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Are Hornby interested in Modern Image?





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#1 RF900

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 23:15

Will Hornby do anything about their dwindling modern image range. Whilst there are some fine models, Classes 08,31,50,56,60,153 & HST with the 67 still to come. There are models in their range which because of a lack of speed to upgrade them have been lost to other manufacturers (namely classes 25,29,35,37,47,52,58,66,86), apart from the 73 and 101 this leaves just Classes 59,87,90,91,92,110,142 & 156. If I were them I would hurry up and upgrade (i.e totally new models) those classes which can be produced in the largest range of liveries, of those listed above that is Classes 90,142,156. I would love to see a new class 110 and also a class 104 which would also be popular, but are they bothered? Why they thought a Brighton Belle could be considered modern image I do not know, yes it is electric, but there weren't that many of them, they ran on a restricted area and were not in many liveries. They could have committed to doing a whole new Class 73 (with lost of liveries) instead.

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#2 Trevellan

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:04

This sounds like the sort of question that should best be discussed over a pint or two in a nice pub. My perception is that Hornby are commercially aware and what we see as their recent gaffs were simply compromises in corporate decisions. Frankly, I am very pleased that other players are taking up the slack, especially given recent experience with the Dapol Western. I would like to see Hornby remain a major player in railway modelling and current indications are that they will. For my money there's never been a better time for railway modelling. The choice of products out there is staggering and I would rather concentrate on the positives.
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#3 Andy Y

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:15

If I were them I would hurry up and upgrade (i.e totally new models) those classes which can be produced in the largest range of liveries,


And in so doing you would commit a massive amount of investment to try and manufacture something which appeals to maybe less of the market than their core new products. They've a very good 67 coming up which will only take sales from their own 67 so it's understandable that things are done to a certain pace. Adopt your approach and the steam buyers would feel justifiably neglected. We should take a more balanced view and make less personal demands.
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#4 lapford34102

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:59

They could have committed to doing a whole new Class 73 (with lost of liveries) instead.


They might still be committed to doing an updated 73 for all we know. Just because no-one's at Hornby has said anything it doesn't mean they're not considering it even if Dapol have said they are. You could just as easily criticise Heljan for ignoring the steam market or Bachmann for ignoring the GW.

If you've been playing toy trains for as long as I have then the phrase "you've never had it so good" does ring true.

Stu
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#5 Gwiwer

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:05

Hornby are playing to a very wide audience. They have to pitch their product accordingly be cause that is their commercial decision. The likes of Dapol are marketing firmly to the established modeller and adopting new levels of interactive product development within that community.

Personally I would rather see Hornby achieve greater product consistency than a greater range. Compare the two recent EMU types for example where the 4Vep is generally thought of as a small yellow citrus fruit but the 5Bel is generally being praised. Or look at the difference in design, build and overall quality between - say - the class 50 and class 73. Hornby has had a reasonable opportunity to rework the old Lima product but has made little effort to do so. The class 50 on the other hand is one of their best modern image releases. So you pre-order and take a chance (and are sometimes disappointed, sometimes delighted) or wait for others to to so and post their comments hoping there will be some left if it turns out to be good.

Consistency is perhaps Hornby's biggest problem rather than range or eras represented.
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#6 Joseph_Pestell

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:12

Certainly, we've never had it so good. Not even close.

That's due to a combination of factors: more disposable income and lower development costs due to modern technology.

Even so, all the companies have to look at what will sell well enough to recoup the development costs. The Brighton Belle, like other Pullman carriages, is not obviously of much use to modellers to run on layouts. Not many of us have the space to run a decent-looking (i.e. scale length) Bournemouth Belle or Devon Belle. But it does appeal massively to collectors who form a large part of the customers.

Traditionally, multiple units (both diesel and electric) have not sold so well as locomotives. I doubt, even now, if some of the EMUs will be commercially successful. Apart from the 5BEL and other prestige trains, multiple units do not appeal to collectors. So far more important to choose a unit which will appeal to the maximum possible number of layout modellers - hence the focus on Class 101.

I don't suppose that Hornby has completely given up on diesels and electric. Look at the recent 4VEP and forthcoming 67. But it is becoming harder and harder to find a prototype which has not already been well produced. I would buy a 110 but I doubt whether it has wide enough appeal to make it viable for Hornby to invest in it.

