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Peter's Model Railroading | Articles | Rolling Stock | N&W HL
Model Information


In November 2023, ScaleTrains released their very first S-scale products, which were these two-bay, open-top, peaked-ends, fishbelly hoppers. They released them with 6 road names and one undecorated model. These cars fall outside my modeled era, but I wanted to support ScaleTrains in their S-scale venture, and I wanted to see what the models they produced were like. They come in a very attractive box, which clearly states their brand name for their S-scale division, which is "S-Helper Service". The history on these cars is that ScaleTrains bought the product line from MTH Electric Trains when that company closed down. MTH had previously released a number of these hoppers, but with different road names and numbers. Prior to that, MTH had bought the S-scale product line from the original creators, S-Helper Service (SHS) the company. SHS had to close down due to the factory in China no longer wanting to deal with smaller manufacturers. SHS had these peaked-ends hoppers in their plans as the next freight car that they were going to release, but they couldn't get the factory to complete them.
(external link: ScaleTrains)

This photo shows what is inside the box. The car has the American Flyer-compatible couplers and hi-rail wheels pre-installed from the factory. This is to make it easy for those modelers who enjoy toy-trains to be able to just put the car on the track and run with it. For more true-to-scale modelers, such as myself, the company includes scale couplers and code 110 scale wheels. The couplers are the same ones that S-Helper Service used to use on their cars and also sold separately, so it looks like ScaleTrains simply continued to do the same thing. This method of providing both styles of wheels and couplers was pioneered by SHS and continued by MTH, so it is good to see ScaleTrains doing the same thing. It is the correct thing to do in S-scale. The models are plastic bodies with separately-applied metal handrails and grabirons. The trucks are heavy diecast with working springs, and metal wheels and axles. So, these models are built to last, yet are nicely detailed.