Hornby in the news today

Discuss model railway topics and news that do not fit into other sections.
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PanzerJohn
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Hornby in the news today

Postby PanzerJohn » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:08 pm


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Mountain
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby Mountain » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:48 pm

Sadly I was expecting sales to go down a bit as I've noticed quite a hike in secondhand sales, as more people are looking for bargains. It is a rather difficult position to be in. Does the company reduce retail prices and hope to sell more products or less products at higher prices? The problem with the less products at higher prices route are twofold. One is there are less new modellers willing to take up the hobby to begin with as high priced products will make them have second thoughts. The second problem is that it opens up the market to more competition.
Not that reducing retail prices in order to increase sales doesn't have risks. The market has to be expanding to keep up the sales. Unless new blood comes into the hobby, the increase in sales will become saturated.
To introduce the new generations into the hobby, one has to concentrate on finding ways to attract the youngsters. A few decades ago children were amazed when they came across the sight of Hornby Dublo 3 rail trains running at speed on the tinplate track. The sights and sounds of the trains thundering along left an imprint on the child's mind. Many of the retired generation started the hobby after witnessing these sights and sounds of former years. Now what is there for the new generations? What inspires them? They get taken to model railway exhibitions but they see no express trains thundering through at speed. They see everything at "Scale speed" which to them, does not excite. The lights and sounds available in DCC form dont excite them. They've had that in toys when in their crib. (DCC tends to attract the older generations who didnt have the fancy gadgets when they were young).
We need something to capture their imaginations. Do this and we have the new blood to carry on through the next 40 or 50 years.
Hint: Kids faces light up when they see wagons and trains that they can make for themselves from parts. Harness this and one can open up a new market. Think of a way of selling standard parts which can be made into a complete locomotive where the builder is also the designer. It may just work to attract those standing on the fence to take the plunge. Parents ands schools will see the educational value... Worth a go?

CasperGriswoldBacon
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby CasperGriswoldBacon » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:18 am

Well model railways goes in cycles i think. So just as kids growing up in the 60/70's on Triang battlespace etc.. are now the big spenders in the "scale model" market, so those who got thomas the tank engine/Hogwarts stuff as kids in the last decade will be entering the hobby in 20 years time. Problem is, there isn't the christmas money spinner like thomas/Hogwarts on the horizon at the moment so they should have learnt from past mistakes and planned for the inevitable falling away of the kids christmas market until the next film/tv show is made.

The other problem is the cost and there's no getting away from it, we pay much more for them now. I wanted to check it wasn't my imagination so i dug out an old railway modeller from 1986 and a top of the range Hornby A4 then cost £36.00. Stick on inflation and that's the equivalent of £99 pounds today. A non-DCC A4 currently costs £170 on the hornby site. Sure you can have the railroad kiddie version but that's still £110 and will a "serious" modeller want that?. of course, they're better models nowadays but faced with 70 pounds over inflation, you're gonna look for bargains or buy 2nd hand. Unless you've got a lot of free spending money at the end of each month, you're not going to be able to keep Hornby in the style they're accustomed too and they should have sussed that by now.

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Lysander
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby Lysander » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:36 am

I know that we get awfully wound up over the future of the hobby sometimes but maybe we will have to just face facts: it looks as though it is going to become a predominantly adult hobby and for a relative minority also. Lower prices would not necessarily engage a younger audience which has no particular interest in the topic.

It's done pretty well really, outliving Dinky Toys, Corgi and Matchbox, and many other children's toy fashions by a long chalk. Even Meccano. It will never be able to diversify in the ways in which Lego has done for example [and that's now really expensive, but it still sells] and its future will inevitably be linked to the wallet, which means adults, in the main.

I doubt 3D printing will change things sufficiently to alter my view, but it is still in its infancy and so it might have an impact.

Tony
Men with false teeth may yet speak the truth.......

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Bigglesof266
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby Bigglesof266 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:50 am

PanzerJohn wrote:Worth a go?

My opinion the disclaimer as always, YMMV.

A resounding "No!" for the following reasons.

    I have heard this hypothetical fallacy "children are the future of the hobby" nonsense now recycled regularly at club committee meetings by every new broom in every sport and hobby I have been involved in for many decades. e.g. gliding & RC flying to name but only two. In my lengthy observation of it in action, it's a charade serving as a subsidised junket for a very few kids of pushy parents themselves heavily into the sport or hobby. The motivated stick to it no matter what self-starters with genuine passion and interest actually wanted will find their own way regardless.

