Walthers new products--why lack of N scale?

txronharris Aug 10, 2009

  1. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Don't hold your breath. I doubt they will sell many in HO so N would not even be considered. Shame too because it is large items like this and the steel mill that could be easily done in N rather than HO. It seems that Walthers does not want to develop an N scale market. Maybe they think it will hurt their HO business?
     
  2. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

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    Jeff said:OT, but I am dissapointed to hear that one informal survey still puts HO at 70% and N at 20%. I know at one time it was only 16% according to an MR survey, but I had the impression, or at least hoped, that we might be closer to 25%, with HO dropping to 65%. If we trend like HO did to O, we should be gaining more ground than that!
    ------------------------------------------------

    I don't put much stock into survives because they are so spotty..I haven't filled out a modeling survive in quite some time.I feel there has to be more then 20% just base on how things sell out including some Walther structures.
     
  3. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    In my experiences, people interested in a particular scale tend to congregate in particular areas. My favorite LHS, for example, has more N scale stuff than pretty much every other shop in the area, and, as a result, they tend to have a lot more N scalers than other shops in the area. It's a classic chicken and egg problem - did the variety of N scale entice more N scalers, or did more N scalers visit that shop and ask for N scale. I think it's really a bit of both.

    There are lots of other suppliers out there for N scale stuff besides Walthers. Where we're missing stuff we'll just have to kitbash and scratch-build!
     
  4. alhoop

    alhoop TrainBoard Supporter

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    I agree, most surveys including mine are not scientific. I just based my observations on selling at and attending train shows in the Southeast.

    Check out Allen Keller's videos and see the ratio of HO to N and his videos cover most of the country. Check out MR or RMC's ratio of HO to N-Scale coverage. I think 70% or higher for HO is about right for all of these.

    Al
     
  5. wig-wag-trains.com

    wig-wag-trains.com Advertiser

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    70% of modelers may be HO but I'll wager more dollars are spent per capita by N-modelers because we are able to model entire trains not just small scenes. In a typical garage you can do an entire N scale operating division while only a small branchline can be done in HO. N modelers tend to buy more pieces of rolling stock and more locos as well as more buildings (if we can find what we need).

    Walthers has done some nice modulars already. Unfortunately they did not effectively diseminate info (i.e. suggested combos to make various buildings etc) on the N-scale modulars they have done, and the sales therefore have not justified the space required especially considering the hugely oversized packaging used.

    The reality is the ROI for N-models especially scenery items will always be longer and a manufacturer has to get back to what Irv Athearn, Keith Edwards, and the original Mr. Walthers understood: Selling trains is a labor of love and not something you can get rich quick at. The bean counters and the bankers have to understand that as well if they are to properly finance these endeavors.
     
  6. Nick Lorusso

    Nick Lorusso TrainBoard Member

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    Very well put.
     
  7. sludge

    sludge TrainBoard Member

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    survey?

    Can we start a survey in the inspection pit to find out? Or has this been done before? I'd like to see more detail parts like we used to have. Like sunrise used to make.
     
  8. txronharris

    txronharris TrainBoard Member

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    I appreciate that I'm not alone thinking that it would be nice for some of the structure series from Walthers to be run in N scale.

    I'm not hating on Walthers. I was on the phone spending money with them when I felt like asking the question "why not in N scale". I agree Walthers has done quite a bit not only for N scale, but the hobby in general and I doubt that will change in the future. I also agree they have several N scale buildings they have offered in the past (the paper mill for example) that could be re-run and be successfull as well. But as an example of where they fall short--why did the HO guys get a rotary dumper and N scale got left out--even when it is pictured on the cover of the box for the N scale paper mill? Do N scalers not want or need a rotary dumper? I know I would have bought one to complete the scene.

    My point in asking others to contact Walthers is to let them know they are overlooking a chunk of the market that would purchase these series of buildings and structures if they're produced in N scale. Even if they did a reservation/limited nuber offering when they do something like the ethanol or modern grain series, I think they'd see there is sufficient demand to also produce N scale offerings like this.
     
  9. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    TxRon,

    I know you weren't hating on Walthers. I just think we all (moi included) get into the "if I want it, others must" and figure that a structure should be made at all costs.....and it likely will. We have had discussions here about how mfgs and shops can't afford too many mistakes and still stay in business. I just give them the benefit of the doubt on knowing more than I do about what keeps them in the model train biz long term like Walthers!

    George is right of course. I think its been stated that N scalers spend more, but I think its more on rolling stock than industries. We don't need to fill every square foot with buildings.

