Is there a market for US TT?

Is there a market for US TT?

Postby rdikken » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:48 am

Dear US TT fans,

With the SW1200 coming to the end of the sales cycle, it is time to think about a successor(s), but more important is there a market for it. There were about 500 SW1200 sold, barely enough to cover the costs. The main part was sold in Europe.

If MTB makes a successor, it will be bigger than the SW1200. To make the costs as low as possible, MTB could use parts of the SW1200. Anyway he will need 2 or 3 molds for the house and he will need a new metal frame. Motor, gear, trucks, pcb and couplings are available. More molds and a bigger metal frame will raise the costs, to cover it MTB needs to sell perhaps 700 or 800pcs against a higher price. The sales price could be 160€ or more.

But does it sell enough? Is there a market in the US and Canada?

It is my feeling that there is a market but only if you offer enough RTR models with 4 or 5 locomotives and some rails. There are enough n-users and H0-users willing to go to TT if there is total package.

My question to you is, what can we do to enlarge the market, so that there will be successors of the SW1200 and more rolling stock? (See also the first pictures of the new 3-bay hopper of MTB at "Zeuke-TT, what's new?")

Kind regards,
Rob Dikken
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bernd » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:10 am

Rob,

Many modelers, more the younger generation, have never heard of TT scale in the US. I'm on several forums and have mentioned TT scale. There's always a misconception of what size TT scale is or that there even is a scale between N and HO.

The area most modeled is the transition area, steam to diesel. Operations has become a large interest in todays modeling so a variety of modern engines and rolling stock is wanted by the modeler. What is available in TT today is to European for many US modelers. One big item would be 3 foot sections of US style flex track and turnouts.

I've often wondered if articles on TT being a viable scale in todays model magazines would help boost interest in TT scale.

Bernd
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby areibel » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:03 am

That has been a problem for as long as I've been in TT, and probably longer!
I have taken TT to different NMRA meetings and shows, everyone likes the size but when they ask "Where can you buy it?" things go downhill fast- Most guys don't want to rely on Ebay to find "classic" TT, and it's ever harder to find. And for new TT, it's almost as bad. You have items for sale at Zeuke TT, but if someone wanted a Southern Pacific SW1200 today where would they go? Or modern US prototype steam in TT? Most guys want to pull out the checkbook or credit card and buy it now, and we can't do that.
And we can't blame the manufacturers for that. If Vita did a run of 500 locomotives and they all sold he's happy, if he did 500 more and sold 100 then there's a problem. He has to sit on 400 locomotives that may sell eventually, but he doesn't want to tie up his money like that. The other offerings in TT in resin and on Shapeways help us, but many guys want to buy it, take it out of the box and run it. We may have better luck if we can attract some of the "builders" from other scales, like the RPM diesel modelers (I'd like to send a GP-38 set to someone like Elizabeth Allen and see what happens, check out her SD45X- http://www.pbase.com/tracktime/sd45x_elizabeth_allen )
I don't think the price of 160 Euros would be bad- if you look at the current offerings in HO they're well over that, and even the nicer N scale ones go for that much or more and none are getting cheaper. I think we just need to keep pushing it, getting the displays out there like our Canadian friends do so well and get modelers in other scales interested. It may not become their main scale, but if we can get another 100 modelers in the US interested enough to buy a locomotive and some cars, that would be a big help!
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby krokodil » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:57 pm

The problem is not only that.
I spent in the last >25 years regularly also in US. Unfortunately I saw how the model RR shops dissapeared. In huge cities from east cost to the west the number of shops decreased dramatically. The young generation does not see model railroads at all, how do you want to find customers for the TT scale, if there is generally no shop no display.
The internet is perfect for those of us, who knows what is the model railroad and what is the TT scale. Do you think that somebody will find such information just searching the web? Probably never! It is the same as to find a model shop in New York or Chicago (etc) on the Sunday afternoon leasure walking.
As I was a child, my parents could not take me out from the shop selling model trains (any scale) and even on Sunday afternoon, we went regularly to the shop window to find out what is new there. Our kids have not even a chance for such influence !!
Greetings from Austria
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bernd » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:24 pm

Train shows are a great place to show TT, but it's only local. I've been to many in my area. You mostly get older people with kids in tow looking for set ups and modelers looking for bargains. I don't think you get to many looking for a scale change.

We may have better luck if we can attract some of the "builders" from other scales, like the RPM diesel modelers (I'd like to send a GP-38 set to someone like Elizabeth Allen and see what happens, check out her SD45X- http://www.pbase.com/tracktime/sd45x_elizabeth_allen )


I think Al has a great idea here. It would be interesting to see what she could do. Send here one and find out. Also again I say there needs to be some articles written for the major model magazines, such as Model Railroad Craftsman, Model Railroader and Model Railroad Hobbyist (e-zine). You will reach many more modelers than you will at a regional show. I know one member here, can't remember his name, German fellow, who has posted many pictures of his American diorama. Reception is, "nice pictures", but "Ho Hum".

It's been said that scratch builders have dwindled in number do to RTR models. TT scale having limited RTR models available put's it behind the 8 ball. This scale has a catch 22 problem.

Ok, I seem to be rambling all over the place, so I'll stop for now.

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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:10 am

Is there a North American market for TT-Scale?

Yes. I see it at every setup. Many people say that is a nice scale, what’s available?
When they find out what they have to do to find equipment, they loose interest.

