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Lionel HO

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Lionel HO
Posted by azrail on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 2:34 PM

I noticed the Lionel HO insert in the new issue of MR. Mostly Tyco-ish rehashes of the Model Power stuff. Just who is Lionel aiming at in the HO market? 

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 2:39 PM

 The Model Power stuff was a rehash of Tyco/Mantua stuff.

This is what, Lionel's 4th or 5th go into the HO market? That they aquired Model Power from MRC and are using that as their new basis is all you need to know as far as target market. 

                                  --Randy


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Posted by NS6770fan on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 3:12 PM

Too bad they don’t produce the stuff from the early 2000’s. The Veranda Turbine was a great engine. I guess Lionel is targeting toy train collectors (non prototypical modelers) and kids with these. Also take a look at some of the Lion Chief sets. Most of them are angled toward O27 instead of 1:48. I wish they would reuse the molds from the last time they tried Ho. Atleast they were more detailed...

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Posted by joe323 on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 3:16 PM

The magnetic track does intrigue me though for temporary displays.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 3:25 PM

Are you talking about magne-traction?  As I recall, that was plain steel rail and the locomotive wheels were magnetized.

It did provide good pulling power.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by NS6770fan on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 3:32 PM

No. Lionel has HO snap track sort of like Bachmann but it attaches with Magnets instead of plastic clips.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 4:17 PM

NS6770fan

No. Lionel has HO snap track sort of like Bachmann but it attaches with Magnets instead of plastic clips.

 

That one intrigues me.  If it works, it'll be great for children who don't always take track apart correctly.

Paul

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Posted by Water Level Route on Thursday, August 1, 2019 5:38 AM

And wouldn't it be good for the hobby to have more children involved again?

Mike

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Posted by joe323 on Thursday, August 1, 2019 5:44 AM

Water Level Route

And wouldn't it be good for the hobby to have more children involved again?

 

 

Yes

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 1, 2019 5:52 AM

Water Level Route

And wouldn't it be good for the hobby to have more children involved again?

Dream on!

Rich

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Posted by Jumijo on Thursday, August 1, 2019 6:13 AM

rrinker

 The Model Power stuff was a rehash of Tyco/Mantua stuff.

This is what, Lionel's 4th or 5th go into the HO market? That they aquired Model Power from MRC and are using that as their new basis is all you need to know as far as target market. 

                                  --Randy

 

My thoughts, exactly. Why do they continually ignore the largest segment of the hobby? The people who want realistic HO trains. Save the toy trains for the O27 line.

Modeling the Baltimore waterfront in HO scale

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 1, 2019 6:50 AM

Water Level Route
And wouldn't it be good for the hobby to have more children involved again?

.

Yes, but I do not think re-hashing old HO train set stuff is the way to go.

.

1:72 scale post apocolyptic steam punk dystopian zombie war railroading anyone?

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Water Level Route on Thursday, August 1, 2019 9:03 AM

SeeYou190
Yes, but I do not think re-hashing old HO train set stuff is the way to go.

I don't know.  That's what got me hooked for a good number of years.  Inexpensive.  Robust "details" that were difficult for kids to damage.  I think it probably depends on the situation.  I also think the set Walthers is selling now (WiFlyer) is a good idea too.

Mike

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, August 1, 2019 9:12 AM

BTW as now it doesn't appear any of the Mantua / Tyco steam engines are being offered by Lionel. Some of the HO freight cars appear that they might be based on old Mantua 'heavies' cars. Most of it appears to be old Model Power stuff, including the structure kits (who I think pre-date Model Power?), streetlights, passenger cars, etc., with a few new items like the HO track 'click track' and Polar Express 2-8-4.

Stix
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, August 1, 2019 9:18 AM

Jumijo
 
rrinker

 The Model Power stuff was a rehash of Tyco/Mantua stuff.

This is what, Lionel's 4th or 5th go into the HO market? That they aquired Model Power from MRC and are using that as their new basis is all you need to know as far as target market. 

                                  --Randy  

My thoughts, exactly. Why do they continually ignore the largest segment of the hobby? The people who want realistic HO trains.  

Yeah, they've made a half-@ effort and gotten half-@ results so left the market.  As long as they continue to do that, the results will be the same. 

You've heard the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Kinda fits here don't you think?  Clown

 

SeeYou190

1:72 scale post apocolyptic steam punk dystopian zombie war railroading anyone?

-Kevin

Probably won't gain much traction in the traditional MR community.  Advertise those ideas in fantasy forums and you may get more interest.  Just sayin...

