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Thread: N Scale market

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    Default N Scale market

    I attended the Conrail Historical Society Zoom meeting today (3/20/2021) and a representative from Rapido Trains gave a short presentation. He concentrated on HO scale. When asked about N scale, he said that N scale was a problem because a lot of N scalers were of what he called the "Kato" mind set. (I may have the term wrong but Kato was definitely in the name) Basically he said the Kato type wanted complete train sets to run and weren't interested in individual cars. Do you think the N scale market is divided? Do you think to many of us are willing to settle for inaccurate cars? I am sure all of us would like the most accurate cars and paint schemes but that isn't always possible. Sometimes we have to settle for "good enough".
    Attempting to apply the K.I.S.S. principle to Model Railroading.
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    That seems odd. As far as complete trains, I wouldn't mind having the Kato Broadway Limited set, but that's it. I buy individual cars or sets of the same car with different road numbers. I'd bet most other N-scalers are the same with the possible exception of Japanese N-scalers, who seem to be into bullet train sets. At the risk of sounding cynical, it sounds like perhaps his comments could be translated as, "We don't see enough profit in N scale but I don't want to say that out loud."
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    Unfortunately missed the Conrail zoom meeting.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerraypa View Post
    At the risk of sounding cynical, it sounds like perhaps his comments could be translated as, "We don't see enough profit in N scale but I don't want to say that out loud."
    I think you are 100% correct, they are like the shopkeepers that when asked why there are no widgets left on the shelf their reply is we do not sell enough!

    People buy Kato sets because that is what is generally only available other than Microtrains who seem to do well.
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    I've been an N scaler for almost 15 years and never bought a Kato set, unless you're talking about Amtrak Superliners. But everything else has literally been individual cars.

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    Only sets I have bought are Super Chief and El Capitain , passenger trains that fit my layout , all other cars are individual cars or a few sets with different road numbers. Don't know if I would go for Rapido in N-scale though , their detailing and quality comes at a very high price , something that I don't see necessary in N-scale . The Micro Trains and Atlas cars look more then good enough , thinking Rapido would be twice the price.
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

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    I plead nolo contendere. Although I often buy individual engines, I do buy sets of trains or cars. From Kato, only the Thalys TGV and ICE 4. ICE trains and other Triebwagen come in sets, as they should. Many other German, Austrian or Swiss passenger trains are offered as sets, without engine, though many additional cars are offered to extend a particular train.

    I'm not into freight, but I do have about 10 various cars each of Eras III and VI, gifted in a bunch or purchased individually.
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    I think rapido's problem is what is being cooked up, largely passenger cars in N. While their product is without a doubt better kato is much more appealing to the average Joe; Comparatively speaking dirt cheap, robust and detailed enough to satisfy most. I feel there's also a big Standout effect with their products, they're goregous but you stick one of their cars in a string of kato cars and now the Kato cars look like crap. That standout effect why I'm personally passing on the new Amtrak horizon cars, I don't want to park a Bentley in a Kia neighborhood.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
    Do you think the N scale market is divided? Do you think to many of us are willing to settle for inaccurate cars?
    Yes, I do. There are some of us in N scale who strive for realism. Frankly, we're the minority. The majority of N scalers have a "Kato mindset" and seem content not only to settle for inaccurate cars, but locomotives with inaccurate roadnames and, most of all, toy-like Kato Unitrack.

    As I wrote in my Slate Fork blog post last year, Unitrack's "blatant shortcomings are still too evident, from phony "ballast" to its outlandish ties and tie spacing, to its toyish switches, sharp curves and lack of spiral easements. Unitrack's toy-like appearance is entirely devoid of anything remotely smacking of realism.

    "Unitrack's pervasiveness among intermediate and even experienced modelers only reinforces what earnest N scalers have been trying to quash the past 50 years -- the notion that N scale is not a serious modeling medium. In that sense, Unitrack may actually be hurting the N scale hobby."

    And now it appears that Kato in general may be an issue.

    There, I said it on this forum. The question was asked, and that's my answer. Take a number, have a seat, and wait in line if you want to complain.
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    I just wonder when (or if) more of the model railroad manufacturers will start taking N scale as a serious scale.
    This is where the real problem lies...
    I think there are more than enough N scale modelers out there that would take pleasure and advantage of a wider range of N scale models.
    Once that trend would start, I think it would grow to a point where N scale could reach the level of interest that HO has if not exceed it.

    But what I see are the manufacturers aren't or do not want to take the time to investigate the opportunities and prospects.
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    I have passenger sets by Kato, MT, Rivarossi and Con Cor. The details and paint by Kato are nice, and yes I bought sets. Four of them, two Pennsy, the SP and GN sets. What i like about these is the ease of lighting them and that they track well.

    The MT cars are nicely done. I haven't bought any sets, just individual cars to build a train. Their heavyweights look good compared to the older Riv units. Adding track powered lighting is going to be a bit tough.

    I have a couple of C-C cars. OK, but again, details are just ok and adding track powered lighting them will be a trick.

