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Walthers to Start Carrying Tomix/Tomytec!?


CaptOblivious

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I really hope they don't start carrying TOMIX/Tomytec. Walther's markup is terrible, and if people start to pay the Walther's premium, I fear the cost of any product in the import market will reflect this markup from both private exporters in Japan, to the local importers that are non-Walther's affiliated.

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Ugh I hope this is not true!

 

Tomix has been soo loathe to set up dealerships offshore. Wonder if tomytec has decided to finally cash in. Would be horrible if they did try to get exclusive export over any Japanese comanies doing any. Walthers is also nortorious for taking a long time to restock stuff. If they got the exclusive then there would be no completion for them and thus little insentative to keep up good prices and selection.

 

Jeff

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they probably will sell won't make a difference anyway as plenty of sellers will sell at discounted prices still.

 

well i know at least if i had my store open i wouldn't...

 

plenty of people are moving online and know how to find a bargain.

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The worry would be if Walters wants the exclusive from tomy for us distribution. Then tomy might have to stop others from exporting thru the distribution chain. Question would be if this is legal under japanese law and if tomy would be into doing this.

 

It is a classic export deal though to get the exclusive with the first export deal to a country to squeeze out the odd gray market exporting that was previously grouping on to capture that business to start out the biz.

 

Jeff

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Hobby Dreamer

Thanks for finding this Don..

 

Except for their catalogue, which we pay more than fair for, I despise everything about Walthers...

 

....

 

But especially their contests where they ask for personal info for a chance of winning a very cheap prize!  Too many kids in this hobby as well as older folk who don't realize what they are doing when the enter these contests...

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Well on thinking on this for a while I remembered that Walthers reps several euro brands, but there still seems to be some large non Walthers exporters (or at least I a assume they don't use Walthers for their distributor).

 

Jeff

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I expect it will still be easier to get Tomix from Japan, not to mention cheaper. I visited Walthers in Milwaukee in person in 2000 and gave the clerk at their main store/wharehouse an extensive list of items from their catalog ranging from the run of the mill stuff like couplers to more unusual stuff and they had not one thing on the list in stock. I haven't bought their catalog in years, but when I did it was mainly used to see what was available then I bought it elsewhere. It wouldn't surpeise me if Walthers only imported items they though would be of interest to American modellers anyway.

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Hobby Dreamer
It wouldn't surpeise me if Walthers only imported items they though would be of interest to American modellers anyway.

 

That's the scary part...  once the North American market sees Tomytec vehicles they'll always be sold out!

 

On the other hand, 2 of the pics show tram stuff that would be good for tram enthusiasts because the US companies might make more trams  - the problem being that no one really wants trams without track and visa versa...

 

Maybe the Tomytec trams did not sell as well as the Kato ones because of the features of the latter..  and if the tram track sells well in the US maybe Tomix will invest more into this area!

 

Actually... I just hate Walthers... 

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So i posted this development over on JRForum and Tomix yahoo groups. Garth Hamilton (big z gauge and tram guy) spoke up as he was there at the show and talking with the tomytec folks as he is a consultant for Rokuhan. Looks like walthers is interested in the street track and trams first along with any structures that could move over to the us scenes easily. not clear where it will go from here or how deep walthers is getting into this. He did hear that another NA distributor was interested in talking with tomytec if walthers didnt want to deal with them.

 

ive asked garth if its ok with him to bring his full post here.

 

jeff

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ok here is the post from JRForum from Garth Hamilton. He is a big guy in trams and z scale and keeps on top of this stuff a lot. nice chap.

 

jeff

 

from JRForum Post:

 

I got the impression that this was first serious meeting between

Walthers and Tomix and it was TOmytec/Tomix that determined what was

on display and that Walthers really did not have a handle on Tomix or

Tomytec and their range of product including the bus system and

trolley track on display.

 

How did the following come about. The CEO of Rokuhan (a division of

ToyTec that makes Japanese Z scale trains and a really good track

system equal to Kato Unitrack in 6.5mm) used to work for Tomytec in

Hong Kong and so when Tony said he was coming to the Grand Rapids show

they said they wanted to join him and meet with Walthers.

 

I do consulting in Z for Tony and Rokuhan, so that is my connection to

Rokuhan and I introduced him to Intermountain who is now Rokuhan's No.

