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

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

Postby Mountain » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:18 am

Its actually surprising TT didnt become more popular, but when N gauge came along it could be the case that many TT modellers moved to this instead?
Another puzzling thing is how 00 gauge still survives even though more logical attempts have taken place to convert modellers over to British H0. Lima made the largest marketing attempt though I guess us Brits were too in trenched in our ways for it to take off.
There are a few die hard modellers of British H0 scale but one is more likely to see EM or P4 then British H0 being used.
A rarity today but which was once popular many years ago is USA 00 scale using 19mm gauge track. A friend of mine has some fantastic models made back around the 1930's or a little later. The weight and size of the things is impressive. Think of something twice the weight and length of a 3 rail Dublo duchess with a much beefier appearance and you get a picture of the sort of thing he has. 19mm track gauge is more logical then EM gauges 18mm as it is closer to the 18.83 gauge. I can see why H0 took off there though as USA 00 was a bit too large. The slightly smaller scale of H0 made more sense to them.

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

Postby Bigmet » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:03 pm

UK TT died well before N became available, so that cannot be considered a factor. Apparently 'we' preferred the size of OO, even when a better product was available in TT. With N now as established as it is ever going to be, chance of a general TT revival is in the 'when hell freezes' over class. There have been efforts to get a RTR TT diesel on the market, I recall a serious group proposing a class 47 about 2003/4, but nothing came of it, and significantly TT hasn't since been picked up by any crowdfunder project I have heard of. (Anyone?)

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

Postby Lysander » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:36 pm

If I were a model railway manufacturer I'd sell up and either retire or look for something which was more of a cert to invest in. This has to be one of the more volatile industries currently and clever money would probably look for something with a far lower level of risk.

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

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:14 pm

IMHO the biggest deterrent to toy manufacturers dipping their toes in the MR market is standards and compatibility. They both put constraints on production practises which affect profitability. In this respect Oxford's decision to enter the market has to be seen as a brave move on their part, or was there an ulterior motive that has now come to pass?
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b308
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby b308 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:47 pm

Pete wrote: Clearly this long tradition ended in 1946

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.


Can't agree with the first para, Pete, just because they are cautious doesn't make them not "innovative". They are currently responsible for several manufacturers starting to produce locos in OO9 because of their RTR rolling stock, if that's not innovative, nothing is. If Hornby had been as careful as Peco perhaps they wouldn't be in the mess they are...

Track wise the other manufacturers all did their own track at one time or another (Triang, HD, Wrenn, etc) but Peco produced the widest variety of trackwork and it was the best quality, with that sort of competition why would anyone bother! Over on the Continent they have plenty of competition, though...

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

Postby Pete » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:37 pm

Can't agree with the first para, Pete, just because they are cautious doesn't make them not "innovative". They are currently responsible for several manufacturers starting to produce locos in OO9 because of their RTR rolling stock, if that's not innovative, nothing is. If Hornby had been as careful as Peco perhaps they wouldn't be in the mess they are...


Cautious is one thing, stagnation is another. Were they innovative they would have produced the locos too. They are fabulously conservative in their offerings as they have a near dominant monopoly on a core item, ie track. As I noted above they sell those quite atrocious backdrops, they could easily update and produce nice photographic ones, it would require little or no effort on their part. For a company who's name is short for Pritchard Patent Product Company Ltd, I don't think they have worried the patent system in recent years.

But once again, I say, their track is good, but as a company they are missing an opportunity to move the hobby forward. But then they produce RM magazine, ensuring model railways remain wrapped in aspic.

To move the thread on a bit, another good opportunity would be to develop a good range of chassis and then sell the bodies to order as 3D prints, you could order what you wanted and have interchangeable locos, with no need for the supplier to hold stock.
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Suzie » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:23 am

I think I would make two things:-

1. PEP derived EMUs 507/508/313/314/315. I think that a 313 in a trainset would be rather attractive. These would be a real boon to anyone trying to model the modern urban scene.

2. Points with reliable built in frog and route switching

Just a couple of things that will make a lot of modellers lives that bit easier.

Suzie x

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

Postby Mountain » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:42 am

Pete wrote:
To move the thread on a bit, another good opportunity would be to develop a good range of chassis and then sell the bodies to order as 3D prints, you could order what you wanted and have interchangeable locos, with no need for the supplier to hold stock.


I've also seen that as a future possibility. Though I've not tried that route myself and would rather try the casting route, I see the potential and the possibilities of that route.

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

Postby Mountain » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:44 am

Suzie wrote:
2. Points with reliable built in frog and route switching

Just a couple of things that will make a lot of modellers lives that bit easier.

Suzie x


That's an excellent idea.

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

Postby Bigmet » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:32 am

Pete wrote:... As I noted above they sell those quite atrocious backdrops, they could easily update and produce nice photographic ones...

But once again, I say, their track is good, but as a company they are missing an opportunity to move the hobby forward...

They must have read your mind, just launching the first of a planned series of photographic backscenes!

As for the track, very slow to move on; claims of expense to tool new products such as the bullhead OO sleeper track just introduced not that convincing to me. This because they have managed to introduce narrow gauge track ranges, for which demand is extremely limited, few modellers using it, layouts with only two or three yards of track on them! So if tooling track is so expensive how can that be afforded?

The real innovation they should be bringing in are points with fully integrated servo motors and DCC control. That would be a real step forward, away from the clunkfest of having to separately motor and connect control for points.

