Financial Woes Continue

Discuss Hornby Model Railway products and related topics here. This includes (Lima, Rivarossi, Jouef, Electrotren).
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flying scotsman123
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby flying scotsman123 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:57 pm

trainlover23 wrote:I disagree with that statement. I would think it was a two way thing in that it encouraged children to BECOME interested in the real railway and then as they get older become interested in modelling railways as they see it.


It's certainly one school of thought, but equally there are those that argue that once kids have grown out of Thomas it puts them off railways for good as they just think it's just for kids.

All I know is that I was interested in railways before I was interested in TTTE, and despite reading the books religiously when I was very young I was perfectly happy with Dad's old (what I now now to be!) Tri-ang pullmans and a black B12 - cos it had a smoke generator! And that was much more exciting than a plastic face on the smokebox. :)
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alex3410
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby alex3410 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:06 pm

Hornby’s association with Thomas and his Friends has been a long and happy one but with changing trends, plus toy safety age restrictions, we have taken the difficult decision not to continue with the Thomas license. This decision means that production of all Hornby Thomas sets and accessories has ceased with the range inevitably being completely removed from Hornby’s portfolio by the end of the year.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby End2end » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:37 pm

alex3410 wrote:
Hornby’s association with Thomas and his Friends has been a long and happy one but with changing trends, plus toy safety age restrictions, we have taken the difficult decision not to continue with the Thomas license. This decision means that production of all Hornby Thomas sets and accessories has ceased with the range inevitably being completely removed from Hornby’s portfolio by the end of the year.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:59 pm

I think Mattel just pushed the license cost beyond Hornby's means. There's a limit to what parents will pay for toys and I think Thomas has been living on borrowed time for a while now. The Heritage organisations are starting to reconsider Days out with Thomas, as well, the demand for child protection clearance for every "employee" including staff in the loco sheds and signal boxes was a step too far for some.
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Notanyware
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Notanyware » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:10 pm

I think its all pretty sad as Thomas is an English institution that has been spoiled for kids because of greed, for crying out loud the Reverand Audry married my parents at Kings Norton Church in Brum it dont get more English than that.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bigglesof266 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:08 pm

Notanyware wrote:Thomas is an English institution that has been spoiled for kids

Little different from the ignominious censoring and "sent to stack" stealthy disappearance of Enid Blyton books over recent decades for not being on narrative. Even less significant one might suggest.

One might suspect W.E. Johns -who undoubtedly would turn in his gave at the thought, or a more contemporary writer plagiarising his "Adventures of' formula on the approved narrative cue might enjoy a favourable resurgence however, as obsequious vassals gear for the coming world war.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bigglesof266 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:03 pm

End2end wrote:This is only going to end badly!

Much as I sincerely lament the removal of yet another apparent item of significance with an inarguably twee cultural identity associated with nostalgia for Britishness of yore, I think it is a smart business move by Hornby nevertheless Not only has the market demographic changed, all is not necessarily as was made to appear.

Aware of the Wiki (which is frequently IME the origin of arguably dubious retelling of events aka popular history) entry, but I don't personally recall ever seeing Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends in my local or other hobby shop or toy department regular haunts during those years, or ever being available as model railway toys in OO or in any other gauge or model form either during my infancy in the late 1950s or childhood during the baby boomer heyday of Tri-Ang Trains in the 1960s. I also had older brothers born in '38 and the '41 and '45 whose hand-me-down toys and books I inherited, and nought there of Thomas either. Until ..... 1985.

The emergence of popularity of what was to impact as a marketing opportunity and Thomas cult on a particular demographic of a particular era really only occurred within the past three decades. Despite being erroneously perpetuated by subsequent lore as it having always been so, the wide Thomas and Friends franchise which is familiar today of today was a marketing phenomenon originating only in second decade of the 1980s.

I was also an voracious reader during those childhood years, spending many, many happy hours perusing library shelves selecting my take home reading as well as being frequently supplied with gifted books as presents from parents and relatives. Whilst British childrens' authors such as Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton or W.E. Johns and later Nevil Shute were to feature large in my early childhood library, I had never seen or heard of Thomas until popularised with Ringo Starr's narration of the animated TV production, the first UK broadcast of which wasn't until 1984, or even later and U.S. broadcast 1989. In the 50's and 60's, alongside a collection of Little Golden Book and Ladybird Books volumes, a developing child would have been more likely to be familiar with "The Kathleen Fiddler Omnibus" and "Mr Galiano's Circus" or classics such as Dumas' "The Count of Monte Christo" or "The Three Musketeers" and the Bronte sisters "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" or Dickens', Conrad and the feast of other works still popular in print then than the writings of Reverend Awdry.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby GWR_fan » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Keiron,
similarly I have no recollection of anything Thomas related pre-1986 when my son was born. In the late 1980's the ABC would broadcast one episode each weekday afternoon at 2.54 pm. I did source a couple of small related books to the series to read to my son of a night. Apart from that nothing.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby D605Eagle » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:43 am

I remember from a very young age we had a large collection of small illustrated TTTE books which my dad read to me and then later I read and re read myself. However when TTTE mania took off in the late 80s I had pretty much forgotten about him.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby b308 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:38 am

As a side note if Hornby do get rid of the Thomas franchise it could be interesting for us narrow gauge modellers. At the moment Bachmann US produce several NG Thomas 009 models which cannot be sold (officially) in the UK because of Hornby's hold on the franchise even though they don't clash with anything they make...