Am. distributor. So knowing this I brought some of my collection of

Tomytec Tetsudou collection plus other items some of which they used

when they had their dinner with Walthers after their first day of the

show. I suspect there might be a bigger presence of Tomix/Tomytec this

November at the Milwaukee show, but that is not confirmed.

 

I had supper one evening with the three men from Tomix/Tomytec

division (general Manager, lead product design engineer and manager of

sales) who would be attending the at the show along with the owner of

Rokuhan (Japanese Z manufacturer) the next day and 5 people from

Intermountain and later shared with Tomytec group several of my North American

trolleys mounted on their adjustable length chassis with North

American truck side frames. An interurban with operating pole,

after dinner in the hotel bar, and again at breakfast before the show

opened the next morning

we talked about The group in DC, the West Penn group and what was the

state of trolley and interurban modelling in North America. I later

sent them via e-mail links to several N-scale sites like ncat, the

Japanese group in DC and west penn and Tomix groups. I said that the

introduction of street track was great but we needed more options in

the track including single point switches and I said combining the

operating characteristics of their bus system with street railway and

modern trams of North American currently in operation would probably

open the market here as currently there was nothing RTR in our hobby

stores and traction in general was not popular because unless you

purchased chassis from Japan and mounted RP bodies from small

manufacturers to get something to run,There was nothing in RTR

available besides Bachmann. Walthers was showing a starter set of

Tomix street railway and a static model of a articulated tram from

their Tetsudo collection, in their booth when the show opened. I also

had my Dauphin Hiroshima centipede and they looked that over, but they

were reluctant to talk about their version with turned up ends. I did

get the impression they were working on a different body and chassis

for another version seen in Japan and Europe. We then talked about

what North American cities currently had operating street railways

systems both large and small and I provided them with a variety of

links. The Walthers staff in the booth did not have any info on the

Tomix line as to when it would be available and what would be

available, whether product development was all up to Tomytec or

whether Walthers would underwrite some product development for No. Am

market. From Grand Rapids the Tomix people drove to Milwaukee for two

days there, I know the Tomix people were told by another No. Am.

distributor, that if they were unhappy with Walthers, after their

talks with them, come talk to us, we are interested.

 

regards Garth

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Interesting that there was so much focus on the NA market. The NA market of N-scale is relatively small. N-scale sales in the U.S. is second to Z-scale on the low end, with HO, O, S, and G sales being the majority; and am willing to officially go on the record to say I have known more S and G scale modelers over the past 30 years of modeling than I have N or Z scale. (I can't speak for the Canadian market.)

 

I would say there is some market for N-scale NA trams, and buses from Tomix/TT, but it doesn't fare as well for the TT figures and to a greater extant the buildings, and a lesser extent the cars, trucks or buses. So, it's clear Walther's does not see a market I suppose for the Japanese modeling aspect of things in the U.S. or Canada.

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z bigger than n in the us? never heard that before. N has been gaining market share for a while now, but cant put my finger on the last stat i saw on this.

 

my experience has been mostly O and HO modelers out there other than N. just a few S and G, but more Z than those. of course our experiences will be determined a lot on who you happen to bump into, your interests, clubs, etc.

 

jeff

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I think this is great news for all parties concerned for the following reasons:

 

1. There seems to be only one US dealer importing Tomix (none in Australia);

2. It gives Kato some competition;

3. You guys will be able to buy product locally without having to order from Japan;

4. You won't be encumbered by the delay associated with the above;

5. If Tomix is going to be successful in Japan they will need to do DCC, right?  It seems to be what Kato had to do.  Imagine that!

6. If Tomix is to sell into the USA won't they need to do American N-scale like Kato does?  Won't that improve competition and variety?

 

I've read several threads in this forum and a Tomix User's website that I found a link to on JNS.  All comment that Tomix is a closed system only sold in Japan only available in Japan and only Japanese trains.  It sounded to me like you all wanted Tomix to go international.  Now, it looks to me like they are.  As I'm about to dive into this hobby (maybe) I find this pretty exciting.  Wouldn't it be cool if I could just go in and pick up a Tomix model in Sydney?

 

I think you guys are really lucky to have Tomix moving into the States.  As to Walthers, I cannot comment because they're not in Australia, but "hate" is a very strong word.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Boiler

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Hobby Dreamer

Hi Boiler..  Welcome to the forum!

