Is there a market for US TT?

Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby j p » Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:36 pm

That is a long wish list Bill.
I would recommend to move the models which are already available to the bottom of the list. The market for models which are not available is larger than for models which are/were available from small series (GP38, Alco RS2/RS3, Dash 9, etc.).

Regarding the price of a new locomotive, I'd pay more than that for an engine without errors caused by ignorance. The tools for injection molding cost about the same for a correct model as for a wrong one. Fortunately, SW1200 did not have that many errors (and I bought 6 of them), but the rest of MTB's production is plagued by the lack of care for the details (including models of Czech engines, where the designer can easily get the drawings and photos and see everything on the prototypes in his own city). So, please, if you decide to place another order at MTB, be sure to make a review of the design before the money is spent on the tooling. I am sure that they can do it correctly - if they care. (Maybe they can also hire someone who can run a pad printing machine?)
Would it be possible to let Jes Leyva do the 3D work (or use what is finished)? I have not found that kind of errors on his models.

- Jan
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby krokodil » Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:19 pm

Hi j p

It is not so easy. Look at the main manufacturers, how many mistakes and errors are on their models. Most of them even runing everyday under their windows.
The good model is a result of deep production experiences and the artistic skills. It would be too easy and simple to reduce/resize the original engine to TT scale. Such model will not work or will not look like the original.
Each model is a result of such considerations, sometimes it is better, sometimes it is not.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby CFRiad » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:49 am

Here, i'll say it, so let me be the lightning rod: This topic should be renamed "what is the future of railway modelling in North America".

Look around at train shows in North America. The average age of participants is well past 60. The reality is that there isn't a new generation of fans to come after us. Railway modellers evolve mostly from children who grew up playing with toy trains. And kids don't play with trains any more.

The reasons are many. First, kids usually want to play with toys that reflect the culture (material and otherwise) around them and real trains are not part of culture these days, at least not in North America. Second, kids are less interested in playing with physical toys, as a lot of their play is virtual. Third, model trains are relatively expensive and do not fit in the current culture of cheap disposable toys.

Then we must admit that modern trains are boring the world over, especially for the casual observer. Most locos look kind of the same: line up three 2010 electric locomotives from any European railway, one from Bombardier, one from Siemens and one from Alstom and they all are boxes with 2 pantographs and 8 wheels. You can hardly tell the difference unless you look at the slope of the windshield or some other esoteric detail. North American locos are not far behind. Most freight trains are unit trains where you cannot even see the product carried. There are no passenger trains to speak of in North America, let alone glamorous passenger trains. What would make any newcomer interested into trains?

I assume that most model train manufacturers know that the market is shrinking, so they will not venture into unknown territory such as a new scale.

So let's now say that here comes an incurable optimist millionaire who will say that the fact that an entire generation has no model trains is an opportunity and is willing to sink a sh!t ton of money into it.

The way to break out in a new scale is to create the market. One has to start dealing with cheap gateway drugs: starter sets with modern equipment and expansion packs. I am not sure what the content of the sets should be but is has to pique the interest of an 8 year old. Some higher end models have to be available as well to whet the kids' appetite and to give fathers the reason to buy the toys (look honey, it's for the kids). Then Bill's excellent wishlist has to follow to maintain the addiction.
Last edited by CFRiad on Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby CFRiad » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:10 am

If I had to start somewhere on Bill's wishlist, I would want a widely produced road engine that was/is in use over many decades. GP38-2 is a candidate. Then I would want a versatile flat car, one that can be easily made into flat, bulkhead, container carrier, etc. A covered hopper, a 50-foot boxcar and a gondola would complete my priority list.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby krokodil » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:01 am

