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Concerning Bachmann And Williams

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Concerning Bachmann And Williams
Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, October 8, 2022 6:54 PM

YouTube just threw this one at me a few minutes ago, a very interesting study of Williams pre-and-post the Bachmann purchase.  

Have a look!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S94-4d02vxI

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Posted by fifedog on Sunday, October 9, 2022 5:06 AM

Yea, I saw that one too. One can only hope that the Williams line improves, or emerges someplace else. 
Sigh

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, October 9, 2022 1:55 PM

I'm surprised Menards hasn't attempted to aquire the Williams motive power line at least, I'm sure they've got the wherewithal to make it happen.  Or maybe they've tried and been rebuffed?  Things like that usually aren't made public.  

I mention Menards because I can't think of any other likely candidates at this time.  Maybe someone else has ideas?  

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Posted by pennytrains on Sunday, October 9, 2022 5:12 PM

I suspect Menards has been working in that direction for some time.  Their recent experiments with an F unit point towards expansion of the line.  But have you seen the little "SOLD OUT" box on page 3 of the Menards Fall 2022 insert in the November/December issue of CTT?  I suspect they're hesitant to expand due to the profiteering that's going on.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, October 9, 2022 5:46 PM

pennytrains
But have you seen the little "SOLD OUT" box on page 3 of the Menards Fall 2022 insert in the November/December issue of CTT?  I suspect they're hesitant to expand due to the profiteering that's going on.

I have.  Here's the thing, once you've sold out of the limited run item and you've made the money on it you wanted to what happens afterward should be of no concern. If someone wants to charge two or three times more for the resale of an article he purchased from you and another someone "Who JUST has to have it!" is willing to pay the price that's just how it is.  

It's no reason to feel cheated or to stop creating new product. 

The smart thing to do is when you call a new product a "Limited Edition" limit it to how many you can sell, whatever that number may be.  Wink

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, October 9, 2022 7:11 PM

I don't have any O gauge trains, I never had any as child. My father was a very serious HO holiday modeler who set up a large (5x18) Christmas Garden which later became a permanent HO layout once we had a basement. At age 10 or 11 it was given to me.

Starting at age 13, I worked in several hobby shops, did LIONEL and Flyer repairs, and at age 19 was a the train department manager.

So that's my disclaimer and my resume regarding my comments to follow.

As the 2008 recession took hold, I remember several local dealers here who did a brisk business in O gauge saying that sales dropped off considerably, and that those able to sell at deep discounts were also hurting their business.

The 1990's resurgence of traditional 3 rail O gauge was an interesting turn in model trains, driven partly, or largely, by boomers with deep pockets reaching an age where both nostalgia for their youth and time, money and space for a hobby came together.

Honestly as a life long HO modeler with experiance in the industry, it surprised me. Not in a bad way, I just never would have expected it.

This whole hobby has changed considerably, in every scale. In ways many would not have ever imagined.

Without making this post too long, I will try to skip ahead to the result. 

O gauge became more expensive, HO moved from a builders scale to a scale that offered both "craftsman/builder scale modeling" and a more "plug and play" RTR version with quality products.

The population aged, the boomers stopped buying as much O gauge, newer people (even those right behind the boomers) now had the option of quality RTR HO.

The economic climate in China changed, making it more expensive to make all this stuff. 

Deep discounting cut out most of the small dealers and distributors, changing the supply chain.

Why do you think Mike Wolf retired without really caring what happened to his company - what he had helped create had run its course. And his move to HO was a failure because he only built products for the RTR side of the hobby. The other companies knew they had to appeal to both groups of HO modelers.

Nearly EVERY company in the model train business is privately held, sale figures and production numbers are closely guarded, we can only guess how big the market is, for O gauge, HO, or in total.

Or, how it compares to the hayday of Williams, Kline and MTH.

Bachmann has cut back much in their HO product line as well, being much more conservative in many ways, suggesting the market is weak, in all scales. They are single biggest player with the deepest pockets by all accounts.

And now with its new expanded RTR fan base added to the traditional model builder types, HO does seem to dominate the hobby more than ever - even if there is some friction between the two segments of the hobby.

Menards - well I know they have a web presence - but Menards means nothing to me. Their retail stores are not in my region of the country. I can't see or touch any of their products in advance. Ironic that in the age of central distribution they might be crippled by a lack of outlets in other regions.

