Does Athearn have something against N scale?

Logtrain Feb 26, 2013

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    8,948
    3,119
    133
    I don't think Athearn or for that matter anybody who has produced N scale has thrown in the towel. It is simply a matter of putting your effort into where the money is particularly now given the economics of the past 8 years or so. HO has always offered more variety than N scale thus continues to be more popular.
    Try finding a Forney, Class B Climax, or a 2-8-8-4 in N scale as examples. As far as finding what I want in N scale that is basically my fault for the choice of roads I decided to model. If I had decided to model one of the more popular and seemingly mass produced roads like UP, BNSF, or CSX I would have most of what I want in my era. The roads I did decide to model do have a fairly good representation in HO scale they just don't in N scale because the modeler numbers are just not there in this scale. Even the SP&S is fairly well represented in both steam and diesel in HO scale and the SP&S group I belong to have at most five members out of several hundred that are N scale. So I would say that Athearns limited N scale releases and purported re-releases is basically staying where there will be a fairly guaranteed return on the investment.
     
  2. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,916
    800
    100
    Jeff,

    I couldn't agree more.

    What I'd like to see is Athearn filling the market with products like they used to do. Great! First timers equipment and easy, as in inexpensive to acquire. Make no mistake they can keep their Genesis line, and continue to produce their first class products....no objection here. However, and this is what disses me off to no end. Parts? Whatever happened to the parts list with graphics and NEVER MIND the availability of parts and replacement shells. Just try to order them.

    Sorry I don't mean to dog a company that made it possible for this youngster to enjoy model railroading. Not to crazy about the changes I see. Not at all! With regard to today's Athearn...NOT a happy camper, this one.:angry:

    Just in case you missed what Jeff said:

    Just an observation: At the last Roundhouse Gang Swapmeet it was reported to me, by friends that went. There was more N Scale stuff then anything else available. Good news for some bad news for others. Question: Are there those of us baby boomers selling off the N scale due to optical and handling disabilities? If so, I doubt this will hurt the overall market as they will most likely replace their equipment with HO or larger components. Downside, we senior types won't be contributing much to purchasing new equipment due to budget restraints. The hobby will indeed be moving to the younger set coming in behind us. I never thought I'd hear me say that.

    Athearn, will do what the New Owner, CEO's and Executives want it to do. Never mind the customer. Grin!
     
  3. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

    1,113
    317
    24
    Quite being so pessimistic folks!
    Take a glance over your shoulder and see how far N scale has come in the last 10-15 years!

    For example take DCC. When it was first introduced to N scale, we had only had a handful of chips that had to be hardwired with little or no lighting or motor options. Now we have several with sound and at least one Plug-N-Play chip! All of which can control the motors better than any of the first ones ever could.
    Also look at some of the rolling stock, Exactrail's Waffle Box and BLMA's inter-model cars. Both are very nicely detailed cars that rivals most HO cars.

    There are probably several reasons why N scale has been put on the back burner; The economy and the China Syndrome just to name a few. If I was a manufacturer in these economic times, I'd go where the money is just to keep my a$$ afloat!

    HO has always been more widely accepted than N scale has been, but how long did it take HO to become more popular than O scale?
    N scalers are a hungry crowd, someone will step up to the plate eventually, just like ExactRail, BLMA, IMRC and others have done.

    Until then, why don't we just play with what we have and be happy we have what we have?
    We also need to quit bashing the manufactures, if you keep poking the pig, all your going to do is piss it off! But we need to make our voices heard.
     
  4. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

    1,170
    15
    30
    Hey, I'm not pessimistic and you and I are saying about the same thing. I bet if we look back at all MRR, there have been slow but constant change in our suppliers. Where is Varney, Tyco, etc.? Gone in favor of better competitors.

    That is not to say that we should all not have an interest in what it means when a big company we know downscales (at least temporarily) its N scale production. There could be a fundamental sea change in the MRR market signaled, or it could just be inevitable change. IF N scale has stopped its growth, for instance, or even reversed it, that will show up in product availability, so it is always intersesting to hear of tidbits suggesting the relative and absolute health of the industry.

