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GWR-fan

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  1. We are getting off topic with the Laker analogy but my point was that the bigger airlines were content at keeping the status quo until they were undercut on price and then they retaliated. If you read the whole story of the collapse then it was more than just losing money on seat sales to destroy the company. As regards Hornby and that was my point, they were content to offer us a thirty year old outdated model until a competitor stepped up. I stated initially that Hornby has not done anything illegal as it is just business whether moral or not.
  2. The Cavalex model was to introduce an updated class 91 fit for the times. Whether or not Hornby had already approached retooling a class 91 is unknown, but highly suspect when a competitor is announced and Hornby release plans of its new model. When the competition was a thirty year old tooling with a mediocre motor bogie then Cavalex had a good chance of reaching its projected target. Obviously, with two uprated models in the market now planned then production numbers are most likely not there to support two manufacturers and with the Hornby model fully self financed then there is no potential risk associated, not that there was a risk with the Cavalex model.
  3. It is unfair competition when your competitors decide to undercut you on price knowing that they are making a loss on every ticket sold on the route. The big players could afford to offset the losses against profits on other routes. Whether Freddy was underfinanced or not, he was the victim of unfair business practices implemented purely to force him out of business and the courts agreed with him. The business may have been viable if the other airlines played according to the rules.
  4. Many years ago several international airlines treated the North Atlantic route as their exclusive territory and there seemed to be collusion between them as despite the intensity of air traffic the density was not reflected in the ticket price. Along came Freddy Laker with Laker Airlines who put the cat amongst the pigeons with cut price tickets. The big international players decided to destroy the new upstart and seriously undercut the prices that Laker was charging, leading to Freddy eventually declaring bankruptcy. Not to be defeated Laker Airlines sued the big players and was handsomely rewarded. While Hornby has not done anything legally wrong, the business ethics are suspect. Hornby is in business to make money but why does it take competition to force Hornby to drag itself away from its outdated heritage stock? Would Hornby still have the little 5-pole motor bogies in its diesels not for Bachmann with their centre mounted motors? The class 91 was around for thirty years with the only real change an apology for a motor bogie. Will Hornby now place the project on the backburner? On further reading there seems to be some optimism for a retooled Mk4 coach. Given Hornby's highly ambitious tooling programme for 2020, possibly extending into 2021, is a retooled Mk4 likely in the next two years? Apart from livery change how has Hornby updated their elderly existing range? The Virgin "coke bottle swirl" coaches were limited to a train pack with just two coaches released. Given the high demand for the Mk3 coaches in this livery there would certainly have been a high demand for matching Mk4 coaches to extend the train pack. Effectively the pack became more a collector piece than a desire to update the Hornby range. I will not be holding my breath awaiting a newly tooled Mk4, unless another manufacturer announces a release and then Hornby will be straight on to it.
  5. Is it possible that the graphite deposits itself in the rail connections and improves conductivity at the fishplates.
  6. A 2B pencil has been recommended in the past, however, downunder the "trick" years ago was Wahl hair clipper oil. I cannot say that I ever used it but it seems that a little was placed on the railhead and then a train would deposit the oil over the entire layout. The coating was apparently miraculous in improving conductivity.
  7. While strictly a bargain for me, I am still pinching myself as although I have the items, I still cannot believe the price paid. The item was described as such - " Bachmann Branchline 30-105 Midland Marvel Train Set with Midland 3F "3522" in LMS livery, brake van in LMS grey & 2 x 8-plank wagons - Pre-owned - sold as seen - Non runner - Brake van has a loose buffer - imperfect box". The store wanted just GBP40.00 (GBP33.33 ex-VAT). As the item exceeded Royal Mail limitations, a courier had to be selected (DPD Air Classic), which cost me GBP26.00. The item was not expected for another two days (Wednesday) but turned up this morning (Monday). When purchased I expected the store to refund my money as I thought that either someone may have purchased it just prior to me or a mistake had been made in pricing. The oval of track was not shown in the images or description but was included in the packaging. I located the missing buffer from the LMS guard's van in the bottom of the box. The "non-runner" loco ran perfectly out of the box but due the sanding pipes fouling the track it derailed in reverse through pointwork. The pipes just needed trimming and the cab roof support railing refitted. The loco appears in new condition and runs well. Total cost was GBP59.33 including courier shipping downunder, so basically, $117.50 Aud. I will most likely resell the track and power supply to recoup some expense so basically my outlay will be the cost of the shipping only. Occasionally I have a win.
