RailKing.Co.UK American Premier O gauge Overview
D P Associates Ltd - Supplier of M.T.H. RailKing O gauge, Gauge 1 and HO products
[customers are respectfully asked to check our "small print" before committing to a purchase, UK residents are specifically requested to view the option on prepaying VAT]
MTH (Mike's Train House) is an American company renowned for decades or their Premier and RailKing O Gauge ranges of American railroad models (please note that the "Premier" range are a different scale quality compared to O gauge "Railking"). Their full catalogue covers a wide range of railway eras, prototypes and types or styles of models, for instance they still offer tinplate. More recently they have taken on Gauge 1 and HO where their manufacturing techniques and patented electronic control systems have also been very well received. A new aspect of their O gauge products are British and European locomotives produced to 1:43 scale rather than the 1:48 scale traditionally used for American prototypes. The sound systems reflect the 2 or 4 cylinders of the prototype and compounding where appropriate, control over coupler release, smoke and sound levels and a fully quillable whistle/horn now come as standard features. The locomotives are powered by conventional dc motors however the controlling electronics will also accept an ac supply. If you currently have a conventional resistive or variable voltage controller then you will be able to operate the locomotives with manual control over sound and smoke levels but since they also incorporate "Protosound 2", one of the best digital sound systems currently available, it would probably make sense to use one of MTH's DCS digital control units to get simplest as well as the most specific control over each of the multitude of operational features that the locomotives can provide. A further feature of recent Premier locomotives that is of real utility to those that visit other tracks is that they can readily be set for either 2-rail or 3-rail systems. Since it is not possible to determine via some numeric formula on the item number what features a particular model may have, and since some features are varied after the initial announcement, the item code numbers listed now link directly to the closest MTHtrains.com website page and you may check the current specifications there. If there is a discrepancy then I would suggest that you go by the MTH particulars though their pages do contain the odd error (for example item 20-3343-2 being described on the MTH site as 1:48 rather than the intended 1:43 scale).
The more recent locomotives with the Protosound 3 decoder can operate on analogue dc or ac or under DCS digital, as per Protosound 2 products, but with the added facility of the major functions of DCC digital control. Please check this sheet for the main supported DCC commands.
If you are used to model railway catalogues that change slowly but generally continue to offer each line for a number of years then a basic description of the production and ordering system for MTH's O gauge items may be helpful. MTH decides on which prototypes to manufacture and puts them in a catalogue along with an estimated release date, generally within the next twelve months (experience has shown however that these production dates are very prone to slippage, with some delays being announced just a month before the prior expected delivery date, and to be realistic one should allow for as much as a further year's delay before expecting items to be shipped). Within a relatively short time of the catalogue being issued (say 3 months) the order book is closed. This permits MTH to build to order. The production quantities of any particular model are not limited to a pre-determined amount but some are obviously going to be produced in a smaller quantity than the actual demand. It is also possible that an item will be cancelled if insufficient orders are received. If MTH decides to re-run a model this would only be expected to occur after a two year gap and the new issue would be expected to have differences to distinguish it from the original run. One might predict that some items might not be so popular as others on initial issue and in overall terms those items will eventually become much rarer. As dealers we place orders with MTH against predicted demand, obviously it helps us considerably if we know what people want before the order book closes and therefore we are offering a pre-order system with lower prices.
Items on our lists can therefore fall into into several categories of availability:
IS - In stock, AO - Available to Order, PO - Pre Order, BC - Book Closed (enquire), BG - Been and Gone, RK - RailKing Club item
Given our location we do not expect that many visitors but, if you ever are in the vicinity, by prior arrangement we would be pleased to show you what we have. We are happy to mail-order to anywhere the usual carriers can reach. If you would like to place an order then we provide a printable mail-in form, or alternatively you may place your credit/debit card order on line at our web-shop.