While I've enjoyed my fair share of fantasy gaming including D&D etc., I pretty much prefer my trains the old fashion way.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, August 1, 2019 9:23 AM

richhotrain

 

 
Water Level Route

And wouldn't it be good for the hobby to have more children involved again?

 

 

Dream on!

 

Rich

 

Rich,There'a a lot of young modlers and railfans so,all is not lost. Unlike us old folk they seldom attend train shows because they perfer to buy at on line discounts.

 

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by tin can on Friday, August 2, 2019 5:33 PM

Jumijo

My experience in a hobby shop is that "junk" sells.  Lots and lots of folks consider all model trains to be toys; and when they make a purchase decision, price matters.  Some of those folks will move on to become serious modelers, and purchase more realistic train models.

I think it might help the hobby industry, in the long run.

 
rrinker

 The Model Power stuff was a rehash of Tyco/Mantua stuff.

This is what, Lionel's 4th or 5th go into the HO market? That they aquired Model Power from MRC and are using that as their new basis is all you need to know as far as target market. 

                                  --Randy

 

 

 

My thoughts, exactly. Why do they continually ignore the largest segment of the hobby? The people who want realistic HO trains. Save the toy trains for the O27 line.

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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Posted by dknelson on Saturday, August 3, 2019 11:39 AM

By coincidence about the time the latest issue of MR came with the large Lionel advertisement insert, I was reading a much older issue of MR that had an interesting article by Gordon Varney - a sort of open letter to his fellow manufacturers as well as to modelers.  His point was that there was a need for a separate version of HO --what he called the "grandmother" market: HO sold as toys and gifts. 

His position was that toys are not as concerned with prototype accuracy or precise scale, have a greater need for durability than for detail, and the gearing and motors that please scale modelers are not needed for kids.

His real point, and this was perhaps more evident in the late 1950s than today, was that at the time HO was in some danger of trying to design products for both the scale modeler and children, with scale modelers coming out on the short end of the stick as a result.  Flanges were actually getting larger (that was the origin of AHM and its Rivarossi imports for example), and things like "shorty" passenger cars that could take train set curves of 18" radius were being offered.  Compromises with scale accuracy were being made in locomotives and other rolling stock so it could take sharp curves.   What had been separate details like ladders and grab irons and air brake systems on models were being cast in place, or simplified, or just left off, not just due to the ease of plastic tool and die work but because separate details could not take rough handling.  And the strange looking X2F coupler (so-called NMRA coupler) was replacing couplers that actually looked more like the prototype but weren't necessarily automatic, like Varney's own scale sized dummy knuckle couplers.  Little fingers could not manage the Varney dummy knuckle couplers.  

Gordon Varney didn't say this was bad per se.  His point was, don't let the market force scale models to change their nature so that kids can play with them.  Design for kids and market to kids (or, his point, their grandmother who gives them gifts) their own lines of HO.  And to me it looks like that is what Lionel is doing. 

As it turned out perhaps Gordon Varney's concerns were misplaced, because HO as a toy was more damaged by the slotcar craze than was HO scale model railroading, which is likely why the first Lionel foray into HO was short lived.  But I think he was on to something: that if you design HO trains to put in the hands of very young kids, there will be necessary changes and compromises that scale modelers will not want or need.  Just view it for what it is and why it is, rather than think that they screwed up because you won't buy it.

I looked at the Berkshire in the Lionel ad and I don't see much there that would interest scale modelers (unless the mechanism is wonderful).  It seems a shrunken down version of their Polar Express toy locomotive, very loosely patterened after the Pere Marquette engine.  Nice as a toy.  Lionel may not know much about HO but they know about durable toys.  

The magnetic element to the new Lionel track is interesting - clearly having regular snap track come apart on the kitchen table the first time a kid tries to play with his train set because rail joiners really are not made to do that is discouraging.  The various forms of integral track that LifeLike and Bachmann and Atlas and Kato have tried to introduce are all attempts to deal with that issue.  But I see lots of busted versions of that track at swap meets which tells me kids are good at putting it together, but can be rather brutal pulling it apart.  Maybe the magnets are the solution to the problem -- which is not a problem for scale model railroaders, just for kids.

There are  a few things in the old Model Power line of interest to scale modelers, either as is or for kitbash fodder -- some of the structures, perhaps the Harriman passenger cars.  

So my take-away -- the stuff is not aimed at me but at others.  I hope they make a go of it.  I  

Dave Nelson

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, August 3, 2019 8:46 PM

Well said, Dave, and I opretty much agree with all of it. Let me throw in something else.

We've all seen the way On30 took off - running on HO track, more or less.

