Author Topic: N scale lobbyists at Walthers  (Read 1949 times)

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MK

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2019, 11:05:07 PM »
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I highly doubt it.  They still make profit as a distributor of those now-Atlas models.

Sure but not as much as if they own and distribute it rather than just distribute.

peteski

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2019, 11:25:09 PM »
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Sure but not as much as if they own and distribute it rather than just distribute.

Eh, they make most of their money on H0.  :D
Besides, it would be nice for them to produce some more new N scale items.
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Dave V

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2019, 10:21:02 PM »
+5
Of all of the equine carcasses routinely disinterred for continued beating, I do believe this one by far has the most whip-marks.
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peteski

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2019, 10:28:48 PM »
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Of all of the equine carcasses routinely disinterred for continued beating, I do believe this one by far has the most whip-marks.

And I started this thread on a positive note.  :|
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Rossford Yard

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2019, 03:12:43 PM »
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Eh, they make most of their money on H0.  :D
Besides, it would be nice for them to produce some more new N scale items.

They took a guaranteed $XXXX dollars now rather than roll the dice on bringing in a tenth of that every year for ten years (or whatever).  Sometimes it makes business sense.

As to producing more in N, I wonder if Atlas had them sign some sort on non-compete and how thorough it was?  Obviously, structures were included and maybe steamers since Atlas didn't buy those molds.  My guess is it would be fairly strict for rolling stock and diesels.

Besides, if Walther's never really did well in N scale rolling stock and diesels (my impression, I could be wrong) it probably was decided at HQ that it wouldn't be very nice for them to produce more rolling stock. :|  I mean, some of us like the idea of more production in N, but with the "off brands" we don't support them with wallet share.  Again, my guess based on "common knowledge".

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2019, 03:37:57 PM »
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They took a guaranteed $XXXX dollars now rather than roll the dice on bringing in a tenth of that every year for ten years (or whatever).  Sometimes it makes business sense.

As to producing more in N, I wonder if Atlas had them sign some sort on non-compete and how thorough it was?  Obviously, structures were included and maybe steamers since Atlas didn't buy those molds.  My guess is it would be fairly strict for rolling stock and diesels.

Besides, if Walther's never really did well in N scale rolling stock and diesels (my impression, I could be wrong) it probably was decided at HQ that it wouldn't be very nice for them to produce more rolling stock. :|  I mean, some of us like the idea of more production in N, but with the "off brands" we don't support them with wallet share.  Again, my guess based on "common knowledge".

Pretty sure Atlas does have the molds for the Berk an Mallet, but the 0-8-0 is MIA. They stated they have the first right of refusal if the 0-8-0 tooling is found. My guess is that both engines they do have may have been damaged/incomplete in some way, or that the factory producing these was not the factory producing the other models. I think both could use a new run, especially the Mallet.

The 0-8-0 debacle pretty much sums up Walther's interest in N. "Oh that's a thing? Just toss it over there." Never to be seen again.

Walthers is continuing their structure line, and that rocks. They do structures really well, and I'm glad we have them. Their recent warehouse and residential structures have been a big hole in N.

I really want Atlas to update the tooling on the Walthers models they did purchase. Some really need it. Some are pretty good as is, but could still use metal wheels and body mount couplers. Neither should be a big change I would think.

The Cryo car would be a good candidate for an update. The shell is pretty nice, but the under frame needs replacement (it is incompatible with MTL or Accumate couplers without serious modification). These were a very era specific car - mostly seen in the 90's. Maybe that's why they are not so hot on them. I'm in for as many Cryo-Trans and Simplot cars they make though.

I am going to be a bit irate if they don't update the PD5150 hopper. These are iconic billboard style cars and deserve to be presented in the best way possible. The body is not bad, but the roof walk and end cages need to be replaced. I have tried several times getting an etched kit made - loosing money to several failed projects. It's frustrating.
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eposte101

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2019, 12:34:28 AM »
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I wish they would do the cement plant with the multiple structures

asarge

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2019, 10:29:00 AM »
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I wish they would do the cement plant with the multiple structures

Oh I can think of a bunch they could do. Unfortunately they have stated repeatedly to me and others that they were not going to go back and Tool N scale structures for past stuff they had done in HO. I hope they change their mind but as yet, that policy is still in place.

Now, if they were going to go back and re-release and update something...........................................

Rossford Yard

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2019, 12:14:11 PM »
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I also agree that Walther's structure line rocks, and would love to see the Cement Plant.  Might use that as a reason to expand the layout a bit.  Thinking of buying all their reissue steel plants, just to make sure I do have them when I retire and expand (my "Belt Line" layout, not my actual belt line :o

I just have never understood the grief they get for trying and not doing well in locos and rolling stock.  After all, it seems like we have enough (if that's possible) locos and rolling stock without them.  There are never any guarantees in biz and I think they misread the market, trying something new/different that the market didn't accept.

