This page lists announcements related to company-level information, such as new companies that have been formed, existing companies that are closing-up shop, ownership transfers of companies, or any other such information.
by Rio Grande Models
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Rio Grande Models showed a large "CLOSED" image on their web site, leading to all sorts of speculation. They clarified what happened on their Facebook page:
"Some of you may have noticed the large "CLOSED" sign on the RGM website. The website will be closing in 2020, but Rio Grande Models is still operating for now and will eventually be winding down as it is in its current form. Due to the amount of orders coming in, we're limiting fulfillment to what we have on hand, or, kits we can assemble with the components on hand. This might result in some orders that are less than you requested, but you will only be asked for payment on what we can ship."
by Port Lines Hobby Supply
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Port Lines Hobby Supply announces that they will be closed from February 28 through March 22, 2020. He will be set up at the April York show, next to MTH.
The Lionel pre-orders for tank cars, engines, the PRR wreck train, and Polar Express items were shipped out in December 2019.
Port Lines Hobby Supply bought Scenery Unlimited's remaining inventory, and molds for SU's resin kits, which they hope to bring back into production.
The 10" Yellow & Blue A.F. boxes have been produced again, and Port Lines has them in stock.
Port Lines has new Twin Whistle structure kits in stock: "Country Roads Grocery Store" and "White Tower, Deco Style".
by Wiseman Model Services
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Wiseman Model Services announced that they have released a revision of their web site.
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At about the 8:30 mark of the video, Randy Kunkle started covering the S-scale product line, showing one of the U36c locomotives, which are available at hobby shops now.
In general news, the new catalog will come out on January 20, 2020. Also, the company appears to be doing very well with another good year of sales.
by MTH Electric Trains
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Andy Edleman made mention of their long-awaited S-scale catalog that they released (starting at about the 4:30 mark of the video). He showed an early version of the peaked-end hopper that S-Helper Service was working on at the time of that company's sale (shown in the center of the video snapshot shown here).
In general news, Andy mentioned that MTH produces, on average, 1,500 new products each year. MTH will be celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2020.
With the untimely passing of Ron Sebastian, people have been wondering about what will happen to the S-scale projects that Ron had in the works. Matt Gaudynski, married to Ron's daughter, and owner of Fox Valley Models (manufacturer of N- and HO-scale products, as well as some S-scale products), took to the S-scale discussion group and offered a bit of insight. The good news is that both Des Plaines Hobbies and their involvement in the S-scale projects will continue. He did mention that the store and the manufacturing arm of Des Plaines Hobbies are two separate activities. In addition to S-scale, they are also manufacturing HO- and O-scale products. Matt specifically indicated that the SD45 project for S-scale is still active and moving forward, however, it is not ready for production yet. They actually have several S-scale projects in the works, some we may already know about, and some we don't yet. As a side note, although Matt manufactures mostly N- and HO-scale products, he himself is building a large S-scale layout at home.
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NorthWest Short Line has launched their new web site. They do have categories set up for S-scale items, but currently the web inventory doesn't list any products. We presume that is because they simply haven't gotten around to fully populating their web site's database.
Doug Peck, of Port Lines Hobby Supply, announces that they have the 90-degree smokestack insert for SIT boiler shells in stock. Their smoke wick threading tool is back in stock, and it has been improved.
They have in stock:
- Divco Milk Truck decals from N.E. Prototypes (Hood's Milk; Carnation Milk; Borden's Milk; White Bros. Milk; Brookside Milk; Sealtest Milk; Whiting's Milk)
- banta modelworks' "The Warehouse" kit.
- Lionel tank cars.
- Lionel autocarriers.
- Lionel coil-covered gondolas.
- Lionel U33c locomotives.
- book: "Gilbert American Flyer Factory Memos to All Service Station Technicians".
- book: "Gilbert American Flyer Steam Locomotives Photographic Directory".
- book: "Gilbert American Flyer Steam Locomotive Exploded Views and Parts Listings".
- book: "Gilbert American Flyer Diesel Locomotive Exploded Views and Parts Listings".
- book: "Gilbert American Flyer Locomotives Developed But Never Produced".
- book: "Gilbert's American Flyer Products Directory".
In March 2019, the owner of NorthWest Short Line announced that because of his wife's passing, he was no longer able to run the company, and that the company would permanently close its doors in August 2019. Last-minute orders flooded in, and the company will fulfill all of those orders, although they are currently back-logged.
However, they made this announcement just now:
"NorthWest Short Line is pleased to announce that the entire line has been acquired by an NWSL employee, effective September 3rd, 2019. All existing back-orders will be filled, and NWSL will be open to new orders as soon as the new web site is rolled out; the primary web site nwsl.com will carry forward as the primary contact point. The line is expected to carry forward largely unchanged although the company will no longer offer phone support. NWSL will be headquartered in Kila, Montana, located near Kalispell, and the new address is PO Box 219, Kila, MT 59920. e-mail contact is through the web site."