So what class (loco or DMU or EMU) would the OP suggest that Hornby produce? And if it duplicates another manufacturer's offering, what would be the wow factor that made enough people buy the Hornby one as well?
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#7 Removed a/c_jim s-w

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:24

Certainly, we've never had it so good. Not even close.

That's due to a combination of factors: more disposable income


Is there a bus to your world because it seems a very different one to the one I live in! :)

Cheers

Jim

#8 The Stationmaster

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:30

Is there a bus to your world because it seems a very different one to the one I live in! :)
Cheers
Jim

'Yes' - but it's not a 'bus, it's 'age' and it has its disadvantages as well as such benefits as clearing the mortgage and youngsters leaving home (I only wish, in some respects, that ours would but that's another feature of the current economy and lack of jobs).
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#9 Talltim

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:30

Sorry Jim it's not a bus its a chauffeured limo. And I can't afford it either

#10 34theletterbetweenB&D

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:37

Rick's points about the width - diversity - of Hornby's customer base and their commercial savvy are key. The surprise for me in recent years has been what Hornby are doing differently and well, and must be targetting at the modeller sector, and that is coaches. (They have always gone after 'big' engines, in all forms as 'eye candy' for the model and toy shop shelf, nothing new there except the welcome rising standards, in which they have played their part.)

It is still relatively recently that Hornby's efforts on any type of coaching stock were a composite, brake 3rd, and maybe one other vehicle. Underscale, very dated tooling, one generic underframe fits all, were key features. But since the new type Pullmans came out the expansion in the range of steam era coach types with considerably more attention to prototype fidelity, and a better selection of types, has been marked and is continuing. For sure the execution hasn't always been perfect, but they are indisputably on a rapidly improving track here; the last few rounds of releases have met with near uniform approval from genuine experts. They wouldn't be doing this were the commercial returns not there.

I am as sure as I can be that Hornby are classically 'following the money'. The higher spec models are being developed for the market sector that is buying at the price that goes with better product, and buying in the volume that Hornby need to sustain their business model. If other sectors of their output don't get quite the same specification, that will be a business decision on what will prove to be an acceptable price point/quality trade off. They may not always get the price/quality balance right in some customer's opinion, but come what may that's their decision to make as a business, and they will only change such decisions on the commercial evidence: achieved sales.
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#11 Kenton

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:34

I have a real issue with the use of "Modern Image".

For me it has a totally different meaning than it has for you. As far as I am concerned anything diesel is "Modern Image" and I think Hornby more than adequately covers it well enough. Also if you want to discuss eras that have sparse coverage of models try the other end of the biased "era" range.
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#12 Removed a/c_dilbert

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:05

Re. the OP, why not do something about it yourself? There are detailing parts on the market - failing that, there are even kits as well (shock :mocking_mini: )

Unless you have the patience of Job, then waiting for something that may never happen regardless of the RTR manufacturer, is a waste of your time, regardless of preferred items on anyone's list... dilbert

#13 Removed a/c_jim s-w

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:15

I have a real issue with the use of "Modern Image".

For me it has a totally different meaning than it has for you. As far as I am concerned anything diesel is "Modern Image" and I think Hornby more than adequately covers it well enough. Also if you want to discuss eras that have sparse coverage of models try the other end of the biased "era" range.


I think as the OP mentioned classes 101 and 73 his understanding of it is identical to yours. The op wants to discuss Hornby's approach to deisel and electric models. He never said anything about which eras Hornby ignore, that's seems to be a discussion you want to have not the OP

cheers

Jim

Edited by jim s-w, 29 March 2012 - 11:29 .


#14 Michael Delamar

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:16

Hornby released a new Intercity 125 a few years ago, thats a lovely modern image RTR model.

#15 Gwiwer

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:31

Hornby released a new Intercity 125 a few years ago, thats a lovely modern image RTR model.


I agree. Though the purists might have preferred it had Hornby also paid attention to the coaching stock numbers and released the IC ones with 4xxxx not loco-hauiled 1xxxx numbers. A minor but irritating renumbering task required for some of us. It can also be argued that the Mk3 coaches are equally suitable for use between locos and DVTs so there are two sides to that particular coin.

#16 Ron Ron Ron

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:31

I have a real issue with the use of "Modern Image".


You aren't the only one Kenton, but it may be for different reasons.