Generally I agree with CFRiad, with his words about the development of the model railroading worldwide.
Basically we killed from the young generation the interest for the manual working skills. Look just around, several decades ago on the newspaper stands there were several shelfs full with magazines for electronics, mechanics and also for modelers including model railroading. Today? You won't find anything similar.
I do not know who came with the idea, that the electronic games and software solutions will solve all the problems of the future development, but without a final mechanizm at the and of different computer chains the best software solution won't work. This last link from the chain is generally missing from today's tendences, or there we can see very often the limits.
I remember my first computer application in the model railroad from the middle of 80-ies, based on B.Chubbs CTC ideas. The computer (Sinclair ZX) controlled the blocks, the signals etc on my railroad. That means the result of the software development was immediatelly mirrored on the layout and everything was homemade, the interface cards, power electronics tailored for model railroad, etc. Of course that time I also recognized, that I am spending more time in front of the monitor as under the layout, or in the workshop building models of buildings, vehicles etc.
Unfortunately today the DCC is too complex for the average model railroader or just for a kids to call them for interactivity. The maximum what one can do is to play with the CVs in the decoder config, or download the latest sound segments into the expensive locomotive....
If you look into the older magazines, you will find a long step-by-step descriptions to build something from electronics to the brass locomotive ( B.Chubbs description filled almost 12 issues of the magazine). Such literature is almost completely missing today, the young generation mostly does not know how looks like a soldering iron, the maximum what they know is the breadboard. On the other side, we have wonderful new devices (Arduino & Co) which are cheap and designed for such applications. Did you see any article about such things in the model railroad magazines, where are those authors?
This is also a general issue, from the leading countries worldwide dissapeared the need for manual jobs (everything was outsourced to the cheap third world), what remained is a fully automatized production, no need for manual skills. We, as parents, can hardly convince our kids to go into the workshop and create something manually. I would be happy if there would be a start set with a train, few switches and an Arduino module for the kids to write a software to control the train on the mini layout. ( Not everybody will start with the Z21 etc.)
If you open the last MR or similar magazine, you will recognize, that there is nothing interesting, no new themes, and what a waste of time discussing the setting of the CVs on particular decoders, when the description is already 3-9 month old and meanwhile the discussed decoder or FW version on it, does not exist anymore....
On top of that, the model railroad manufacturers are in serious troubles with the electronics. It somehow does not fit into their profiles. They are trying to use vendor solutions - somebody else is developing for them the electronics, or they just select some (OTS) solution and nobody can really analyse all aspects of the co-operation with the models. (Look just the lights on the locomotives....).
The model railroad manufacturing is a business on the toy market segment. Every player on that market is willing to make money and additionaly as fast as possible. If you compare it with any other toys etc. you will see how complex is this process, ie the turnaround of the money is much slower, therefore the investors does not really push money into the production.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Alwyn Cutmore » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:23 pm

Hi Folks, I am new to this group and I am looking forward to getting involved. Is there a market for TT in the US? I believe there is but it will only move forward through the efforts of some dedicated people doing what they do best and that is manufacture short runs that fit the market. From that interest grows and eventually more and more people take up the cudgel. Modelling is Australian outline started this way, especially in HO and N Scale. First were the craft market manufacturers. Believe me some of them were rough and ready but it was there. It grew and some great people manufactured a lot of product. I have been active in the Sales or Manufacturing side of the hobby for some time, (40 years) and I have manufactured HO Scale for the last 35 years and in the process I made patterns for N Scale during that period. I believe that high quality, reasonable priced short runs can be produced for the market in general and more specifically for railroads specific. I am a great believer in the arts. Make a play, a darn good play and then fill it with a casting of thousands. I equate that to make a pattern, a very good accurate pattern and then make a casting of hundreds. That way everyone benefits. I am rich? No. Am I happy? Yes. Why TT? You may well ask. TT makes me human again. I am going to have to drag all those old skills out of the closet and match them with new ones. There is a lot to be said for crafting but the main one is satisfaction. It gives everyone a go. Modellers can pick up a good kit and make it happen for them. They may not have the skills to make a pattern but they can get the satisfaction of building something that is uniquely their own. The manufacturer must be with the modeller all the way and provide the necessary backup. There is nothing worse than getting something home and destroying a part without the manufacturer backing you up. So what is a dollar worth in customer relations. A lot. That is the way I see this Scale progressing and growing. I know a friend of mine in Australia is also involved and has been for a while. I have already intimated that I am in the production phase of the PRR F22 23 Flat Car. It is a simple car to begin with and this morning I received the stl file for the correct trucks. The kit will be complete including decals, trucks, wheel sets, castings in urethane and couplers. More PRR Trucks are to follow. Just remember when I talk in dollars they are Australian so as a round about guide US price is about 75% at this time. I hope this gives some of you food for thought to move forward.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bill Dixon » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:18 am

The short PRR F22 23 Flat Car is interesting but a bit off the main.
I'll be in for two or four.

