If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

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burnie
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby burnie » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:36 am

I think there is two distinct areas to aim at, in my opinion high price items are not going to attract new blood into the hobby. I cannot afford to buy my Grandchildren train sets at current prices and they will grow out of Thomas going round and round on an oval. I understand the need for "collectors pieces", but the "Railroad" brand seemed to have been a perfect compromise, reasonable on detail and price for the new or less well off modelers. I will have a look at those Hattons 16 ton minerals, I need around 40 of them and there's no way I can spend around £60 to buy 3 Bachman ones, as nice as they are.

Pete
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Pete » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:50 am

I think there is two distinct areas to aim at, in my opinion high price items are not going to attract new blood into the hobby. I cannot afford to buy my Grandchildren train sets at current prices and they will grow out of Thomas going round and round on an oval. I understand the need for "collectors pieces", but the "Railroad" brand seemed to have been a perfect compromise, reasonable on detail and price for the new or less well off modelers. I will have a look at those Hattons 16 ton minerals, I need around 40 of them and there's no way I can spend around £60 to buy 3 Bachman ones, as nice as they are.


Hi

With the greatest of respect, and not meaning to be at all controversial, but do you think this is a reasonable expectation. You want 40 wagons's that's going to be a significant outlay even at £5.00 ea, =£200.00 but you worry about spending less than than on a trainset (I'm assuming train sets cost less than £200)for your grandchildren...

Surely the investment to bring in the new blood is worth it, particularly as everything else children seem to have these days cost significant sums, unless the children are Amish. I of course speak as someone who was spoilt rotten by my grandfather, who probably would have sold off my Nan to buy me the latest gizmo if he could :)

Pete
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b308
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby b308 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:51 am

Ironduke wrote:I would make up a whole new railway modelling scale:1/100 or 'c' scale, c as in centi ('c' must be lower case so I can be pedantic on fora).
Scale made to 1% tolerance (1 in 100 see?)s.


TT3 with finescale track, then! Why bother when manufacturing tolerances have come on enough for you to just use TT scale, 1:120 and all the stuff that already exisits in that scale. the trouble with a "new" scale is that you risk everything that others will follow you into that scale and other items such as people, buildings, etc., will become available, otherwise it's a dead duck, Triang TT3 in the '60s anyone?

Personally I agree with Allan, I wouldn't bother. Too many people wanting to shoot you down, both on price and accuracy, not to mention that most of them can't even agree on what they want prototype/price/detail-wise!

To try to produce fine detailed models at £80 a pop is a guaranteed way to go bust in no time at all, but if you were to give me a load of money with the insistence that I only spend it on UK based models I'd knock out a few reasonably priced (£80/100) locos with basic detail (i.e. Railroad standard) in OO9 and O-16.5 as limited editions, I wouldn't touch mainstream SG as everything worth making that will make some money already has been...

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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby GWR_fan » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:52 am

When people think model trains they think Hornby. When they think track they think Peco. Both names have become generic terms to describe a product, like Biro and Hoover. As stated Peco has been slow to innovate and only recently branched out into bullhead rail and as far as I know still do not make a typical wooden sleeper spacing track for the 16.5mm "OO" gauge model railroader. I believe their track is more for the U.S. standard gauge "h.o." market and more a generic item.

I understand their reluctance to innovate as how many people are going to rip up existing railways just to have the latest track? New sales would be mostly to either newcomers or the few intent on rebuilding existing layouts. Not really a recipe for making a fortune. Suggesting a new product is like picking the winning numbers in Lotto, it is all down to fate (and a lot of good luck).

b308
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby b308 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:13 am

GWR_fan wrote:As stated Peco has been slow to innovate and only recently branched out into bullhead rail and as far as I know still do not make a typical wooden sleeper spacing track for the 16.5mm "OO" gauge model railroader. I believe their track is more for the U.S. standard gauge "h.o." market and more a generic item.


Their OO/HO track is based on Continental Practice, it has no connection with American track which looks very different. In fact they have produced a whole American HO range (the market over there is massive so worth the investment)...

The reason they haven't branched out as widely as you would like them to has many reasons. Until recently there hasn't been any large demand for finescale track (look at the sales of the current RTR "OO" scale track from CL, it's peanuts compared with the amount Peco produce). Secondly if you make finescale track you run the risk of older stock not running on it again reducing sales. Next Cost: despite others comments on it it is NOT cheap to make the dies etc (we were chatting to one of Peco's employees a few years ago about this), hence the fact that, so far, they have not made any points in Finescale OO, but i suspect there will be some eventually when they are certain there is a market.

Peco are successful because they are cautious and only do things when they know they won't lose money, also bear in mind they make everything over here in the UK so have to pay UK rates for staff, etc. When they are convinced there is a viable market they will make stuff.