For locos, I think it was mostly that pre DCC, we preferred to stick with Atlas and Kato to assure they ran similarly. 

In rolling stock, they took a gamble lots of us said we wanted - providing rolling stock at lower prices, albeit at less detail, when the market was going to finer scale.  Atlas finally got that business model right by calling their earlier stuff Trainman.  We were already used to what it looked like, and had a choice of that or a more expensive upgrade.  In addition, Atlas bought the Walther's/Lifelike tooling, probably much cheaper than they could tool it now, another way to produce lower cost stuff and still make money by saving tooling costs.

wm3798

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2019, 01:53:56 PM »
+1
The structure dilemma always plum evades me.  Large industrial complexes like steel mills, grain handling facilities, cement plants, etc. are much more difficult for the home modeler in HO to pull off than in N.  With Ntrak modules, modest to large size N scale layouts and even TTrak seeming to become more and more popular, I would think the demand for these large industries would at least cause someone up at Walthers to pick their head up off their desk and maybe raise an eyebrow.

Alas, their corporate motto seems to be "We Never Done it That Way Before!"

 :facepalm:
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MetroRedLine

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2019, 07:45:02 AM »
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I just have never understood the grief they get for trying and not doing well in locos and rolling stock.  After all, it seems like we have enough (if that's possible) locos and rolling stock without them.  There are never any guarantees in biz and I think they misread the market, trying something new/different that the market didn't accept.


When they were doing N scale, they were pretty much stuck in the early/mid '90s, whereas other manufacturers doing N progressed (i.e. lower ride height, knucle couplers, low-profile wheels). It still shows - the 40' intermodal containers Walthers still puts out are the same schemes they originally released in the mid-1990s!
Is it any surprise that the last N scale manufacturers to phase out of rapido couplers were Walthers, Bachmann and Con-Cor -- and they only did so earlier this decade!
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thomasjmdavis

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2019, 10:33:01 AM »
+1
The structure dilemma always plum evades me.  Large industrial complexes like steel mills, grain handling facilities, cement plants, etc. are much more difficult for the home modeler in HO to pull off than in N.  With Ntrak modules, modest to large size N scale layouts and even TTrak seeming to become more and more popular, I would think the demand for these large industries would at least cause someone up at Walthers to pick their head up off their desk and maybe raise an eyebrow.

Alas, their corporate motto seems to be "We Never Done it That Way Before!"

 :facepalm:
I have been a pretty good customer for Walthers structures over the years- but they don't "hear" me or a lot of other N scale customers on the subject of buildings.  They continue to follow the formula circa 1965- they start with a real building,  "selectively" compress it by anywhere from 50 to 90%, produce an HO "model" and then take that, reduce it to 55% of its HO size, and sell that as an N scale building.

What I would much rather see, is for them to produce a building that has the same footprint and height as the HO building, but just with more, smaller, windows, doors, etc.  So a 3 story tall, 60'x60' HO building becomes a 5 story, 100'x100' N scale building- MUCH closer to an actual scale model.  Maybe its just me, but I want to have buildings large enough that I can believe that the shipping department has more cubic footage than the boxcar being loaded.

The one time they really got it right was on the blast furnace.  According to my Kalmbach booklet on steel mills (essentially a 90 page ad for Walthers because their HO and occasionally N products are in almost every model photo), they actually produced an N scale model of a realistically sized blast furnace.  While the HO model is too small (I know it looks big compared to most model industries, but still, it scales out to 77' tall- smaller than the blast furnace of even a very small steel mill of 1920, much less 1960), while the N scale model, at 100 scale feet would be correct (or close, if you want to argue 3 or 5 scale feet) for mills built from 1920 to 1945, or for smaller operations.

Unfortunately, it appears that the blast furnace is a thing of the past.  I am resigned to doing without one, as I did not pick one up in the "going out of the steel business" sale at Walthers, and nowadays, they go for more than some brass locomotives on eBay- and frankly, I am not going to pay 3 to 4 times MSRP for a kit that may or may not have all the parts.  So, looking for a blast furnace backdrop.....
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Rossford Yard

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2019, 11:40:13 AM »
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The structure dilemma always plum evades me.  Large industrial complexes like steel mills, grain handling facilities, cement plants, etc. are much more difficult for the home modeler in HO to pull off than in N.  With Ntrak modules, modest to large size N scale layouts and even TTrak seeming to become more and more popular, I would think the demand for these large industries would at least cause someone up at Walthers to pick their head up off their desk and maybe raise an eyebrow.

Alas, their corporate motto seems to be "We Never Done it That Way Before!"

 :facepalm:

This has been brought up over the years in various forums.  Some industry insider, maybe from Walther's, not sure, noted that the reason most folks go into N is because they don't have the space to do large layouts, and large N scale layouts are relatively to extremely rare.  Thus, big structures aren't expected to sell that well.  Not sure how modules fit into that, but you would think at least a few extra would sell.