I suspect what Lionel is trying to do, besides putting out a durable and possibly collectible toy, is to incite a similar spirit in HO itself. Then there is the fact that they will sell a bazillion Polar Expresses over the next 100 years in whatever scale pleases.

What this means for the rest of us who don't buy it is a bigger market in general for HO. People who buy may have entirely different intentions, but they probably spend just the same when they get in the zone. That's OK by me and I don't need to display any MRR merit bedges to think so. We don't get a better hobby by seeing who we can subtract from it.

This hobby, in general, not just scale modelers, needs every warm body it can to attract the same effort we've come to see from mfg's over the last few decades when technology has changed so much. The total market for trains is likely a big number to most of us, but probably puny next to some kid's prospect's who just won $3 mil playing video games will be at the center of a 44 mil customer base worldwide. There you're talking some big bucks. Imagine what Athearn, Rapido, ScaleTrains, my fave Blackstone, whoever, could do in a market that size. Well, maybe someday.

Encourage them, don't discourage 'em.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, August 4, 2019 12:24 AM

    I wish Lionel luck in their endeavor with another fling at HO.  It looks like they are aiming low again.   Maybe there will be a market for their offerings, after all most of us "serious" modelers got our start with tinplate.

    The desire to attract new blood into this hobby is a desire most of us have but, many young people have no interaction with railroads, trains and, railroaders.  They can't go down to the depot and get to know the switch crew or, chat with the station agent.  In so many cases, if there are any trains at all, they roll through at 49 MPH with the crew hidden behind dark tinted windows.  So many former branch lines are now trails where the dust is stirred by knobby-kneed hikers and cyclists instead of smoky Alcos or muttering Geeps.

    If you want to interest your young in trains, its going to take more than 12 volts DC to do it.  The kids need to experience the enormity and dynamic power of railroading to possibly spark their interest, since most kids pay attention to that which is large, loud, and overwhelming.  Case in point: my daughter.  When she was two years old I used to take her trackside with me when we heard a train blowing for the crossings in town.  When the train approached she would wave and get rewarded with a couple of honks of the horn--which made her grin but, still, cover her ears.  Even when I didn't feel like, when she heard that horn in the distance, she was ready to go trackside.

     Fast forward to today.  She's now a married 47 year old mother of two, who can tell EMDs from GEs and, GEs from Alcos.  She remembers SP, Mopac, Miss Katy, Rio Grande.  She has her own book of diesel rosters and calls me when anything unusual shows up on the W&LE or NS.  And, she still waves at trains.

     Before plopping the kid down with whatever Lionel or whoever is offering, let them experience the real thing to see what inspires those of us who do this thing we call model railroading.  Do it as early as you can.

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 4, 2019 6:56 AM

NHTX

The desire to attract new blood into this hobby is a desire most of us have but, many young people have no interaction with railroads, trains and, railroaders.  

Couldn't agree more with your entire post, but this is the part that I simply cannot understand.

What is with this burning desire on the part of some to attract young kids to the hobby when it ain't gonna happen?

Besides model railroading, I play golf, lots of golf. The sport is declining as the younger generations get preoccupied with other endeavors. I could care less. As long as there is a golf course to play, I am happy. As long as I can continue to mess with my layout, I am happy. It bothers me not at all if the younger generations seek some alternative forms of pleasure.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 4, 2019 7:53 AM

richhotrain

 

 
NHTX

The desire to attract new blood into this hobby is a desire most of us have but, many young people have no interaction with railroads, trains and, railroaders.  

 

 

Couldn't agree more with your entire post, but this is the part that I simply cannot understand.

 

What is with this burning desire on the part of some to attract young kids to the hobby when it ain't gonna happen?

Besides model railroading, I play golf, lots of golf. The sport is declining as the younger generations get preoccupied with other endeavors. I could care less. As long as there is a golf course to play, I am happy. As long as I can continue to mess with my layout, I am happy. It bothers me not at all if the younger generations seek some alternative forms of pleasure.

Rich

 

Well, I agree with Mike Lehman about the economics of more customers, any kind of customer, being good for the hobby.

But do I have any burning emotional need to save young people from their cell phones and video games with model trains?

Like Rich, my answer is no.

In my now 50 years in this hobby, I have been both hot and cold about its social aspects, I have worked behind the counter in the train store and helped new people, I have belonged to clubs and round robins and helped others build basement empires.

Those things were all fun. But can/do I enjoy model trains without those aspects of the hobby?

Very much yes thank you.

