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1  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Large Scale Thomas on: January 30, 2021, 04:16:28 PM
Bachmann,
With your switch to the plug and play model for Large scale, why aren't the new models, Diesel and Paxton, set up for this? If you're going to discontinue to the DCC Thomas line, at least don't hobble new releases by keeping them stuck in DC only (without warranty-voiding after market customization). The choose you own power style is a good company choice given the ways large scale hobbyists are diverging on the topic but it should be applied across the large scale line as much as possible.
2  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Large Scale Thomas Engine w/ DCC Surges in Speed on: January 02, 2021, 03:11:46 PM
I'm going to spitball some possible fixes here because I've only worked with the DCC models on DCC sparingly (I do have the DCC models running on DC currently.

- I've seen what you were describing and the fix we ran (on a DCC layout) was replacing the track just before the restart. Our trains were able to power buffer over the dead/low power track and then would restart when their connection was reestablished. So try replacing the track right before the spot where it "releases". This is my guess as to the issue. The replicable with the Thomas models while our LGB equipment didn't have that issue on the same track (they did slow down).

- Less likely is issues with the curve radius. My Thomas chassis slow down on curves considerably in comparison to Percy even on R2. It's something i use weight to compensate for when running two trains on my DC setup so that they don't catch each other easily due to the stops and starts. It's important to note that these are not dramatic, however, low enough track power can make trains stop on the curves, again, in a way that my LGB equivalents do not.
3  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2021 on: October 27, 2020, 03:25:11 PM
I'm sorry I just need to address this, N scale is not remotely 009, just needed to get that out cause the 2 are very different, one is N scale one and the other is narrow gauge. And I have to object on any semblance that the NG range isn't as popular as the normal HO(Really OO but that's been said many times anyway) range, cause the NG range is damn near constantly sold out with the exception of the reused Peco stock cause it's the same tooling you can get for like 1/3 the price without the SR lettering and livery.

That's my total ignorance and I've gone back and added strikethroughs. While trying to be inclusive of the UK, I went and made myself look like a moron. I appreciate the correction!

And as for the normal range reaching its limits? No? Hornby gave up the UK license cause they weren't making money, and it's kinda obvious why they weren't cause all the engines bar a couple were made using now decades old tooling and most of them were still tender drive until the end, that coupled with the fact they being sold at around the same price as many of their new tooled counterparts. Henry for instance, why get Henry when a brand new Black 5 is about the same price? AT least in terms of more experienced modelers. And the fact Hornby was in a really bad financial state.
Your last point here undermines your former and gets back to my point in the original post: If the Thomas line was making them money, they would not dump it. Because they had exclusive access to the UK market, they could have chosen to go back and update the tooling, but instead they dropped the line. That absolutely reads as them feeling that Thomas was not a lucrative enough product line to support. They could have altered many other facets of their business instead but chose to end the line.

Now, does competition with imported Bachmann models factor into that? Probably. It's hard to know how much market share was lost. This still gets back to my second point, which is that completionists are not a viable market. If Bachmann decides that having access to the UK increases the viability of introducing minor characters then all the better, but the majority of people are not buying the full range in any of the scales unless they have cash to burn. <- I'm excepting the narrow gauge range because of how specialized and limited it is. I never intended to come across as saying it was at risk and never felt that way. I chose with my post to talk about getting into minor characters from the model series in HO scale.
As for their announcements for 2021, I expect some sort of new N scale release, new engine ideally, a smaller one of course so likely Toby or Diesel(hopefully), LS who knows, main range probably rolling stock recolors or a new Mainline tooling being introduced at the most, maybe a new engine but I don't expect it, NG? Harder to pin point, if Peter Sam is far enough along then we may see the likes of Sir Handel being announced and probably more new rolling stock.
Agreed.
4  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2021 on: October 27, 2020, 02:05:20 PM
I forgot to comment on that post earlier, my bad.  I think there's a clear market out there for Henry in N scale based on those and many eBay sales (similar to the numerous high sales of the Hornby Stepney on ebay as well).  Especially when a lot of people have gone out of their way to reuse the Henry motor and chassis to make Gordon, who was also promised to us by Tomix making it clear that there is very much a market for both of them.  The only other factor besides pricing being a potential issue for those two also comes down to how much Bachmann can do during the pandemic, which is why Toby seems to be the safest option if they choose to include another new engine tooling while still working on James.

Using characters from the first three seasons/series plus Emily is most likely the safest bet for any plan. There's no doubt that Thomas, Percy, and James are the givens in any production line and we've seen that in practice again and again from different manufacturers at different gauges/scales. From there, I'm not sure there's a single road map other than to consider practicality, production cost, and a guess at demand.