    Indulged instant gratification arranged play date kids today want everything easy. They won't even assemble let along paint a plastic model kit. Those who do are the exceptions to the rule today rather than the norm. See 1 above.

    Compound this with the competition from their understandable fascination digital devices and lack of excitement generated by the real thing today, trains or planes, and the generator of interest is not there but for all of the parent pushed few. For something to achieve widespread interest of a generation, it either has to be widely endorsed everywhere in every media along with social acceptance as cool by their peers, or more importantly for those capable of breaking free of those constraints, be something which truly excites and lights that spark in the imagination which it did in so many of us in our day.

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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:10 am

Personally, I care not or less what happens to the company. This may seem a little callous but remember that Hornby for British outline is no more a manufacturer than Hattons or Rails or any other company that commissions product from China. Hornby as a brandname will survive but possibly not the current corporate infrastructure. Hornby has a finger in many pies and some are not as tasty as others. Time to cull the non-performing brandnames, cop the loss on the balance sheet and rise like the Phoenix from the ashes. I saw this happen twelve years ago with Lehmann Brothers when the company long renowned as a manufacturer of quality toys for 125 years found itself with a bank that no longer wished to carry its credit line. There were tears and gnashing of teeth, accompanied by massive stock writedowns, but the company (LGB_Marklin) did survive under new management even if all those formerly associated with the company were no longer employees.

Since acquiring its divest range of interests has the company prospered? Those in charge seem to blunder on from one financial loss to another and speak positively of the future. They are hardly likely to talk down the firm's success as the shareholders would show them the door. In days of old a company "owned" its assets. These days these "assets" are owned by foreign companies who simply do the bidding for the company. Exactly what hard assets does Hornby Ltd. own other than trademark names?

Hornby the trademark is the product and as such a valuable commodity to be traded. In Britain it is a generic term like Biro and Hoover. Hornby is not some corporation in Kent or wherever trying to stay afloat. The new chairman wants to make sure his own product line is not tarred with failure due its association with the company.

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D605Eagle
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby D605Eagle » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:34 am

I've been saying all along. You just cannot run a profitable model company by trying to sell 1600 massively overpriced models instead of 30000 reasonably priced ones. That's the difference between the main new model for 2000 and 2017. Also having no storage space at all is never going to work. Any item the doesn't immediately sell out will just kill any possible profit the company could make. Make production runs so small they do, there's no profit to be made anyway. I have zero sympathy for the company, the management is 100% to blame.

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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:24 am

From what I have seen of videos of British model rail events and my own personal experiences of model rail exhibitions downunder, predominantly the people attending are middle-aged men and male baby boomers, with younger adults and very small children representing the few families that attend. There just does not seem to be the inbetween teenager/young adult whom we are always being told is going to rescue the hobby in twenty to thirty years.

Unfortunately, given the usual life expectancy these days for adults who is going to support the hobby until these mythical teens grow into adulthood and having shed themselves of parental responsibilities are going to enter the hobby in their middle age?

Apart from those that are able to attend the regular club nights, the hobby is in essence a lonely hobby separating the modeller from his family and his wallet. Wage stagnation and rising costs both at home and in the hobby mean that disposable income is now minimal and those who are outlaying vast sums of money on the latest and greatest, do not represent the mythical teenage saviours of the hobby, but are from the other end of the age spectrum.

BuffyMcBuffer
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby BuffyMcBuffer » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:00 am

You also have to take into account we as a British society aren’t British anymore we are multicultural and as such their parents and grand parents didn’t work on the railways so their is no interest in getting into model railways

When I was a little kid I remember being taken to steam railways and also having a board with some track pinned on running a Hornby train set

I believe this was because my dad worked on the railways and as such he opened the door to this hobby I admit I never touched it when I was growing up (electronic game systems, playing outside, biking, girls, beers, cars, college and even Lego took over)

But now I have a little boy and guess what I am lucky to have enough finances (which unfortunately you’ll find a lot of parents don’t have much of these days) to take him on days out to the steam railways which he loved from a baby and also his nan (mother in law) has dug out an old Hornby train set that was her sons and let my little man have it so now I get the chance to introduce him to the hobby and also re ignite my little child hood

