase them. I suggested that to MTH, they just blew it off.

I wonder if I will be around when they do an engine.

Ray

Like Andre and Rusty said, maybe Scale Trains will start out its S-Gauge line like Lionel did in 1979/80 when they tested the waters with some old AF rolling stock designs in new livery after Gilbert AF had been gone for well over 20 years:

A959F7EF-01D4-4671-81CC-C5201078E46B2CE1FDB9-1BB1-4DF6-AB05-DF86AE54C2012C1CF081-2E79-41B0-A7E7-30C9F8AEFC0BF6849E12-D9BD-458F-841F-1A05515B5115AFF1CA92-6463-41C8-97F0-87041CF1F1B3(Photos courtesy of the Gilbert Gallery)

After 23 years, I was excited that AF was back on the rails, but I was disappointed when my local hobby shop owner and Lionel dealer reported that he would not be getting the cars I ordered because the entire run had been snapped up by the “big dealers.”

In whatever way Scale Trains chooses to continue down the path opened by Lionel over 40 years ago and further cleared by AM and SHS (with a little help from MTH), we need them, and I wish them well.

And Chuck K., if you are keeping track of our wish list, please add my perennial choice in such surveys, a GE 44-Tonner.  Make mine AF compatible/Hi-Rail.

Cheers!

Alan

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