An example would be the value of Gordon in N scale/009 versus G/large scale. In large scale, a body at 1:22.5 scale with 1:32 chassis would be complicated at his size for the standard smallest curve radii. What may be practical for a James or Thomas model who struggle with these curves even with a missing middle flange, would be even more difficult from an engineering perspective with Gordon. It stands that Gordon is a popular character, probably the most popular large locomotive (given that he has not been removed from the series while Henry and Edward have been seen as the least damaging removals). If his production in N Scale/009 has reduced production challenges and reaches a larger market in N/009 than G/Large, Bachmann could look at him as THE premium model of the product line, while they keep Emily the premium model of Large scale despite desire (meaning demand may not be equal to interest).

There are two forces at work here: N Scale/009 is less popular than HO, BUT, the trend in the market is smaller scales given the lower cost barrier and space requirements. Because of this, we may never see the N scale line become as robust as HO but may come close (HO being more popular) and we may be seeing the limits of the HO line (Hornby pulling out of the Thomas line). In this sense, Henry seems like a future probability in N scale given his status as a former regular/current player but Murdoch seems improbable being a former player/currently missing.

Personally, I wonder if this move to N scale is a way for Bachmann to recapitalize on their best selling HO and Large scale items for a new market while they see diminishing returns in large scale consumers and filling out the back bench for HO. With that mindset and with COVID, I don't know that I expect many or even any new characters in 2021 in HO/HOn3 and Large scale other than those previously announced: Daisy, Peter Sam, Diesel. Maybe they might announce the next production goals for 2022 release.
5  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2021 on: October 26, 2020, 01:06:11 PM
On a separate note, the auction for the Hornby Murdoch model just ended a few minutes. The final price is nearly 3,000 USD, plus shipping Shocked:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RARE-Hornby-THOMAS-THE-TANK-AND-FRIENDS-R9684-MURDOCH-Locomotive-DCC-Ready/264904270320?hash=item3dad8661f0:g:nD0AAOSwZbhfjHTf

Talk about demand...

A sample size of one is not indicative of demand. Given that model railroading has an expense barrier, this seems like it is more indicative of a tiny subset of enthusiasts with enough money to spend whatever they like to complete their roster. 'Arry and Bert prove that when you get down to the level that only completionists are buying the product, it is no longer viable for the manufacturer to produce. Do you really think that Hornby would pull out of the Thomas market if it was making them money hand over fist? They weren't even making unique tooling for their locomotives and it wasn't enough money for them to continue.

At the end of the day, this is a case study of which we need multiple case studies to indicate larger demand.
6  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Bachmann Thomas & Friends in 2021 on: August 27, 2020, 02:13:27 PM
Large Scale:
Paxton (He was listed on Bachmann UK's website with a similar product number to LS Diesel, however it was removed after I had made a topic about it here, which was also removed so to me Paxton is pretty much confirmed for 2021).

If this is the case, they should focus on expanding the troublesome trucks/freight line to compliment the Diesels.

7  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Large Scale James Curve Radius on: August 27, 2020, 01:42:06 PM
Hi!

What is the best radius curve for LS James?

Thanks!
James is built on the same chassis as Thomas with the middle drive wheel having no flange. It'll run on 4' radius curves but my recommendation is 5' in general for all the Thomas models because they run smoother. The starter kits come with 4' curves and I've run a James model on it easily. The tender can be run closer to the engine as prototypical or further so that it can make tighter curves.

So, that all said, it's the same general advise for all of Large Scale: the larger the curve radius, the better it looks. 
8  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Large Scale Thomas on: August 09, 2020, 05:00:45 PM
With Bachmann appearing to discontinue the Thomas DCC model, what would be the speculative future on the rest of the current locomotives getting DCC? As someone who is just getting to the stage in life where they have the extra motivation (kids!) and the funds, it is really disappointing to watch them abandon that product line. I know I have gone out of my way to purchase Percy's DCC model in addition to Thomas' because the writing appears to be on the wall. Is there any hope left for Toby, James, and Emily (let alone Winston or Diesel)?

In an additional tangent, it does seem like model trains without DCC are losing traction because of how much less engaging they are when you have more than one locomotive running. Purchasing the dual DC/DCC model allows me to run DC now while I'm getting started and have limited track/locomotives/rolling stock and then upgrade just my track power later to DCC. If my kids should find themselves enjoying them, I have no doubt that the individual train control and sound will add to that enjoyment tenfold.
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