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Explosion of New Product Inspite of Loss of One Primary Maker

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While, we do not allow discussion about other makers on this forum, I do want to comment on the tremendous growth of product in G regardless of a certain major initiators temporary lack of product. The remaining makers have made enough new product to offset the loss of the one dozens of times over. The hobbyists in G have a huge selection of new product being offered and the hobby offers tremendous choices to all regardless of the era selected.

To say that the absence of one is reflecting on the growth of the hobby of G45 in general is far from the truth. The market is healthy and stimulating to all the hobbyists in the marketplace.

This missive will be locked as I do not want a major discussion here on the topic, but I do want to refute the comments from a few I heard at the National Garden Railway convention this year in Phoenix.

All the best,
Lewis Polk

SOUNDS LIKE SOMEONE IS GETTING DEFENSIVE?/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
 

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He is hardly likely to say the market is sliding downhill, now is he?
Whether it is or not?

Our capitalistic way of life is based on confidence.
If'n you take away that confidence who knows what will happen?
So all is well. Dontcha know?

....and, never mind the quality. Feel the width.

Or in our case the Wow!!! factor.
 

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Posted By TonyWalsham on 05/12/2008 4:50 PM
....and, never mind the quality. Feel the width.





:D:D:D:D/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
That's the funniest thing I've read in a long time!

Keith
 

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Personally, I think Lewis is right on the mark, at least relative to the hobby absorbing the loss of three particular letters from the alphabet. Others have stepped in to fill the voids; not product-for-product, but certainly in general. As existing stock of particular three-letter standbys dwindles, I think you'll see other manufacturers' existing similar products begin to gain steam.

On the other hand, $3.50/gallon gas is impacting all of us, and our hobby money is getting tighter and tighter. No one's buying "one of everything" anymore. I didn't see "feeding frenzy" buying at the convention the way I've seen in years past, and some of the dealers I talked to said it wasn't a very lucrative show for them. I think everyone is being much more controlled in their spending, and looking for the best deals to stretch their dollar.

But on the whole,I think Lewis's thoughts are correct. If you flip through a magazine today and compare what's available now to what was just 5 years ago, there's no comparison. Today's hobbyists have far more choices. Those three letters are gone, but there are plenty of others in the alphabet.

Later,

K
 

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Posted By Cougar Rock Rail on 05/12/2008 4:58 PM
Posted By TonyWalsham on 05/12/2008 4:50 PM
....and, never mind the quality. Feel the width.


:D" border=0>:D" border=0>:D" border=0>:D" border=0>/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif" border=0>
That's the funniest thing I've read in a long time!
Keith




At least Tony didn't say "girth" or "diameter"... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif
That would made a mess.../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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?
....and, never mind the quality. Feel the width.
Or in our case the Wow!!! factor.





And the snark. There are a bunch of things about this hobby I don't get, like the weird battery/track conflict and the way people get over-invested in one scale or another. I don't understand the backstory of Lewis' post or these responses, and don't care to
 

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Posted By lownote on 05/12/2008 6:11 PM

And the snark. There are a bunch of things about this hobby I don't get, like the weird battery/track conflict and the way people get over-invested in one scale or another. I don't understand the backstory of Lewis' post or these responses, and don't care to


I am definitely with you on that sentiment. 
 

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Never thought I would ever post this acronym anywhere but here goes:

ROFLMAO /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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I agree with Kevin and Lewis. There are new products every year from Aristo. They seem to be the only ones really putting out multiple new products anymore. We had a lot of repaints from LGB. What was the last NEW product from USA trains (I guess we could call a reissue of the old MDC Ore hopper new)? Aristo seems to be offering a new locomotive or two a year. The GP-40 and E8 were last year's releases. This coming year it appears to be a 2-8-0, PCC streetcar, and some small live steam engines (maybe).

So, I think Lewis is perfectly in line (on his own website no less) to toot his own horn and promote his product. I'm glad they are looking for ways of making things more affordable, like eliminating metal wheels from their freight cars. Sure, I am going to spend another $15 on metal wheels, but I don't have to right away. In talking with George Adams about track sales, he indicated that they had the highest volume of track sales last year (and that was before LGB went out). So... putting myself in Lewis' shoes, I'd be doing exactly what he is doing. Especially considering that LGB once sued Aristo over track, but lost.