Perhaps you will consider a 42' flat car next, of perhaps the 52'6" GSC flat car. That car was widely used. It can be a basic flat car. with added details a piggy back flat car, or with ends, a bulkhead flat car. Very versatile.

Any ways I am looking forward to a new car to expand the North American fleet.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bernd » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:08 am

Al,

I like the way you think. Make a small run and build from there.

I was involved in a post on MRH forum called "The current supply chain problem with several manufacturers" and mentioned what an entrepreneur could do with table top plastic injection machines. The idea was po-poed that it was all manual and that you could not produce 1000's of parts. They also claimed you needed millions of dollars to start a business. They claimed that is the reason why manufacturers have moved to China and that there is no hope if it ever coming back to the US. If you are interested in reading the whole 22 pages of comments, here's the link: https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/34062

I would like to scratch build a steamer in TT. I've looked for appropriate drivers but can't find the right size. So here's my thought. I've had an interest in table top plastic injection machines for quite a while. As a matter of fact a member on this forum and I discussed building our own injection machines. Mine got as far as ordering some of the parts. Interest waned for unforeseen reason. It has picked up again wanting to make drivers for a steamer.

I've researched affordable table top machines, at least for me and a method of making them. Here are three that I'm looking at.

http://www.techkits.com/

http://www.injectionmolder.net/other_models.html

http://www.mediummachinery.com/index.html

The idea is to design a spoked wheel in 3D. Have it printed in STL (stereo lithography) resin for the master. Then cast an epoxy resin mold to produce a run of a few hundred plastic driver centers. Then using a Sherline CNC lathe to make the tire tread. So who would be interested in drivers for steamers? Also speaking of steamers, the Brit's are quite good at using etched frets of locomotive frames. Anybody care to design something like that?

So Al, I'm sure you're wondering about my ideas here? I have a 30+ year background at working in a machine tool company that manufactured gear cutting machines for world wide automotive companies. I have a small machine shop in the basement consisting of a Logan 10" lathe, Bridgeport mill, manual surface grinder, 11" Buffalo Forge drill press, Sherline Lathe, Sherline CNC mill and a Grizzly Mini Mill which I plan to replace with a better table top mill sometime in the future.

So you've got my interest up to become a small time entrepreneur.

Bernd
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Alwyn Cutmore » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:12 pm

Hi Folks,

Been a while since I had anything to say but sometimes it is better that way and then I do not waffle. Well in line with what I have previously said I have recently had photos of the print of my first truck side frames. They are PRR Trucks and are used under the PRR F22/23. I will have first run pics up soon. Just looking at the pics the production run at this time is very good and I have not been able to see the quality of it in the hand. In the photos I have not been able to see any of the hated layering that I do not like with Rapid Prototyping. Then they will be cast in brass lost wax and from there into hard pewter. I am considering having inserted brass bearings in the axle boxes. The seed is now well and truly planted and the first model should be for show around the end of January. I am currently in negotiations with one of my suppliers to manufacture a range of wheels for me as well. More on that to come.
All the best
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Alwyn Cutmore » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:11 am

Bernd,
I have been casting in polyurethane now for about 35 years and I have a vacuum chamber that is around 29 inches of mercury in the old scale. Does everything I need to do at present. I also have a single shot injection moulding machine. I will start to learn one of the CAD programs next year when I return. Then I will be able to make simple modelling projects. I have my eyes on a small milling machine with CAD driven XYZ cutting. It is extremely accurate and should allow me to produce bits and pieces in brass so white metal casting can be accurately made off brass patterns or RP drawings.
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Al
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