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

Postby b308 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:07 am

Bigmet wrote:As for the track, very slow to move on; claims of expense to tool new products such as the bullhead OO sleeper track just introduced not that convincing to me. This because they have managed to introduce narrow gauge track ranges, for which demand is extremely limited, few modellers using it, layouts with only two or three yards of track on them! So if tooling track is so expensive how can that be afforded?

The real innovation they should be bringing in are points with fully integrated servo motors and DCC control. That would be a real step forward, away from the clunkfest of having to separately motor and connect control for points.


Pete wrote:Cautious is one thing, stagnation is another. Were they innovative they would have produced the locos too.


With respect it is obvious the two of your don't understand how Peco work. First thing is to bear in mind that they are one of the few Model Railway Manufacturers who haven't had a takeover or got into financial problems over the 60 years or so they've been trading, and they still produce all their stuff in the UK, so what they make obviously has a good market and their "cautiousness" (or whatever word you use) has stood them well... That should give you a clue...

To answer the two above comments, the narrow gauge range DOES have a large market, just not in the UK!!! Their "Mainline" HOe range is sold all over Europe where NG modelling is very big. I have friends in Germany, Poland and Czech Republic, amongst other places and the common theme amongst us all is that we use Peco Mainline track. The same applies for the TT/HOm track which not only feeds the Swiss, French and German HOm market but also the Eastern Europe TT market which is as large as N is over here! Their OO-16.5 track is the only O scale RTR track produced and so is used by the Oe contingent in Europe and On30 in the USA...

Why would producing locos make them not "stagnant"? I don't understand... To give you some background, making Locos are the most expensive part of model railway production... And the part that carries the most risk... So if you are a good businessman why would you take that risk when others are willing to, why not just stay with your core business and add to that with items you know you can sell well and there is little risk? They have said that they will not be making locos as they don't make the money their core stuff does and are bigger risks to profit, they tried it once (N Jubilee) and that was enough.

With regards to electrical track items they have started to do them, but they also recognise that other manufacturers do them and often better than they could so it's limited. Would you not be better asking Gaugemaster why they don't do that sort of thing, after all that's their speciality, not Peco's? (At the same time ask them why they don't produce track or locos!!).

It may look as though I'm getting defensive about Peco, but I am not, I can see a company who has created a niche for themselves, are innovative when they need to be, are averse to taking big risks which cannot be justified by the business, and are willing to test out the water when they need to to see if there really is this big market you all seem to think there is (Bullhead track, for instance).

As far as I am concerned that's how a good business is run, OK it won't get you all the models you want (by yesterday, please!), but it does mean that the business makes money which allows them to develop new ranges when they see sufficient demand, unlike the big guys who seem to lurch from one financial crisis to another, interspersed with takeovers...

I know who I'd rather be working for as a humble employee or, come to that, investing in...

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

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:52 am

Have to agree with everything you say b308, the only "failure" I can remember on their part was Mr P's refusal to produce live frog points when the hobby was crying out for them and GF stepped in and released a superior product. He then belatedly relented and electrofrog was born. It's too easy to forget that 00-16.5 is a very small part of the global market.
I once got into conversation with John Brewer (when he was the editor of Railway Modeller) when he was exhibiting his 2mm scale broad gauge layout. His take on the sleeper spacing issue was based on the art of producing a model railway, not true scale model track. It went thus - "When there's a train on it no one is looking at the sleepers, without a train from above or the side it's a reasonable H0 representation of relatively modern track, what's your reference for fixing the scale, from the platform or at overbridge height the closer sleeper spacing looks just like many photos taken looking along the track."
This photo of Shrewsbury Signal box illustrates his point. Thanks to the lens used not only does it show H0 sleeper spacing, but 1st radius curves as well :)

Edit to put the blame with the right man, it was Mr Pritchard himself who wanted to stick with "insulfrog" and CJ Freezer who devised the bodge to fit metal rails in the frog.
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Bigmet
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Re: If you were a model railway manufacturer, what would you make?

Postby Bigmet » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:24 am

b308 wrote:With respect it is obvious the two of your don't understand how Peco work...

Au contraire, I perfectly understand their extremely slow but sure business model. They revealed long ago that their OO/HO way outsells all else by a considerable margin. And I don't doubt for a moment that they have a profitable business in the narrow gauge products on much smaller volumes, because they wouldn't engage in that business if it was unprofitable. But the long term claim that it was 'too expensive' to tool up for the better OO track they have just begun to produce is hooey, or a smokescreen (or whatever you want to call it). Sidney Pritchard abandoned this 'might have been' development circa fifty years ago, when he couldn't decide between an OO or EM version, no complaints about the cost of tooling at the time.

He didn't want to was the reason, making a satisfactory return on what was in production, no need to take a risk. And so they continued, following their late chief's direction. It was the threat of a competitor entry that shook the tree sufficiently to stimulate this move. Look at that, it was affordable after all! IMO. YMMV.

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

Postby b308 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:33 am

Call it what you want but it works... Unlike Hornby, etc.

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

Postby End2end » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:01 pm

b308 wrote:First thing is to bear in mind that they are one of the few Model Railway Manufacturers who haven't had a takeover or got into financial problems over the 60 years or so they've been trading


Am I correct in thinking that Peco now owns Ratio, Wills, K & M trees and Model Scene?
Their ranges and in the Peco catalogue.
Thanks
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