And that is where the problem lies the cost to access this hobby (days outs would be £30+ for a family might not be much for me and us but single parents or parents working in low paid/part time jobs it’s a lot of money)

Notanyware
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby Notanyware » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:12 am

I may get myself in trouble for my comment on this topic but I blame the modellers and model railway press for people losing interest or giving the hobby a miss, the continual pressure placed on manufacturers / importers to add more detail to locomotives and rolling stock has been responsible for the hobby being less attractive to newcomers and modellers themselves, many people cannot afford the high cost today, much of the extra detail people demanded cannot be done on machines so some has to be done by hand, I take my hat off to Hornby for their Railroad range at least it is possible to buy some British budget models, I notice some American brands have seen the light with Atlas, Athearn and Bachmann producing basic no frills models usually with the same motors and drives as their premium models.
I and many friends will only buy budget models as the way we see things super detail like cab interiors become invisible to the naked eye once the model is a few feet away, maybe Hornby could have been in a better financial state had they have done what they always used to do and make starter sets for youngsters, not pandering to collectors may have been a good idea after all model railways are a toy all train runners love and enjoy, just my two bobs worth.

CasperGriswoldBacon
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby CasperGriswoldBacon » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:21 am

GWR_fan wrote:From what I have seen of videos of British model rail events and my own personal experiences of model rail exhibitions downunder, predominantly the people attending are middle-aged men and male baby boomers, with younger adults and very small children representing the few families that attend. There just does not seem to be the inbetween teenager/young adult whom we are always being told is going to rescue the hobby in twenty to thirty years.

Unfortunately, given the usual life expectancy these days for adults who is going to support the hobby until these mythical teens grow into adulthood and having shed themselves of parental responsibilities are going to enter the hobby in their middle age?

Apart from those that are able to attend the regular club nights, the hobby is in essence a lonely hobby separating the modeller from his family and his wallet. Wage stagnation and rising costs both at home and in the hobby mean that disposable income is now minimal and those who are outlaying vast sums of money on the latest and greatest, do not represent the mythical teenage saviours of the hobby, but are from the other end of the age spectrum.


I don't think that there ever will be a teenager/young adult market. Certainly wasn't in my day. I think a lot of adult modellers come back many years after their first exposure to it which is why catching them as kids is the trick. In my case i didn't go near a model train from early teens to late 30's- you're just not interested as a teenager or in your 20's, and you have the whole "railway nerd" thing going on, whereas by your 30's you tend not to really care what your peers think. Certainly i'd imagine a fair few of those kids who got a Hogwarts set off the back of the films in the mid-2000's will probably come back to the hobby in the 2030's but i doubt many of them are pursuing the hobby now as teenagers.

As i said in my first post, its all cyclical imo. but when/if these people do return you want to make sure its financially viable for them to enter the hobby and also not price out your existing customers. That's where Hornby are failing at the moment and its not just the loco's but across the board. Looking at my old RM again, you could pick up 3 new hornby coaches from Hattons in 1985 for under £20 which works out as under £60 today with inflation. You're looking at the best part of a £150 now

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BrightonMan
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby BrightonMan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:56 am

I don't think Hornby Magazine have done I lot of favours to newcomers either. I used to read it, but gave up on it quite a while ago as it seemed that it was turning into a DCC only mag, with so many articles about DCC this & DCC that. I for one have no interest in DCC, and as for having a computer running my railway, what's the point in that? But my real issue here is that they assume everyone can actually afford all this stuff. I would suggest that it is only a privileged few who can splash out on £30 point motors, stupidly expensive sound decoders and all the other gizmo's. My point is this, anyone new to the hobby, with no experience, could buy a copy of this mag and think that all this stuff is essential for a model railway, look at the prices and think 'oh well, nice idea but it's out my league' - which is so not the case. I'm building my small layout on a tiny budget - it will take time but isn't that the point? I remember C J Freezer saying in one of his plan books that a worthwhile model railway would probably take at least 5 years to complete, but of course he was talking about building a railway, not just buying expensive stuff off the shelve and plonking it on a baseboard. But unfortunately in this day and age, a lot of youngsters have been brought up with that 'I want it now' attitude, and are not prepared to put in the time and work. By the way, I totally gave up on Hornby Mag when their plan of the month used 16 double-slips!!

