US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby areibel » Sat May 18, 2013 1:25 pm

Hi Tom,
In my opinion, keep it simple. Wheels, make them the same as the HP ones that are the most common Code 72 (or maybe 75, can't remember right now!).. They look good, maybe a scale inch (.008) too wide but they work with every existing track out there I've used. Now it seems like every time this subject comes up someone starts the TT Fine or Proto 120 bit. I don't think there are enough TT modellers to start differentiating like that yet. Proto87 didn't come about on it's own, it's a niche of HO. And HO is huge compared to TT. I don't see the logic of trying to create a niche within a niche, where all the track would need to be hand laid, switches built, and a lot more scratchbuilding to get everthing else done, etc.. Whith a scale this small, why throw everything out the window that has been done and try to start over?
And kits, same thing. Basic. Get the body done, make sure the dimensions and details are right and go with it. Yeah, I'd love to have a knock out kit with all the etched details, but the cost might make it unworkable in TT. Look at what has been done with some of Alex's Shapeways stuff- check out the pics from CSD, Taxari, MacG, etc.. and this was starting with a process that has it's own finish issues. Resin would be even easier. I prefer to take a few minutes and drill holes and bend some grab irons vs. having them cast on, but it doesn't take long to shave off cast ones if that's what you want. The biggest plus will be having the trucks and decals to go with whatever you're doing.
We're a long way from RTR and train sets, but the more variety we have makes the scale more and more attractive. Luckily we can sneak by with a couple versions of trucks and cover almost everything from the 30's until today, might not be 100% prototypically correct but close enough! I can't wait to see what you're coming up with!
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby richardedmonds » Sat May 18, 2013 1:34 pm

ConducTTor wrote:
JohnnyReb69 wrote:It is clear to me that most of you do not have any idea just how huge this opportunity was... but suffice it to say that it was one that could have really put TT scale on the map... "was" and "could have" being the emphatic words/terms.

John Degnan


I think the above is a bit too dramatic. No one here is stupid enough to have missed the gravity of this opportunity. The simple fact is, TT is extremely tiny in North America and if anyone is looking for an avalanche of feedback/enthusiasm they're simply going to be disappointed.

Alex I totally agree with you, spoken like a true moderator
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby ConducTTor » Sat May 18, 2013 3:31 pm

Tom Dempsey wrote:Guys, I've floated several things here, and I'm still waiting on a final answer as to what you all will agree to in a wheel code. What I saw was few answers and none of them asking for the same level of detail or price. You can't do that as a manufacturer! When I put a new product on the shelf, a lot of capital gets tied up in it. It's not just $2 a unit at the manufacturers or vendors end for a GapMaster. It's $50 to $150 tied up on a shelf in a building that you're also paying for. Everyone needs to come together and decide this is the level of car kit we want in TT. I'm starting to cast up trucks, but wheels I have to order, like in the thousand counts to make it affordable at the retail end. You'll get what you're asking for if and when you're all asking for the same thing, because that's what make's it do-able at the manufacturer's end. Everyone needs to agree on a common standard, then things can happen. Until then, everything must be scratchbuilt.


Tom, I would drop the wheels. Seriously. There are wheels currently available that work just fine (they can be ordered from GC). Trucks are by far more important.

I know we all want EVERYTHING under the sun but things really need to be prioritized. One thing at a time and we'll get there.
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby Bill Dixon » Mon May 20, 2013 10:53 pm

Smoky Mtn Model Wks wrote:Based on the very minimal expressed interest since John Degnan first posted on my behalf 2+ weeks ago, I'm withdrawing my offer to expand my product line into TT. No manufacturer can afford to gamble on "what if" sales; that ship sailed over 15 years ago and rightfully so. This is why we create polls and solicit responses. When there are insufficient responses, we drop the subject.

Jim King
Smoky Mountain Model Works, Inc.


Can't argue with you there Jim.

There are more lurkers than active members on this list, a lot more.

I think you would be hard pressed to find more than 10 really active North American members or groups on this list.

TT-Scale is much more active in Europe. I think I counted more modellers in a Polish Fremo video than I have seen at one gathering here.

