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Walthers to Start Carrying Tomix/Tomytec!?


CaptOblivious

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The issue is you're all justifying it with their going to make it exclusive and japan won't sell it internationally.

 

You're all jumping to a conclusion, there is no evidence of nor likeliness of this to happen.

 

The only way tomix/tomytech could block sales to america is if they blocked any product internationally anywhere!

 

Frankly that is just not going to happen. 

 

Tomix are not going to block international sales of their products because they know fully well that America is not going to make them that much money, nor is the current wholesalers selling to stores like that mentioned in australia from other members.

 

The best way for them to make money is to have it selling through international local sellers in japan otherwise they would open themselves up in that country.

 

The only time kato has pulled this off is on releases on special sets like the recent 700t and the sl set.

 

however that was lifted after preorders.

 

Your assumptions would be great if there was any hint or proof behind this happening.

 

but i really do not see anyway tomix could stop any seller from not selling to americans only they cannot force a seller to proove every sale internationally nor would they bother.

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Martijn Meerts

There are various shops outside of Japan that are pretty much official Tomix dealers, and are likely to get their stock directly from Tomix/Tomy .. In the Tomix catalogue there's a list of stores including non-Japanese ones, and I doubt Tomix would list those stores if they weren't official dealers. Also, JapanModelRailways in Germany seems to know pretty accurately which items are in stock at the manufacturer, which is not something they'd know unless they had a direct line of communication.

 

I don't know anything about Walthers or their business, but I have to say, their new DCC equipped turntables look nice, I just wish they made a smaller one in N-scale, the current one has a bridge that can handle Big Boys, and I really don't need something that big for the Japanese trains. Of course, it looks rather American, especially with the deeper pit which I believe the Japanese turntables don't generally have.

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There are various shops outside of Japan that are pretty much official Tomix dealers, and are likely to get their stock directly from Tomix/Tomy .. In the Tomix catalogue there's a list of stores including non-Japanese ones, and I doubt Tomix would list those stores if they weren't official dealers. Also, JapanModelRailways in Germany seems to know pretty accurately which items are in stock at the manufacturer, which is not something they'd know unless they had a direct line of communication.

 

I don't know anything about Walthers or their business, but I have to say, their new DCC equipped turntables look nice, I just wish they made a smaller one in N-scale, the current one has a bridge that can handle Big Boys, and I really don't need something that big for the Japanese trains. Of course, it looks rather American, especially with the deeper pit which I believe the Japanese turntables don't generally have.

 

 

Yes you are right there are official distributers in some countries example JNR Models Australia. They do get directly from tomix before the wholesaler, However they do not stock anything but new releases most of the time there more a wholesaler and the jnr models is also the wholesaler/distributer in australia for kato.

 

Also they do not push the brand merely sell what they think will sell, If tomix were to officially come to a country they would push their product not order in a handful of products.

 

There not actual tomix like there is actual Kato in america, and therefor are only a distributer like walthers is "suggested to be trying to do".

 

In the case of Bob/BT trains was slightly different as he was buying from a wholesaler in japan (funnily enough i spoke to one of his wholesalers who knew him).

 

I do know Bob was trying to become a distributer in America for tomix and microace prior to his passing on which could have been very beneficial for himself but also nguage modelers in US, however as per a conversation with him tomix didn't seem to be interested via phone communication from my self and i know bob tried to and had little luck.

 

Unfortunately Bob passed before making it to the JAM in tokyo in Aug I was meant to be there and was going to try meet him he was meant to try and talk directly with a tomix and MA rep at the festival.

 

who knows maybe they declined Bob as they were already in talks with walthers *just making an assumption.

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Garth actually asked the tomytec/tomix folks directly if they had sold to any distributors outside japan and they said they had NOT yet. Perhaps they have sold directly to a few dealers though, but had not heard that anyone had dealt directly with tomix. every time i hear about official offshore tomix dealers/distributors i would ask around and find out it was actually a japanese distributor or dealer they were getting stock from. Some companies will sell directly to dealers, others will only go to distributors and let them deal with the dealer.

