Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

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Mountain
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Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby Mountain » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:37 pm

No matter which side of the modelling spectrum we maybe, bear with me and consider this as a plan. I will concentrate my comments towards 00 gauge but the same basic idea may work with other scales and gauges..
Generally speaking, we have three types of people that buy model railway items. The third are collectors who know what they like to collect, and I will dissregard them as these ideas are neither here of there for them as they know what they like to collect and in general they don't run their models so it is less important to them.
Then we have two catagories of modellers. Some may fit more rhen one catagory. The two types of modellers are those who aim for fine detail and have large radius curves, and theother catagory are people who use sharp first radius curves and don't mind so much about the detail as they just want to run trains. (As long as the proportions of the model are good and it is a good repesentation of the prototype they are happy.
Now in regards to these two, the latter group is more inclined to be modelling on a tighter budget.
Now Hornby do make attempts to address this with their Railroad range and fair play to them for their attempts in this direction. Other makes I have not seen this approach. Bachmann assume this catagory is for children (Which I don't dissagree that a portion of this market is for children but by doing this one may miss out on a larger target as one can aim to make both children and adults happy in one go!)
This budget sector. Consider this. If the budget sector concentrated on designing all the models that fit this sector to negotiate first radius curves, so no close coupling mechanisms and no nem pockets. Just directly moulded couplings to the chassis or bogies, and all the locos designed to also run on sharp curves (Which to be honest, only a finescale modeller would really be inclined to look close enough to notice the compromises in design between a larger loco which can negotiate sharp curves and a finescale version which is not made for those curves). Also the budget sector needs designs for durability as this sector will also have many young modellers included in it, though not exclusively so. Also to keep the finescale modellers sector of the market happy prehaps the finescale ranges can be designed for easy conversion to EM or P4 gauges should the modeller desire?
These are just my thoughts in mind on how to address the different types of modellers needs so that everyone is happy. No doubt the thoughts and ideas of of the major manufacturers maybe ahead of me here.

George Stein
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby George Stein » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:48 pm

As an American Episcopalian, I actually suspect most modellers are like C of E Anglicans: Catholic or Protestant depending on the influence of the local vicar or bishop -- i.e., their modelling buddies. For example, I am quite happy to buy Railroad Range GWR Collette coaches -- knowing that if I wish to super-detail them (e.g. door handles), there is Dart Castings to supply my wishes. Or, again, there is plenty of information in the hobby press and fora like this one to permit me to address the few small issues with the Railway Range "Hall" -- (still a great price at Hattons!)

In essence, beyond the mint-in-box collectors, most of our buying decisions are "local" in the sense that we buy what we need for OUR railway. I agree that Bachmann Branchline may be shortsighted with their increasing prices and, like so much of the hobby in Continental Europe, drive model railroading into a rich man's hobby. And cheers to the new entrants like Oxford Rail's RTR private owner wagons.

So, relax. The hobby will survive. Top-down decisions on where the hobby "should" go rather than listening to the customers is a recipe for major marketing disasters.

George
North Carolina

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alex3410
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby alex3410 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:21 pm

In reality think it’s probably blurry between the two types, looking at my collection/layout for example:

I have the largest radius curves I could fit in, not for realistic running but for reliability - I have avoided R1 curves at all costs.

Looking at the rest of the track layout etc it’s very much a trainset rather then a realistic model, but it’s what I want

Looking at the stock, it’s a mix of things - I have some expensive highly detailed examples (SECR birdcage coaches spring to mind @ £50 a pop) but these are limited to special items.

The vast majority of my stuff is ‘railroad’ and for me that’s what I prefer. I know I am not going to break it if I pick it up & can let others like my niece play without worrying.