If TT-Scale in North America is ever going to grow beyond a declining group collecting a shrinking selection of grotty old HP/Gandy Dancer/Who-ever products, more of us need to be more active.
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Bill Dixon
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North Vancouver, BC
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby JohnnyReb69 » Sun May 26, 2013 12:55 pm

ConducTTor wrote:
JohnnyReb69 wrote:It is clear to me that most of you do not have any idea just how huge this opportunity was... but suffice it to say that it was one that could have really put TT scale on the map... "was" and "could have" being the emphatic words/terms.

John Degnan


I think the above is a bit too dramatic. No one here is stupid enough to have missed the gravity of this opportunity. The simple fact is, TT is extremely tiny in North America and if anyone is looking for an avalanche of feedback/enthusiasm they're simply going to be disappointed.

Yes, it's an opportunity lost. Will it have "put TT scale on the map"? I highly doubt it. A TON needs to happen before TT is on any map of any scale anywhere. Simply the facts.

No it's not the end of TT - we've been down that road before and we'll probably be down it again. But no. It is not and will not be the end. Other opportunities will come (though realistically few and far in between).

We're going to keep the light on - all are welcome to come on in whenever they're in the neighborhood.



Clearly you've misunderstood my comments. I did not say anyone here is stupid. What I was trying to get across is that many here don't seem to realize what having a recognizable name brand manufacturer who is well-known in other scales for producing very high quality products can mean for the growth of interest in your scale. And making TT scale not-so-tiny is the whole point of the effort I've put into helping North American TT modelers (and people with a general interesd in it (myself included)) get something they (and I) want - more TT models of US prototypes. The biggest thing that I know of that TT has going for it toward this goal is Gold Coast Railway... but I'd dare to bet that most people in other scales (with exception of some in S scale who know that it's owner once owned Pacific Rail Shops) have no clue who GCR is. But if you mention the name Smoky Mountain Model Works, you're bound to turn many heads. And this doesn't even begin to take into consideration the comparison of the quality between what GCR offers and what SMMW could offer. So, with all due respect, YES, SMMW coming into TT scale does indeed have the potential to put TT scale on the map in two areas - recognition and quality offerings.

I also did not say that this is in any way "the END of TT." I only said it could have been the big jump START for TT. It could have been the first of those "ton of things" that you say needs to be done.


S scale is often referred to as the perfect compromise between HO and O... and I personally that TT is the perfect compromise between HO and N. I also believe that there are most likely a great number of N scalers who would move into TT if they could get what they want in it... IF.

You can keep the light on all you want... but it has to burn bright enough to be seen.

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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby CSD » Sun May 26, 2013 4:09 pm

I think you were understood just fine. Comments such as “<sigh>” are likely to be taken negatively. Had there been the addition of a poll (as was suggested) and more clarification and direction about how we were to express our interest, there would have been more response. My own experience indicates that a project like this takes time to gather data and formulate a plan. It is unreasonable to expect overnight results.

I would suggest going back a few pages and reading Al's commentary on the TT community as it is quite on point.
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby JohnnyReb69 » Sun May 26, 2013 6:05 pm

CSD wrote:I think you were understood just fine. Comments such as “<sigh>” are likely to be taken negatively.

Had there been... ... more clarification and direction about how we were to express our interest, there would have been more response.

My own experience indicates that a project like this takes time to gather data and formulate a plan. It is unreasonable to expect overnight results.


My <sigh>, I assure you, was nothing more than my expression disappointment that my own entry into TT was now going to be further delayed by the continuing lack of something I can use.

As for your comment about clarification and direction... I think everything was done that needed to be done to get the point across. After all, how else can you say what Jim King and I both said - "Contact Me", after which we both provided his e-mail address and his web site address?

Lastly... there was nothing to gather data on or develop a plan on since all the models that were to be done were, for all intents and purposes, mostly done (aside from a bit of downsizing). The only thing we needed were hands to be raised... which I don't think needs much planning.
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby areibel » Sun May 26, 2013 7:31 pm

I think you failed to get a consensus because you made a couple big assumptions that wouldn't have caried through on ANY general model RR'ing forum.. And I still don't think you're seeing where you missed it.