 

I think you misunderstand Walthers because you have never dealt with them. If you ordered $1000 of items from a large US store such as MB Kleins you would find the transaction smooth (and I live in Canada) and items promptly shipped. With Walthers it will be well over $1500 with many of the items not in stock, back-ordered etc. It would suddenly become a true hassle because Walthers is a wholesaler that charges high retail prices but does not maintain that much stock. The worst of both worlds.

 

(I should say that I have not dealt with Walthers for a long time but every transaction was a disappointment. And that includes dealing with vendors that go though Walthers.)

 

They survive as a business because they are well entrenched and a lot of model RR guys are older and not internet savvy. They may also have exclusive rights to products.

 

My sense is that Tomix has some items like tram track that may not be selling well so they are looking to dump it in the US.

 

Tomix is already in the US through their Tomy HO slot cars. If they wanted to come in in a big way they should come in as a distributor or deal with a large distributor. If Walthers gets exclusive rights to sell Tomix, that will hurt Tomix in a huge way.

 

No LHS would want to stock another fixed track and although there are people here who wax philosophical about the larger range of track from Tomix no store could stock more than what they stock with Kato. And if these stores need to go through Walthers one can count on higher prices. N.A. is largely flex track so no fix track company is going to take over.

 

For Tomix to sell here they would need to have competitive pricing or unique products of interest to this market. And they would have to ensure product availability. No one here will wait for the next production run in a few years or understand to buy it now if you want it.

 

On the other hand, if Tomix comes to the US without Walthers so their prices will be competitive and if they decide to ramp up production because no one here wants to wait until they re-release items then that would be great.

 

The other thing Tomix needs to do is to put out information in English! 

 

--

 

Its exciting to see what develops and if new product or just signage is tailored to the US market that would be great!

 

Cheers

Rick

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Davo Dentetsu

I think this is great news for all parties concerned for the following reasons:

 

1. There seems to be only one US dealer importing Tomix (none in Australia);

2. It gives Kato some competition;

3. You guys will be able to buy product locally without having to order from Japan;

4. You won't be encumbered by the delay associated with the above;

5. If Tomix is going to be successful in Japan they will need to do DCC, right?  It seems to be what Kato had to do.  Imagine that!

6. If Tomix is to sell into the USA won't they need to do American N-scale like Kato does?  Won't that improve competition and variety?

 

I've read several threads in this forum and a Tomix User's website that I found a link to on JNS.  All comment that Tomix is a closed system only sold in Japan only available in Japan and only Japanese trains.  It sounded to me like you all wanted Tomix to go international.  Now, it looks to me like they are.  As I'm about to dive into this hobby (maybe) I find this pretty exciting.  Wouldn't it be cool if I could just go in and pick up a Tomix model in Sydney?

 

I think you guys are really lucky to have Tomix moving into the States.  As to Walthers, I cannot comment because they're not in Australia, but "hate" is a very strong word.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Boiler

 

I'm now very confused.  I can just head to the local shop and purchase Tomix to my heart's content (and my wallet's disdain), not bad for us opposite end Australian folks.  :P

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boiler,

 

very good point, yes we all want tomix more broadly exported/imported and hopefully this will be a good step in the right direction. I think Rick nailed it with the issue though that this is happening with walthers. I've never had great luck with them as well going way back either directly or thru dealers. hate is a strong word, but i know many that walthers is on the bottom of their goto lists and top on the crap list.

 

you pointed out the really good upsides of tomytec getting into the us market, but i have some fears on how this may happen with wlathers.

 

my fears are:

 

a) they would want exclusive on the us and force japanese exporters to stop. this use to happen a lot with many japanese camera and stereo stuff where the japanese makers would only go thru their authorized dealers and officially stuff could not be exported otherwise from japan. this set up a gray market that is never really a good world. I just want the shops that have been exporting to be able to continue to do so freely. They put in a lot of work setting up the market it would be awful if they got pushed out of it. This might be a hollow fear and I really hope so. that and i expect the price and selection will still be superior with direct exports than thru walthers.