I know the industry and the hobby will muddle thru, but the last 10 years has not been its high water mark to say the least, in any scale.

In fact, if we had to pick a high water mark right now, in might be 1998.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, October 9, 2022 7:25 PM

One more thought. The "Limited Edition", preoder system, is not doing good things for the HO side of the hobby.

It may be an economic necessity, but at least 50% of the HO market is "modelers", not collectors. Modelers who are intersted in creating realistic layouts with a believeable roster of equipment - not just a random collection of "famous" trains.

So difficulty in obtaining specific models, which have been produced, works to discourage their interest.

I will use myself as an example - I model a freelance railroad (ATLANTIC CENTRAL) and interchanges with the B&O, C&O and WESTEN MARYLAND. In my little world it is September 1954.

If a model does not fit that theme and era, I don't own it.

I have never owned a GG1, or a Big Boy, or a NYC Hudson.... Nor am I likely to.

But I have 145 HO locomotives, in many cases 4, 6 or 8 of the same ones, because that's how real railroads work and that makes my layout realistic.

Lucky for me, I have most of what I want and need for my new layout...

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, October 9, 2022 7:53 PM

Wellllll, I got the reason Mike retired from a friend who knows him very well and was shocked he was giving it up, but I was sworn to secrecy and I'm keeping my word.  

Thanks for your input Sheldon!  Great to see you over here! And what you had to say was VERY interesting indeed! 

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Posted by philo426 on Sunday, October 9, 2022 8:15 PM

He could have had a serious health diagnosis that caused him to shut it down.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, October 9, 2022 8:39 PM

Flintlock76

Wellllll, I got the reason Mike retired from a friend who knows him very well and was shocked he was giving it up, but I was sworn to secrecy and I'm keeping my word.  

Thanks for your input Sheldon!  Great to see you over here! And what you had to say was VERY interesting indeed! 

 

Well, I can only tell you this, he did not have many fans among established HO modelers or those in the industry, of which I know a few.

And in the HO circles I travel in, nobody even mentions MTH, we will see how Scale Trains makes out with the tooling....

What Mike missed was that in HO, nobody buys all their locomotives from one company - interchangeability is EVERYTHING.

Long before DCC, there were lots of good Command Control systems, they all failed.... Because they were proprietary.

Some facts that might surprise you about HO and N scales.

After all these 25 plus years, by all accounts, only about 60% of HO modelers use DCC, and the number is lower in N scale. Sure, large percentages of new people choose DCC or switch to it early on, but is is far from being "universal". Most of the big manufacturers are still making both DCC/sound as well as DC versions of their locos.

Yes, RTR is popular, but not always for the reasons people think.

Lots of people, even new/young people, are interested in the craftsman side of the hobby. Again I will use myself as an example. 

I'm 65 years old, I've been at this for 55 years, I have a lot of trains. Some I built from a box of sticks, others bought RTR from the highest end manufacturers out their today, and everything in between.

I see RTR this way, it allows me to build my complete dream layout, faster, better easier and allows me to use my scratch building, kit building, kit bashing skills where they are most effective.

Kits my seem dead, but not really. BUT, what has happened, changes in the society, the WEB, etc, have made it possible for vast inventories of NOS or "lightly used" model trains to be easily marketed to those interested.

So we don't need a lot of kit manufacturers right now, especially as the boomers start leaving us and their unbuild stock piles now go to market on Ebay, or Hattons, etc.

My goal is to build that one last big layout and enjoy it the rest of my life.

Construction is getting underway - here is the track plan - about 1500 sq ft.

 

And it will be DC powered with no tinny onboard sound systems. But it will have wireless radio throttles, signals, CTC and more.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, October 9, 2022 8:46 PM

Well I'll agree, from what I've heard HO was something MTH should have stayed away from.  Like any other field of endevour if you don't understand it don't go near it!  Mike certainly DID understand three-rail, both Standard and O Gauge. 

How his S Gauge foray worked out I have no idea. 

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Monday, October 10, 2022 9:05 AM

Rob

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Monday, October 10, 2022 9:09 AM

Flintlock76

...interesting study of Williams pre-and-post the Bachmann purchase...



Not in-depth enough, it looks.

The Menards cars do not use Bachmann tooling.  They are knock-offs made by Golden Wheel Die Cast.

Rob

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