Apart from the question of what the heck does it mean (...and no I don't want to re-open that one)? I find it an awful sounding phrase and rather antiquated.
Diesels and electrics were around in the steam era, the transition era and the post steam BR era and there's no way I consider half a century ago as modern. Even the passing of BR is fading into history, remembering that in just a few years it be 20 years since the first privatisation.

Back to the OP.
I don't think Hornby have abandoned D&E, but following a promising period where we had a succession of superb new models to modern standards, they've rather taken their eye of the ball; the new 67 notwithstanding.
I blame all those who pleaded for them to re-intoduce various ex-Lima models.

Hornby bought the bankrupt Lima group to obtain a foothold and to expand and diversify into the continental European market. IIRC they said they were not going to use the old British outline tooling as it was all out of date.
However they seem to have been convinced by those pleas, that the British market would be content with dated and poorer quality models and set about digging out as many old Lima tools as they could.
The last few years that's where most of their D&E efforts were concentrated.

I remember, following the Class 50 we later had the 08/09 and 60 released in the same year, with the 31 following shortly after. My memory may be a bit fuzzy now, but I'm sure we were told then, there would be two all new models a year.
Well all we got was the 56 and then the move into Limby land, with no new subject other than the mid-fi 153 and the new HST in the last, what is it 4 or 5 years?
I wonder if we might have had that all new 73 and several other new models by now, if Hornby had left the old Lima tools to rot?


.

#17 Glorious NSE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:14

Ron - I know you were talking loco's but we've also had the VEP, the Mk3 DVT, RFM, KFA container flat, OTA off the top of my head in that time as well - although some of them are also 'mid-fi'.

What's maybe hard to follow personally is their schizophrenic nature - old and awful by modern standards items knocked out in every unrepresentative-but-pretty livery they can find (TEA) is still in the main range along with reasonable new 'mid-fi' tooling (153) and stuff that stands up against the best RTR from anywhere in the world (60) - at times it gives the impression they don't have a strategy.
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#18 Talltim

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:39

I agree. Though the purists might have preferred it had Hornby also paid attention to the coaching stock numbers and released the IC ones with 4xxxx not loco-hauiled 1xxxx numbers. A minor but irritating renumbering task required for some of us. It can also be argued that the Mk3 coaches are equally suitable for use between locos and DVTs so there are two sides to that particular coin.

It depends on whether they have buffers too tho

#19 frobisher

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:48

It depends on whether they have buffers too tho


The default with Hornby MK3s is to have buffers fitted whether they should have them or not, and in the case of the ex-Lima ones they are moulded to the underframe...

#20 Ravenser

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:05

Will Hornby do anything about their dwindling modern image range. Whilst there are some fine models, Classes 08,31,50,56,60,153 & HST with the 67 still to come. There are models in their range which because of a lack of speed to upgrade them have been lost to other manufacturers (namely classes 25,29,35,37,47,52,58,66,86), apart from the 73 and 101 this leaves just Classes 59,87,90,91,92,110,142 & 156. If I were them I would hurry up and upgrade (i.e totally new models) those classes which can be produced in the largest range of liveries, of those listed above that is Classes 90,142,156. I would love to see a new class 110 and also a class 104 which would also be popular, but are they bothered? Why they thought a Brighton Belle could be considered modern image I do not know, yes it is electric, but there weren't that many of them, they ran on a restricted area and were not in many liveries. They could have committed to doing a whole new Class 73 (with lost of liveries) instead.


You've omitted the Pendolino, the 4-VEP and the Javelin. They never had the 66 (they've simply recycled a Lima model in competition to Bachmann) , and the 73, 101, and 156 came the same route while the continued availability of the Heljan 86 seems to be in doubt - it's not without its severe critics.

They've also tackled things like the Mk3 DVT and a Freightliner flat

Hornby's problem has been a very large range and a lot of old tooling. You can't replace it all at once. They have made huge strides in coaching stock, and are now the very clear market leader in anything pre1948. They've made a sizeable push on NPCS. They've started addressing LNER steam seriously after making a major advance in SR steam. Their wagon range is very much a curate's egg, but they have produced a substantial number of new and high standard wagons, even if they aren't cheap and aren't necessarily the most common revenue types. But inevitably there are areas where they haven't got top grips with their legacy tooling . Is a new Modernisation Plan DMU more urgent than a new Pannier and autocoach? Discuss......
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#21 frobisher

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:17

I think Hornby (and indeed Bachmann, Heljan and Dapol) will be considering very carefully which modern prototypes to take on. Between them all, we've now had (or will soon have) an attempt on pretty much every diesel class under British Rail in 00, most of which are still available for sale. We're now into the realms of upgraded versions of existing products or willful duplication where a previous version was lacking from another manufacturer and that is a mine field and a half to negotiate or in the latter case requires the necessary big brass balls and conviction to do it.