Bigmet
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Bigmet » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:20 am

I liked the 'anything but OO (standard gauge)' thoughts; because indeed you are going in against a raft of competitors and an ocean of choice in what's available. I certainly couldn't pick a selection of 'winners' to launch my range and get the sales required. (Same applies to N and O, N is proven to barely support more than the two main manufacturers it has, 'everyone' is piling in on O and that's going to hit the wall running in a couple of years time I reckon!)

The other side of this is that some OO products are squeezed down in price due to low customer uptake. For those wanting locos below £80, they are available, and not shabby either. Hattons is the site I look at (for ease of navigation mainly) you can get an O4/ROD 2-8-0 in versions at £69 and £72, and several other new models at below £80. You don't get a free run at everything in the range but there are bargains, and this of course isn't the only or cheapest retailer. http://www.hattons.co.uk/34449/Bachmann ... etail.aspx

'Do different' might have some mileage, O-16.5 has less competition than OO9. Cheap and plentiful track, and there are 7mm parts and supporting lineside products, good HO and OO mechanism designs to copy, subjects range from quarry type operations (potentially cheap locos that are little more than a box over a mechanism just like the real thing) to the narrow gauge lines of England and Wales (potentially expensive by the time we get to fully detailed Double Fairlies and stock to go with).

GWR_fan wrote:... Peco has been slow to innovate and only recently branched out into bullhead rail and as far as I know still do not make a typical wooden sleeper spacing track for the 16.5mm "OO" gauge model railroader...

The Bullhead product has the appropriately OO scaled sleeper spacing long available from the likes of SMP and C&L, but significantly with RTL plastic base points, something not previously available. (The previous nearest thing was the plastic based SMP point kit, or Marcway's offering of a range of soldered pointwork.) Peco reported as gratified by the market uptake and will develop the range further.

burnie
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby burnie » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:54 am

Pete wrote:
I think there is two distinct areas to aim at, in my opinion high price items are not going to attract new blood into the hobby. I cannot afford to buy my Grandchildren train sets at current prices and they will grow out of Thomas going round and round on an oval. I understand the need for "collectors pieces", but the "Railroad" brand seemed to have been a perfect compromise, reasonable on detail and price for the new or less well off modelers. I will have a look at those Hattons 16 ton minerals, I need around 40 of them and there's no way I can spend around £60 to buy 3 Bachman ones, as nice as they are.


Hi

With the greatest of respect, and not meaning to be at all controversial, but do you think this is a reasonable expectation. You want 40 wagons's that's going to be a significant outlay even at £5.00 ea, =£200.00 but you worry about spending less than than on a trainset (I'm assuming train sets cost less than £200)for your grandchildren...

Surely the investment to bring in the new blood is worth it, particularly as everything else children seem to have these days cost significant sums, unless the children are Amish. I of course speak as someone who was spoilt rotten by my grandfather, who probably would have sold off my Nan to buy me the latest gizmo if he could :)

Pete

The initial otlay isn't the problem Pete, how do kids add to their layouts buying things from their pocket money if the prices are based on goods for collectors only, there needs to be both if the hobby/business is to have a future. My other main hobby is fishing, now I can get decent quality introductory gear for the g/kids and high end for me from the same manufacturer.

b308
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby b308 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:20 am

Bigmet wrote:'Do different' might have some mileage, O-16.5 has less competition than OO9.


Also O-16.5 has no British RTR, unlike OO9 which now has several locos available. The main issues with O scale NG is that they can't agree on a gauge (14mm or 16.5mm) and that a large percentage of modellers are still stuck in the "cheap as chips" frame of mind, being used to conversions of £10 Hornby 0-4-0s so trying to persuade them to part with more than £50 may be difficult. But like OO9 has proved given the decent models people will buy in sufficient numbers to make it worth while (OO9 modelling started the same was as O-16.5 but has now moved on to the stage where people are willing to pay £80/120 for a decent loco and even more for something like the L&B loco), I'm sure most O scale NG-ers would do the same if offered the quality.

I recon both of those NG scales will provide decent enough markets for a few years to come, but only for Limited Editions (say a few hundred), not full train set type production like we see in OO RTR. Fleischmann and Egger-Bahn both tried that in Oe and HOe/OO9 respectively over the years and proved there isn't the demand.

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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby mahoganydog » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:02 pm

00 gauge;

Non passenger stock such as full brakes both big four and pre grouping.

PROPER Black 5 and 8F unlike the outdated crap Hornby seem to think is OK to sell as being "new" which don't run properly (never found an 8F that does, horrible motor doesn't help).

Brake vans mostly pre grouping with some PROPER big four versions (such as R6801) that Hornby are too lazy to tool properly.

