Walther's monthly catalog update - no n-scale

rogergperkins Apr 7, 2016

  1. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, well, well. You'd already said it all and didn't leave anything for me. Except! I agree.

    Walther has not been friendly to N Scale, most of my adult life. As a result I seldom if ever order anything from them.

    I called them to ask for more N scale pages and they basically laughed at me and asked why? We sell more HO stuff then N scale.

    Watch what happens to the N scale Life Like stuff we used to be able to buy. Love those GP20's. No predictions but do watch and don't be surprised if the N scale stuff dries up. I know I said no predictions...I lied.

    I can hear it now. Cut Rick off, no more internet news and don't send him a monthly sales flyer. I get both and haven't had any problems...it's free. About the only thing left.

    Oh, before I forget. I won't, don't and will not pre-order anything....period. I will buy something I can see, handle, exam and test track before I buy it. I wish they'd get off this pre-order $#!+ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Humm, for not having something to say...I did pretty good...don't you think? COL
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
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  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    They've made a choice. The outcome of that business decision rests solely upon their shoulders, not ours. Thankfully we can get most everything, (except what they are deliberately sitting upon), via many other places. Plus having Shapeways offerings filling gaps...
     
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  3. Pie39

    Pie39 TrainBoard Member

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    I've gotta say, I bought a Life Like (sorta Walthers) GP60 a while ago, converted it to DCC, and it is NICE! I'd buy some if they ever decided to rerelease them, but...
     
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  4. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    I have a Walthers GP20, one of my favourite locos. I wanted to buy one from their last run until I realized that the Cotton Belt locos were wearing their original numbers, before the 1965 remembering. I would've picked up a SW900 from them, but no Southern Pacific....
     
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  5. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, the GP 60 is nice. Also, covered more than well by FVM, so I doubt there will be a rerun, and I doubt many miss the LL version that much as a result.

    I agree they made a business decision, and the outcome of their decision rests squarely on their shoulders. I think Walthers is more than okay with that! I don't like it too much either, but it is sure there right to stick with HO if that's where the money is, especially when there are fewer and fewer areas of money being anywhere in the model RR world. (At least that is what it seems.....)
     
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  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Before I jump off this thread here and go do something else. Like work on my layout. Restoration mode since the damage the winter and certain mousers created.

    Walther's does publish a N Scale book with most N scale items included. It's the sales magazine we see monthly that I'm perturbed about. Just a few pages with minimal offerings.

    So, as a good friend of mine likes to say "It is what it is" and I like to add, "It can't be anything more then what it is." So, where we are is where we are and we can't be anywhere else.

    What? What? What did he say? Grin!
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I just hope they don't acquire more N scale manufacturing and then sit on it. Unless there is an accounting/tax advantage, having the N scale portion of LL locked away will keep everyone scratching their heads, on a continuing basis for years to come.
     
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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  9. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    Don't want to anger anyone or sound like a troll, but I can think of a few other reasons Walthers might not have developed the LL line in N beyond what it did:

    1. Never wanted it, had to take it as part of the HO line purchase.
    2. Tried a few things because they had the tooling, but they didn't sell well (I only bought a few things, being so locked into Kato and Atlas locos, maybe many others did, especially pre DCC)
    3. Last runs were poor sellers, indicating the market for those products had been saturated.
    4. Pure business decision to focus on product lines that brought a minimum of "X.XX%" return, N didn't cut it. Maybe the debt they took on in the purchase dictated something along those lines. Not the same as when Atlas re-runs tooling that was paid for a decade ago.
    5. Pure business decision to focus on a more limited array of products and do those as well as possible.
    6. Molding wasn't able to be upgraded to currently demanded standards due to how it was tooled.

    There are probably many more reasons possible, somewhat related to the assumptions above. About the only thing I would guarantee is that "it's not personal" against N scale modelers.......and they aren't scratching their heads at all. Maybe they see some hope someday....otherwise, they would have made an announcement that they are leaving N scale, to keep us from griping.

    I also suspect they probably tried to sell off good tooling (a la BLMA to Atlas) to someone who would make it, to recoup some of their purchase cost, but there was as little interest on the mfg. side as there was on the modeler side.
     
  10. raysaron

    raysaron TrainBoard Supporter

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    I live about five miles from Walthers. I have no other connection with them than shopping
    there on occasion. The benefits are that their web site will indicate if the item is in stock
    and saves me a trip if they are out. One of our best LHS closed and the alternatives are
    few. Our club layout is Great Northern because they had GN FA and FB diesels for good
    prices after acquiring LL. (I bought a couple of undecorated FA and FB sets for myself.)
    The biggest draw back is that the store is really a catalog desk. You fill out a slip and
    they go in the back, formerly a very large discount store, and get the item. You don't
    have the opportunity to examine before hand. I think business is down across the
    board--the store used to be open six days a week and is now closed on Mon and Tue.
     
  11. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    The May issue of the monthly flyer includes an announcement for a Walthers N scale Thrall 5-unit articulated well car (due in November) and about a half-dozen pages of N scale sale items.
     
  12. steamghost

    steamghost TrainBoard Member

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  13. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    While one function of Walthers is as a retailer, the gist of this discussion is related mainly to their distribution arm whereby a short-shrift was given to N scale products in a recent monthly flyer. Plus, there is an expressed perceived failure in fiduciary responsibility as a manufacturer to develop in a timely manner the acquired assets of the Life-Like N scale product line.
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Exactly.
     