    Someone posted the wholesale numbers from the HIAA a while back. If I recall correctly, total wholesale volume has been holding steady at about $420Mil over the last four to five years, which ain't bad in that economy. We would hope it would grow now. And, we hope that the steady growth occurs in certain ways - more new youngblood modelers buying more, rather than a few old coots who can afford it buying less, but more expensive items. The latter is sort of a dead end for the hobby in more ways than one!

    But, overall, guys like Charlie Vlk are optimistic about the future of MRR and therefore, so am I!
     
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,916
    800
    100
    LOL Oh, gosh. Don't take this personally.

    I hope to piss off this pig. I'd like to see Athearn get back on track. I don't care what gauge or scale they provide.

    Ahh, not my place to say but did you just contradict yourself?

    Just using my voice of dissent to identifiy a problem.
     
  6. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    2,290
    134
    37
    I hope to be that guy one day! :)
     
  7. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

    1,170
    15
    30
    Based on the actions of my 89 year old mother, who is actually still pretty sharp, I think you could create a pretty funny comedy bit about operating with an 87 year old guy as one of the operators! It could be gentle, but I suspect older gents would be more prone to forgetting just where they left that local in the siding, or for that matter, where they left the box of trains they brought to run.

    That said, all in good fun. I hope to be that guy, and not even be the oldest guy in the club!

    I hope he has honorary status and free dues.
     
  8. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    2,290
    134
    37
    Well once upon a time, Athearn was like those aforementioned companies. I told BLMA's Craig Martyn that he's the 21st Century Irv Athearn (both started their respective companies as young dudes from Southern California). After Irv died, today's Athearn is really Athearn In Name Only; it's really Horizon Hobby. The old Athearn used to make their products right here in my backyard, now the overseas shipping containers just get unloaded here. Horizon is a relatively large company that abides by the corporate bottom line.

    Though ironically, Irv Athearn was quoted as saying that he would never do N scale...it was Horizon's idea to have the Athearn N line. So I can't really fault Horizon for everything.
     
  9. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

    1,152
    95
    28
    After reading this whole thread, here is a synopsis for those who don't want to read the whole thing:

    Athearn makes outdated crap nobody buys. Why doesn't Athearn make more stuff?

    Huh?
     
  10. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

    1,113
    317
    24
    So am I Jeff!

    Rick, I'm not taking anything personal! I just get tired of hearing negative waves!

    [video=youtube_share;fIQPkCR4E6k]http://youtu.be/fIQPkCR4E6k[/video]

    Contradict myself? probably, I'm not a master of the written word. LOL!
     
  11. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    5,378
    1,314
    83
    You N-scale guys...Sheesh. :)

    Just yesterday, I was complaining that Athearn isn't even putting money into their standard HO line any more. Part of that may be lingering production problems in China, but in general, for engines anyway, they only build $200 regular, $300 with sound Genesis units. The $90-$130 RTR line has seen nothing added in a while.

    If that's all they're building in HO, their bread and butter, why would they do anything in N?

    This is about economics. The current times are such that there are very few people in the "middle income" market. The people who used to dominate this hobby. There are those of use that can afford Bachman and those of us that can afford $300 Genesis. So that's what the big guys cater to.

    I know I for one watch every penny. I don't think I've bought a brand new (meaning recent manufacture) locomotive from anyone in maybe a Decade. I know many like me.
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    59,933
    4,482
    600
    Most certainly I am not being pessimistic. Rather, I get tired of the downturn in N, downturn in the hobby talk. It does no good for any of us, at all. In fact, it most likely causes damage. We really cannot speak to health of the hobby, until world economics come back to the high point known now some years ago. When once again disposable income is back to where it was, then we might be able to look at discretionary spending habits, and see if people have drifted away. Until then, the picture will be at best cloudy, if not misleading altogether. Meanwhile, N scale has come so far it is astounding. Can we look at that, and dream of more to come, including our wish list items? Certainly! Good grief, I have said it too many times before- Every day people are joining TrainBoard, newbies a-plenty, plus many, many who are returning to this pastime. And those returnees as some might incorrectly assume, are not just seniors, but folks from their late teens and up!
     