 

b) I fear walthers wont have the savvy to properly market Tomytec's stuff. this is one of the first places they are looking at doing real exporting outside japan as far as i have heard. I would hate to have them get into this and it not pan out and give them a bad taste in their mouth. The various things that Tomytec has to offer could be sold well into many niches in the us market if properly selected, packaged, priced, and marketed against the proper competition in the states here. Ive never really seen walthers do anything like that. their catalog, while extensive, is pretty unimaginative, ive never seen them do much product marketing except for a few items they have brought to market, and they do nothing about trying to get things in to a competitive situation for sales. part of the problem is they are a distributor and thus they have issues in trying to set up competition and there is not a strong push to do lower pricing where possible to sell things into niche markets well.

 

c) While i hope they would keep things well stocked as kato does for unitrak with dealers, i dont trust walthers to do this. this could then really backfire with the us customers. they start out getting to buy locally then the stock sputters and they get pissed, then backlash. kato has worked hard to keep things pretty consistent stock wise and that goes a long long way in the us here for folks adopting it. i just worry that walthers wont be able to match katousa on this.

 

d) I dont see walthers trying to get these products in at a really competitive price to win lots of market share. tomy is big and could, if done directly, probably get some interesting products into the us market at good prices. but with walthers as the middle man i doubt there will be the incentive to do this. this will put walthers in very direct competition with kato usa so maybe that will get them doing a different behavior than usual though, we can hope. and that competition will be good for katousa as it doesnt really have it in the track area. In other areas the tomytec stuff will be in competition with other walthers distributed products so having lower priced items will just reduce walthers bottom line if they take away from higher priced competition. i dont think this is going to be huge volume to make up for it.

 

 

Overall im not sure if Tomix will want to do a lot to sell into the US market as i dont think they are going to be developing a lot for it, the japanese market is sooo much larger for them and they have a lot more competition in the us with kato with a whole lot of catching up to do. I see this as more of a strategy to perhaps leverage what they have already done in japan into a secondary market here in the states. i think this is a smart move actually as it does not take a huge investment other than perhaps some alternative packaging and instructions in english (this may really be necessary with the us market as i get this feedback all the time from folks at train shows that have had any japanese product). developing new product for a smaller market that may not sell back in to the much larger japanese market is a much riskier and expensive venture and katousa competition is much fiercer in us than in japan for tomix.

 

who knows this is all smoke right now! i hope you are right and my fears go poof. I would love to see tomytec stuff here in the states (not clear if tomix really is in the mix right now) at good prices and marketed well. our club has been waving the tomytec banner at shows for the past 8 years showing folks the cool stuff at very reasonable prices and how it can be used for american layouts as well! lets keep our fingers crossed. it will be interesting to watch.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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I'm now very confused.  I can just head to the local shop and purchase Tomix to my heart's content (and my wallet's disdain), not bad for us opposite end Australian folks.  :P

 

Dave,

 

your local shop is working with a japanese hobby shop or distributor, correct? Never heard there was an official tomix/tomytec export/dealership/distribution going on anywhere. Would be good to hear how your local shop(s) do it or if there have been some inroads into austraia already.

 

jeff

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As to Walthers, I cannot comment because they're not in Australia, but "hate" is a very strong word.

 

Boiler

 

Many American model railroaders, and retailers alike would say, "hate" as being a true understatement. I still remember Irvin Athearn commenting in his later days in the early 90's to the NMRA convention that I attended with my HO club at the time,  something to the effect of, "Dear lord, when I pass, don't let the company be acquired by Walther's."

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Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to defend a company I didn't know of a few weeks ago and will never use, but business is business.  Irrespective of how they do business, if they've lasted more than 3-4 years then they have a business model that works.  There's a hobby store in Sydney called HobbyCo.  Everything is so expensive.  I'm sure enthusiasts don't shop there, but fathers buy for their sons ... two different markets.

 

Business being business and Japanese being Japanese, I'm sure Walthers will get one chance at this and only one chance.

 

My point was this: I'm reading a lot of the threads in this forum and cross referencing with other websites, etc.  I'm confused about the track now.  I thought Tomix would be a good choice.

 

So, is Tomix having a hard time?  I'm still evaluating what track I might use (I'm evaluating everything, actually).  I don't want to go and buy a product that isn't going to be around in the future.  What do you guys think?