Would be an interesting exercise to list the big ones we know of.  The new Great Model Railroads (and all previous issues) have no trouble finding half a dozen big HO layouts. In fact, this issue is all HO, HOn3 and O.  In the past, many of the excellent layouts were actually pretty small.  You can claim more HO bias, but how many big N scale layouts can we name?  Reid Bros (too early an era) Daryl K UP (could use one), Todd T NS layout, Mike D Rio Grande.  Am I missing any?  Maybe should make a separate thread?

Thomas J M Davis,  I heard Walther's say they are rerunning the Steel series in N in 2020.  Others have reported it, too.   And, there are several Blast Furnace backdrops available.  One is HO, but doesn't look out of place in my N scale layout.  How far in the background is it, how big, etc.  The eye doesn't know that, it looks good.

As to the N Scale sized windows on an HO structure, interesting, but hard to do, I imagine.  I have used the Lauston Shipping HO warehouse for N.  Take off the raised loading dock portion, and it lowers the doors to N scale height, albeit, with no loading platform.  I have considered using the diesel house because, well who knows how big those grid windows could be.  Yes, a few doors need hiding or changing.  Ditto with their HO Power Station.  Put a few N scale structures over the oversized doors and it looks good and massive to the eye, i.e., close to scale if you ignore the spacing on the sheet metal (which could also vary in size.)

And of course, there was the old bi-scale Heljan brewery, which I have used, again hiding doors which are a giveaway.  The old Bachman sky scrapers could be used by cutting the window inserts in half, gluing them back upside down, making one window with a sill, look like two windows with the sill between them.

Metro Red Line, I think we're saying the same thing.  For whatever reason, I believe they wanted to be affordable, they didn't keep up with the times and the market as it was.  But, a lot of folks did say mfgs should make trains cheaper, so they tried it and failed.  I am quite certain that they didn't manufacture everything just to tee of N scalers and show them who was boss!  Not at their own expense, at least.

thomasjmdavis

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2019, 01:12:15 PM »
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Rossford Yard,
The point I was trying to make about HO and N scale buildings was for those manufacturers who make buildings for both HO and N.  I was not talking about a modeler making a 5 story N building out of a 3 story HO building, but for the manufacturers to make (at least some) of the N scale buildings the same physical size ( that is, if the HO building is 10" long, make the N scale building 10" long) as the HO counterpart- but with less compression.

I have noted that HO "skyscrapers" are often dreadfully undersized- the scale vertical distance between the sill of one window and the sill of the window 1 story above is sometimes less than 8'.  Sometimes the building is in reality closer to N scale than to HO. So those are, indeed, worth a look.  Although I should also note that the vertical compression is also true of some buildings marketed as N.
Tom D.

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Rossford Yard

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Re: N scale lobbyists at Walthers
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2019, 02:53:32 PM »
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thomasjmdavis,

Interesting idea, but my take is if that was commercially possible, it would have been done already.  I suspect one bad project from a company that does limited runs of structures would be even more catastrophic than a poor selling loco, but I can't know.  An insider tells me the runs of their structures are just 300 as it is (too many plywood centrals out there)  Even at the seemingly high list price of maybe $80 for the structure, that's only $240K at retail, and maybe half that to Walthers, less overseas production costs, which may be half again.  So, they can only make maybe $60,000 or the salary of one mid level manager off that project.  My math is obviously an estimate based on one statement.

I doubt they will make a bigger footprint N version of HO because 1) it would require more design, and no cost savings, 2) They can sell more smaller structures than large ones, and 3) Anyone who wants a larger N scale structure can simply kit bash 2+ of them, adding sales without the added engineering costs.  And, Walther's did the steel rolling mil and blast furnace in such a way that they are easy to combine, so at least they were thinking of those few who want bigger versions of their kits.

I also wonder, given the comments on their rolling stock not being up to modern standards, if any N scalers would buy a compromised HO structure.  Would bricks and ribbed steel be redone completely or rescaled?  Out of scale doors, bricks and windows on the Heljan brewery were noticeable.  Even you note reluctance on accepting minor out of scale variations.   If a skyscraper in HO, it would need 16 foot ceilings to create 8 feet in N for you to buy and use it.  Understand, it may (maybe not) be easier on some simpler industrial structures, especially tilt wall concrete like on the new UPS kit.

Of course, I always thought the modular concept of different wall pieces fitting a frame would be a big seller, but by all accounts, we haven't exactly been buying those in droves from Walthers or DPM, who tried it first.   

BTW, trying to think of mfgs who make structures in both N and HO.  Atlas has the roundhouse and what seems to have been a one and done Middlesex.  Kato does their prebuilts in both scales, but those are mostly downtown or rail structures.  WS has several pre-builts in both scales, but very small scale structures.  My guess is the market is so small, they let Walther's have that segment of it as being better at it, pretty much like Walther's basically let others have locos and rolling stock.  I hope they do well.