  8. Mike, alas, after receiving free transport downunder a couple of hundred years ago at her majesty's pleasure, I do not believe any of my relatives still reside in the "mother country".
  9. I purchased a Hornby train pack and two Bachmann locomotives as part of their sale. For an international purchaser the shipping was a little higher than a similar item from Hattons. The items were all well packaged. Due the size and weight limitations imposed by Royal Mail, it seems that anything exceeding those limits incurs a GBP65.00 penalty being shipped by a courier. Given that DHL will ship a similar size/weight item through Hattons for roughly half the cost, the high courier cost is the only downside with the site.
  10. Not mentioned but it seems that the gloss finish on the Gresley collection models was soft and marked very easily. Many models were sold off at reduced prices due damage to the gloss finish.
  11. Just a follow on to my purchase of pre-owned coaches, with a view to salvaging the metal wheels fitted to them. Today I did a search on the Hattons site and surprisingly the items located did not come up on a pre-owned search. I purchased a total of three lots of coaches totalling 13 cars in all. Ten of these cars were fitted with metal wheels, i.e., 40 wheelsets. Normally to purchase those wheels would cost me close to $140.00. The 13 coaches cost me $135.00 Aud including airmail shipping. Of the coaches included there were four nice Bachmann Colletts, three nice Bachmann Mk1 coaches, one good Bachmann Mk1 coach, a nice Hornby Hawkseworth brake coach, a good Hornby Mk1 full brake and three Mainline Stannier 57' coaches in good to nice condition. Once received I will choose the coaches that I wish to keep and onsell the remainder as spares. The end result is that the ten or so coaches that I keep will cost me around $11.00 each and are predominantly in nice condition. These coaches would be worth at least $25.00 - $30.00 each given the condition. As stated, my intention was merely to source inexpensive metal wheelsets but it seems that the coaches purchased will be too nice to swap out the wheels.
  12. When one looks back at previous firesales from Hornby, what is readily noticed was that there was a surplus of first class and brake coaches. Now blind Freddy has been telling all manufacturers for years that productions runs for third (or second class for a particular period) coaches should exceed the number of first and brake coaches and yet poor Freddy was ignored. The tourist type coaches were always sold out and even on the pre-owned market these coaches still command a premium. The only exceptions seems to be when a particular Mk2 or Mk3 coach was initially sold in very limited numbers and a first or buffet car will command a high pre-owned price. Similarly a loco would be on firesale when a second run was released while the initial run was still in abundance on the shelves. The recently released Lord Nelson class in olive green livery was released minus the smoke deflectors, thus limiting the modelling timeframe to approximately 1926-1929. This model almost immediately went to discounting. The modelling timeframe for this configuration was appropriate for a minority of modellers and so sales were relatively unhealthy. Even the 2020 proposed release from Hornby ignores the very popular olive green period during the 1930's. The yet to be released model is in malachite green (post-1939), thus modelling an olive green loco in the 1930's is completely ignored. For many models chosen by Hornby the timeframe suitability may be just a matter of weeks. A collectors edition (1000 units from memory) release of "Britannia" in an all black livery with no roadname on the tender was barely applicable for but a few days operation before the prototype received a traditional mainline livery. Similarly the Royal Duties edition "Britannia" released in a run of 500 units and most likely still available today as an unsold item. The early crest Royal duties Schools class was also flogged off on a firesale. Recall the "Flying Scotsman" with a different cab number each side. While I do not recall it being firesaled it certainly caters for a very limited market. While it is not possible to manufacture a "generic" livery and configuration to cover a wide timeframe, Hornby does have a knack of modelling locomotives where the relevant operating period is extremely time limited making them more suited to a collector than a modeller. Where a model is released primarily for the collector market then it skews the production run numbers, keeping them artificially low. At one time in the past a limited run from Hornby was in the region of 4000 to 5000 units. From memory, the black fronted APT had a release of some 13000 units over several years. The less popular earlier series without the black window surround was but a few thousand units. For a train pack the number was generally around 2000 or so units. Are market numbers of potential customers much lower these days than back in the late 20th and early 21st centuries? Are we more discerning these days in our choices and so a generic model locomotive which was once acceptable and produced in much higher numbers than today is no loner acceptable as modellers choose prototypical fidelity? Also in the past actual railway operating company liveries were more restricted so a production run of say 5000 units in the past has to be split amongst a multitude of railway company liveries today, explaining lower production run numbers for specific items. It would seem that intentional short production runs offer a surefire financial return to quickly recoup investment and make a profit to do a production run on another announced product. The Hornby business model seems highly underfinanced and needs a quick cash injection from one production run to finance the next. Back on January 6th I was completely staggered by the number of releases planned given that finance has always been Hornby's Achilles Heel. The announced range seemed to be highly optimistic and would require a lot of cash injection to achieve over the year and that cash has to come from sales. While a limited production run does guarantee a speedy return on investment it disenfranchises many customers who miss out. Are these customers willing to await a future production run or will their limited hobby funds find their way to finance another new release from a different manufacturer?
