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End of the line for model trains?

Bachmann are releasing a R2R four car set of 1938 tube stock in 00 gauge for a RRP of £349.95.

£349.95???........ and it will still have been knocked out by China.

I've bought cars for less than that.
Got my eye on the Hornby DB Super class 60.
It's becoming an even more expensive hobby.
 
Well pleased at the moment. Just picked up A Dublo conversion duchess and it runs if sluggishly. But here’s the thing, it started off a a 3 rail Atholl somewhere between 45-58. £30. Also just got a job lot of 20 coaches for 50 . Mainline, Lima(late) and Triang. So quietly pleased with that haul.
 
82288A21-3796-4B10-B08F-69650F4839B6.jpeg
 
Bachmann are releasing a R2R four car set of 1938 tube stock in 00 gauge for a RRP of £349.95.

£349.95???........ and it will still have been knocked out by China.

I've bought cars for less than that.

Thing is though...

The detailing these days is exceptional, for a start - and secondly it's Bachmann's new "collaboration" brand which means I think it's not actually them so much as one of the model shops - basically it allows e.g. Kernow Model Centre to do their usual (pricey) exclusives but offers them better distribution, which means they can make a few more than usual.

That being said, price in models at the moment is a function of two things - demand (which, let's be honest, for 1938 Tube Stock is going to be what you might charitably call "niche") and factory capacity.

That second point is the one that people struggle to get their heads round, because Hornby (for example) have moved their manufacturing to China so they must be making more models for cheaper prices... which was the case when they first did it.

But what they didn't do was close the Margate factory and open a new one in Shenzen (or wherever). Hornby, and Bachmann etc have become middlemen commissioners for the factories in China - so they say "we want to buy x units of whatever" and the factory that's going to do it puts them in the queue for production line time, along with board games, Barbie, cheap chainsaws and whatever else they're punting out. There is no "Hornby" factory sitting there doing Hornby things and nothing else.

Which means that the days of being able to pick up a Hornby catalogue from one year to the next and seeing mostly the same models with a few new releases and a few deletions are long gone. Unless you want Smokey Joe...

The model has changed completely. I do buy a lot of second hand, but when I do buy new it's not uncommon to have the whole production run of something sold out to pre-order before it even gets on the boat (which also pushes prices up). I've just ordered an A2/3 (which isn't even out of the design stage yet) and it's cost me getting on for £200 from Hattons. But I felt that I had to get it ordered because it's not going to sit in the Hornby range for the next 10 years (as it once would have done) and allow me to buy at my leisure. They're going to make a couple of thousand or whatever, and if they sell out they might make another batch, but there will be a lag in the middle while the factory gets the window for doing batch 2 (which seems at the moment to be 18 months minimum) and the lag will itself build up demand for batch 2 such that that will go quickly too.

Add into that the retailers commissioning their own models direct from China, and leading to falling outs where we've ended up with the two biggest UK retailers not stocking both the two biggest manufacturers - Bachmann having fallen out with Hattons and Hornby no longer being sold by Rails of Sheffield....

It's not a cheap hobby to be in, but it's not all the fault of the brands. Not as they are now anyway. You can knock Hornby for closing the Margate factory but that was years ago, and I doubt there's anyone left at a senior level who made that decision - so the struggles of the current management to book production lines in someone else's factory in China are hardly their fault. Ditto Bachmann.

Unfortunately if they on-shored production again I doubt the quality could be matched and price would probably go up....
 

RBMK

War Hero
I have a Kernow D600 Warship, and a lovely thing it is too, albeit a bit expensive. Kernow don't discount their special editions either.

D601 Ark Royal, green with no yellow ends if anyone's interested.
 
I have a Kernow D600 Warship, and a lovely thing it is too, albeit a bit expensive. Kernow don't discount their special editions either.

D601 Ark Royal, green with no yellow ends if anyone's interested.
sorry, strictly mid 1950s Great Central London Extension here....



(and and the 009 Lynton and Barnstaple stuff that Mrs K_S doesn't know about..... - they're not cheap either, locomotives at £150+ a throw...)
 