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Mountain
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby Mountain » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:59 pm

There are some interesting points here. I went into DCC earlier then many back around 2001, as in the latter part of the year 2000, they dropped the prices to make it more attractive. The years previously to that DCC decoders started at prices almost to match a Lima locomotive, which was in those days the ones to go for if one was a diesel era modeller. (E.g. the cheapest decoders used to be £35 when a Lima diesel was around £40). When the prices dropped I could buy a decoder for £17.50 when they were available (They were in high demand) and a few years later when Bachmann came on the scene (Hornby also arrived into DCC but they did their own thing at first so their first decoders were not fully DCC compliant) Bachmann sold decoders for just £7.50-£7.95 depending where one bought them, and these came only with the new 8 pin plug. Most of us just cut the plug off to use them.

Going back to my initial point is that many, like me wanted DCC just for the way it controls the locomotives and not for the control of points or DCC sound etc.
At first, the modelling press were very slow to cover anything DCC related, as were many dealers. They had been on the market for more then a decade before most changed. I used to be made to feel like I'd insulted a shopkeeper or a company if I asked if they were going to stock DCC. Back in those days there was a sudden demand for decoders and hardly any suppliers.
Now when the likes of Bachmann and Hornby entered into DCC, suddenly all over the model railway press, every other article became DCC related. It got so bad at one point that even as a DCC convert, I was becoming fed up as DCC was being promoted.
One was almost made to feel like one was second class if all ones locos were not DCC sound equipped. One model railway magazine I stopped buying because they wanted people to write in with hints and tips. I wrote a few things over a couple of years and never had replies as what I wrote would save money. I'd buy the latest models on the magazines recommendation and I sometimes found the models they didnt think much of were better then their recommended model. I soon realised there was something going on between the manufacturers and the magazines.
It came as a shock to me when one announced that it would not cover new models sold by a certain manufacturer as the manufacturer refused to give models free of charge to the magazine for it to assess. This puzzled me as my mum has been a writer for newspapers and she is connected to others who also are employed in this type of work. The newspaper or magazine would normally be given a budget to buy in any products they were to assess. If the items were costly, like a car for example, the product would be borrowed and returned later. It was normally borrowed from a dealer and the individual dealer would be mentioned so they wouldn't lose out in any costs related. Also, ours is the only subject I know where catalogues and promotional material of the manufacturers products were paid for. They did try it in the bicycle trade and no one took the catalogues, and the manufacturer who decided to charge didnt do well that year! I remember that all the catalogues (Which would normally dissapear in about two or three months or less, all but about five or six were binned at the end of the year. I know out of those five or six, at least one was a catalogue collector....

Notanyware
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby Notanyware » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:14 pm

For me the object of being a model railway fan is first and foremost to have fun and rekindle my chilhood days growing up with British steam trains, over the years I tried N and HO gauge layouts but finished up with my first love OO Gauge, having spent a small fortune on the hobby over a 35 year period I decided to limit my budget when planning my new OO layout, I purchased a few Hornby 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 locos and several 4 wheel coaches and goods wagons, my plan was to convert the locos to DCC and purchase a mid priced DCC controller, having seen the cost of decoders today I have decided not to go ahead with DCC and stay with DC, when I layed the track for my new layout I used electrofrog points and run a bus wire and droppers around the 10ft x 5ft layout, thankfully I use a home constructed controller and have no problems running slow trains and as my first love is small engines and short trains you could say I am in model railway heaven, my locos have all received a new livery as have the coaches, I guess you could say I did very little to help Hornby and their financial woes.

Cheers
Dave.

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Mountain
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Re: Hornby in the news today

Postby Mountain » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:17 am

I think this is the issue. The higher the prices get, the more us modellers turn to limiting our budgets. In a way, it was one reason why I turned to 0-16.5 as I simply couldn't afford to continue with 00 (As I'd get carried away and dont have an income to get carried away!).
I'm really glad to have made the change because I've done things in the hobby that I'd never have done before. It has been a fascinating journey for me. I do support hornby by occasionally buying an 0-4-0 loco of the Smokey Joe type, and have bought some wheels.... Though my needs are different. I still have a few Smallbrook Studio kits waiting to be built... Other then those I tend to scratch build, and I'm having a whale of a time!


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