 

Granted these were only fears about walthers and an exclusive. They are not groundless though as many products from japan in the past did similar things, granted in the internet age this is getting hard to do. Also ive been around these kinds of dealings some and when its bigger players they always talk about exclusives. its a total business 101 if you are a larger player to use this to your competitive advantage or at least as a chip in the deal.

 

My bigger fear is just walthers screwing this up. lots of evidence that this could happen. they have a bad track record on a number of things and have grown quite large and unresponsive. fouling this up would both piss off the market here against japanese trains (dont want that) and piss off tomix (dont want that either). Even if they get the exclusive and its not really enforced you then get this badmouthing of anything bought straight from japan as gray market, etc, again just the kind of talk thats bad for the hobby and many here are susceptible to listen to.

 

there are lots of upsides to this and i hope it all works out to the best.

 

jeff

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Hobby Dreamer

It might seem like paranoia or naivety to worry about this without knowing the facts, other than a poor track record w.r.t Walthers.

 

But.. whether Tomix comes here in a big way or a small one (say they are selling tram track and trams to start, which is suggestive from the photos in this thread) the one thing that it seems has not occurred to some of you is that unless Walthers is going to get Tomix to transship items they are going to "eat" a lot of Tomix stock.

 

So you go to HS or your favourite eBay seller and they may be out of stock. Walthers got this first. Or, in the case of eBay, bids start to rise. So without you knowing it you have been affected big time!

 

That's OK, you live in the U.S. and go to get the product here. But its suddenly a lot more - way more than you expected.

 

People catch on fast. Some will see this coming and buy extra track etc just in case. That means even less stock.

 

N scale is not that big here and its mostly American in terms of layouts. Flex track rules  so Tomix's track, their Japanese looking products are not going to sell well.

 

I sense that price and availability will be affected everywhere - and unless Tomix changes to cater to a US market they are likely to bomb here. In time things will improve to where we are now except that its unlikely that Tomix will do this venture again.

 

So maybe one year of instability.

 

But I don't care that Tomix sells their traditional items here. I hope they will cater to our market. Maybe make structures more U.S. friendly; maybe make trams that could be N.A.

 

But with the markups and spotty availability that Walthers has traditionally shown, no one will likely want to buy unless they can see the stuff locally - again more stock for Walthers, less stock for HS.

 

So the idea that you can get a particular item from Japan at maybe $40 but its $70 here so I'll pass on the LHS turns into "I used to get this from Japan at a great price..., maybe they will have stock soon..."

 

Oh,  and I wouldn't bank on ordering here and having it transshipped.

 

And, with Walthers track record they are unlikely to make sufficient product available to your LHS so, except for the very few who know the product, the majority will see a thumbnail photo of an item at a high price in a Walthers catalog. No one likes to buy that way!

 

I feel less paranoid already!

 

But if Tomix finds an alternative distributor that does not mark-up offensively so prices are competitive  there will still be less product available internationally as US stores will need items to display but prices won't be obscene. And a good distributor will have stock.

 

I'm a narrow and shallow guy. If I get screwed by price or find out that the item I ordered was not in stock I move on quick and never look back... Like most guys...

 

Cheers

Rick (paranoid and proud)

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It appears that I must take a hatchet to this thread to separate fact from fiction in order to get to the semantics.

 

My intent wasn't to see a defenseless retailer blugeoned to death in-forum.  I was more interested in the Tomix products, which I have only recently discovered, and their availability.

 

In the meantime, I'm off to Berg's Hobbies at Parramatta to look at their range of Australian HO.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Boiler

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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!

 

Tunnel vision is alive and well. If we do this then everyone else must do it to. Imagine that!

 

Tomix is the largest model train company in Japan.  Its products are everywhere because its parent Tomix has the muscle to put them into stores which often don't pay for stock for up to six months.  If Tomy-Takara chose to it could crush Kato.  Kato only realistic growth option may have been to export because of Tomix's market postiion.  Tomix doesn't do DCC because they have their own control system and DCC is isn't important for much of the Japanese market.

 

Children in Japan are encouraged to operate model trains as early as pre-school.  The traditional father and child market is very big in Japan and many families create layouts on the floor. The so-called model railroader market is only a fraction of the traditional family gift market. 

