Founded in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1932, Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of model railroad supplies in the country. The focus of this site are the HO-scale freight car kits manufactured and distributed by Wm. K. Walthers from the mid-1980s to the present day. Walthers offered HO-scale freight car kits prior to the period detailed on this site, however what I would refer to as the “Contemporary Era” for the company’s efforts begins in 1984.
Following Train Miniature’s departure from the hobby market, Walthers obtained a number of freight car molds that had been in Train Miniature’s product line. These kits, box cars, reefers, stock cars, hoppers, and more, represent the first easy to build non-flat stock plastic models to be sold under the Walthers name in the HO-scale freight car market. Walthers expanded beyond the former Train Miniature cars and by the late ’80s had a growing roster of all-new tooling examples on the market. In 2005, Walthers acquired Life-Like and its line of Proto 1000 and Proto 2000 trains.
An interesting feature about the Walthers line is the company’s theme packaging of kits. Walthers produces HO-scale freight cars, locomotives, structures, vehicles, and accessories and often combines all these product lines into a complete themed group. The Steel Mill group is an excellent example of the various items from different product lines brought together to create a total scene ready for layout/opeartion implementation. Walthers had even gone so far as to produce books to support its theme products. The “Driving Force” publication outlined the relationship between the auto industry and railroads. This attention Walthers gives to the whole complete scene or total package is unique in the hobby business.
Walthers® and its associated graphics and logos are trademarks of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.