    Yet, Walthers saw a need there and filled it admirably, IMHO. Like you, I would be tempted by a lot of their HO stuff if offered in N. I even have used some of their HO for my N layout (Power Plant, Lauston Shipping warehouse flats (with some work to cover doors) Brewery, Black Gold Asphalt (tanks only) and darn near bought an HO steel plant. I like them big, my industries!
     
  10. stewarttrains98

    stewarttrains98 TrainBoard Member

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    Well since I model the 50's most stuff that I am wanting on my layout is already made. But as for the rolling stock, I would love to see them do more. But I have alot of stuff that I need already. I would be willing to get more if they made it. I also do HO and I do agree that they need to reactivate some of the older retired models. There are people who still will buy them. But I guess we will see what happens in time.
     
  11. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

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    To get a broader view you can start here http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=model+railroading+forums&btnG=Google+Search and look for a breakdown on each forum, if available, of N Scale topics compared to HO Scale topics.

    I don't know that anyone has the patience to do this. I did only a few that did contain a breakdown and the number of HO Scale topics far outnumbers the number of N Scale topics.

    And so it goes.


    Ben
     
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm probably jumping in here out of synch with the current discussion. So, what's new?

    Historically, Walthers has not favored N scale nor have they really put themselves out there as a player.

    Recently, (At my age that could be in the last twenty years) they purchased Cornerstone, who favored and produced a large number of N scale structures and turntables. They also purchased Life Like, again a provider of locomotives, freight cars and buildings. The last one I'm aware of _________ well... I'm either having a senior moment or there isn't one, I said with a sheepish grin. Today, If you look through the monthly periodicals and the yearly catalog the above fore mentioned are visibly absent.

    HO took what seemed like forever to catch on and today is clearly the front runner and main stay of most model railroad providers.

    The problem is: When a company absorbs other companies there is usually a cost, bad debts and the like that need to be paid down and/or cleaned up. Cash flow, in this economy, can be difficult to generate. Resulting in the inability to provide new offerings.

    Give them time to recover and you will see things pick-up.
     
  13. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Have to disagree. I go to the "Top 3" as far as I am concerned. Only on the Atlas forum does HO outnumber N...and only by a meer 400 topics. Here at TB the N outnumber the HO by a sizable amount. On the other the gap is almost 30 to 1 in favor of N scale.

    NOW...

    Either we N scalers are more sociable and like sharing our hobby and experiences amongst our "friends" and...the HO gang are hiding in basements.....whispering to each other....peering out of shade drawn windows...swearing they see black silent running helicopters with ninjas hovering overhead.

    OR...

    There really is more N scalers then HO scalers.

    I dont care what anyone says...I like to think its the second...:tb-tongue:

    And of course we N scalers are more sociable and like sharing our hobby and experiences amongst our "friends":thumbs_up:

    .
     
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    To no one in particular and everyone in general. We have generals?

    Perhaps another of Rick's infamous notes of Ancient History. I tend to point back and use it to point forward.

    Despite the side you take on this discussion, here is a fact I believe holds true today. HO out sold N scale 3 to 1 the last time I worked in a LHS.

    Most N scale discussion groups or forums tend to serve the newbies, as does this one. HO has all kinds of how to books and reference guides where as, N scale has one or two how to's that are basically out of date as I write and you read this. Hurrumph, I know better then to convince you with that kind of propaganda.

    Here is something you can put your teeth into. If you have time to do the math and research. Compare the number of N scale and HO club layouts and the total number of their memberships. In San Diego at the Railroad Museum it is 2 HO and 1 N. Membership unknown. Besides, those HO guys are shy!

    Ok, this may all sounds like blasphemy to N Scalers (sounds like we've been fishing). But what it means is, we still have a way to go and a goal to work toward.

    I think it is safe to say that most of us professed N Scale types, are working together to improve things both from our providers and as personal aide to everyone from newbies to the experienced. You can see that going on here, every day of the week.

    I would say we are at the point HO was before it took off like greased lightening. Give it time and we will be a buying power worthy, of paying attention to. We aren't already?

    I wish we were on the top of the heap. Nope, we are pulling a close second. Time will tell.

    Have fun.

    Disclaimer: Any sarcasm expressed here is strictly a coincidence, or is it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2009
  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rick said blasphemy and sarcasm in the same reply.

    Now thats funny right thar I dont care who Ya R !!

    :tb-biggrin::tb-ooh::tb-cool:

    .
     
