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Gerald Henriksen

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  1. I have been participating on the Internet now for over 26 years, and I have never in that time been accused of pursuing personal vendettas, plotting something sinister, or behaving like a child. Thus it would seem I am no longer welcome here.
  2. I didn't express myself clearly. When I said current manufacturer I meant the only manufacturer to consistently release inaccurate models over the current period, which would be about the last 5 years (and obviously older tooling doesn't count as they are re-releases, often in the Railroad range, and often known to be problematic models from a different era). And yes, in the last 5 years there have been models with problems - but, unlike Oxford, it hasn't been every single model. Yes, Heljan have had a on and off record, but just as they have had bad models like the Class 86 they have also had good models. Yes, Hornby screwed up the Mk2e - but in that same time frame we have had the excellent Peckett amongst several other newly tooled models. In this current period (roughly post design clever) most of the models released have upped their game, perhaps in part due to the increased competition for the modeling dollar with Rapido, Realtrack, Revolution, DJM, and others entering the market. And I give full credit to Hornby, who I was very critical of during the design clever period, for stepping up and dramatically improving both the models they are putting out and their communication with the modeling community.
  3. It is, regrettably, a blanket dismissal, in a large part because it means my hope of being able to model the HST are out the window. That sort of error on a modern model is unacceptable. It is not a case of either omitting a detail or molding on instead of a separate part for cost savings, it is plain and simple wrong, and follows the pattern of Oxford just not caring enough to get things correct. And when you add things to a model that don't exist on the prototype, you can no longer consider the model to be a high quality accurate model, which by default therefore means it is a Railroad level model. Yet the same "enlarged, cruel" images of the Bachmann Mk2f don't exhibit the same oversize windows frames... Two points: 1) the Bachmann Mk2f's appear to have the body window frames correct, unlike the Oxford Mk3's, and unfair or not the Oxford window frames stick out like a sore thumb. 2) Bachmann made it clear that the Mk2f tooling is not yet finished, and that details still need to be added (in particular I believe some of the door outlines still need to be cut into the tooling. So the Bachmann model will still be improved. On the other hand, once you reach the painted sample stage (the Oxford Mk3) you are normally past the point of making any tooling changes. I will agree however that the Oxford model does on the end appear to use a separate detail part where Bachmann have appear to have chosen to mold it on.
  4. I find that insulting. I don't have "rose tinted hobby glasses", and try to base everything on facts. Fact: Oxford Rail makes inaccurate/incorrect models Fact: Oxford Rail makes cheap (or affordable depending on your view) models The fact that many people don't care about those inaccuracies doesn't change the fact that they exist, and that Oxford Rail is easily the only current manufacturer to consistently release models with often significant errors on them. It also doesn't make business sense to take a brand name, known for cheap models, and then try to turn it into a brand of high end, expensive, models when you already have those high end models with a brand that they are known for. The reality is simply this - given the Oxford Rail track record there will be few if any customers of high end, accurate, detailed models who will pre-order an announced future model on the Oxford Rail brand because the brand means everything but high-end, accurate and detailed. Similarly, all of the customers who do like Oxford Rail would be yelling blue murder if Oxford Rail suddenly announced a new model with the high-end prices you seem to want them to start offering. I think the "rose tinted" glasses, if they exist, belong to those who think the way to return Hornby to glory is to abandon the profitable high-end models and return to the almost dead train set market. Not necessarily relevant to your arguments. The real question is why Hornby loses money, and a lot of will be down to the debt incurred by (now several generations) previous management, and the interest payments on said debt. What we do know, again fact not "rose tinted", is that the railway division and Airfix are the highly profitable parts of the company and spinning those off to a competitor will not make the Hornby shareholders happy. There is no "high street" market vs "specialist" market for model railways. Model Railways are a niche product which are sold via specialty retailers, whether it be a more affordable product like the Railroad line or the higher end detailed models. Wrong, its a good way to make the lawyers rich as the lawsuits get filed. Do you really think the Hornby shareholders would stand by and allow Phoenix and the new CEO to siphon off the profitable parts of the company to Oxford, leaving the weaker parts behind? Well, the 2 radials turns into a high end model (Hornby) and a Railroad model (Oxford). Mk3s difficult to say as they are both Railroad quality, but the fact that the Oxford tooling is newer might benefit it though it depends on how many variants are currently tooled vs only potential future tooling. But the facts are this is mostly irrelevant because there is only two ways for this to go: 1) the companies remain as they are, separate, and the new CEO somehow manages to navigate the conflicts of interest without bringing either government interest or shareholder lawsuits. 2) Hornby buys Oxford. Oxford can't buy Hornby (they don't have enough money, and the minority shareholders of Hornby already refused to sell out to Phoenix so won't sell to Oxford presumably without a lot more money. The fact that Hornby is a stock market listed company with a lot of shareholders limits the possibilities. Partially an assumption. While Oxford may be doing well, it doesn't mean the Oxford Rail division is doing well.