 

I must say, the more I read here the more inclined I am to lean towards Australian HO-scale.  The TrainWeb site about Tomix had me leaning towards Japanese rail until a few days ago.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Boiler

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boiler,

 

Sorry did not intend this stuff to worry you about tomix. No i dont think this is any reflection on TomyTec/Tomix other than perhaps a hard economy finally pushing them to get more curious about international markets that they have stayed out of in the past. Tomy is actually the parent company and good sized and seemly strong toy company.

 

This discussion here was only a worry about the Walthers side of the equation and the worry they could screw this up. I think the exclusive thing is a very low odds thing and even then like has been mentioned controlling it might be tough in this day of age. I think finally some folks like garth may have gotten through to them that there are some business opportunities there so hence the talks. tomix seems very stable and the japanese n scale market is huge so it should survive better than other places with much smaller markets to draw from.

 

I think its that many have had poor dealings with walthers was the thing that stirred up the fire here. We have been waiting and hoping that tomix would do some international distribution and just disappointed in who got first in line! lots of folks just think they wont be into keeping good stock or getting a good street price thats competitive to japanese prices.

 

Tomix track is really nice stuff. It has the best variety of track out there in N scale. works well and the low profile ballast is very prototypical. one of the only things holding it back in the international market has been the fact that exporting it is really spotty. Buying it from japan is pretty easy and reasonable shipping with SAL, but many folks just dont want to do that for their track. they want something like kato unitrak thats available everywhere from internet sources to the local hobby shop.

 

The big thing to look at in japanese trains is the really large variety in trains and structures. There are literally hundreds of very different trains out there to get. Its horrible as you get bitten and start collecting too many trains. Tomytec buildings, figures, and vehicles really give a huge variety that are hard to find in other regions an scales. all this at a pretty affordable rate even with a high yen!

 

so, sorry this thread may have gotten you confused on the issue here. i think it was just our alarm with walthers in the mix!

 

hope this helps, please feel free to ask any questions you may have!

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

btw Tomy is the big parent company. Tomytec is the division of the company doing the train and collector series stuff (structures, vehicles, non powered trains and trams, power units for them etc) and then tomix is the division under them that does the premade, powered model trains. Fine trak is i think now officially listed as tomytec on the packaging as well as tomix on there. all a little confusion thats all just about their internal corp structure.

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Davo Dentetsu

I'm now very confused.  I can just head to the local shop and purchase Tomix to my heart's content (and my wallet's disdain), not bad for us opposite end Australian folks.  :P

 

Dave,

 

your local shop is working with a japanese hobby shop or distributor, correct? Never heard there was an official tomix/tomytec export/dealership/distribution going on anywhere. Would be good to hear how your local shop(s) do it or if there have been some inroads into austraia already.

 

jeff

 

Behind the scenes stuff was never my forte...

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Hobby Dreamer

Sorry guys if I screwed things up by saying "hate", but Walthers is not a pleasant company to deal with and since they have so much dominance they can hurt our enjoyment of the hobby.

 

Not long ago I saw some HO 1920s vehicles at my LHS and bought one to evaluate the quality since the packaging could not be opened. The price was almost $18. When I got home I thought to order some additional vehicles and found them in the U.S. for about $7 including shipping, duty and taxes (they were on sale, but normally about $10). The reason for the price differential was that my LHS is a Walthers dealer!

 

Jeff made some very cogent observations. Tomix products are all top quality; but it would be terrible for those of us in N.A. if we could no longer deal with Japanese vendors directly because of some exclusive wholesale arrangement.

 

If this thread had started with something like "Tomix may be selling here", we'd all be 100% excited but when Walthers got mentioned it suddenly seemed a bad idea. Too many things can go wrong!

 

It like finding out the local daycare is free but run by pedophiles..

 

 

Cheers

Rick

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I'm now very confused.  I can just head to the local shop and purchase Tomix to my heart's content (and my wallet's disdain), not bad for us opposite end Australian folks.  :P

 

Dave,

 

your local shop is working with a japanese hobby shop or distributor, correct? Never heard there was an official tomix/tomytec export/dealership/distribution going on anywhere. Would be good to hear how your local shop(s) do it or if there have been some inroads into austraia already.

 

jeff

Austral Model Craft up here in Brisbane stocks Tomix as well as Kato and a bit of MIcro Ace, he even has some Japanese Z scale. I don't know where he gets it but there are a couple of other hobby shops up here that have Tomix as well. Of course prices aren't even close to being competitive with getting it from Japan.

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