We are very much in a chicken or egg situation here. We need equipment to develop a market but without a market we can’t get equipment.

So what do we need and what do we need to do?

1. Locomotives
Road names
2. Freight Equipment
3. Passenger Equipment
4. Track
5. Control
6. Scenery – buildings, vehicles, people, scenery
7. What can you do?

We need generic equipment, useable by many different railways in different locations.
We don’t need high priced unique items for the collector. That does not help us.
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:12 am

1. Locomotives
Steam- steam is nice but finicky. I know there is a market for them but not a big one at the start. Someone could make a good market by following the HP idea. Make a basic chassis that could be used for several models. Make it with reasonable detail and a DCC socket and it might sell OK. Detail upgrade kits could be offered.

Diesel – what era?
Early Diesel
F7/9 A and B units. Make the molds modular. Single – dual headlight. Dynamic/non dynamic, passenger/freight. We will ignore the FP7/FP9 variants for now.
GP7/9 low nose / high nose.
We have a good switcher – SW1200.
Alco RS-3
S1/2/3/4 Switcher.

Mid Diesel
GP38/38-2
SD40-2 – possibly the most popular diesel.

Late Diesel – Dash-9 / AC4400 / GEVo

The era will be driven by what freight equipment is available. There is no point having a Dash-9 available if all you have to pull is 40’ box cars.

RDCs – I think that the RDC would be a natural to start with. RDC1/2/3. The four can wait. With a configurable mold you could do Phase 1 and Phase 2 RDCs.

Road names
So now we come to a contentious question, what road names. It depends on where you are. Lets go by area.
Canada Primary: CPR and CNR. Secondary: GNR, PGE/BCR/BC Rail
Pacific North West Primary: GNR, NPR, MILW. Secondary: SP&S, UP, SP
Pacific South West Primary: UP, SP, ATSF. Secondary: WP.
South Central Primary: SP, UP, ATSF. Secondary T&P
South East Primary: ACL, Seaboard, N&W. Secondary FEC
North East Primary: PRR, NYC, B&O, C&O. Secondary: Erie, New Haven, B&M
North Central (Chicago) Primary: many listed above. Burlington, C&NW, MILW
Central Primary: Rock Island, Burlington, C&NW. Secondary: KCS, D&RGW
There are many other railroads but I think that covers the major railroads.

Going by what is popular in other scales: ATSF, UP, GNR, SP, PRR and NYC.
So start with the popular road names and add others as the market matures.
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Bill Dixon
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:13 am

2. Freight Equipment
There needs to be a basic set of freight equipment available. They should be versatile and widely used.

= 42’ Flat Car. The Tichy model would be a good choice. The fishbelly under frame would allow for a good weight.
= 52’6” GSC Flat Car. A versatile car. As well as a basic flat car, it can be converted to TOFC or a bulkhead flat car.
= A 40’ 1932 AAR Box car. With a shell modification, it could be made into a double door box car.
= A 40’ PS-1 Box Car – widely used.
= A 50’ Box Car. Again modifiable to a double door version.
= A 40’ Wood PFE Reefer. Useable as a bill board reefer.
= A 40’ Steel PFE Reefer.
= A type 21 or type 27 tank car. The number refers to the year the frame was introduced. They can be used with a 6,000 gallon, 8,000 gallon or 10,000 gallon tank. The tank could be single dome, two dome or triple dome. It could be a petroleum tank or an insulated chemical tank.
= Stock Car
= Two Bay Hopper
= Three Bay Hopper
= 40’ Gondola
= 52’6” Drop end gondola
= Generic wood caboose
= Generic steel caboose
Those fifteen car types would give us a very good start. Obviously they will be painted in many non prototypical paint schemes. As we are trying to build the market for TT-Scale we won’t worry about that. When the market matures we can bring out more prototypic equipment.

As well more modern equipment can be released.
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Bill Dixon
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:15 am

3. Passenger Equipment
Hopefully we have the RDCs but more equipment would be nice.
Full length Heavyweight equipment would be nice but I think a series of 60’ cars would be a better choice at the start. Baggage, Combine, Coach, Diner, Sleeper and Observation.
With a mature market full length cars can be produced.

A series of smooth sided cars would cover may railroads.

Corrugated side cars (Budd or others) are a bit more railroad specific. Major choices are the CPR Canadian, the California Zephyr or an ATSF train.
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Bill Dixon
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Re: Is there a market for US TT?

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:16 am

4. Track
I see the need for two types of track, both based on code 70 rail.

A Kato Unitrack style of track. Improved bedding track.
R4, R5, R6 and R7 curves.
Turnouts: #4, #6 turnouts and #3 wye. And the necessary straight and curved bits to make them work.
Various straights based on a 305mm straight. One foot.
Crossings would be nice but not necessary. A 90 degree, a 30 degree and perhaps crossings that match the #4 and #6 turnouts.

A flex track based system. #4 and #6 turnouts, a wye and crossings. 3’ flex track. A code 55 flex track could be made for branch lines.

5. Control
Nothing new is needed here. Both DC and DCC will work. I would make sure that all powered equipment is DCC ready.

6. Scenery – buildings, vehicles, people, scenery
Scenery is not an issue. Anything from Woodland Scenics, Noch or many other companies can be used.
Figures are reasonably available but not North American style.
There is a great need for North American style buildings and vehicles.
Regards
Bill Dixon
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