  5. I think it is very insulting of you to imply the only people interested highly detailed models are collectors. Most of the people on RMweb who are pushing for the detailed, accurate models are doing so because they want them to operate on their layouts, because having a detailed, accurate model means that the time previously spent improving models can be spent elsewhere on the layout. It also ignores that there is a sizeable number of people who collect Hornby period, regardless of whether it is a high end model or the cheapest of the Railroad models. I also highly doubt the existing shareholders of Hornby would stand by and let the new CEO gut the company of the profitable parts of the company, leaving them with the financially challenged parts of the company and further worsening the financial outlook of Hornby. According to the Engine Shed blog the next announcement(s) are likely Saturday, and any changes to anything else this year would hurt the share price making the shareholder very unhappy.
  6. Oxford Rail are known (by their track record) for producing cheap, inaccurate railway models. Why would you want to move the highly detailed, accurate Hornby models to a company with that reputation? Why would you want to move the product line that is helping to save the company to a competitor? (*) Why would you want to saddle Hornby with a struggling division(**), which after getting rid of the profitable parts, would likely further deteriorate the Hornby financial situation? * from the Hornby 2017 Annual Report: ** again, 2017 Annual Report: We don't know, because the published info doesn't tell us, what Hornby's problems are but we can guess that Scalextric is at best neutral, at worse money losing, and that certainly a reasonable part of their financial problems is a result of the debt Hornby has acquired over the last several years, a significant portion of which was down to bad decisions made by previous management and not related to their Train or Airfix brands performance.
  7. So company A can sell with a profit margin of £10 and they will shift 300 units, so a profit of £300. Alternately A can sell with a profit margin of £20 and only shift 200 units, but have a profit of £400. Volume does not equal profit. I doubt retailers really know what is causing the changes, but it can be pretty much guaranteed that it is not a single issue. Childhood budgets (and even teens/early 20's) aren't just available for trains but also now need to cover phones, apps, laptops, and all sorts of other things that didn't exist as necessities 20 years ago.
  8. The design of the models is at the whim of the CEO. You have a new CEO who has learned that our hobby will purchase anything put in front of them as long as it is cheap regardless of accuracy let alone detail (on the assumption that Oxford Rail as a division of Oxford Diecast is profitable). You also have a new CEO who has been brought in to turn around the financial fortunes of the company, and will need to be at least seen to be doing something to accomplish that. While we can't predict what he will do, the somewhat standard MBA response is to cut staff (as, regardless of the long term health of the company, it is a quick way to get some quick results - a bump in the stock price if nothing else). Hornby doesn't have a lot of staff to choose from if that becomes a chosen path. Thus I don't think it unreasonable for those of us who are not just concerned about wanting models that are correct, but prefer our models to be detailed, to have some misgivings about this change at Hornby (and to be fair to the new CEO, some of these concerns would also be on the minds if not said for any new management at Hornby). I think Mr. Kohler may have indicated in a past blog that the APT-P tooling is useless and thus a model would need to be all new tooling. While a new model to current Hornby standards would be a way for the new CEO to distance his new job from Oxford Rail, I don't think anyone would touch a project the size of the APT-P until there is more certainty as to what is going to happen with outside forces/influences.