 

As most Japanese train lines operate back and forth for the most part between two points without numerous branches turning off, the Japanese market is generally content with trains running on large loops. Apart from container trains freight is a distant memory for most Japanese. LCL ended in the 1980s. Even container trains aren't shunted, just off loaded or loaded from sidings adjacent to the main line.

 

Tomix is just fine for the Japanese market.  It sounds like Walthers is just trying to cherry-pick a small range of items. I notice that no one ever plans to important the electrical elements of the Tomix line which would require conversion from 100 volt mains to 110-120 volt mains for retail sale. When I see that I'll believe that the vendor is serious about importing the whole line.

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I don't know anything about Walthers or their business, but I have to say, their new DCC equipped turntables look nice, I just wish they made a smaller one in N-scale, the current one has a bridge that can handle Big Boys, and I really don't need something that big for the Japanese trains. Of course, it looks rather American, especially with the deeper pit which I believe the Japanese turntables don't generally have.

 

Martin, Japanese turntables seem to vary widely, I've seen examples with deep pits, shallow pits, and ones that are almost at ground level. But what I've also noticed a lot is that by comparison to the classic US-style t/ts, a lot of Japanese examples don't have any decking or walkways, which might make it difficult to use a Walthers model without heavily modifying the bridge.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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In the meantime, I'm off to Berg's Hobbies at Parramatta to look at their range of Australian HO.

 

Berg's have their own rather nice range of kits for NSW prototype locos and rollingstock, if that's where your interests lie. I take it you live in or near Sydney, you should consider visiting http://www.tomshobbies.com.au/ at West Ryde, and http://www.casulahobbies.com.au/catalog/ in Liverpool.

 

Did you get to the AMRA Liverpool exhibition over the long weekend? I think nearly every local model manufacturer had a stand there!  :grin

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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Martijn Meerts

Mark, I have the Tomix turntable, and that one actually has sort of a decking/walkway as well. It might be they just added that to hide the electronics though rather than go for the more prototypical look.

 

What's also interesting, Hobby Search actually has the Walthers turntable in their inventory as well (although sold out).

 

I could modify the Tomix turntable, but the time spent on that is worth more than the cost of the Walthers turntable. I'm open for any other suggestion though. I have so many Japanese steamers now that it'd be silly not to get a good turntable and several roundhouses ;)

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Martin, is this the model t/t you have?: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10079324

 

If so, it's a fairly good rendering of a typical JNR through-girder t/t, except for the big grey box at one end, opposite the operator's cab. See here:

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10068462

 

If that's the one you have, then you're all set to build a steam depot and give your engines a nice home!  :grin

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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I must say, the more I read here the more inclined I am to lean towards Australian HO-scale.

 

What about Japanese HO scale?  :grin

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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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!

Even container trains aren't shunted, just off loaded or loaded from sidings adjacent to the main line.

 

Erm, apologise for being pedantic but...not quite. Yes, most container trains (and containers) travel terminal-to-terminal. However some container terminals are just too cramped to take a whole container train in one go (there is one in Osaka which keeps me wondering why JRF hasn't liquidated it for the sheer value of its real estate - it's smack by the Loop Line and in a parcel of land too short to take a train in one go), so out comes the DE10s to break up and assemble trains... deserving customers still get their containers delivered by rail to their doorstep (witness Mitsui Miike or Kirin in Sendai) and in some terminals containers are "stuffed" while still loaded on their flatcars. There is some scope for switching, so I also believe that there is scope for other manufacturers to take up DCC.

 

And between us, the real PITA isn't Tomix - It's Micro-Ace. They are completely out in everything - adding M-T couplers to my Chichibu hoppers was one heck of a chore, and I'm still 4 hoppers short of finishing the task!

 

 

Cheers NB

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are you reffering to the one near Umeda?

 

if so i think that is on the chopping list later when another one is completed.

 

Bikkuri mentioned it before i think he knows more about it.

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I thought Tomix would be a good choice.

(...)

I must say, the more I read here the more inclined I am to lean towards Australian HO-scale.

