Adieu Weaver Models

Posted by Bob Keller
on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

CTT Selected a Weaver Models Alco for a custom CTT paint scheme.
The last 15 years have been mighty rough on the hobby. In many ways it is the old “best of times, worst of times” situation. Never have O and S gaugers had as much variety in, well, everything from locomotives to cabooses. More than we would have ever dreamed of. Unfortunately, there has been a downside to the experience. Change happens.

The retail hobby locations seem to be fading fast, and the realm of manufacturing has been fluid at best. Marx left the field of battle after the sale to AmeriTrains. Then K-Line folded, S-Helper Service was sold to MTH, and now Weaver Models is closing.

Joe Hayter counts boxcar shells prior to painting at the Weaver Models offices.
What is especially troubling is that Weaver was the last firm that produced or assembled locomotives and rolling stock in the United States. My hat is off to Bob Weaver, who began a drive years back for scale-size and detailed equipment in O gauge and, in effect, for Weaver Quality Craft Models to become the Athearn of O (see the article of the same name in our October 1992 issue) through a wide range of road names and good products available all the time.

Current company owner, Joe Hayter, has been with Weaver since 1969 and he bought the firm from founder Bob Weaver in 1996. When Joe took over, he sought to evolve and improve the product line. He replaced fragile plastic freight car trucks with die-cast metal ones, made some superb passenger equipment, offered modern refrigerator cars with sound-generating  “refrigeration units,” incorporated Lionel’s TrainMaster command system to his locomotives to enhance their appeal to an increasingly technologically savvy audience, and expanding the array of brass locomotives he imported from Asia. But don’t forget his Alco FAs and RS3s, Baldwin switchers, EMD E8s and GP38s, and personal favorites of mine, the Alco C628, GE U25B and Alco RS11/RSD12. The decoration of his products was superb and his line of paints for hobbyists has a loyal following.

Weaver Models headquarters was located in Northumberland, Penn.
I’m sure that the reason for the addition of the Weaver name to the list of toy train Fallen Flags are many. They are probably the same issues effecting local train stores, book stores, tropical fish shops, and art supply retailers everywhere. Change, the economy, the age of the market, how people recreate, and just the plain old desire to retire and do something else probably took part in the decision to close. Don’t doubt it, though, the absence of Weaver Models as a player in O gauge will be shared by the entire model railroad community.

I would like to thank Weaver Models for staying in the game as long as it did and the many employees of the firm, from top to bottom, for producing products that helped us enjoy this crazy hobby.

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