TT scale?

ctxm Mar 13, 2008

  1. Mike Sheridan

    Mike Sheridan TrainBoard Member

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    I doubt it.
    N became popular because you can get 'more' real estate into the same house space than you can in H0 (or the same into less). Z is taking off for basically the same reason. Although that might have been true when first invented TT does not fulfill that criteria any more.

    It is a nice size (as is S) but I think it is simply too close to existing major scales to grab enough market share. (I remember the original TT many years ago, and also the appearance of N shortly after. I always assumed N killed TT.)

    So I can't see TT becoming a major scale except at the expense of pulling modellers from N and H0/00. Not many people can afford the money and space to keep two scales running, and I think those that do generally have a bigger size difference, such as H0 and N, or H0 and G/#1.
     
  2. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    Mike; It all depends on one's view of history. I've found more than one reference in my research (not that I could find them again) to the effect that N scale pushed out TT not so much because of size, but because of available Ready To Run products. Also, that TT survived in the nations of the former Soviet Union because of the availability of RTR products. In America the TT manufacturers were all kit makers, and virtually no RTR products were available. When N scale was introduced it was aggressively evangelized by marketers with plenty of RTR products.

    This thread (which I didn't start, by the way) bears out my research; numerous individuals have said they would be interested, or would have been when they started their layouts, if Ready To Run TT products had been available.

    The layout Real Estate aspect is only one issue. N scalers tend, for the most part, to be younger than HO scale modelers. There will come a day when aging N scalers may want something larger that they can see and handle with greater ease. They may not want to go all the way up to HO.
     
  3. ben scaro

    ben scaro TrainBoard Member

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    I think it’s a big jump to go from saying that a discussion on an Internet board indicates concrete interest. Particularly when a number of those discussing are saying that they looked at TT but decided to pass on it.

    To go on and say that this indicates there’s a market for TT product . . . well, Tillig tried that about ten years back and the answer they came up with you can probably determine from the fact that they decided not to stay in the American market.

    I like TT as much as anyone and here in the UK I probably see more operating layouts than most.

    But a scale that can’t even supply a cast freight truck isn’t even in the game in the American market, IMHO.

    Ben
     
  4. Mike Sheridan

    Mike Sheridan TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, there is a huge gulf between interest and shelling out cash, as almost any manufacturer or retailer will attest. You'd probably be doing well if the conversion rate (those who buy as a proportion of those expressing interest) made 10%, and something nearer 1% would probably be a safer budget.

    I don't disagree at all with that idea - in fact I'd say it is almost certainly true. But you need to look behind that a bit; why was there so much more RTR? Although one big manufacturer can give something a good push (and Triang made TT for the UK IIRC) they would be taking a gamble on making stuff for which there is no current demand.
    Also, there was a precursor to N in 000, which (again IIRC) was push around stuff made by LoneStar. Once drive mechs could be made small enough to fit 000 you basically had N. Given peoples' general attraction to 'how small can it get' stuff, N was almost guaranteed to succeed, as is Z nowadays.

    Um. There is a hole in that idea young whippersnapper :)
    One's seeing and handling skills don't just go from N to TT with age, they just keep going ... (Plenty of people at my local club struggle to get HO RP25 wheels on the track.)
    Which probably means G/#1 has a brighter future than TT :)
     
  5. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    Lionel currently manufactures "Big Rugged" push arounds in 1:120. Possum Valley Models makes conversion kits to power them. One American manufacturer, I think Mantua, makes battery operated 1:120 scale trains. I haven't heard of them being converted, but someone probably has.

    Z scale was introduced by Marklin out of nowhere. They were the only manufacturer of Z at the time.

    Have you ever noticed how idealists and "out of the box" thinkers are always the heroes in fiction, and regarded as fools in real life?