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:51 am

Earliest memory of not quite Thomas. Thomas didn't figure in the Rev's first book, I can remember our teacher reading it to us in my first year at school. Would have been 1949/50. It was quite some time before I then discovered Thomas. Print runs were very restricted due to paper shortages and the books sold out quickly, often never making it to some pats of the country.
Being in charge of the Parish of Kings Norton in south Birmingham it is likely that he knew of the line between Bearley Junction and Alcester, re-openened during WW2 to bring workers from Coventry to the re sited factory at Great Alne. Locals reckon that the story of the fish in the side tank was inspired by the pipe connected into the canal aquaduct used to fill he branch line engines tanks.
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Meister
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Meister » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:03 pm

Moving the conversation away from Thomas, I wonder what the future holds for the Railroad range? If low volume, high margin is seen as the way to return the company to profitability will there still be a place for these cheaper (and less profitable) legacy models? There do not seem to be many new releases in this range at the moment so perhaps it too will be dropped sooner rather than later, forcing modellers to pay more for the standard range . . . or choose a less expensive hobby.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:06 pm

If they retrain any Railroad items it's likely to be those with the tools in the best condition and those that already have new mechanisms. Anything needing money spent on it is likely to be pensioned off. Unless some small outfit pops up and takes it on. They don't have a G&R Wrenn to unload their unwanted lines to this time around :)
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Bigglesof266
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bigglesof266 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:24 am

Although I wouldn't splash my cash on it, I do think there is potential for a Railroad range if priced right. When anything is really cheap, someone will always buy it.

Using Dapol's range of ex-Airfix & Kitmaster figures, buildings, wagons and coaches along with their RTR stock as an example, ancient mould items need to be commensurately cheap. Hornby attempting to rebox as McRailroad as a segment marketing tool to achieve astronomic prices for their higher detail range = fail in my book, as it ends up in no sale of either to me, and many others I'd wager. Not interested in Railroad junk made from moulds and mechs moulded and tooled an eternity ago. Not going to pay a motza either, for something "High Detail' which is in fact merely ordinary "detail' by contemporary modelling tooling, silicon and motor standards of today.

IMV Hornby need to meet current 2018 state of the art at a more amenable price, and achieve their profitability through people actually buying their kit so as to achieve volume. And, they sorely need to reintroduce proper international spare parts support and emulate Dragon's no argument fast complete support Dragon Care rather than their current consumer contempt silence. e.g. T9 Mazak fiasco. If Hornby weren't one of just two major OO gauge players in the marketplace, they'd have been interred in an also ran and forgotten grave long ago along with brands like Mettoy, Wrenn et al.

Perhaps it's time for the ascendance of a fresh OO gauge face with an reinvigorated approach in touch with the customer in the second decade of this millennium? i.e. Oxford Rail?

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:01 am

Look to the Railroad history of retooling.

Railroad class 43 HST - retooled Lima body with improved chassis - one release - Virgin livery - not repeated

Railroad class 42 Warship - retooled Lima with improved chassis - two livery releases from memory - not repeated

Railroad class 31 - retooled Lima with improved chassis - botched up BR blue and Dutch livery with wrong mix of tooling - not repeated (fortunately)

Railroad class 47 - retooled Lima with improved chassis and later TTS - released as "Dionysus" in Blue Pullman set and later in large logo BR blue with TTS

Railroad class 37 - retooled Lima with improved chassis and TTS - released in Network Rail yellow - from memory not repeated

Railroad class 40 - retooled Lima with improved chassis and TTS - released in BR green - from memory not repeated

Railroad class 55 Deltic - retooled Lima with improved chassis - I cannot recall livery/liveries released

There may have been a few more releases in the classes above that currently do not come to mind, but there were not many.

The Railroad range has seen a litany of expensive development and then abandonment. No wonder the company is in financial trouble. The Railroad HST class 43 looked to be a nicely running model but the release coincided roughly with the full fat class 43 R2701 release and sales suffered. The Railroad HST when it appears on eBay goes for big money.

There is a market for Railroad, not just from beginners, but many older hobbyists like the no frills less fragility of the expensive super detail models. If a company is going to produce models then further releases are required to satisfy the market. That said, perhaps all the Lima retooling may have been at Kader/Sanda Kan's expense and Hornby lost the rights to continue manufacture when Hornby left Kader production.


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