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Imperial Hobby Productions (IHP) is a FULL-TIME hobby manufacturing company founded by Mike Bartel in 1993. IHP offers the following services:
*Models, kits and supplies for the model railroad and scale ship modeling markets.
*Novelty and souvenir models for gifts and promotional purposes.
*Casting services for those in need of short runs of quality resin-plastic parts for their modeling or promotional project.

Mike Bartel is a self-taught mouldmaker and resin caster in addition to being a skilled modelmaker. He has been a scale model maker and builder since he was eight years old, and has been involved in resin casting since 1991, when he made his first small parts moulds for his own collection of 1:700 scale ship models.

IHP employs resin casting techniques to produce the majority of our products. Resin casting allows for a great amount of detail and can be tooled very quickly for short runs of limited-market parts or prototypes. While cost effective, the tooling doesn't last very long compared to mass-marketed injected-plastic kits and parts. It is an ideal process for limited edition and collectible items with lower tooling costs.

IHP's Milestone Timeline runs as follows:
*Began part-time in the summer of 1993 with 1:700 ship parts.
*Fall 1993: Produced our first complete ship kit, the USS South Dakota (BB-49).
*Spring 1994: Began subcontracting and outsourcing of casting work.
*Spring 1995: First model railroad item, the HO scale Kansas City PCC body shell, is introduced.
*Spring 1996: First licensing agreement with SEPTA for HO scale Kawasaki LRV models is concluded and production commences.
*Fall 1997: First O scale item, the Philadelphia 2100-series PCC body shell.
*Spring 1998: First N scale item, the Pittsburgh 1700-series PCC shell, is introduced.
*1999: IHP goes online, with new website!
*1 January 2000: IHP becomes a full-time operation. Also began Custom Production at this time (since discontinued).
*Spring 2000: Began expansion of production.
*Spring 2001: Introduced first 1:700 scale all-metal ship kit, the Le Fantasque.
*Summer 2002: Announced major initiative to bring more commuter/transit subjects to N scale. Also, the first turned-brass gun barrels for IHP are included in a run of Montana kits.
*Summer 2004: First custom-designed and produced IHP Photoetched brass parts are made for R11 subway cars.
*September 2005: Introduced the Motorman Models Premier series of HO, N and O scale transit vehicles for the serious collector and modeler. Also introduced the Apprentice Series of components for the scratchbuilder and kitbasher.
*2006: Introduced our first powered HO transit car models and produced our first 1:1200 scale warship model kit.
*2007: Resumed in-house mouldmaking and resin casting production for the first time since 1994, allowing us to keep a more consistent new release schedule and timely order delivery. Also began use of CAD (computer aided design) computer program for drawing of parts for production.

In recent years, IHP has supplied models to transit agencies SEPTA (Philadelphia) and railcar builders Bombardier and KinkiSharyo and souvenir models for the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. (One of the Aker miniatures was featured on the Discovery/Science Channel program 'How It's Made' segment on building oil tankers.) We have done casting and pattern work for well-known manufacturers and suppliers. We also can offer our products to dealers, manufacturers or distributors as part of our custom production service.

Our models are detailed miniature representations of actual vehicles or structures. We research a model as thouroughly as possible and give great attention to detail- as much as the production process will allow. All work-design, tooling, casting, etc. is done in the USA, specifically the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Models are hand-assembled and painted in small quantities at a time. We have full capabilities to make or produce our own trucks and other specific parts for our model railroad items. We can develop custom power mechanisms for our commuter and transit car models with our own design elements. We are now using a CAD program to design and produce certain parts more consistently and quickly than we could do by hand. When you purchase an IHP product, you know that a lot of painstaking research, a fine eye for detail, and an uncompromising standard of casting and production quality went into making that work of art. You also know that IHP selects only the best subcontractors to do whatever parts we need to send out for, such as machined or cast metal parts, or drive components for our railroad models. Production of most of our items is limited, thus insuring collecting value for years to come. In recent online auctions, some of our out-of-production items have fetched two or three times their original value!

Our products are not for everyone, and our prices are higher than you may be used to. That is because a high degree of manual labour went into making a limited-production item that is intended for a small audience/market. The law of supply and demand says that such products will cost more to make and market. If you are fortunate or willing enough to afford an IHP product, you will be among an elite few. It is extremely unlikely that any 'major' model manufacturer will produce many of the subjects we produce. Our products are intended for the serious modeler and collector who wants a little more. We don't sell through discount outlets, we don't use national hobby distributors, and we don't use expensive national magazine advertising (except on rare occasions). Our products are sold direct from our website, on our eBay Store, and through very select dealers.

IHP is now one of the leaders in the model traction/transit market with our variety and choice of esoteric subjects. We are the oldest continually operated USA manufacturer of 1:700 scale resin ship kits. Be one of the discerning few to have an IHP model on your shelf or layout or in your collection. IHP is growing every year and finding new ways to utilize our capabilities and produce our extensive range of products.

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IHP currently has four product brands:
The APPRENTICE SERIES Craftsman ship kits.

The EXPRESS SERIES 'Quick-Build' Commuter Railcar Kits.

The STANDARD SERIES Detailed Model Railroad Kits and accessories, Ship kits and accessories.

The MOTORMAN Series, our Premier series of collector's quality, ready-to-run, professionally painted and finished models of rail transit vehicles.

All items are available DIRECT ONLY from IHP. (Some items are available through select IHP dealers in the USA, England and Japan.) SEPTA-licensed models are available through the SEPTA Transit Museum Store.


1. IHP does not currently publish a printed catalogue. This website is our window to the world.

2.All your questions are answered ON THIS WEBSITE. Product availability, prices and release dates are all given here on the appropriate pages. If the information is not on this website, it is not yet known or it is not officially happening.

3.IHP now maintains a regular mailing list for our regular customers! We always strongly advise that customers check the website frequently. Changes to the website, as well as to the production schedule, are frequent. If you don't see it on one visit, you might see it on your next visit.

4. Suggestions for future products are always welcome.

5. Feedback on this website (and on our products) is always welcome. We can't improve anything unless we know what you'd like to see us do differently in terms of making this site more accessible, more user-friendly, or easier to understand, or our products better or easier to obtain. IHP is known for constant improvement of its products, and we would like to keep it this way.

6. Contacting IHP Not that we don't want to talk to you, but we are very busy here and we hope this website can immediately take care of 99.999% of the inquiries you may have about our operation and our products. If you need to contact us by mail, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you expect a reply. We cannot always respond timely to emails and phone messages because we are very busy here but we will try. We strongly encourage all customers to check the website frequently for all updates and product information.

Thank you for taking the time to look at our website and we look forward to serving your commuter modeling needs in the future!

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