  13. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

    281
    5
    20
    YES!............ :)
     
  14. Pie39

    Pie39 TrainBoard Member

    226
    86
    10
    Well, it seems Walthers is in that boat too. But I must admit, I really love their Difco dump cars!
     
  15. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    2,290
    134
    37
    Has Walthers made any real contribution to N scale, besides structures?

    Okay, perhaps the first intermodal well cars (that were way too high and had those insipid Rapido couplers on them) and intermodal containers (with the same 8 paint schemes that they don't care to expand on, unlike their HO counterparts).

    I think Walthers released a few N scale locos. I looked at them and laughed.

    I'd be disappointed if Athearn dropped N scale. If Walthers did, I wouldn't really care.
     
  16. Logtrain

    Logtrain TrainBoard Member

    2,035
    17
    33
    My only beef with Walthers is their undec locos. For the life of me I cant figure out why, if you are producing an undec model, you would glue the handrails, numberboards, and glass into the model. I just doesn't make sense to me.
     
  17. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    3,606
    321
    60
    Okay, here is my $.02 worth on why N scale hasn't grown. My theory is that a large part of it is that N scale has developed a Western bias. Look at the big manufacturers. Kato, Intermountain, Athearn and to some extent Fox Valley are tilted to the western roads. That is not to say they do not do any eastern roads but the majority of their products are western roads. So what is an Eastern modeler to do? Go with Atlas and/or Bachmann? There you will find a better ratio of East to West but not enough to offset the western bias. This is especially true in locomotives. Now add to this the fact that the majority of the population lives east of the Mississippi River. MR did a survey some years back evaluating cities based upon the number of people who were model railroaders. They listed the top 10 cities and most were in the East. Now this survey was not scale specific so it included those in HO and O as well as N,Z,G,S and the live steam gauges. But my point is that N scale can't be ignoring the East and let those people join the HO ranks. But that is what is happening. There is not one manufacturer that makes Pennsy steam in N scale. In HO there are four. Lots of Pennsy modelers where I live and I'd say that 90% of them are in HO where they can get the items they want. But it is not just the Pennsy. It is all eastern roads. How can Nscale grow as a scale when N scale choses to ignore a major market?

    I bought a HO PRR K4. It is made by Bachmann. Runs great. I am seriously considering joining the crowd.
     
  18. Pie39

    Pie39 TrainBoard Member

    226
    86
    10
    That's why I model Amtrak. It's everywhere. :wideeyes:
     
  19. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

    1,354
    17
    28
    Uhhh. Threads like this drive me notts because there are so many half truths.
    1. Athearn is not leaving N scale. In fact, more new product will be arriving in the next few months than any time in Athearn's history.

    2. This new product is all the pent up anouncments made over an 14 month time span when Chinese production fell though.

    3. The shock to Athearn wasn't just looking their factory. It was a systemic colapse of several factories THEY HELPED BUILD, TRAIN and FUND. They lost time, money and experience much more so than any other company.

    4. Athearn is also sidelining their HO rolling stock and accessories too. Their goal right now is to build capital. That means HO and engines only for the next year or so.

    5. They will be releasing new schemes on previously tooled products like flat cars, box cars and vehicles. Just nothing new will be tooled for the time being.

    6. You need to purchase more! Thats all there is to it. And you need to purchase on the front end, not bottom feed on closeouts. If an HO car goes for $40 and the N scale version goes for $25, they need to sell us 1.5 cars per HO car sold just to be compeditive. Money will always change a company's mind.
     
  20. Jolly

    Jolly TrainBoard Member

    411
    68
    11
    I could be partly to blame, I only have 2 Athearn Locos and 5 cars.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page