Boiler

 

Tomix is good, no questions asked. And Tomytec's (parent company of Tomix) health seems to be very much in order. The problem is Walthers, their business practices and the fear that an alliance between Walthers and Tomix would result in the end of the possibility of placing orders (especially wholesale orders) in Japan. I doubt this would happen - Walthers stocks Trix (for instance) and one can still get Trix stuff elsewhere in the US, from non-Walthers sources. These days I only order from Walthers as a last resort - and if they have what I'm looking for in stock.

 

Re Australian HO, I too find it interesting - but then, I'm not Australian nor do I live in Australia. I did contemplate modelling Australian HO before turning to Japanese prototype N scale. The main difficulty would be of choice - VR (EMD diesels in that lovely Erie-inspired paint scheme) or NSWGR (Alcos and AD60 Garrats)?

 

Cheers NB

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are you reffering to the one near Umeda?

 

if so i think that is on the chopping list later when another one is completed.

 

Bikkuri mentioned it before i think he knows more about it.

 

Yes, Kita Umeda Yard. Saw it on a Kyoto to Kii Peninsula cab ride film on Youtube. Google Earth shows that half of the stub tracks have been chopped and are being built over.

 

 

Cheers NB

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Martijn Meerts

Martin, is this the model t/t you have?: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10079324

 

If so, it's a fairly good rendering of a typical JNR through-girder t/t, except for the big grey box at one end, opposite the operator's cab. See here:

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10068462

 

If that's the one you have, then you're all set to build a steam depot and give your engines a nice home!  :grin

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

 

That's the one I have yes, the problem is, it's noisy and it's not DCC. The noise can be fixed when converting it to DCC since it'll likely need a new motor, but the trouble of making the whole thing DCC (and I mean, being able to digitally control the turntable itself, not just have a DCC signal on the track) is likely not going to be worth it. Also, it's not a very flexible turntable.. It's great for a (semi-)temporary floor layout, but for a static it's a bit meh :)

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Garth actually asked the tomytec/tomix folks directly if they had sold to any distributors outside japan and they said they had NOT yet. Perhaps they have sold directly to a few dealers though, but had not heard that anyone had dealt directly with tomix. every time i hear about official offshore tomix dealers/distributors i would ask around and find out it was actually a japanese distributor or dealer they were getting stock from. Some companies will sell directly to dealers, others will only go to distributors and let them deal with the dealer.

 

Granted these were only fears about walthers and an exclusive. They are not groundless though as many products from japan in the past did similar things, granted in the internet age this is getting hard to do. Also ive been around these kinds of dealings some and when its bigger players they always talk about exclusives. its a total business 101 if you are a larger player to use this to your competitive advantage or at least as a chip in the deal.

 

My bigger fear is just walthers screwing this up. lots of evidence that this could happen. they have a bad track record on a number of things and have grown quite large and unresponsive. fouling this up would both piss off the market here against japanese trains (dont want that) and piss off tomix (dont want that either). Even if they get the exclusive and its not really enforced you then get this badmouthing of anything bought straight from japan as gray market, etc, again just the kind of talk thats bad for the hobby and many here are susceptible to listen to.

 

there are lots of upsides to this and i hope it all works out to the best.

 

jeff

 

Walther's has a deep history in "screwing things up" and many model railroad shops despise having to use Walther's as their primary source for inventory, but the options are few and far between and Walther's has the overwhelming majority of the market tied up. And if Walther's borks up any import deals with TT/TOMIX, it would likely sour TT/TOMIX to dealing with any other distributor in the US.

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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!

 

Tunnel vision is alive and well. If we do this then everyone else must do it to. Imagine that!

 

Please It's know it all comments like that that turn new members away from a forum it's one persons opinion not yours but doesn't mean you need to respond like that.

 

Children in Japan are encouraged to operate model trains as early as pre-school.  The traditional father and child market is very big in Japan and many families create layouts on the floor. The so-called model railroader market is only a fraction of the traditional family gift market. 

 

 

The Japanese "family gift market" is very different to that of an western "family gift market".

 

I have seen many children and their fathers taking the hobby very seriously compared to that of a western market. Pla rail videos are a quickest example of how serious young children and their father or even mother can get into something in japan.

 

Hanging around local joshin stores (not the big ones in the city) will show you just how much a child as young as 5/6 can get into nguage even.

