Walthers Purchases Life-Life Toy and Hobby Division

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by NSCALEMIKE, Jul 15, 2005.



    For those that haven't heard it yet...

    Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., of Milwaukee, Wis., purchased the assets of Life-Like Products Toy and Hobby Division on Thursday, July 14. Life-Like’s headquarters will remain in Baltimore, Md. Walthers expects no interruption in production and delivery of new Life-Like items and plans to increase the availability of the newly acquired line.

    Phil Walthers, president and chief executive officer of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., said, "This new acquisition is an important step in continuing our long-term commitment to the hobby. Walthers is determined to preserve the valued brands modelers trust. We’re dedicated to improving the hobby for generations to come."

    John Sanheim, Walthers’ vice president of marketing and sales, added, "Walthers is reaching out to new customers in an effort to expand our hobby’s enthusiast population. We’re achieving that by offering an abundance of new, diverse choices to match individual needs across all differing skill levels. Novice and experienced modelers alike will be offered everything they need to make their layout vision a reality."

    Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., has been based in Milwaukee for more than 75 years and is the world’s largest distributor dedicated to the model railroad hobby. The firm also manufacturers passenger cars, freight cars, and structures, and produces the annual Walthers Model Railroad Reference Book for N and Z, HO, and large scale model trains.

    Life-Like Products, based in Baltimore, has been involved in the hobby industry for more than 50 years. Some of the firm’s well-known model railroad lines include Proto 1000, Proto 2000, and Heritage-series steam locomotives
  2. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I applaude Walthers for their support of the hobby. My only question about this buyout is that I have noticed Walthers prices are some of the highest in the industry. Does this mean that LL product prices will be going up as well? Don't get me wrong. Walthers usually has that hard-to-find item and I have purchased from them and am happy with their service. Usually though, I will wait until it is on sale before I buy from them.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    There is another thread in General Talk on this subject. It's tough sometimes when the same subject is in more than one forum since it does tend to split up the discussion.

    Just thought I'd point this out in case you didn't see that thread..:D
  4. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    I can't see how this would make much difference. Both companies make junk. What's the big deal?
  5. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I did see the other thread Don, after I replied to this one. It is confusing when threads on the same subject get started in different forums.

    tillsbury, while I agree that every company makes certain products that could be considered of a lower quality, I don't see a blanket statement about both companies as being justified. I'm curious as to which companies you consider that don't make "junk." :confused:
  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    It makes sense that if you think a company makes junk, you just don't buy it. Someone else might not think that way, or they might not have had the same experience as you did.

    If you buy something for half or a third the cost of a similar item, don't expect it to function as if it were the more expensive one. That's how you should treat your Life Like purchases.
  7. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Oh absolutely. Obviously my comment only represents my experience -- many other people may think many other things! And I understand that most of their products are less expensive than some alternatives, and that means that they should be of lower quality, but I believe that they should still work, at least a little bit. If someone had told me before getting involved with this hobby to avoid those two manufacturers as well as Bachmann, I'd have saved both time and money. On the other hand, some people may be happy buying this sort of stuff, and good luck to 'em. It doesn't mean that I have to do it...

    Pitchwife, which companies do I consider not to make junk? Lots of them in all areas of the hobby... Kato locos, Atlas rolling stock, Peco track, Circuitron switch machines, Digitrax and NCE electronics, Bar Mills and a few others for structures, BLMA, Ngineering, Bragdon, Sunrise, Woodland Scenics and so on and so on. I'm sure there are many others, that's just a partial list of some I've had good enough experience with that I know I can order stuff from them over the internet without concern -- it'll work and work well. I'm not a complete cynic! But there is a lot of dross about, and very little to help the newcomer to the hobby find these things out without having to buy one of everything and make the judgement afterwards...

    I'm sorry if I annoyed or embarrassed any employees or shareholders of those companies... I didn't know that there were implicit rules against speaking out on this board, as I thought it was independent? In my opinion, saying that junk is good is about as helpful as pretending that good things are rubbish... or possibly worse...

  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I'll always have a place in me heart for Life-Like, bein's I'm a displaced Baltimoron an' all :p ;) You can see their house from the Jones Falls Expressway. Their models of the Sykesville station and the Woodlawn Police station are very accurate, having grown up near both places. One of my best locos when I was in N scale was a Life-Like F unit that could pull a 23 car string up a 3% grade on my layout, second only to my Concor PA unit. I wish 'em well.
  9. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Well that's absolutely fair enough. Good on 'em for having customers with good experiences. I only wish that I was one of them. I know I'm British talking to Americans, but that was neither sarcastic nor ironic, honest! :)
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    You don't have to be defensive, I really don't think anyone is coming down on you for what you said. You are as entitiled to your opinion as anyone else here and as long as you don't start a flame war, no one is going to sanction you for your opinions. We all have good and bad experiences with a product or manufacturer. We bought a new Dodge pickup truck a few years ago and didn't keep it a year, we were not happy with the way it drove or the number of problems it had. The guy next door has two new Dodge pickups, he has to be delighted with them and had a better experience than we did.:cool: You can't fault either of us for talking good or bad about Dodge.

    I have a bunch of Life Like engines, most of them I paid under $20 (US), some as low as $12 for when Model Expo got out of the business a few years ago.The ones I've run, do fine, (many are still in their boxes, unrun) but they don't compare with the $80 Atlas I bought. I bought the LL for a couple of reasons. It increased my fleet at a cost that didn't break the bank and I have a bunch of cheap engines that I can practice decorating on without getting upset should I screw one up....:eek::eek:

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