GWR coaching stock especially early 20th century items that feature on lesser lines well into the forties and fifties. This includes clerestory's and autocoaches!

LMS wagons and vans seeing as there is nothing RTR that has been tooled this century.

Attractive mixed industrial locos starting with 1870's prototypes and going up to the fifties diesels.

LNWR Crewe special tank loco. Operated 1870's-1950's. Tender loco versions too.

BR 4 vent meat van.

GWR 517 class, saddle tanks, half cab pannier plus outside framed versions.
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Pete
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Pete » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:49 pm

The initial otlay isn't the problem Pete, how do kids add to their layouts buying things from their pocket money if the prices are based on goods for collectors only, there needs to be both if the hobby/business is to have a future. My other main hobby is fishing, now I can get decent quality introductory gear for the g/kids and high end for me from the same manufacturer.


Hi,

I appreciate what you say, and my comment was a little tongue in cheek, but there's truth in it too.

There is possibly a halcyon view from the time when cardigans were still legal, and short trousered boys would go to the local model shop to buy a signal box (Yellow pages ad. 1985 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK7ZLl0lV00 )*, I don't think pocket money supports many hobbies these days, without the additional cash injection from parents/relations.

I guess it's just a different outlook, when I was a kid my folks view was that you should buy the best you can afford. My dad wouldn't have made a differentiation between what he would buy for himself or he would buy for us (he did buy a Vauxhall Viva once, I'm not sure I would have wanted one of those). We didn't have pocket money as such we were just indulged when funds allowed (we were by no means well off). The term entry level still sends a shiver down my spine, it fills me with the resentment that someone is judging me as being not quite good enough for the best. Surely it's better to involve them directly in your hobby or layout, rather than keep them at a safe non threatening distance with something not quite as good.

I'm not sure that we should patronise children and make value judgments on their expectations. It brings to mind that horrible phrase learning the value of money...

Pete

*I always loved the reaction of the father in that advert, that nod of the head says it all, that unspoken moment of abject disappointment with his gift
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Bufferstop
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Bufferstop » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:38 pm

Ironduke wrote:I would make up a whole new railway modelling scale:1/100 or 'c' scale, c as in centi ('c' must be lower case so I can be pedantic on fora).
Scale made to 1% tolerance (1 in 100 see?)
So standard track gauge would be 14.35mm ± 0.14mm
None of this English making-things-slightly-bigger-than-100th-scale-because-of-their-tiny-loading-gauge rubbish either, it's 1 in 100 whether the trains are from UK or Asia or Europe or America.
How big is a metre in c scale? 1cm of course.
"But Wait" I hear you ask,
"how many mm to the foot is that?"

"Don't be ridiculous" I answer,
"who mixes Imperial with Metric?"

Also, I vote +1 on the availability of rolling stock kits.


It's been done. In the 1950s Triang brought out TT3. 1/100th scale but running on 12mm gauge track. It lasted a few years, gained some support then died. Those who stuck with the scale (3mm/ft) now use 14.2mm track. The 3mm society lists various suppliers who produce stuff in the scale.
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby D605Eagle » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:33 pm

GWR_fan wrote:When people think model trains they think Hornby. When they think track they think Peco. Both names have become generic terms to describe a product, like Biro and Hoover. As stated Peco has been slow to innovate and only recently branched out into bullhead rail and as far as I know still do not make a typical wooden sleeper spacing track for the 16.5mm "OO" gauge model railroader. I believe their track is more for the U.S. standard gauge "h.o." market and more a generic item.

I understand their reluctance to innovate as how many people are going to rip up existing railways just to have the latest track? New sales would be mostly to either newcomers or the few intent on rebuilding existing layouts. Not really a recipe for making a fortune. Suggesting a new product is like picking the winning numbers in Lotto, it is all down to fate (and a lot of good luck).

I always suspected some random chinese manufacturer would jump in with a track range for OO gauge, either settrack, or something more exotic. The fact that they haven't kind of suggests that they don't see any profit in it.

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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Mountain » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:29 pm

b308 wrote:
Bigmet wrote:'Do different' might have some mileage, O-16.5 has less competition than OO9.


Also O-16.5 has no British RTR, unlike OO9 which now has several locos available. The main issues with O scale NG is that they can't agree on a gauge (14mm or 16.5mm) and that a large percentage of modellers are still stuck in the "cheap as chips" frame of mind, being used to conversions of £10 Hornby 0-4-0s so trying to persuade them to part with more than £50 may be difficult. But like OO9 has proved given the decent models people will buy in sufficient numbers to make it worth while (OO9 modelling started the same was as O-16.5 but has now moved on to the stage where people are willing to pay £80/120 for a decent loco and even more for something like the L&B loco), I'm sure most O scale NG-ers would do the same if offered the quality.