Hornby are now in the situation that with their inherited ranges (plus modern standard models), they have the widest coverage of the diesel classes of any manufacturer, but all their prime targets have been taken or now have a marker against them.

Diesel multiple units would seem the best way forward to my mind. Whilst we have more first generation units on the market or coming soon than ever before, we've only scratched the surface there for useful prototypes let alone the popular but impractical ones (T.... P......). The Limby 121 has been a great seller for them, and would point towards trying an updated version, maybe in conjunction with creating the tooling in a flexible enough manner to allow a 117 to be produced at the same time to modern standards. Of course if they don't move quickly enough, I can see Dapol nipping in and doing the land grab as they have with the 73.

With the second generation units there's an obvious one that no one elese will likely look at - the class 155 for which a large chunk of the work is already done (discounting the one they inherited from Dapol), especially in the case of the likely reformed units. But further more, there's all the post privatisation ones which haven't been touched at all.
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#22 Ron Ron Ron

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:34

You've omitted the Pendolino, the 4-VEP and the Javelin.....


The Pendolino is really aimed at their toy train market, not so much towards the model railway community, although it serves a dual purpose.
4-VEP....it's all been said before. !!!!
....and the Javelin, well apart from the fact there's no such train as a Javelin (we'll leave that for now), Hornby produce not one, but two models of this EMU. Both aimed at the train set and now, souvenir markets.

Personally, I don't consider these in the same context as those models made to the modern standards expected by most adult modellers these days. Even though many were expecting the 4-VEP to be much more than the Dud it turned out to be.
Of course that's my own particular "world view" which I'm sure isn't shared by others.


.



.
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#23 Glorious NSE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:46

Is a new Modernisation Plan DMU more urgent than a new Pannier and autocoach? Discuss......


If all the companies were competing on the same footing i'd be concerned Hornby were being left behind - for instance if they wait until everything else is done before coming up with a new Modernisation plan DMU will all the 'worth doing' ones have gone already? Can they afford to be last to the game?

But are they even competing for the 'modeller' part of the hobby business, is 'us' the target audience? Probably not for the two extremes of the TEA or Brighton Belle set?

#24 definate maybe

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:55

Hornby have still taken the time and money to reseach and release 'modern image' items regardless of how good we deem the products to be. In the case of loco's the 08, 31, 50, 60, 153 and HST are all new releases which have been welcomed with little complaint (AFAIK) and the likes of the Pendo, Javelin and VEP for all their faults still have time, money and effort put in to produce it. Thats only on the loco front and doesnt take into account the various wagons released especally of the fish kind but also KFA, OTA and DVT's
My major gripe with this kind of thread is that its normally not about what the company are doing in general but what they are doing in relation to what that specific modeller wants to add to his/ her own layout/ collection. Its the same on the wish list front. The hundreds of pages of suggestions are normally what we want for our own specific requirements and not what a business can spend £xxxx on in developing and recoup from sales and end up making a profit to reinvest.
There are definately some items in the Hornby catalogue that require updating but its going to take time over the course of a few years and we are not going to open up the 2013 catalogue and see 'brand new tooling' on all of their models.
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#25 Kenton

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:55

I think as the OP mentioned classes 101 and 73 his understanding of it is identical to yours.  The op wants to discuss Hornby's approach to deisel and electric models.  He never said anything about which eras Hornby ignore, that's seems to be a discussion you want to have not the OP

cheers

Jim


Actually my definition of "Modern Image" is far wider and encompasses anything post Nationalisation. The term is much abused and could with some of those whose main interest is early diesel only be used to describe the 21st century units.
... and not the first to raise the subject of era in this topic. As much as I see that as only a way a supplier chooses to twist history, it is an improvement on the term "Modern Image" at least it gives some clarity to periods even if they are dramatically biased to errr "Modern Image" periods.







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