I don't think LGB was much competetion for Aristo these last two or three years anyway. Most folks are in to the big diesels and steam, and LGB just didn't move fast enough to keep up.
 

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There are a bunch of things about this hobby I don't get, like the weird battery/track conflict and the way people get over-invested in one scale or another.


It's just an internet thing. NPR was discussing the rise of "social networks" yesterday and ours is no different.

The 'conflict' and the 'over-invested' are just visible manifestations of people's enthusiasm: "Look, I made it work without track power - you gotta try it!" and "Wow, these Fn3/G/1:29th [delete as appropriate] trains look great - you gotta try them!"

I don't understand the backstory of Lewis' post or these responses


Yeah, I had trouble for the first few posts. There are quite a few manufacturers with 3 letters in their name. But if you had been around 10 years ago, there was only one: LGB.
 

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More new products is not the answer to the problem manufacturer's are facing. The big issue is growing the number of customers to buy all of these grand new products.
Go to a large scale train show and look around. You usually see the same faces (and less of them as time goes by).
The manufacurers need to spend more time and money maeketing to new customers than trying to make new products for the existing ones. Just my opinion.
 

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I was certain LGB was having issues well before the insolvency, namely the inroads in sales made by Bachmann and A/C & USA into what had been their virtual monopoly, the addition of the low cost Forney and the Genesis were indicators that someone in the company finaly "got it" and were looking to compete directly in this new market. Now that Marklin has control, this will not happen, IMHO, LGB will revert to being a high cost low supply beautique brand in this country. All the signs are there if one cares to look.

Lewis is correct about the plethora of supply, but the withering ecomony and rising cost of living will definetly have an effect on this hobby, and any manufacturer that does not address this WILL suffer financially, it really doesnt help when a manufacturer artificially raises prices, simply because they feel the can. The market responds accordingly,higher prices, less sales, lower profit.

This hobby is the PosterChild for discretionary spending, if pushed too far 98% of us will simply stop or severly curtail making any new purchases and just live with what we got, newbies will likely drift to other scales, On30 is very tempting for its size and price to newbies. Maybe we'll see the beginnings of a serious push into On30 in the garden if prices get really wacky in G.

Jack is correct that you need to grow the hobby by getting newbies in the door, but sad to say, a faltering economy might hinder this, I will be interesting to see the attendance records for the BTS, or maybe not necessary the attenance, but what sales figures the vendors show. I know I'm saving my Sheckles for the show.
 

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Jack,

What you say makes sense, and maybe that's why there were more LGB starter sets than just about anything else. I think Aristo tends to jump past the starter set, to a certain degree. Without seeing LGB's numbers, I would suspect that starter sets were the biggest seller, after track...

Mark
 

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I think it's just time we get some innovation back into the hobby. Rather than spend so much time and effort concentrating on bringing production costs down using offshore labour, and perpetuating a price race to the bottom, the manufacturers need to spend more on in-house R&D on products that will attract and hold people's interest in this hobby. For example, I would suggest they put more effort into operating accessories that use modern controls. Operating cranes, gravel handling, intermodal shipping/unloading, coal tippers etc. etc. Interactive machines that make it fun to actually 'do' things with each other are what's needed. With DCC it's a piece of cake to make these operate remotely with the kinds of controllers young kids love. My six year old learned how to use my Massoth Navigator in about two minutes, and he can unload my RhB gravel hoppers via conveyor, shunt the loaded cars around etc. etc. And when his friends come over, what do they want to do? It used to be Nintendo, now it's to race the propeller cars around the track--each with their own LGB loco remotes. So I think if the manufacturers want the hobby to grow, they have to stop watching each other and start making others watch them.

Keith
 

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Posted By Bucksco on 05/13/2008 7:54 AM
More new products is not the answer to the problem manufacturer's are facing. The big issue is growing the number of customers to buy all of these grand new products.
Go to a large scale train show and look around. You usually see the same faces (and less of them as time goes by).
The manufacurers need to spend more time and money maeketing to new customers than trying to make new products for the existing ones. Just my opinion.