    I'm actually not too much younger than you :)
     
  6. ctxm

    ctxm TrainBoard Member

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    Ha, but you gotta take the space factor into consideration. As they get older many folks want a smaller house to maintain so the large scales are not a slam dunk, I model in O scale now but would move to TT size if possible. I've got some N and a few pieces of TT and can notice the difference in handling from the slight scale increase. My point in asking this question was not do you think TT will succeed but if it was available in equal amounts how many would choose it over N scale? If the answer is 50/50 then the manufacturers should take notice ? I'd probably buy about 300 TT scale modern era freight cars now if they were available, if enough other modelers would do the same there could be a decent market?....dave
     
  7. ben scaro

    ben scaro TrainBoard Member

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    While 000 was one predecessor to N, there had been 2mm for years before, which showed running models could be done and to a much finer standard than N, then and now.

    I bought three Lionel F shells and while they had potential, I doubt they would be the sort of thing to make people jump from N to TT.

    I imagine TT would only take off in the US with concerted commercial support, like Z.

    Unlike Z, TT doesn’t have that novelty factor of being the smallest. Not since 1960 anyway.

    IMHO, its appeal is either experienced model railroaders who want something different, or N scalers who’d like to go finescale modelling but who don’t have the space or interest in H0. Not newbies with cash to spare who are attracted by novelty.

    One lesson from Z may be that one of the few viable routes for ‘seeding’ US TT is from a country where TT is used and there’s an interest in American trains. The only ones that really fit the bill are Germany, where Tillig tried it already, and perhaps the UK, and I believe that path was largely down to one guy, the late John Fisher. I wonder if someone else will have a go?

    The other potential is countries where TT makes modelling the local stuff easier, eg, metre gauge or 3’6” prototypes on N mechanisms. As discussed, the one country doing this is New Zealand, though there have been efforts in modelling both Australian and South African and the world is full of potential prototypes . . . most of South East Asia, lots of Central and South America, Africa and India. Many of them use fairly similar GM and GE export models. So, it might entail waiting for some of those countries to get a bit richer, though I see Mehano has done a TT scale Blue Tiger . . . so there’s one Malaysian diesel already in the bag . . . and there’s a burgeoning railfan community in this progressive and newly rich Asian country.

    Ben
     
  8. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

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    You are correct here IMHO. N scale was just too small for me when I got started. Just a personal preference thing. I was aware of TT then but hardly ANYTHING was available. I am he kind of modeler that when I decide I want something, I want it. TT is not conducive to my "temperment" shall we say. TT is a very intriguing scale that I think would be great to model. It is a great compromise to detail and compacting more in less space. Just not too many offerings out there.

    For me to change from HO to TT would involve ditching thousands and thousands of dollars invested over the years (not to mention time). I am not going to model two scales. If I have real estate available, its going to my Albemarle Division and that's that.

    So Mike Sheridan is correct. "aint" no way in #($( I am going to switch to TT now. Even if there was an explosion of offerings in the commercial market. Maybe 25 years ago, but that's a moot point.
     
  9. NYW&B

    NYW&B Guest

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    With 7 major scale product lines already in the U.S. marketplace (G, O, On30, S, HO, N, Z), don't look for something new anytime soon. The diversity we currently have has already considerably dilluted the individual scale's customer bases. The introduction of Large Scale at least made sense because it could be used outdoors. Yet another intermediate scale, between HO and N, would make very little financial sense today.

    And the simple fact is that most of the European manufacturers have been in serious financial trouble of late, due to declining sales/rising costs (a number have failed in the past 5-6 years), while those in the U.S.A. continue to consolidate. The current climate is all wrong for the introduction of yet another "in-between" scale into the U.S. marketplace and I expect TT would simply fall flat on its face if re-introduced commercially state-side now, or in the near future.

    NYW&B
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2008
  10. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    Here we disagree. I think a newbie looking to get into model railroading will select what they are comfortable with. I would have been more comfortable with TT if it had been available when I made my serious return to railroading.