  13. When you limit your customers you limit your financial return. Shareholders are more concerned with the current price of their shares and the current dividend returns. Telling a shareholder that in two years time we are doing another limited run is hardly convincing enough to reassure the shareholder of the value in their investment. When demand exists you do not artificially play games with your customer by limiting production runs simply to maintain the demand on a future run. A shareholder wants to see a financial return on the high cost involved in tooling. Having an expensive set of tooling sitting idle is hardly economic. Unsatisfied demand is a cost burden on a shareholder as he sees it as a wasted market opportunity. A company needs shareholders but just as importantly it needs customers to buy its product. When you limit production you limit your customer base. Yes, you may not have surplus stock sitting on a shelf but you have ignored genuine sales when pre-orders are unmatched to production levels. Theoretical production ideas may look good on paper but they ignore reality by not matching production to sales. Limited production runs result in exclusivity and ignore the actual demand. Model trains are not exclusive pieces of art or jewellery, they are mundane toy trains. By keeping to limited production runs prices are kept high, but as unsatisfied demand exists at these high price levels then limiting production is counter productive to economic return. Maintaining customer loyalty is important to financial success and without a customer base you do not have a market for your product. A modeller who has received a trainset for Christmas decides that he wants to extend his set up so he purchases a newly released catalogue and seeing numerous items he goes along to his hobby store to place an order or two. The store keeper responds that all or most of the items he wishes to purchase are unavailable as the manufacturer has limited the production for those items and the production run is sold out. The modeller thinks how can this be, the catalogue has only just been released and I cannot buy items in it. Disillusioned, he goes home, packs up his trainset and sits in front of his television and plays video games. The trainset sits unused collecting dust and a lifetime of potential purchases is missed by the manufacturer.
  14. Stating that a business model has changed is not complaining, it is pointing out that not all are prepared to pre-order. I recall not so long ago when GBP100.00 was the limit many would spend on a new model. Now a coach can cost as much and GBP200.00 is now not an unusual price to ask for a model. Some crowd fund sight unseen and some pre-order sight unseen, while others prefer to see what they are buying before handing over money. I will never complain that I have missed out because apart from a sale I would not purchase a new model loco as I see no value in having the latest and greatest retooled model when I already have more than enough to satisfy my needs. For some time now I have downsized to pre-owned models and only when I consider them to be value. When a new start private company is able to offer pre-order without resorting to outside crowd funding and actually satisfy the demand and yet Hornby celebrating one hundred years of existence cannot even satisfy its actual pre-orders in just hours after the release of a new model then there is definitely something amiss with the Hornby financial structure. I see little point in spending hundreds of thousands of pounds researching and tooling a new model simply to limit production numbers. We waited a generation or more for an air smoothed Merchant Navy, only to see a very limited release and now some two years or so later we finally see two further releases announced. No doubt these will sell out quickly. also, what happened to the 42XX, the 52XX and the72XX locomotives? In a typical business model when demand exists you satisfy the demand. Making an announcement and finding yourself unable to meet the demand will damage the relationship a customer develops with a manufacturer. Is Hornby to become like a Danbury Mint or another of those manufacturers who cater exclusively for the collector market? What is the point of releasing a catalogue when many of the items are unavailable to purchase by the time the catalogue finds its way to a hobby store? Pre-ordering through a dealer network implies that a dealer will actually be able to place an order. Given that other than those who knew beforehand what was to be released, most were not aware and yet it seems within hours of release even big dealers were unsure that their pre-orders could be satisfied. Unsatisfied demand and empty shelves is a pathway to extinction.