    I actually haven't a single one of Rapido's cars. Nothing in my interest zone, yet. But what I have seen look pretty nice. Hopefully I will see something of theirs up close and personal one day!

    Hopefully, they will expand more into the N market, as the worldwide sales market is getting easier to hit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ol' Curmudgeon View Post
    There, I said it on this forum. The question was asked, and that's my answer. Take a number, have a seat, and wait in line if you want to complain.
    While I agree on the Kato Track , that's not what this is about , it's about cars , and yes maybe a few of us can put down 100 dollars for one passenger car, I think most of us are quite happy with Kato passenger trains , and wish they would make freight cars as well.
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janbouli View Post
    While I agree on the Kato Track , that's not what this is about , it's about cars , and yes maybe a few of us can put down 100 dollars for one passenger car, I think most of us are quite happy with Kato passenger trains , and wish they would make freight cars as well.
    Well I think it actually plays a part in this Jan?
    Kato produces a "Box of trains", consumers see this and think "Cool I buy this, I'll add a table and I'll have an instant train set!"

    They get it home, pull it out of the box, snap it together and run some trains and their happy.
    Then they want to add more....so where do they look? Back to the same company. Where they find more Boxes!
    It's kind of like being brainwashed.
    Most won't get a chance to explore the other multitude of possibilities that are available.
    They get stuck in this mindset, and that it's. They are happy to be fed what is served to them.

    Regardless if it cars or track.
    Meanwhile, the other manufacturers don't see much interest in what they have to offer.

    I too would like to see KATO would get back into making freight cars instead of those bullet trains.
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    I am a member of about 8 or 9 Facebook train groups . All I see is people pushing Kato anything to new comers .
    I guess it is easy to get going with it , but holy crap , it's all anyone talks about .

    Facebook has been and will be the demise of the world

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    Exactly, @Allen H. It's all one and the same -- cars, locomotives, track, etc. Kato strives to be "one-stop shop" as it were. And so, yes, there is a divided market. And I do think Kato is the reason. It takes no skill sets or development of skill sets to be a Kato N scaler.

    When a layout built with Unitrack appeared last year on the cover of "N-Scale" magazine (not "N Scale Railroading") that's when I let my sub lapse to that mag.
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    Quote Originally Posted by aflica View Post
    I am a member of about 8 or 9 Facebook train groups . All I see is people pushing Kato anything to new comers .
    I guess it is easy to get going with it , but holy crap , it's all anyone talks about .

    Facebook has been and will be the demise of the world

    Steve
    You think it's bad on FB Steve?
    You should see what goes on in Reddit!!!
    It's the only thing they know there!
    A buddy has shown me more posts than I ever cared to see....ALL KATO!!!!
    I wonder if KATO owns Reddit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    I wonder if KATO owns Reddit?
    Could be , and a healty chunk of FB

    I am not a Kato hater . I like some of their products , but my God there is other stuff out there . Kato track is like Lego , and a lot of people like Lego
    But new comers don't get a chance to see beyond Kato , it's all they are exposed to on social media

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    Quote Originally Posted by aflica View Post
    Could be , and a healty chunk of FB

    I am not a Kato hater . I like some of their products , but my God there is other stuff out there . Kato track is like Lego , and a lot of people like Lego
    But new comers don't get a chance to see beyond Kato , it's all they are exposed to on social media

    Steve
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    And that is exactly my point!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ol' Curmudgeon View Post
    It takes no skill sets or development of skill sets to be a Kato N scaler.
    I guess that's true if you think track laying is the only thing involved in building a layout. I've seen many layouts built with Unitrack (such as Mike Fifer's) that look far superior to others using flex track.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intarsiabox View Post
    I guess that's true if you think track laying is the only thing involved in building a layout. I've seen many layouts built with Unitrack (such as Mike Fifer's) that look far superior to others using flex track.
    I whole heartly agree, I've spent hours making kato unitrak look how I want on my modules.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ol' Curmudgeon View Post
    Yes, I do. There are some of us in N scale who strive for realism. Frankly, we're the minority. The majority of N scalers have a "Kato mindset" and seem content not only to settle for inaccurate cars, but locomotives with inaccurate roadnames and, most of all, toy-like Kato Unitrack.
    I think you almost certainly have something here. At least with locomotives, after fighting with older stuff from Arnold or Rivarossi or whoever, the Kato stuff seemed like driving a Cadillac. And what were they compared against? The old Con-Cor PAs, the best of which were made by...Kato. And a lot of older Atlas diesels, the best of which were made by...Kato. It makes sense that everybody eventually embraced them as the manufacturer of choice, but as in any quasi-monopoly, innovation dies. Once they were the best and had the market, why spend too much money improving anything? And in an industry with slim profit margins that makes things up in volume, smaller manufacturers can't break in, or make enough to stay in. So, people buy Kato.

    The recent Intermountain discussion is a perfect example. I have two Intermountain F7s, and I'd love to have more, but they are as rare as hen's teeth. So what did I do? I bought a set of Kato F7s, because they're everywhere. 90% of winning is showing up, and Kato, for good or bad, always shows up.
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