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@rplst8 posted:

From what I understand, Andy is more in charge of the marketing aspects of MTH and the interfaces with the dealers and custom runs (generating artwork and what not). Rich is the one doing the day to day on the actual production runs.

It doesn't seem a whole lot different from the way they used to do business, or even how Lionel does business now. In the old paradigm, MTH made an announcement twice a year about what they would make. If there was no interest in a particular item (in the later years) they didn't produce it. However, in that announcement (catalog) they would have half a dozen road names.

Now, each dealer does a couple of road names each and it probably adds up to about the same number. Probably not as much as in the early to mid aughts, but probably also not much different that from just before the restructuring.

I don't think anyone really understand the process of developing new tooling or how much it costs. With as many new offerings that we've seen from other manufacturers... plastic... ...with road specific details... ...for a price not all that much higher than "large runs", I've come to the conclusion that most of what has been opined about on this forum with regard to the "cost" of new tooling is a bunch of conjecture and guessing.

There's also been a lot of conjecture about what tooling MTH has left, and statements like "much of the Premier line was sold to Atlas and Lionel" is not known to be 100% true either.

I suspect that MTH has retained more of it's tooling than one would think - just due to the overwhelming and massive amount of models it has released over the years.  All of the PRR, NH, Milwaukee, and GN electrics, many Alco diesels and other early diesel era switchers, and the steam tooling. We've definitely seen a few, pop up, but so many more that haven't yet. And untold amounts of rolling stock. And no one, no one, has leaked the details of what was purchased.

There isn't any homework to do! Here are the facts:

  1. MTH and Atlas jointly announced the sale of a modest selection of Premier tooling to Atlas a couple of years ago. Along with that announcement, they released a specific listing of the models they purchased. They've since announced a joint licensing agreement on the tools they each own, for each to better produce matching sets of things.
  2. Lionel said it bought "some select tooling from MTH that complimented their existing tooling." No details on what specifically that meant. No list was given, and any statement on what they got or didn't get is hearsay unless you are recanting what they already released in a catalog, which isn't that reliable because they slap "All new product" on almost everything in there.
  3. No one can even dream to know about what the current version of MTH might be cooking up. It's a free market, and with the recent quality issues and massive price increases from the big L, there is definitely room in the market for some version of better.

This reads like an accusation... so please enlighten us.

Huh? That’s an interesting take. I’m saying MTH is doing a good job of using its remaining tooling to maintain an ongoing business. Accusation? Is this how you interpret positive comments? Maybe, because you have misinterpreted all kinds of information by company officials and the industry.

Many folks involved in actual tooling in China have posted information. You can learn from them. Your response is pure supposition not based on facts and lack of information.

As for the current market and this supposed opportunity that you think opens the door to MTH again, Scott Mann just posted a detailed summary of his involvement with 3rd Rail, including a comparison of the 1990s with today. It’s a frank and revealing insight on the market, which has shrunk to a fraction of what it was. Here it is:

MTH hasn’t produced any newly tooled items in years. They still retain plenty of RailKing tooling and some Premier tooling. But very little is being used. What does that tell you? To me, it suggests MTH is using what’s marketable, knowing that prime tooling was already sold (and has been featured by Atlas and Lionel).

Your entire response concerning MTH as an ongoing business is also based on supposition. MTH moved out of its office complex and warehouses, sold off its parts business, sold tooling to Lionel and Atlas, and tried to sell the remainder of the business, though unsuccessfully. So the employees who remained worked creatively to keep the business going — but never implying MTH would reinvest in a tight market. Any speculation about such an investment isn’t based on fact in any way.

The most important takeaway is that you haven’t proven any of your conjectures. To anyone involved in the industry, it’s crystal clear what MTH is doing. And doing well. Given the tough spell MTH ran into about 20 years ago, I understand the company’s approach now. Like most everyone else here, I wish there was a true hope of new locomotives and more from MTH. But I’m not going to twist facts to support my hopes.

1.  Atlas Premier or Master Theater/Inspection passenger cars in 18" length with figures.  NS, CPKC, UP, AMTRAK, BNSF, CSX, CONRAIL, CN provide a number of road names to build.  Unfortunately, it likely requires new tooling but these cars are significant officer cars missing in the former MTH / now Atlas Premier passenger car consist catalog.

Railroad Theater Cars

2.  BNSF Business cars/train with plated finish in 18" length.

Atlas has the MTH Premier tooling for passenger cars now.  These suggestions would be new models as MTH never built them in their Premier line.

Last edited by RidgeRunner

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