    The last failed attempt was a failure IMO simply because an entrepreneur had BTTB repackage one of their starter sets for the American market. I love my old BTTB set, but while the little BR51 steam switcher is generic enough, the "wagons" are clearly European. BTTB, has since been acquired by Tillig.

    Mehano has many more TT offerings than the Blue Tiger. I wasn't aware that this was a Malaysian prototype, thanks for the info. I ordered one just because it looks great.
     
  11. ben scaro

    ben scaro TrainBoard Member

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    I thought the last attempt was Tillig's FP7, which is as rare as hen's teeth ?

    http://www.tt-club.ru/doc/htm/fp7-us.htm

    Funny that at the bottom of this page, they seem to be talking about Kadee trucks ?

    The Blue Tiger isn't only Malaysian, lots of railways own them, but KTMB (Keratapi Tenah Melayu Berhad) is one. I saw them there and they look amazing on the metre gauge track.

    http://www.keretapi.com/26class.html

    Ben
     
  12. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, the Tillig FP7s are hard to come by. Cross your fingers for me, I may have one in a week or two. :)

    I wonder if Kadee OEM'd the trucks for them because they wanted American couplers. I know most American TT kitbashers today use MTL N scale couplers.

    Thanks for that link Ben! Do they make a standard gauge loco as well? That Blue Tiger I posted was my favorite, the one I ordered. They come in several roads. Mehano's "Prestiege" line currently has 4 different non-American TT locos in a variety of roads. They offer most of the same locos in N scale.

    Mehano

    Ironically, their American prototype offerings are all in their "Hobby" grade, and they don't even have TT stock in Hobby grade.

    After my Blue Tiger, I think my next TT train will be Tillig's ICE train.

    Euro Train Hobby - TT - TILLIG - ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES - TT - 01350: ICE 1 3 PIECES SET

    They make an add-on set... I think 4 cars. But the N scale Kato GG1 and Broadyway Ltd. are due in August. So many trains... so little cash. <sigh>
     
  13. ctxm

    ctxm TrainBoard Member

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    Anyone know how well these would run at slow speed? Do they have reasonably sized flanges for scale operation?....dave
     
  14. ben scaro

    ben scaro TrainBoard Member

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  15. ctxm

    ctxm TrainBoard Member

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  16. ben scaro

    ben scaro TrainBoard Member

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    Well, 300 euro if you can get one. They are very rare I believe.

    American-bogies

    Just found about these today. Re the concerns above about the viability of modelling US TT without the basics like trucks, etc, these are new from 3SMR in the UK, produced from the late John Fisher's molds. Apparently, 3SMR would like to sell American TT bits and pieces.

    Cheers

    Ben
     
  17. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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  18. ben scaro

    ben scaro TrainBoard Member

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    Well . . . a word of caution as I do not think *any* of this is available at the moment as the proprietor took a year or so off to move house and business. I am not aware that PVM has started up again.

    The issue of availability and the reality of scrounging round the remainder bins of hobby shops for long out-of-production items -an issue Charlie Vlk reminisced about on the Atlas Forum - is a real one in TT.

    Ben
     
  19. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    Ben; Don't you think from his posts on TT_IMS that Elmer looks to be getting things started again? He posted recently that he's waiting on motors (from Hollywood Foundry I think) so he can start selling conversion kits for Lionel Big Ruggeds again. By the way, I just bought five Big Ruggeds. Two F3s, two GP9s, and their "squished" GG-1. They look much nicer than I was led to believe. As I think we've discussed elsewhere, no one is offering a conversion kit for the GG-1, so it's going to be a challenge.
     
  20. ctxm

    ctxm TrainBoard Member

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    Funny cause my GP9 looked worse than I expected, seems like Lionel went out of their way to make them toy like.
    Did you try NWSL for GG-1 conversion parts? Should be easier to do a wide body like that than to do a narrowhood like a GP9?...dave
     

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