Is there a market for US TT?

Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:18 am

7. What can you do?
A) Publicize TT-Scale in any way, shape or form. Display a layout, a module, or models at shows, public events or any type. Get the word out there.

B) Buy the product when it is available. I am surprised the SW1200 did not sell better. Some of us bought more than our share. I have nine and hope to a have more before the year is out. A few other bought more. Obviously many of you did not buy a single model.
If you want this scale to grow you have to support the manufacturers!

So what is it going to take?

Money and lots of it.

If I had the money, I would:

Contract Kato to make the track, RDCs and F units.
Athearn to do the GPs
Atlas to do the Alcos
Micro Trains to do the freight cars and heavy weight passenger cars. And then set up a monthly release of new product like they currently do with N and Z-S Scale.
MicroEngineering to do the flex track.
Kuehn to do the turnouts and crossing.
Woodland Scenics to do a handful of buildings and some figures.
Not sure who to get to do vehicles.
Walthers to do some buildings.
Walthers to do smoothside cars.
And since it is my money we are dreaming about spending, Walthers to do the CPR Canadian with proper FP9 locomotives.

For the SD40-2 and GP38 Athearn would be a good choice. Also perhaps the Dash-9 and AC4400.
Scale Trains do a very nice GEVo.

As the market grows other companies would come on board with new products.

A dream perhaps it is not going to happen unless we all work towards it.

So time to get off your butts and start doing something to promote TT-Scale.

Much of what I have written above is open to discussion but is a good frame work to start with.
Bill Dixon
North Vancouver, BC
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby RodTT » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:33 am

Since getting into US TT about this time last year, I've certainly been doing my bit to get the scale better known. My switching layout was featured in the July issue of the UK's Continental Modeller and I have twice emailed Model Railroader with a link to my website describing the layout and mentioning the various TT suppliers. I vaguely threatened that my continued sub to the magazine depended on it but I don't expect them to be impressed.

There is quite a following for US outline here in the UK, obviously mostly HO and N. The problem with TT, as has already been pointed out, is that most people want more of it and they want it to be easily available. The reaction at shows is that it's a very nice scale but people don't want to be ordering a bit here, a bit there as and when it's available, and to be scraping around on Shapeways and the like to fill in the gaps such as road vehicles. I must say if getting a layout together had been much harder I probably wouldn't have given it a go.

I see the priorities as being
a) at least one or two more locos - ready to run preferably or 'near ready to run' as long as it's easily put together and all the components can be had from the same supplier, including decals;
b) road vehicles;
c) structures or structure kits/components, preferably but not essentially in 3D relief plastic or resin rather than card.

Personally I would love another RTR diesel or three and would be happy to pay around €160 - as long as it was say a GP38 or GP40, or an Alco S or RS series, and definitely not one of the first generation F type locos, which I hate (though I realise many people love them).

Having said that, I am never going to be buying more than one or two of any one type of loco or freight car. And I may well be the only person in the UK with a US TT model railway!

A similar discussion arises once in a while on UK forums about 3mm scale TT, and the conclusion here is invariably that unless the bigger manufacturers get interested, it will remain a kitbuilder's and scratchbuilder's scale. And of course they won't get interested if they don't see a market. I was pleasantly surprised to see that in the RTR stakes, against all the odds US TT is faring better than UK 3mm.

Another factor is that the vast majority of railway modellers are 60+. I would like to be proved wrong but sadly I think the hobby will mostly die off as we do.

P.S. could we get Rapido interested?
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bernd » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:52 am

Right now some US model manufacturers are scrambling to find suppliers do to a factory shut down in China. Don't know if any of you here have heard about it. Rapido may be taking up some of the slack according to Jason Sharon owner of Rapido.

I think Bill Dixon nailed pretty much of what is needed. It would be nice if a manufacturer would do what Bachmann did for On30. Another thing I see is that not many modelers turn entrepreneur and start producing a product. As a matter of fact I've seen some of them start closing down their business do to age such as George Sellios of Fine Scale Miniatures has closed down to retire.

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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby krokodil » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:56 pm

Hi Bill,

It is a perfect wishlist for te US TT friends, you just forgot the basic item of your countries over the pond. Everything there is all about the money.
You see the ignorance of MR about our scale.
Because the main sponsors of the magazine(s) do not produce anything for TT scale. It was easy for Bachmann to introduce the On3 scale models - his advertising activities (budget) easily covered the introduction of the new scale. Do not expect such support from Tillig.
Yes, we are also in the generation of 60+, and we saw the decline of Athearn, MDC, Browser, Lionel and many other US manufacturers mostly for the most popular scale. Can we expect from any of the bigger players after such experience to introduce additional competition for their market share?

All those kits, unpainted models where known in the past. I have several Shays purchased as kits and almost all typical logging vehicles from US manufacturers - all of them are already out of business and nothing similar is available.
I always lowed the US model sortiment from the 80-ies, where the modelers had to work something for the final product. Some of the vehicles where just shake out from the box, but many of them gave me several weeks of work (3 truck Shay etc.). Here in Europe we never had any similar models or kits. From the business point of view it was probably not the dream of the company owners..
I would start the wishlist with the search for sponsors of the TT scale, maybe it is easier as to knock on the doors with the vehicle and track wishlist.
Probably it is easier to find a distribution network for the models. Somebody mentioned, that MTB needs to sell about 5-600 locomotives for the rentability. I think Hobbytown ( or similar network) has more shops as 500....
Personally I would also purchase several US models, just to remember my trips in your country. :grin:
Greetings from Austria
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