RBMK

War Hero
sorry, strictly mid 1950s Great Central London Extension here....



(and and the 009 Lynton and Barnstaple stuff that Mrs K_S doesn't know about..... - they're not cheap either, locomotives at £150+ a throw...)
009 is my normal railway scene, but I have a liking for the early diesel locos and also shunters & so have a collection in a display case. At some point I will build a SG/NG interchange layout.

This is my friend Paul's French loco making a visit to my industrial 009 layout.

IMG_0987.JPG

1600597034995.png
 
009 is my normal railway scene, but I have a liking for the early diesel locos and also shunters & so have a collection in a display case.

I'm the other way around - I have 2 loves in railways; modelling the GC, and the history and reconstruction of the L&B. That worked quite well in terms of controlling expenditure, until those buggers at Heljan and PECO started making R2R L&B... at the moment I've got nearly £500 of L&B locos sitting in their boxes for no real reason other than possession, and I haven't even bought Lyn and Yeo yet....
 

RBMK

War Hero
My friend Bob (another member of our local 009 group) has a model of the L&B running round his spare bedroom.
This is part of Bob's layout showing his rebuilt Barnstaple Town station.
1600598070244.png
 
Thing is though...

The detailing these days is exceptional, for a start - and secondly it's Bachmann's new "collaboration" brand which means I think it's not actually them so much as one of the model shops - basically it allows e.g. Kernow Model Centre to do their usual (pricey) exclusives but offers them better distribution, which means they can make a few more than usual.

Well................................... if you take a look at forums such as RMWeb, they're already discussing mods to be made to get the directional lighting right... and I don't think anyone's even got their hands on a set yet.

I don't know about you, but if I was in the market for a £350.00 R2R unit, I doubt if I'd be wanting to get out my toolkit to fettle it into shape (with the risk of screwing it up in the process).

EFE (now owned by Bachmann) released a couple of versions of the 1938 TS some years ago (along with some 59/62 stock, I think). I don't know if they're using the original tools or starting from scratch. If they're just using the old tooling, then that negates a huge proportion of the cost of production.
 
Thing is though...

The detailing these days is exceptional, for a start - and secondly it's Bachmann's new "collaboration" brand which means I think it's not actually them so much as one of the model shops - basically it allows e.g. Kernow Model Centre to do their usual (pricey) exclusives but offers them better distribution, which means they can make a few more than usual.

That being said, price in models at the moment is a function of two things - demand (which, let's be honest, for 1938 Tube Stock is going to be what you might charitably call "niche") and factory capacity.

That second point is the one that people struggle to get their heads round, because Hornby (for example) have moved their manufacturing to China so they must be making more models for cheaper prices... which was the case when they first did it.

But what they didn't do was close the Margate factory and open a new one in Shenzen (or wherever). Hornby, and Bachmann etc have become middlemen commissioners for the factories in China - so they say "we want to buy x units of whatever" and the factory that's going to do it puts them in the queue for production line time, along with board games, Barbie, cheap chainsaws and whatever else they're punting out. There is no "Hornby" factory sitting there doing Hornby things and nothing else.

Which means that the days of being able to pick up a Hornby catalogue from one year to the next and seeing mostly the same models with a few new releases and a few deletions are long gone. Unless you want Smokey Joe...

The model has changed completely. I do buy a lot of second hand, but when I do buy new it's not uncommon to have the whole production run of something sold out to pre-order before it even gets on the boat (which also pushes prices up). I've just ordered an A2/3 (which isn't even out of the design stage yet) and it's cost me getting on for £200 from Hattons. But I felt that I had to get it ordered because it's not going to sit in the Hornby range for the next 10 years (as it once would have done) and allow me to buy at my leisure. They're going to make a couple of thousand or whatever, and if they sell out they might make another batch, but there will be a lag in the middle while the factory gets the window for doing batch 2 (which seems at the moment to be 18 months minimum) and the lag will itself build up demand for batch 2 such that that will go quickly too.

Add into that the retailers commissioning their own models direct from China, and leading to falling outs where we've ended up with the two biggest UK retailers not stocking both the two biggest manufacturers - Bachmann having fallen out with Hattons and Hornby no longer being sold by Rails of Sheffield....

