British Manufacturers - Minitrix


Minitrix

(well, they’re not a British manufacturer at all - they’re a German company.) A line of British prototype engines, coaches and wagons.

About the company
Minitrix was the name given to the N scale division of German train maker Trix. They had a very broad range of N scale products, particularly German prototype. They also produced a fair bit of American prototype merchandise, marketed in the US under their own name and also through joint ventures with Atlas and Model Power. At one point they also sold their limited British profile line in a marketing venture with Rovex/Hornby, under the name Hornby-Minitrix. They are no longer doing so.

Keen readers will notice I’m using the past tense. That’s because at the end of 1996 German manufacturer Märklin announced that it was purchasing Trix. And they did. Not surprising, really, as Trix sold HO and N trains and Märklin sell every scale from 1 through Z (the latter they invented) but didn’t sell any two-track HO or N. And now they do.

However matters remain in a state of confusion. Nobody seems to know what Märklin’s consolidated product line is going to look like, whether prices will increase (probable - Märklin is not known for bargain pricing) or stay the same, whether the Trix and Minitrix names are going to continue or not, etc. And particularly of interest to us, no news on whether Märklin will continue Minitrix’s small line of British prototype models.

Catalogue
I’ve no idea if there’s a catalogue of Minitrix/Märklin British profile products. Certainly like to see one if there is.

What I think of their products
Can’t really say with any great authority, as I’ve only bought a single Minitrix British-prototype wagon. It was like all their North American prototype stuff I’ve bought, though - a solid, quality product. Sharp detailing, smooth rolling. The one major weakness with a lot of their British products is that many of their goods wagons are moulded in various shades of plastic and aren’t painted. They have lettering printed on, but the bulk of the wagon is bare plastic. A real weakness, in my opinion. Unpainted plastic always looks shiny and fake no matter what you do with it. I’ve never really looked at their coaches.

Their locos that I’ve examined have been very nice. Injection-moulded plastic bodies, fairly smooth running mechanisms. Valve gears pretty oversized, but that’s normal for consumer-end N scale stuff. No great technology marvels, though - the designs date back to the late 70s, it would seem. Nevertheless, the few locos that Minitrix produced in British profile are definitely much nicer than their Farish equivalents. Compare the Minitrix Flying Scotsman, with its crisp plastic body shell and readable nameplate, with the metal bodied Farish Scotsman. One point of criticism is that their models were plastic shells put onto chassis designed for German prototype locomotives in order to save money. So the wheel sizing and spacing was slightly wrong for their engines. This may offend purists.

The Minitrix stuff is generally not available new anymore. Most of the locos are larger style engines, as well. (Flying Scotsman, Britannia, 9F heavy freight, etc.)

Usual disclaimer

Because we live in an absurdly litigious world, please note the following. First, I have no personal financial interest in any companies mentioned here, one way or the other. Second, all trademarked names are owned by their respective owners and are mentioned here purely for identification purposes. Third, no guarantees, express or implied, are made regarding the accuracy, fitness, whatever the hell about any of the information or opinion presented here. And finally, much of this is opinion of the author; nothing more.

Text copyright © 1997 tela design.


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