You threw out a list of 9 models that were possibilities. You didn't seem to know anything about pricing, what level of kit, etc.. For what you asked, you got what you got. Jim even suggested doing a poll to see what was preferred but that didn't happen, and it's no wonder that Jim's email box wasn't flooded with responses. I haven't writen a letter to Santa Claus in about 45 years or so, but even if I had emailed Jim I would have said the same thing I said in my posts. That didn't have an effect, an email wouldn't have either. TT has been plagued with "vaporware" for the last 60 years or so, find out what's needed, take a chance, we'll buy it. Saying "it's coming will make most guys in TT laugh, but there have been several recent projects that have been more than a little successfull- Alex's and Rob's freight cars, new cars from A&D and RailTT, the SD45 from Norkin and the biggest for last- the SW project fron Sazmodel. If someone had told me five years ago that there would be a new RTR diesel in TT I would have laughed! The best we had then were PVM power kits for the Lionel diecasts and the etched fret for an SW from Worsley Works in England. But ready to run? No Way!

I think a little more research would have helped you out. I think you kind of jumped the gun. There are already several variations of a TT 50 foot gondola available, and a pulpwood car from A&D. Are they the same quality or prototypical accuracy of Jim's? No. But the 50' cars are already out there and they can be built up rather nicely, check out CSD's pics or some from our German friends. You might sell a few of the 40' gons or flats, but anyone modelling even the late 40's or 1950's that's going to be an old car. Maybe on the Southern that was what was new back then, I don't know. Same with pulpwood cars. There used to be a big paper mill near me, and I'd see pulpwood trains on the Pennsy branch that ran towards it. But were they in regular freights? Nope. If you saw one, you saw 20 and they were all headed either in full or out empty on the same line.
But you have to look at the big picture, what was the UP, Santa Fe, or any Class 1 running then? What would anyone in any part of the country see in a main line freight train in their era? For me, I could have gotten away with almost any boxcar, but the Southern waffle side was one I do remember seeing back then. Same with the B&O car, they had a couple thousand of them and they probably were well travelled. The SAL car was more of a stretch, with only 500 or so built but OK, I'd have bought a couple. I still wish Mr. King would have been a litle more forthcoming on what number he was looking for- 50? 100? 200? That and a firm price would have told us more about the feasability of the project right from the start. Tell us what you're thinking of doing, and judge the responses from there.
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby Rob M » Sun May 26, 2013 8:05 pm

If you're looking for an idea of the amount you might sell, I sold 68 of my G31 Gondolas and 53 of my Railboxes. About half of each went to Germany to people that are not members of this forum.

Railbox thread:
http://www.ttnut.com/50-railbox-t1507.html

Gondola thread:
http://www.ttnut.com/g31-gon-and-clones-a-thread-for-rob-m-s-gon-project-t1472.html
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Re: US Manufacturer Interested in TT

Postby JohnnyReb69 » Sun May 26, 2013 9:04 pm

areibel wrote:You threw out a list of 9 models that were possibilities. You didn't seem to know anything about pricing, what level of kit, etc.

I think a little more research would have helped you out. I think you kind of jumped the gun.

...find out what's needed, take a chance, we'll buy it.


I threw out what models we were READY TO MAKE because the vast majority of the work was already done (CAD files for them are already done and available). They were not possibilities... they were definites that are ready to go... so no amount of research was necessary or would have changed that. The only 'possibility' was that TT scalers might support it... or not. What we said was essentially - "Here is what we're prepared to do... do you want it?" We didn't ask what models you wanted because we were going to start with what we already had, which would help us get a foot in the door. Our thinking was that anything is better than nothing in a scale that essentially (in North America) has next to nothing. Guess we were wrong.

You really should re-read the postings, because Jim DID give some ballpark price figures. It was nothing definite because no manufacturer in his right mind would ever give a definite price quote on something that has not yet even been refined, but he did give a TO and FROM range on two versions of the models - superdetailed or not. But we couldn't get most folks here to agree on what form the model should be released in (superdetailed or not), so how could we possibly give you any definite price?!?

As for taking a chance... that's easy for people to suggest when it's someone else's money at stake.


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