I recon both of those NG scales will provide decent enough markets for a few years to come, but only for Limited Editions (say a few hundred), not full train set type production like we see in OO RTR. Fleischmann and Egger-Bahn both tried that in Oe and HOe/OO9 respectively over the years and proved there isn't the demand.


I'm not a "As cheap as chips" modeller. Rather I'm a "Cheaper then as cheap as chips" modeller! For me if a manufacturer brought out lovely ready to run scale models I doubt I'd buy them. However, if a manufacturer brought out a UK version of Fleishmann Magic Train as a starter set with accessories, I will be all eyes and ears.

I have to say that for me, UK 7mm narrow gauge has been a real blessing as I can no longer afford to model in 00.

I love the budget kits by Smallbrook Studio and others and I would never want such cottage industries to struggle like the 00 gauge kit manufacturers did when the RTR manufacturers started to cover as many different models as they could. (In other words the market for kits disappeared).
If the kit manufacturers disappeared, then the scratchbuilding parts start to dry up also.

I realize that we all come from different backgrounds and many would love lovely scale ready made models in 0-16.5 and I dont want to stop them. It is more my concerns that if this became popular we would lose the cottage industries which have been such a blessing.

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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Pete » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:34 am

if a manufacturer brought out a UK version of Fleishmann Magic Train as a starter set with accessories, I will be all eyes and ears.


I have a Magic train, it's a fantastic runner straight from the box. It has these great spring loaded contacts that contact direct with the track. As a set it's the perfect 'Toy train' but also stands scrutiny as a proper model too. And you get a fab bright blue and yellow controller that seems to have the power to supply a small country if necessary :) I wish I'd bought a few when they were readily available, they would sustain my interest for years.

I understand their reluctance to innovate as how many people are going to rip up existing railways just to have the latest track?


Surely the same follows for new track of the old design then, if people don't replace, they won't be buying it? But as they say on their website: "PECO has always been a forward looking family company with a long tradition of innovative thinking." Clearly this long tradition ended in 1946 ;)

Both names have become generic terms to describe a product, like Biro and Hoover.


True, but in the case of track there is really only PECO, whereas there are a whole range of competitors for Hornby. It's amazing that PECO have maintained this position for so long.

That said, I'm not knocking them too much, their track is on the whole excellent, their buffer kits are true gems, though I do find some of their other offerings a tad idiosyncratic on occassions. At present I wouldn't look much further than PECO, I'm just frustrated I can't build my own track (I've tried and failed a number of times, eyesight and patience prohibits). :)

P.
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Bigmet
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Bigmet » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:09 am

Bufferstop wrote:
Ironduke wrote:I would make up a whole new railway modelling scale:1/100 ...


It's been done. In the 1950s Triang brought out TT3. 1/100th scale but running on 12mm gauge track. It lasted a few years, gained some support then died. Those who stuck with the scale (3mm/ft) now use 14.2mm track. The 3mm society lists various suppliers who produce stuff in the scale.

I got to look at a pretty large s/h collection some years ago, never having seen it before and was surprised. Triang gave it a fair shot, in that the models were much superior to their OO in both appearance and mechanism quality. There was more support from other manufacturers than I realised too. Loco kits from at least threee makers, and they were good kits with thin wall castings. GEM and Wrenn were producing correctly proportioned track, and the Wrenn pointwork included items like a full 'scissors' crossing as a single piece. Fine kits from Kitmaster for a selection of the mk1 coach types which as built by the owner were fit for any curent layout, and various sources of kit wagons.

Had to come back and edit at this point because my internet connection 'hung up' momentarily

mahoganydog wrote:00 gauge;
...PROPER Black 5 and 8F unlike the outdated crap Hornby seem to think is OK to sell as being "new" ...


I am astounded that there isn't more demand heard for these two to get the current standard treatment.

The Black 5 comes in endless variations, it was far from a standard class as the LMS engineers endlessly tinkered with the design. Scope to provide a whole range of Black 5s with modern tooling.

Both models well behind the curve of what's available from the other group's equivalent locos, put them alongside Hornby's B1 and O1 which were both done to 'top drawer' standard and it is very evident.

mahoganydog wrote:00 gauge;
...Non passenger stock such as full brakes both big four and pre grouping.

LMS wagons and vans seeing as there is nothing RTR that has been tooled this century...

There's room for plenty more NPCCS alright, very attractive and often long lived vehicles so should sell.

Perhaps like the two most common Stanier locos, the LMS modellers are all such competent kit or scratchbuilders 'we don't need no stinkin' RTR where we goin''?
Last edited by Bigmet on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.


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