  15. steamghost

    steamghost TrainBoard Member

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    Ultimately, the overall commentary HAS been about Walthers as a retailer. My opinion: if you don't like 'em, just leave them behind, don't complain about it while still keeping up that FREE subscription.

    That perception is likely completely wrong. Walthers has a long history of buying out manufacturers that have gone out of business. They have seldom re-run items from those lines. They have bought the tooling, but as has been mentioned (I think) on this board and elsewhere, recovering complete sets of usable tooling is often quite difficult. Because Uncle Willy has been doing this over and over, it is clear they are aware of this and the price paid would have reflected this, i.e., scrap value. In the past, part of the point might have been to prevent a low-end competitor from producing something based on those incomplete or worn die sets. You'd see this re-use with (other) toys. But Life-Like is also older tooling that typically wouldn't fly based on current buyer expectations. The fiduciary responsibility is to themselves, to not lose money by trying to re-run something for which there will be insufficient demand to recover costs.
     
  16. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    Fiduciary is a pretty strict term legally. Just a few weeks ago, the govt. proposed strict new rules placing more fiduciary responsibility on investment advisors -, i.e., making them more responsible for losses their clients incur, which sent shudders through the spine of some investment advisors.......Walthers clearly doesn't have any fiduciary responsibility to N scalers, and arguing that they do is even weirder than arguing that somehow they have some personal vendetta against N.....

    Steamghost makes a point I hadn't considered, but it is still related to the basic premise of they don't think it will sell.

    Primarily a distributor of all mfg. products, later branching into MFG and some retailing from their own place in Milwaukee, Walthers may very well feel they have some stake in and responsibility to the other mfgs to keep the industry healthy. If, in their view, there is one too many N scale loco makers to keep Atlas, Athearn, FVR, etc. healthy (actually, very likely IMHO) they probably purposely kept the LL stuff from hitting the shelves, as alleged, but the motive was anything but sinister. They are really trying to make things better for everyone in the industry, and by extension, hobbyists.

    Well, everyone except those with a burning desire and need for just that LL GP 38, or other model. As pointed out, nearly all are available elsewhere.

    And, there is such a thing as too much product being offered, as we do complain about the strain on "Mr. Wallet" when too much hits the shelves too soon. Maybe they realize that, even if we can't because we are focused too much on what we want/need over the overall big picture.
     
  17. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

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    Really? Who's making those beautiful C-Liners that LL/Walthers put out just before LL went dark. I have a lashup of the PRR ones and they are gorgeously detailed.

    Who's making the DL-109s, E6s, and E7s affordably? (Forget BLimited! few can afford the astronomical prices they are asking. And why aren't they offering non-DCC versions for those of us that can't afford DCC right now?)

    Who's making the hardy and reliable FA/FBs? Nobody interested in Erie Builts anymore? No one else is making them that's for sure.

    Except for Kato, only LL made the RS-2. I've seen plenty here bemoan the absence of these now a days.

    So to say, nearly all are available elsewhere is just isn't true.
     
  18. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Rather than trying to introduce the legal ramifications, consider a more basic definition of a fiduciary as one who acts on behalf of another in good faith regarding the care or management of some asset.
    While failing to re-release much of the Life-Like N scale product line might somehow be construed as in the best interests of Walthers - or the industry a a whole - how many customers had the expectation that would be the outcome when Walthers acquired those assets from Life-Like? How does such action (or inaction) enhance the reputation of Walthers among N scalers?

    For manufacturers who can't accurately forecast demand for a product, there's always the pre-order system.
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    We're back to the initially (not post #1, but that one within the topic which led to this subdiscussion) unanswered: Why did they buy LL? Acquisitions are done for some type of monetary gain. Essentially all the attempted "answers" have been no better a than just wasted time by guessing. Yes, we all know their HO probably greatly outweighed N, but let's not go down the road of pretending the N scale side was totally insignificant.
     
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  20. steamghost

    steamghost TrainBoard Member

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    We were talking about N scale here not the whole of Life-Like. Based on what Walthers has re-run/re-released from Life-Like, it's been the Proto series in HO that informed the acquisition. That wasn't all that Life-Like was making at the end under Lifoam. And Proto 1000/2000 engines were sitting unsold at LHSs and wholesalers for years after initial big sales. Perhaps that was the impetus for parent Lifoam to bail, but because of that very poor performance history, it's doubtful Walthers paid much at all for the existing line. Have we seen any other original LL items in HO re-run in the 10-11 years since acquisition?

    There may be a couple more that I don't remember, but the only Proto xxxx items in N I can recall are the 2-8-8-2 and 2-8-4 engines which were indeed re-released by Walthers, and with DCC. Again, it's been 10-11 years since acquisition. So, if that's everything in N by Life-Like that's relatively up to date, you can't say that N was particularly interesting to Life-Like at its end under Lifoam, either. Plus the re-run engines have been well criticized (again) for their lack of pulling power. Not encouraging for more releases. The first run of either engine (2002 and 2004) was not particularly well received either (early 2000's) so again for the N scale "line", what could the purchase price have been? Not much.
     

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