Good luck to LIONEL, but they are not likely to see any of my money.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by joe323 on Sunday, August 4, 2019 8:10 AM

Lionel did an online webcast yesterday at Trainworld in which Ryan Kunkle said that they were mostly aiming at the entry level market because they felt thst is where the Lionel name is most effectivly known.

Trainworld has posted on the website The HO is discussed about 2/3 of the way through the video.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Sunday, August 4, 2019 8:25 AM

I don´t understand the fuss about Lionel entering the HO market with robust, albeit rudimentary detailed entry level trains and accessories. If they think it´s worth investing into this market segment, it´s their own and rightful business decision to do so. If you don´t want their stuff, well, nobody is forcing you to buy it.

As Lionel is not taking away any market share from other, high-end manufacturers, I see them as a possible way of getting kids interested in trains without having to mortgage my home!

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, August 4, 2019 10:07 AM

azrail

I noticed the Lionel HO insert in the new issue of MR. Mostly Tyco-ish rehashes of the Model Power stuff. Just who is Lionel aiming at in the HO market? 

 

I just got my copy of the September issue and noticed the same thing and was going to start a thread about it but you beat me to it. Many of the structure and accessory packages are easily recognizable as Model Power retreads. I'm usually the last to know when these things are announced buy I'm guessing Lionel wants to get back into the HO market and bought out Model Power. I remember Lionel had an HO line back in the 1970s and maybe into the 1980s. I don't remember them being a big player back then and I didn't even notice when they go out.

A lot of what was produced under the Model Power name was junk but some of it was of decent enough quality to go on my layout. I've got a few of their structures at the back edge of my layout. They OK as background structures but their lack of detail would keep me from putting them up front. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, August 4, 2019 10:10 AM

richhotrain

 

 
Water Level Route

And wouldn't it be good for the hobby to have more children involved again?

 

 

Dream on!

 

Rich

 

Kids will get involved in MR when somebody develops an ap for virtual model railroading. Maybe somebody already has. They'll set up model railroads on their smart phones and tablets and have at it. 

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Posted by Jumijo on Sunday, August 4, 2019 10:11 AM

joe323

Lionel did an online webcast yesterday at Trainworld in which Ryan Kunkle said that they were mostly aiming at the entry level market because they felt thst is where the Lionel name is most effectivly known.

Trainworld has posted on the website The HO is discussed about 2/3 of the way through the video.

 

Lionel switched from standard gauge to O gauge in the 1930's. They could have successfully made the transition to HO countless times, but just consistently refuse to take HO seriously. They almost closed for good in the 1960's because of that. So now they are offering Xmas cars and other fantasy schemes. I saw this coming a mile away. 

Modeling the Baltimore waterfront in HO scale

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, August 4, 2019 10:22 AM

richhotrain

 

 
NHTX

The desire to attract new blood into this hobby is a desire most of us have but, many young people have no interaction with railroads, trains and, railroaders.  

 

 

Couldn't agree more with your entire post, but this is the part that I simply cannot understand.

 

What is with this burning desire on the part of some to attract young kids to the hobby when it ain't gonna happen?

Besides model railroading, I play golf, lots of golf. The sport is declining as the younger generations get preoccupied with other endeavors. I could care less. As long as there is a golf course to play, I am happy. As long as I can continue to mess with my layout, I am happy. It bothers me not at all if the younger generations seek some alternative forms of pleasure.

Rich

 

I'm with you. To me there are two season. Golf season and train season. One begins as the other ends. 

Not sure I agree with you about golf declining although I live in central Ohio which is a golfing hotbed. It's Jack Nicklaus country and golf is still popular with players of all ages. I just took the job of golf coach and one of the smallest schools in the region. I have just four players, the minimum for having a team, but they seem eager to learn the game. Some of the Columbus schools have 40 or more kids trying out for maybe 18 spots (varsity, JV, and freshman teams). I'm looking forward to it although we are starting from scratch as the school hasn't had a team for the last few years. All my players are underclassmen and some have played very little but for me success will be measured by what degree I can keep these kids enthusiastic about the game and wanting to continue beyond this year. The long term goal will be to field a competetive team when they get to be juniors and seniors. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 4, 2019 12:50 PM

John, good luck with that coaching job. A lot more youngsters play golf than play with trains and, in large part, it is because of the media attention and the role models like Tiger and Phil and, more recently, Jordan, Justin, Jason, Dustin, Brooks, etc.

Rich

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Sunday, August 4, 2019 1:04 PM

John-NYBW
Kids will get involved in MR when somebody develops an ap for virtual model railroading.

It´s called Trainz Railroad Simulator.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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