international Hobby (IHC) has been a familiar name in the model railroad world for generations. Founded by Bernard Paul in 1981, IHC has a reputation for quality products at an affordable price point. Prices (in 2016) range from under $10 for small accessories to $260 for a DCC and sound-equipped steam locomotive. Diesel locomotives cost between $40 and $120.
While the price points are attractive to those just getting started in the hobby, many seasoned modelers continue to use many of their products.
Some products have been sold under other brand names at different times using the same tooling. Mehano, AHM and Model Power are all among the companies which have used the same tooling.
While the locomotives and rolling stock tend to lack the higher levels of detail present in more expensive and current models, they have a reputation for reliable running and performance. Also, they tend to cost significantly less than more detailed models, making them a generally good value and starting point for modelers who like to customize their models. Recently, IHC has started shipping locomotives with DCC and sound already installed.
Scale-length passenger cars have long been a standard for the hobby. The cars feature decent exterior detail with lighting and interior kits available.
Passenger cars average less than $20. For the first 20 years of the company, these cars were some of the scale-sized passenger cars available and were used by many as stand-ins or kitbashing starting points to create more specific models.
Most rolling stock is available ready-to-run out of the box, but some basic kits have been produced in the past.
Upgrade kits for passenger cars are also sold. Most of the older stock still on the market will include "horn-hook" style couplers. Converting to knuckle couplers is possible, but takes a little work.
IHC's plastic structure kits represent common and popular buildings and are found on many layouts. These kits make good projects for those just starting in the hobby. Following the basics of building plastic kits, and taking the time to paint the different parts, the kits quickly build into attractive models. Their low cost makes them popular for finding alternative uses as well such as combining with other models. Structure kits are also usually sized to fit nicely on smaller layouts.
IHC has also produced model kits for other modeling hobbies such as military models.
Unlike most manufacturers today, IHC's product line remains relatively stable. Products tend to remain available for a long period of time, often several years.
IHC's product is available for direct purchase online and also at most hobby stores large and small. Although their online catalog includes items not currently available, the long production runs of most items make them easy to find at hobby shops, train shows and other internet sites.
With a well-earned reputation for quality and value has helped make IHC a recognized name by experienced modelers and a safe purchase for first-time hobbyists alike.