 

It might be true that western kids like to just clip the track together and run the train at highspeeds but not so much in japan.

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I was at my LHS for the first time in a month or so today, and found they had a fairly large stock of Tomix buildings now. They've always had a lot of Kato, and a few Greenmax buildings that Mokei imported, but now that Walthers is handling Tomix, they've added those (primarily contemporary-look urban buildings). They mentioned that they'd be adding lots of vehicles from the Tomix line as well, and that they could order Finetrack but didn't expect to stock it (although I have discucssed wide tram track with them in the past, and they do have enough interest in modern trams to stock a fairly complete line of Kato's Unitram track, so maybe they'll change their minds eventually).

 

If they're representative, Tomix is going to become a lot easier to get for those of us in the States.

 

The prices aren't great however.  I picked up one building (I can always use another office building, and I hadn't picked up this one before, plus I like to throw business their way when I can), and when I got home I found that I'd paid $25 for something that HS carries for $10.  Even with shipping, I think that's a bit on the high side. Kato's smaller office buildings go for around $20 through MB Klein, so this shouldn't have been much more than $15, maybe $20 due to the novelty of it. I don't expect to be buying more Tomix buildings from them.

 

Although perhaps I should compare them to Kibri or Vollmer: even a simple one of their buildings can easily go for more than $40 imported to the U.S.

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My fear with Walthers was a big markup like this. With mokei retired Walthers has the import field for tomix. I've never been impressed with Walthers.

 

Jeff

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Although perhaps I should compare them to Kibri or Vollmer: even a simple one of their buildings can easily go for more than $40 imported to the U.S.

 

Well, we buy ready made kits for their details and convenience because we don't have time to scratch build. Wait for the sales.

 

My LHS is an ACE hardware so those "20% off what fits into the bag" sales apply. I stopped buying from my LHS because of the service. They pissed off the only train clerk and recruited a radio control guy who pissed off every train patron. That guy is unemployed since last week.

 

They shadow you as if you are a hooligan in an oxford.

 

The lady that should have been cut thinks track is electronic and can't be returned even if unopened. A little too much THC.

 

This is why I go online and get what I want for less, and no stupid answers from the clerks.

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That's an exceptionally bad store. And it sounds like a "hobby store" that also sells trains, rather than a model train store.

 

I did have one model train store that bad around here.  I went twice and never went back. And there were two "hobby stores with trains" within a long drive, both failed.

 

But there are several others with either dedicated trains sales or where trains are an important part of their product line, that range from okay to outstanding.

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The Japanese "family gift market" is very different to that of an western "family gift market".

 

I have seen many children and their fathers taking the hobby very seriously compared to that of a western market. Pla rail videos are a quickest example of how serious young children and their father or even mother can get into something in japan.

 

Hanging around local joshin stores (not the big ones in the city) will show you just how much a child as young as 5/6 can get into nguage even.

 

It might be true that western kids like to just clip the track together and run the train at highspeeds but not so much in japan.

 

This is quite different than the Euro market.  It seems all dealers now carry this notice in the same way they show the gauge on an item:

 

"Note to EU Toys Directive 2009/48/EC: Warning not suitable for children under 15."

 

Example:

 

http://www.modellbahnshop-lippe.com/produkt/Arnold/17-2-012-60825-0-0-0-0-4-2-0-gatt-gb-p-0/ein_produkt.html

Edited by bill937ca
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By putting that notice on, the importer, or perhaps seller, is exempted from certifying that the model's paint doesn't contain lead, and other similar "toxic chemical" problems.  The root cause is probably an outgrowth of news stories and the resulting fears related to such chemicals being found on children's toys manufactured in China.  The EU directive was passed in 2009 and went into full effect except for the chemicals section in 2011, with the rules on chemical content coming into force this summer. It applies to toys for children under 15.

 

And while all that is good, it's pretty sad that children would be pushed away from model trains due to fear of toxic chemicals.  Particularly children old enough not to eat the trains.  But lead poisoning is pretty serious for any pre-teen as it affects their brain development and it can occur via hand contact followed by eating or similar activities, so I can understand why the law was written that way.

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