Is there a market for US TT?

Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bernd » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:07 pm

Mark said:
The problem with TT in the US is inherent in the question; the discussions center on marketing TT instead of actually modeling it.


Now that hit the nail on the head. I have to agree. I'm giving it a go with building a backwoods lumber company and mining company engine facility. I've started with a scratch built engine house. One response I got was "doesn't interest me". Well Ok. I can understand not liking that aspect of the hobby. I don't like the computerization model railroads. All other aspects are OK with me.

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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bernd » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:16 pm

TTTerrific wrote:Thanks CSD for not "raining on anybody's parade." It's more like you "pissed on everybodies' parade." Good for you! It's about time that everyone realize (and accept) that TT is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD -- in the good 'ole USofA. The interests in motive power, rolling stock, structures, scenery, etc., etc. are broad and deep and highly varied. Where would any prospective manufacturer/marketer/distributor even start!? I get that there are like 4-5 "epochs" in Euro model railroading? Well, the same or similar can be said of NA railroads as well--with --what: 3-4 "generations" of diesel locomotives alone!

At 72 years I have no interest in or concerns about anything past the first generation of diesels and remember quite well the last five years of steam power on the SP. Much younger model rails have very little interst in steam and early diesels. I suspect we all have romanticized to some extent our childhood experience with real railroads that carryover to our modelling interests. The TT train left the station decades ago and has chugged down the line to obscurity, never to return.

The fun for me is to see how many of you have done what you can with with you've got to build rolling stock, power models, lay track, etc. in this OBSCURE scale. Such efforts are truly UNIQUE and greatly appreciated by at least one member (me) who is so JADED by nearly everything in ALL the other scales (okay--excepting the proto-48 tribe--maybe).


Is it dead? I don't think so. Perhaps to the RTR and younger generation who want modern day equipment. That can be observed on another forum I'm on. No interest in actually building anything. Just plopping ready made structures, track and highly detail engines on a multilevel several hundred feet of track layout and operate. They don't have time to build anything. I also believe more than half have not talent to build anything.

I think in order to revive TT scale more patient modelers need to do this. One that will build his/her own railroad equipment.

I too am a transition era modeler. I don't remember seeing steam engines but am enamored by first generation diesels. I guess I'll putter along by myself and see what I can accomplish. I have the three T's.

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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby CSD » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:42 pm

TTTerrific wrote:... The fun for me is to see how many of you have done what you can with what you've got to build rolling stock, power models, lay track, etc. in this OBSCURE scale. Such efforts are truly UNIQUE...


We share the same opinion, so relax. Obviously, I’ve miscommunicated and should expand on my thoughts.

Is there a market for US TT?

My answer is still no. In the face of 2 other widely popular scales, the sheer amount of product available in those scales and the small fan base of TT in North America, creating a profitable market is a real long shot. The few products that have come our way via an established manufacturer (MTB) were a real "stars align" kind of opportunity. I would not be able to reproduce my efforts on the SW1200 and MTB would not be able to provide the same bargain today. Additionally, I’ve had the chance to network with a number of manufacturers and even entered into discussions to produce a number of TT items. Some cottage manufacturer small series products went, but the production numbers and general cost was too great for me to absorb in most cases (we were this --><-- close to having N.A. profile flex track, folks - Too expensive). None of the manufacturers were willing to take a chance with their money having deemed the consumer base too small or not wanting to compete internally with existing product lines. I consider my journey a success in terms of my personal goals, but financially - not so much.

That being said, who cares? I don’t think we need to monetize the scale in order to enjoy and develop it. I sure don’t need a sales pitch. Take what you have, go build something. Snap up those cottage industry productions when they come up. That's where it's at for TT. Your above statement uses just the right word: Fun! Do it for the sake of doing it. The “market” be damned.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby AstroGoat760 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:13 pm

CSD wrote:Fun! Do it for the sake of doing it. The “market” be damned.

I whole-heartedly concur.

While I would love to see a commercial resurgence in TT Scale, part of the appeal would possibly go away for me in that event, as I love having become obsessed with a rare scale that is not only the Ideal Scale, but also is easy to scratch-build in.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:10 pm

I suppose I'll chime in.

Over the years I've found that I get the most satisfaction from modifying locomotives to address shortcomings. Specifically in the drivetrain area. I can make a locomotive for myself. But that's not where it ends for me. I want that locomotive to be available to others as well. If it was just about me, I would have cranked out the 4 U30b locos I want a long time ago. The complexity of the project is born out my self defined need to make it available to others who are interested but may not have the time or skills to build one on their own. Ergo - full or semi RTR.

This is where I hit a brick wall. I can spend the money on my own projects. But I can't just burn money so others can have one as well. I don't have the production facilities to bring costs down from efficiencies in scale (no pun intended).

