Saturday, February 28, 2009

Benchwork is finished!

Well, the Mianne benchwork for phase 1 of the layout is done. I put this together with my friend Ron in about 4 hours. This benchwork is really amazing stuff. The engineering that went into it is really cool. Check out the pics.

I'll post more pics tomorrow. Now I need to get over to Lowes and get some Luan Plywood. I've been told that 1/2 inch is preferable but I'm thinking 3/4 inch plywood. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thar She Blows!!!

It's up and it is impressive. The Brute is my one "must have" from the catalog. There is a substantial amount to choose from. Wow. The hobby is alive and well. I hope MTH gets orders to back up this great catalog.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Is it just me?

My blog seems to be getting hacked quite often. Just email me if you think something isn't right. Since I don't speak Hindu or Banladeshi, I'd say the last post (that I just deleted) was a hack. Go figure.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lionel is Brilliant

The above is the kind of thing that says good things about a company. Why? Because it is a concise, consistent communication to customers. Keep up the good work Lionel, between this kind of web messaging and the new TMCC Legacy product, I think you are on a roll. I almost wish they'd commuicate every announcement with some kind of countdown timer. It's just brilliant.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some Very Nice Youtube

And now a break from our regularly scheduled programming (because I am working on benchwork this weekend with my buddy Randall and I should have the beginnings of a layout by next week). Some cool Youtubes:

and here:

And some MTH gear making noise:

Kudos to Bluecomet 390 for some great vids!


Monday, February 09, 2009

Lionel/MTH Catalog Still MIA

Well, the clock is still ticking. Here is the advantage of the Internet vs. old time paper communication. In the old days, Lionel or toy train companies could wait until the Quarterly, a Bulletin or a new catalog to come out to trumpet new achievements. Albeit with 4 to 6 months inbetween Yorks, catalogs, whatever. The old days are gone and when announcements are made, the clock is ticking.

So where is the new catalog? Yes, I know it is a Herculean effort to bring out a great quality catalog with the finest trains available to man in a period under 2 years. Yes, it is difficult to choose products that will sell and weed out others that won't. Yes, I know MTH needs Lionel's approval to move forward. My guess is that there are more chefs in the Lionel/MTH kitchen than at a Golden Corral Buffet in Florida on a senior citizen's half off night.

I would still like to see a little more cohesive communication from both companies. Perhaps a teaser of a few of the items in the catalog in one of MTH's newsletters? Perhaps an actual update to the rapidly aging/mediocre website that was hastily set up to highlite the new found venture? How about something a little less scripted than the Taylor "interview" by Bob Keller of CTT? By the way, I have always really liked Bob Keller's writing. I do hope he gets another shot at a real interview or review that isn't quite as scripted.

So how about it MTH and Lionel? Guys, here's the deal (and I've said it before): web marketing and sales is probably one of the best ways to reach massive numbers of customers in a very personal way. Really, it is great because it panders to the instant gratification monster in everyone, especially train people. But you can't throw a website out there and then ignore it for months or years. It just doesn't work like that. As a matter of fact, it actually works against you and quite heavily. Look at it this way, you're working with one of the worst economies in decades; you need to keep the attention of your consumer base beyond eBay. MTH Mega Stores are terrific but they are few and far between, even here on the East Coast. You need to keep people intersted. Please, get the catalog out and hire some people that can really keep your websites interesting.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Appeal Of Older And Older Trains

Am I the only one who has found that, as one's years of collecting progress, what is of interest tends to be in earlier and earlier trains. I started out all enamoured of Classic Era trains, with their bright colors and shiny brass and nickel. But now, the prewar stuff...and I mean pre WW I, is what rings my bell.

I bought this little set last Fall up in Allentown. I needed to tumble the wheels and trucks and re-wire the loco, but to my eye this Lionel Manufacturing Era set is full 0f charm. The cars are illuminated with a reproduction lighting set made by Joe Mania.

This is set No. 52, made 1913 to 1920..with a No. 53 Square Cab loco pulling cars No. 180, 181, and 182. This particular set, which just came out of storage after decades, is a little unusual because the loco reverse plate is stamped MFG, but it has a late production strap headlight, which is less common. Two of the three cars are embossed MFG. It's probably a transitional 1917 or 1918.