  16. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

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    Some interesting points. From the conception of a product idea to actual release requires many months, even years, in the best of times. The discussion of it on message boards probably does little to speed up the process no matter how many are involved.

    But we digress from the OP's suggestions. The point being letting the manufacturer know what your (our) wishes are. I have seen similar threads where participants have flooded manufacturers with knee-jerk suggestions. This probably does little good especially where a particular manufacturer has had its suggestion program for many years. Instead, make your suggestions in the ordinary course of business. And allow sufficient time for your particular suggestion to be assimilated with the suggestions of others. Rome did require at least two days to be built. [​IMG]


    Ben

     
  17. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    "Rome did require at least two days to be built."

    Yes, and for most of us, building our layouts takes years of (mostly, in my case anyway)unproductive time.

    All I know is that I have 50 foot of branch line and that has a total of 15 Walthers structures, 2 Heljan (actually 4 because they are combined) 3 Model Power, 1 Plastruct, 1 Art Deco and one scratchbuilt structures. I changed from Cajon Pass (layout started in 1990) because there were no structures to Chicago, because they were and that is the type of layout I wanted. Mostly thanks to Walthers.

    I think its just human nature to look at what we don't have, rather than what we do have.

    As to product suggestions, I spoke with Atlas at Hartford. They did mention that the forums "demanded" the U23B and B23-7 and then very few bought them. Ditto with the big Alcos. I agree that mfgs may use forum comments and survey cards to determine models, but they don't rely on them as scientific business surveys, because they aren't. They also factor in popularity and numbers of prototype (better hope ATSF had some) the tendency for smaller radii stuff to outsell bigger stuff, and other factors, including gut feel.

    Walthers may just very well have the "gut feel" that the loco and car markets are adequately and well covered by others, and will stick to structures and the occaisional foray into rolling stock where they see an unfilled niche, and have a leg up through their HO tooling. Just MHO.
     
  18. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

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    Well...Let's see then..

    First I am for large industries that looks like they need rail service more then I am tiny industries that would be better served by truck since they are small manufacturers unless of course one adds silos for inbound material like plastic pellets or plasticiser.

    As I see it Walthers is missing a opportunely here to fill the void on missing industries to include industrial silos,that ethanol plant and other such industries.
    I can understand why they may be hesitant to go head to head with Atlas,Kato,Athearn,FVM Red Caboose and even MT as far as cars and locos.However,the structure market is wide open and has little competition.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    And now food for thought..

    But and perhaps many modelers doesn't see the need for switching large industries when they can run endless loops through realistic scenery and therefore don't buy 'em?

    Could that be the reason we are still lacking new industries,details and other common things that is readily available in HO but is sorely needed in N?

    Are we seen as a scenery and running only scale and therefore not to be taken seriously?

    Friends,I hope none of the above questions is their view concerning N..
     
  19. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Z-scalers, in a similar situation, would just scratch-build their industries. Maybe we're seen as more MacGyver-ish than the HO guys.
     
  20. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I remember when, the guys and gals who got HO onto it's feet were indeed MacGyver-ish (I like the sound of that). HO became a desirable gauge to work with due in a big way to the original founders who forged ahead scratch building their own locomotives and train cars, never mind hand laying their own ties and rails proto style. Others took what was available and kit bashed buildings and accesories. Many small mom and pop providers came to be, providing wood kits and all kinds of excitement. Later we would learn to work with resin kits.

    We stuck to our guns and asked of Tyco, Athearn and Revel various kinds of kits and train equipment. It worked and soon the world of HO became a viable market. There was a split at Athearn and out of it came ConCor and full length passenger cars. Oops those 18" and 22" curves aren't going to cut it anymore. Walthers, came into being and they became the most reliable resource available. Their catalog was known as, the Bible of Model Railroading. Does anyone remember that?

    We are right next door to doing the same thing with N Scale. Some of us former HO die hard types are now hard core N scalers. We actually have more going for us today, then I've seen in a long while. Code 55, more track to choose from then I have money to buy. Walthers now gives us our own catalog...and...it isn't complete.

    I've spent enough time conversing, rabil rouzing, spitting out sarcasm, plashemous statements, entertaining and mixing it with truth. I need to work on my layout. This is fun but it isn't getting'er done. But I wouldn't miss a good discussion that stimulates the gray matter and gets us all to thinking. Nothing like it.

    Relax, we are in better shape today then we've ever been. I guarantee it! :we2-policeman:
    It's true! Chill dudes and dudettes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2009

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