As posted on their web site, Rusty Stumps Scale Models is closing on October 31, 2019. Hopefully their product line will be taken over by another company, because they have some nice S-scale detailing parts. The owners have been scaling back for some time now, and they already sold the structure kit product line in the past year or so. So, if you want any of the items they carry, now is the time. (update: their web site disappeared as of January 2020)
Port Lines Hobby Supply announces that they are now producing 3D-printed replacement parts for AF equipment:
- Baldwin front platform and steps
- Baldwin rear cab panel.
- Franklin-Washington boiler front
- large gear for the Cow-On-Track.
The company is now accepting pre-orders for anything in the Lionel 2019 catalog #2.
The company has in stock the Twin Whistle Sign Company's new three-story NYC Fire Engine House #252, and a Hose Tower kit.
Portland Locomotive Works is considering a new project for Sn3. Owner Gary Kohler is proposing these ideas, but is open to others as well:
- the goose shed
- more MOW equipment
- three-car set for rotary OM
- kitchen car
If you are interested in any of these or have other ideas, contact Gary Kohler at email@example.com or 330-719-0264.
Australian company Hollywood Foundry has decided to close up shop permanently. They used to make the BullAnt and other motor mechanisms.
Dave's Twacks & Twains is moving to another town in California, and expects a disruption of processing orders until September 2019.
Doug Peck, of Port Lines Hobby Supply, states that he is still taking pre-orders for the American Models 4-6-2 locomotives with Vanderbilt tenders. American Models reported to him that they have encountered a production problem, which delayed the release of the new engines until sometime later this summer. They indicated that if you pre-order now, you can specify your preferred road number on your locomotive!
Port Lines has in stock the new LC springs. These were only used by Gilbert on the aluminum passenger cars, but they can be installed on any LCs to prevent them from uncoupling. They now also have the #751 Log Loader solenoid plungers in stock. Also, the red chimneys for the AF Baggage Smasher and Suburban Station are available again.
The company's single-axle quartering tool is back in stock.
The MTH straight tracks (10" and 15") are now in stock again.
The #5 Fox Valley Models turnouts are also back in stock.
The company has several new AF-related books in stock.
Doug requested that any custom repair work be mailed to the company after mid-August, as there are few, if any, people available to do the work until then.
John Agnew, owner of Railmaster Exports, announced that he no longer has enough parts to sell the NW2 and SW7 switcher locomotive kits. Because their molds are getting old and they have been slow-sellers, he will not re-run them again. The other locomotive kits are still in stock.
CatzPaw announces that they have consolidated their two web sites (their own and their Shapeways shop) into one, cohesive place to shop for their products.
They also announced that NMRA and NASG members will be able to receive a 10% discount for any of their products. Contact them to receive your discount code!
Their catalog of just S-scale products is now 29 pages long! Again, see their new web site for all the products. They are nicely organized and easy to browse.
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In general hobby news, Lionel reports that 2018 was their best year in the past decade (so the hobby isn't dying). They also announced that they now have the exclusive rights to produce the products that the former company Model Power used to carry (only applies to N-, HO-, and O-scale).
For S-scale, they announced that they are working on passenger cars that should be in the next catalog. They have resolved the issue around the lower-production numbers that passenger cars have.
by MTH Electric Trains
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In general news, MTH announced that the licensing of their tinplate line with the Lionel name on it has come to an end. They plan on continuing their own tinplate product line, though.
For S-scale, they announced that they are working on a new catalog. They are going to come out with the SW9 switcher engine, and some more F3 engines. Also, more freight cars will be in the new catalog. The reality is that O-scale is 80% of their market, HO-scale is 10%, and tinplate, S, and G make up the remaining 10%. So, they consider S-scale to be a niche market, so they will put their efforts into S to match. The only way to fix that is to have more people start modeling in S-scale.
Owner and founder of Aztec, John Claudino, has decided it is time to retire. There is no word as to this being the end of his product line, which includes an S-scale track cleaning car, or if it is up for sale. The web site seems to indicate that he has already sold off his machining equipment.
In 2014 Commercial Scale Models bought the structure kits product line from banta modelworks, specifically the kits that used to be sold under the name "Building & Structure Co." Their web site has been dead for over two weeks (meaning they didn't pay their annual bill). Through the grapevine, we learned that Commercial Scale Models did indeed close, and that Bill Banta is working on getting the structures back to banta modelworks, and hopes to have them added to his web site soon.
Since NWSL will no longer sell the Stanton Drive wholesale, but direct-to-customer only, Jim King, of Smoky Mountain Model Works, will no longer offer them as part of his switcher kits. The instructions of his kits will simply refer to the product ID that you need to order from NWSL.
Scenery Unlimited announces that they have received all of their final Shinohara track parts. Contact them if you are looking for any of the standard- or narrow-gauge track components.
They have received their order from Grandt Line, so you can order those, too.
They have a sale going on of 80-foot AM passenger cars for $69.95 each, or a set of three for $199.95.
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