Ok, that's true in any industry. You need to make it easy for new customers. So how is Aristo not doing what you're saying they should do? They make a lot of products at close to entry level. They offer a complete range of just about everything--houses, figures, track, electrical gear, RC gear. Their onboard receivers are plug and play. They have a battery car now. They offer starter sets. None of it is perfect, quality control is sometimes shaky, but in terms of making it easy for e newbie aristo is the shizzo. Compare their range and price to anybody else. They make their stuff in a scale that seems to be calculated to outrage rivet counters but attract novice customers. So are you saying they should stop developing new locos and start marketing more? Well why single them out? They do more than anyone else, as far as I can see. Aristo's hardly perfect, but why pick on the company that's doing the most outreach?

That's sort of what I don't get about this post. I guess the argument is that since LGB died, people are less interested in general? I'm still not sure how that's aristo's fault, if it's true. I'd be more inclined to say that attendance at shows is declining because of the internet

And if there's declining sales, it's hard to sort out marketing failure vs recession in general
 

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The factual content of Mr. P's missive is, in my view, not unfounded.

I recall walking into a well known hobby dealer a year ago, looking at the dwindling red box inventory, and wondering if they could continue to function without products from Nurnberg. Now we see that they can.

As to the letter's tone, I think that it's reasonable, given that the writer was speaking personally, posting it on his own forum, and in context of a discussion about his own product line.

cheers
 

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Posted By East Broad Top on 05/12/2008 5:49 PM
Personally, I think Lewis is right on the mark, at least relative to the hobby absorbing the loss of three particular letters from the alphabet. Others have stepped in to fill the voids; not product-for-product, but certainly in general. As existing stock of particular three-letter standbys dwindles, I think you'll see other manufacturers' existing similar products begin to gain steam.
No one's buying "one of everything" anymore.
Today's hobbyists have far more choices.
Later,
K

I can only look at this from my own perspective. I had already purchased everything I need for my indoor Saxon layout. My RhB collection is awaiting the start of an outdoor layout. I really don't see any of the expanding new products attracting me. I know my interests may be in the minority, but I know LGB made a lot of RhB items so there must be others in the same boat. "One of everything" LGB collecting was on the wane twenty years ago and was gone by fifteen years ago. Simply too big a product line.
Suppose the EBT evangelists bicycle up to the door and nearly convince me to go eastern narrow gauge. A quick look at the newest items brings the Accucraft 2-8-2 at $3130. Lump in around nine of the beautiful Yoder hoppers for a total of $3825. and I have made a good start.
But wait, I have more choices. Yep, that same money will buy me Baumann's beautiful 2&1/2 inch scale, 7&1/2 inch gauge Geminder mine locomotive. I would love to ride my trains! So, if I sell part of my LGB collection, I've made a good start on a real outdoor train. I'm 90% of the way toward making that decision.
Jack B.
P.S. for Markoles: I've never understood the difference. Say Aristo-Craft make a new boxcar and batches twenty paint versions and LGB made a new boxcar and then offered two new paint versions over the next nine years.
Some how Aristo gets credit for twenty "new" items and LGB got credit for 18 "re-paints". The end product seems the same to me?
 

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JAck B,

"P.S. for Markoles: I've never understood the difference. Say Aristo-Craft make a new boxcar and batches twenty paint versions and LGB made a new boxcar and then offered two new paint versions over the next nine years.
Some how Aristo gets credit for twenty "new" items and LGB got credit for 18 "re-paints". The end product seems the same to me?"

I agree, repaints are not the same as new releases and I wasn't considering the repaints as new releases. The new offerings I was referring to were not just the same old FA, RS-3, U-25-B, 4-6-2, 0-4-0 or 2-4-2 from the 1990s repainted and upgraded. Starting with the SD-45, continuing with the Dash 9, 2-8-2 (OK, technically a half-new release), 2-8-8-2, live steam 2-8-2, E8, and continuing with the GP-40, there's been a new aristo locomotive about once a year. Regarding the boxcars, they have now released 4 different kinds of boxcars, all based on US standard gauge prototypes. I wouldn't call them repaints or duplicates, even though some use the same detail parts.

Mark
 
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