  9. C) Get the basics of a model correct, and sell even more than in B), and thus make even more money. It continues to amaze me how people in this hobby will justify almost any mistake as being okay. While I am not familiar with the Oxford Diecast line up I have to assume that they aren't making the same mistakes in the design and production of those vehicles. Would Oxford Diecast be the success it is if their vehicles had sides wrong, or other equivalents to the multitude of errors that are deemed acceptable in their rail models? Tooling is a very significant expense. and in that context catching a mistake before tooling does cost nothing - if an additional round of CAD wrecks the finances of a model then they can't afford the tooling anyway. Better yet, not making these mistakes in the first place is even cheaper. As for the other comment about production slots, not an issue when you own the factory as Oxford has claimed.
  10. 1) Oxford Rail is Railroad quality at best (I am assuming that Hornby's Railroad level products are more accurate than Oxford's offerings). 2) our hobby is no where near big enough to support a 3 level product line
  11. Some small layout ideas from a 3rd party blog First up are Teeswater and Walkerton, Ontario. Both CPR branchline terminus: http://hedley-junction.blogspot.ca/2017/09/teeswater-walkerton-in-ho-scale.html If you wanted to model the CPR then Rapido in the next couple of years will have the D10 in steam, or you could use the arriving soon SW1200RS from Rapido for the early diesel years. He also came up with a plan for a paper mill, prototype in East Angus, Quebec: http://hedley-junction.blogspot.ca/2017/09/east-angus-quebec-compact-paper-mill.html http://hedley-junction.blogspot.ca/2017/09/east-angus-follow-up.html
  12. Well, given that the talk of the new CEO is somewhat off-topic given it has its own thread, I thought I would return to the other favorite off-topic thread - that the hobby is dying and needs to be cheap to get younger people involved. A Modelers Life podcast (*) in episode 83 had a discussion with Charlie Getz, the President of the NMRA, and a few interesting tidbits came out: 1) he agrees that there are a lot of younger people in the hobby, but they (the NMRA) are finding it difficult trying to get a count of them given the online nature of their participation. 2) the hobby is booming in China - there is a Chinese online forum (Hasia I think) with 250,000 members, almost all around 30 or less, and almost all of them are entering the hobby in China - I would think it is safe to assume most if not all of them likely did not get the "traditional" train set as a kid so they are entering the hobby via other means. 3) one of the NMRA divisions has members wandering around trains shows wearing very big buttons that say "Ask me about Model Railroading". They have found it a great way to start discussions with families about how to get into the hobby, as opposed to the more static expecting the families to approach a crowded retailer or booth. * https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/a-modelerslife/id905596672?mt=2 [edit] There was also some good news. A 3rd party actually investigated the data, but apparently model railroaders on average live an additional 5 years compared to the average non-model railroader.
  13. Why would Hornby want the Oxford Mk3 tooling?
  14. There is nothing wrong with preferring a value end of the market, just as there is nothing wrong with a manufacturer serving that end of the market whether it be using a particular product line (aka railroad) or the entire focus. I just don't believe that Oxford was that company, given the multitude of errors that plague their models, often for no reason other than the fact that they just don't seem to care. In many cases, if the errors had been caught in the CAD stage, it would have cost nothing to fix and resulted in a model that would have been acceptable to a far greater number of people. The unfortunate part is, regardless of whether Oxford continues in trains or withdraws, the damage is done. Their Mk3 means it is unlikely anyone will produce a 3rd model, thus leaving those of us who do care about accuracy without a modern, accurate model.
  15. My take, from reading between the lines when Mr. Kohler had his blog, is that his ability to make decisions was in many ways more illusion than reality thanks to either interference or lack of approvals from the higher ups running Hornby. As such I think it is difficult to read too much into what happened once Hornby started struggling and placing the blame entirely on Mr. Kohler. The danger here of course is that the new management above Mr. Kohler may be more of the same given the mismatch between what Oxford promised - "in pursuit of excellence" - and what they consistently delivered - cheap models that sort of looked like the prototype. In short, the jury is out. While Hornby have made great strides in the last couple of years, delivering market leading newly tooled models like the Peckett, their is a danger that the new management at the top doesn't care about accuracy and rather just wants to shove stuff out the door as cheap as possible in the belief that the market will buy whatever they put their corporate name on. We will see in about 2 years when the results of any changes the new management make finally make their way through the system and into announcements.
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