It's not a cheap hobby to be in, but it's not all the fault of the brands. Not as they are now anyway. You can knock Hornby for closing the Margate factory but that was years ago, and I doubt there's anyone left at a senior level who made that decision - so the struggles of the current management to book production lines in someone else's factory in China are hardly their fault. Ditto Bachmann.

Unfortunately if they on-shored production again I doubt the quality could be matched and price would probably go up....
Yers I can see your point. And I would venture that when Dublo launched their range back in the 40’s the prices were pretty much compareable With today. Hornby had their own problems. But I don’t have a problem with retailers commissioning independently. That ‘s merely an extension of the Ratio type kits. The issue is price and a hobby that wants to survive must have a middle ground. There is also an issue with today’s railways in that there is very little to get hooked on as they are very samey. The problem with steam is that main line dominates in a disproportionate way, so you either Go niche or you go collect the range. For me it’s more about rescuing or improving older versions and Possibly doing versions that are odd ones out.
 
This is WAY beyond me competence, interest, but I know others will appreciate it . . .

Published by: Steve, on 03 October 2020.

Adding Stay Alive to Diesel Locos

It turns out the KAM decoder is just too large for the little loco I’m building. It fits but protrudes a couple of mm beyond the side tanks, meaning the viewer can see it. I’ve removed it from the Minitrains chassis and soldered it to a Kato 103 chassis from one of my O9 diesel locos.

I removed the lead from the inside of the body and there’s just enough room for the KAM decoder. Now both of these locos have a stay alive decoder fitted.


What’s the point of a stay alive? When there’s a momentary loss of power due to a poor connection, or dirt on the track the loco will keep running on the most recent settings until it’s told to do something different. This leads to very smooth operation.

This video shows the stay alive effect. I started the loco running then switched the controller off at the mains so there was no electricity going to the track. Watch how the loco just carries on!

No power to the track and the locos still moving, it’s crazy really, but why bother? Well, I’ve been wondering how to use the Peco 009 228mm (9 inch) radius insulfrog points with DCC. This test shows that with a stay alive fitted the insulfrog wont be a barrier to smooth running…

Note; WITH VIDEO, WHEN YOU FOLLOW THE LINK.

 
That's something I need to get sorted.
Particularly on the Class 08, being only 0-6-0.
Locos with a longer chassis don't tend to be a problem.
 

RBMK

War Hero
This is WAY beyond me competence, interest, but I know others will appreciate it . . .

Published by: Steve, on 03 October 2020.

Adding Stay Alive to Diesel Locos

It turns out the KAM decoder is just too large for the little loco I’m building. It fits but protrudes a couple of mm beyond the side tanks, meaning the viewer can see it. I’ve removed it from the Minitrains chassis and soldered it to a Kato 103 chassis from one of my O9 diesel locos.

I removed the lead from the inside of the body and there’s just enough room for the KAM decoder. Now both of these locos have a stay alive decoder fitted.


What’s the point of a stay alive? When there’s a momentary loss of power due to a poor connection, or dirt on the track the loco will keep running on the most recent settings until it’s told to do something different. This leads to very smooth operation.

This video shows the stay alive effect. I started the loco running then switched the controller off at the mains so there was no electricity going to the track. Watch how the loco just carries on!

No power to the track and the locos still moving, it’s crazy really, but why bother? Well, I’ve been wondering how to use the Peco 009 228mm (9 inch) radius insulfrog points with DCC. This test shows that with a stay alive fitted the insulfrog wont be a barrier to smooth running…

Note; WITH VIDEO, WHEN YOU FOLLOW THE LINK.

The new Kato chassis have a flywheel and run much better.
 
Just had a thought about the Atholl I've just bought it suddenly struck me that a can motor could fit into the motor aperture and be held in by the Magnet securing bars. I have one that would fit dimensionally but it would foul the rear drivers. The can itself needs to be shorter. Does anyone know of anyone who's done this? Just out of interest. I'm proposing to buy a new armature and have it remagged. Any suggestions?
 

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