Long story short, only established manufacturers in this business can do that. Hence I want to find a way for that to happen. If someone out there can produce a RTR gp40 or whatever, great!

And don't get me started on cars. You need a LOT of those to run a railroad. Luckily thanks to some members here, we've gotten several new car models over the last few years.




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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby krokodil » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:58 am

Long story short, only established manufacturers in this business can do that.


Not even those, look at the market situation among those "established" manufacturers, instability, changes everywhere. First of all, do not forget, that the model railroad is the same business as everything else on the market. Each manufacturer must produce a profit, and if possible very fast. In earlier years, it was enough to show some profit at end of the fy year, today this period is shortened to few months.
In my opinion, the whole MR hobby range became very diversified ( too much for my taste). Somebody likes the simple RTR models, others would buy only digitalized models, or only models with sound etc. Noone of the manufacturers is ready for that, mostly the know-how is missing, and it is very costly. On one side we see, how many people can make wonderful models, design excellent electronics, but in moment when the thing is ready for production and sale, the costs go up into the sky, because of missing market. I have no concrete numbers, but I guess the cost for marketing of our model prices today is over 60%. That means from the $200 model the manufacturer has just about $80 or less for development, production, payrolls, banks etc. This cannot work in long time view.
If you are a manufacturer, before you start to make anything, you have to spend a fortune to prepare a market for your model, which will absorb your production, when it start, if possible, immediately to generate a profit for your creditors.
Also the internet delivers us very often fake numbers. Look how long is this discussion thread. Yesterday I just checked, the TTnut forum has just about 500 members, cca 400 from US. Even among these people there is no real decision what the members really want, and probably less than 100 people will buy anything what will appear on the market. (The 400 SWs are not sold yet - after 6-7 years, i hope MTB has got at least the money!!!).

Mark is right, there is NO market!
If there is no market, nobody will spend any cent for development and production.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby dileTTante » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:58 am

krokodil wrote:Yesterday I just checked, the TTnut forum has just about 500 members, cca 400 from US. Even among these people there is no real decision what the members really want, and probably less than 100 people will buy anything what will appear on the market. (The 400 SWs are not sold yet - after 6-7 years, i hope MTB has got at least the money!!!).
Judging from our years of 'market research' at train shows, the potential market for TT is greater than the number of people on TT Nut. Many visitors are attracted to TT when they see the trains, but they have never heard of TT Nut. Many would buy TT on the spot if any models were available.

This discussion considers the SW1200 to be the measure of the potential market for TT. It is not.

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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby krokodil » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:10 am

Hi Terry

Sure, that the people like the TT not just because of the size, but often also for diverse details and system resources. Long time here in Europe the TT scale was the master for track system, compatibilty, while in HO or N every manufacturer developed their own solutions from turnouts over couplers to the track polarity, in TT it was never the issue.
But think about, your ( some members of TTnut) "private" corner on trainshows is not a marketing value for the producers neither for the sales organisation. Your efforts have more marketing value for this community as for the manufacturers.
Maybe once in the future you should talk to some major TT manufacturers and local sales channels for common efforts on such events and they should get the idea about the marketing value of such shows and about the size of opportunity. It was also very similar 30 years ago, when BTTB was in big troubles regarding the ownership and future. That time many clubs and individuals pushed the "TT train" from one exhibition to the next and convinced the actual owners/management of BTTB to continue in production, until TIllig took over the company.
In oversea you have a big problem, that this scale completely dissapeared from the market and the model magazines (including e-magazines) also ignore mostly this scale.
On top of that - I mentioned this earlier - the youngsters are not getting any impulses to select the model railroads for their hobby. Very few active shops left over, on TV only in very few regions you can find a hobby channel dealing with model railroads. The internet TVs ( streaming) are not organized yet. I never understood, how is it possible that on many networks you can find 2-3 channels dealing with fishing or pets and there is absolutely nothing for mechanical or electronic hobbies like model trains etc. In Europe we also do not have hobbychannels on TV, but in many regions, mainly on railway stations, the bookshops have many shelves with RR magazines and books incl. modelling. Where else, when not here, the kids can get the first idea about the model railroad and maybe became once a modelrailroader?

Sure the SW1200 is not showing the TT market potential, but it is a measure for many manufacturers, they are watching very carefuly the US hobby market. Do not forget, your country is big enough and also rich enough for the leasure hobbies, and everybody is dreaming about the huge and powerful market size ( and a big profit :grin: ).
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby RodTT » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:12 pm

Is there any mileage in crowdfunding?
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Tom Dempsey » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:26 pm

Only for the guy everyone sends their money to.

It's foolhardy at best to place much credence in what folks at train shows assure you will sell like hotcakes. Of course they're very interested in TT, they're very interested in everything at the train show, sort of why they came. What people tell you they'll buy for sure, and what they actually part with the bucks for are frequently considerably different. One of the biggest and costliest lessons of my first five years in the business.
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