  15. When an EP is not available to view then a potential customer relies on the factory supplied computer image, with the proviso that the image does not necessarily represent the finished article. The image used by many retailers and even on the Hornby website of the current twin tender A4 showed the loco with valences fitted and even after the model was released retailer website still reflected the loco with valences. Of cause those in the know realised that as it was a 1/1 representation of the loco as currently stored then the model would be sans valences. Those in the know also were aware that the cab number and roadname on the supplied computer image did not reflect the state of the loco when it ran with valences fitted. However, very few are that knowledgeable and rely on a factory supplied image, usually not of the model but a computer generated image. How is one to pre-order knowing that the supplied image may or may not reflect the actual model. Some images are so realistic that at times it is hard to distinguish between a computer generated image and an actual image of the model. Hornby has a history of the released model not exactly matching the image on their website, an image used with permission by many retailer websites. A recent class 60 release had the box artwork correct but the actual model livery incorrect. There has also been much debate over the difference between a supplied image livery and the colour tone actually used by Hornby on their steam outline locomotives. Quite often the livery on the released model appears washed out whereas the image on the website shows a full rich tone. With Hornby pushing the hobby towards pre-ordering then surely it is incumbent on Hornby to be accurate in the images they use to advertise their products. When a customer goes to a fast food store for a hamburger there is a marked difference in the size and quality of that burger in the advertising images than the actual product we purchase. The advertising world is deceiving us and yet we continue to purchase these products. Hornby wants us to pre-order a product based on possibly inaccurate images and limits production to only those pre-ordered numbers. Retailers become merely a clearing house for pre-ordered items. What is the point then of having a retailer? Why not just pre-order from the manufacturer, at least then the manufacturer has an accurate assessment of actual pre-orders and not duplicate orders lodged with multiple dealers. Hornby several years ago drastically cut production numbers on a West Country Bulleid loco (was it "Wilton"?) leading to dealers not getting any of their pre-ordered stock or having their pre-orders slashed and aftermarket prices for the loco skyrocketed leading to a discussion back then as to the value of pre-ordering when the company would not even acknowledge the actual number of pre-orders for production. I believe a rerun did occur but not for a long time afterwards The hobby now is being driven into a frenzy of pre-ordering if we want an item irrespective of the buyer having any idea of the quality of the promised item. The prudent modeller has generally awaited a release of a model or at least a favourable review in a magazine or website before actually buying an item. If one awaits release now then the chances are that the model will be sold out long before the release date. Hornby has regularly shot itself in the foot by releasing a second run of a model that is still sitting unsold on dealers' shelves. Is the buyer responsible for a production mistake by the manufacturer? Certainly a manufacturer would rely on a pre-order for production but should also be aware that past experience has warned buyers off pre-ordering. I feel that if the manufacturer requires a pre-order then the company has a duty to produce exactly the item as depicted in a supplied image, otherwise a buyer is held hostage, knowing that failure to pre-order almost certainly guarantees that the buyer will be forced to pay well above retail on an aftermarket site. How many times have we read of store employees on this site bragging how many limited run models they have purchased at the store they work in only to onsell on an auction site for a profit. Personally, any pre-ordering for the likes of say a locomotive should be quantity limited to one item per customer. It does the hobby no good when insiders have an advantage over the general modeller. I will never pre-order because I have no faith that a released model will represent the item as depicted on a website image or if the quality will be satisfactory. One cannot simply return a defective item for an exchange if there is no replacement available. Hornby are celebrating a supposed 100 years of manufacturing and yet to date are unable to match production to demand. Production these days with foreign contractors is unlike when inhouse. These days a manufacturer has to contract out production, usually bidding for a production time slot. Production does not commence until every part required for the production number has been compiled. Production then proceeds. Reruns are not simply turn on the tap and another run commences. The whole bidding process is required and the complete parts list compiled and then the rerun. Thus when pre-orders only account for the production total then many miss out and the manufacturer loses not just a sale but potentially a loyal customer.
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