With the increased prices recently railroad items have even more attraction so I hope it’s an area they continue to develop

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sparkhill
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby sparkhill » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:00 am

After sixty years in the hobby and built layouts in most guages I have come to the conclusion that whatever gives you enjoyment is the most important feature of the hobby, sure some are so fastidious that the make the spokes on a bycicle wheel out of their own hair, I take my hat off to modellers like that but the question is do they enjoy the hobby anymore than someone that runs Hornby Railroad equiplment?,
I am very hesitant to pidgeon hole modellers because I believe we all have one thing in common and that is a love of trains and a love of modelling them, I have spent many thousands of Aussie dollars on this hobby which has given me many years of enjoyment, these days I spend very little and my largest loco is an 0-6-0, I am no less a modeller now than I was when I ran Pacific Steam Locos or massive American Stem and Diesel locomotives, to wrap this up having pride in whatever you model plus the enjoyment you get out of the hobby is really the only thing that matters.
Regards
Nobby

Bigmet
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby Bigmet » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:36 pm

Per George above, the manufacturers are just doing their best to follow the money. It's easy enough to see that other than big glamorous steam models where there is enough of a market for a simpler 'Railroad' version, most newly tooled models are at the premium end. It's tough to make a profit at the 'simple and robust' end, because there are so many second hand examples of past productions that are in this category on sale, limiting the maximum price that can be achieved.

A new tooling of a subject never previously available RTR (in anything like this quality) will command a rather better price, which makes the investment possible.

sparkhill wrote:... some are so fastidious that they make the spokes on a bicycle wheel out of their own hair, I take my hat off to modellers like that ...
Be cautious there! He's used all his own hair, given one sight of your luxuriant barnet he'll have all of it off for the next pair of bike wheels he builds!

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BrightonMan
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby BrightonMan » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:08 am

In the end, it comes down to what is acceptable to the individual modeller, and their budget. Personally I am quite happy to run older models or Railroad stuff as it is the overall feel and atmosphere of the original rather than minute detail that I am after, and I couldn't afford to stock my layout with all the latest super-detail models even if I wanted to. My layout will see a lot of freight working, so I have been buying old Hornby/Airfix/Mainline etc wagons which can usually be had for about £2 - £3 a go (boot fairs, antique/second hand shops/heritage railway shops etc) and will gradually repaint them, change the couplings and re-wheel them if necessary. Ok, so they lack the detail of the modern models but in my eyes they are perfectly adequate and for a fraction of the cost of the latest offerings.

Byegad
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby Byegad » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:58 pm

In N gauge we have Union Mills making a small range of inside cylinder robust, simply detailed tender steam locos that run forever, haul huge loads and are easy to maintain. Prices are around £80.

Then we have Dapol and Graham Farish making increasingly beautiful, but also increasingly fragile steam locos whose price appears to be rising towards £140 for not yet available, but well publicised, and available for pre-order now.

I have several of both kinds, but if I were on a tight budget I'd be buying exclusively Union Mills.*


*I have no connection to this firm other than as a very satisfied customer.

Bigmet
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby Bigmet » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:23 pm

BrightonMan wrote:... My layout will see a lot of freight working, so I have been buying old Hornby/Airfix/Mainline etc wagons which can usually be had for about £2 - £3 a go (boot fairs, antique/second hand shops/heritage railway shops etc) and will gradually repaint them, change the couplings and re-wheel them if necessary. Ok, so they lack the detail of the modern models but in my eyes they are perfectly adequate and for a fraction of the cost of the latest offerings.

Perfect example of the competition current manufacturers face from the large quantity of readily available s/h.

What makes it yet worse for them is that Airfix GMR and H-D/Wrenn in particular, produced some wagons still fully competitive with current production. I have purchased far more s/h wagons than new these last two years, hoovering up both the best of old RTR and good kitbuilds.

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Mountain
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Re: Thoughts which may help the manufacturers, the trade and the modellers alike.

Postby Mountain » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:40 pm

That is new to me.... Union Mills. I seem to remember a model railway by that name. Well done to them for making them.


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