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MarkSG

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  1. As individuals, no, we don't. As a group, though, we do. Like most people on the "hobbyist" part of the spectrum, I primarily buy locos that suit whatever I'm working on at the moment, or think I might be working on in the future. I don't deliberately buy something just because it was widespread in real life, I buy it because it happens to fit in with what I'm modelling. But then, so do other people. It's just that their net partly overlaps with mine. And the more widespread the prototype was, the more likely it is that we will both buy it. To give an example, if I buy two locos, one relatively uncommon prototype that happens to suit what I'm modelling, and a far more widespread prototype that also fits what I'm modelling, then there's no bias there to the more widespread prototype. But then if someone else also buys two locos, one specific to their project and one which fits anywhere, then the one which fits anywhere could well be bought by both of us. Locos which had larger numbers in actual service aren't more likely to be bought by me, but they are more likely to be bought by us. Because they will fit into more real life (and fictional) settings than a loco which was very limited in time and/or place. Now, I know there are exceptions to this, particularly when it comes to locos which have other attributes that make them desirable (see my post a few minutes ago). But a model of a loco that was built in large enough numbers to work in a large variety of different locations, and lasted long enough to be seen in a variety of different liveries, has a big pool of potential customers even if it's otherwise a boring and humdrum workhorse. On the other hand, a model of a loco which only appeared n one place for a relatively short space of time has far fewer potential customers, unless there's something special about it to generate appeal beyond the bounds of those who would normally be modelling that time and place.
  2. There are, I think, three categories of locomotives which have a proven track record of selling well. The first is the "top link" passenger express locos - the A4s, the Coronations, the Deltics, the HSTs and, bang up to date, the Pendolinos and the Class 800s. These are the train set and loft roundy-roundy staples; if you are a hobbyist modelling the location and era they ran in you will definitely need them, if you just enjoy playing trains then they are the eye-catching impulse and gift purchases, and if you are a collector they are the ones on the most prominent display shelf. The second is the widespread workhorses - the less glamorous locos that had lots of representatives built and operated over a long period of time or a wide geographical area, or both. Hobbyists will definitely need at least one of these, and probably several. They tend to be smaller and cheaper than the top link locos, so in the train set market they're either the budget starters or the later add-ons. They're possibly of less interest to collectors, because they can seem humdrum. But if the money is there to be spent, then it's likely to be spent on some of them. The third is the esoterics and one-offs - the Garretts, the APT-E, the 18000, the J70s and the Hush-Hush. Relatively few hobbyists will have a definite need for one of these, but a lot will buy them anyway, either to run under Rule 1 or as part of a potential later project (which may, in a few cases, even come to fruition!). They're possibly of less interest to train set buyers, but, even so, a fair few of them are likely to end up on the domestic ovals. And for collectors, these are the "must buy" items, just because they're there. Looking down the top 50 on the wishlist poll, the vast majority can be dropped into one of these categories. Which suggests that, actually, as a survey cohort, we are a reasonably good predictor of what is likely to attract the attention of the manufacturers.
  3. Stay-alive only works with DCC. With DC, there's no way to tell the difference between a deliberate loss of power (turning the knob down on the controller) and an unwanted loss of power (dodgy track or wiring). And there aren't that many small locos that are DCC fitted as standard, even now. Part of the problem is that small locos tend to be built down to a price point, because they're often marketed as entry-level models (or, in the case of more obscure things like industrials, the price is kept low because manufacturers aren't certain of the market). And adding DCC and stay-alive to a low-priced model results in a disproportionate increase in the RRP compared to doing the same with a loco that costs more to start with.
  4. Judging by the title of the video, it isn't - it's a stay-alive chip.
  5. 1. Start it a bit later in the year, run it for longer (a couple of months rather than a couple of weeks), and see if you can persuade the organisers of the big autumn and winter shows (Great British Model Railway Show, Warley, Manchester) to promote it in their exhibition guides. 2. Make sure it's promoted on social media, Facebook in particular. 3. Create a standalone website for it, rather than relying on RMweb and Google docs. That will make it more search engine friendly and give other website operators a permanent URL to link to rather than a different one every year.
  6. Interesting that the Hush Hush, Big Bertha, Class 89 and 18000 are all in the overall top 50, and the LNER U1 was in the top 50 locos. I think that shows how much we like the idea of esoteric prototypes, even if it takes a very liberal application of Rule 1 to be able to justify them on the vast majority of layouts. Although recreating the famous incident on the Lickey with a train comprising 38 driving wheels across three locos would certainly make a good exhibition layout! On a more prosaic note, I'm pleased to see the GER E4 and J67/69 scoring well, with the F4/5/6 also putting in a creditable showing. I hope at least one of those gets picked up by the manufacturers.
  7. It's the old "Good, fast, cheap - pick any two from three" conundrum. Laser-cut baseboard kits are good and fast. Even though I have built baseboards from the raw materials in the past, I wouldn't go back to doing it that way now. In any case, the kits aren't that expensive. For a short terminus to fiddle yard layout (which is what I'm currently working on), the cost of two modular baseboards plus a traverser was just under £150. That's less than a typical DCC fitted loco. Obviously, it's £150 that I didn't have to spend. But, for the time and effort it saved me, it was worth it.
  8. Layout height is one of the things that crops up repeatedly here. My personal opinion is that a small, "picture frame" layout needs to be at approximately head height for the effect to work, but a large "railway in the countryside" or "big through station" layout needs to be lower so that you can get the benefit of seeing the full panorama from one viewing position. But, of course, I'm an average height person with no mobility difficulties. Not everybody is the same as me. From an exhibition point of view, therefore, I think it's important to have layouts with a range of heights, and provide portable steps for children to use when viewing higher layouts.
  9. This is a very good illustration of the saying that you can't please all of the people all of the time! Mark
  10. Obviously, I can only speak for myself with certainty. But I also have a fair idea of what my family (who are not railway enthusaists, but do come with me to exhibitions) like. So, anyway, to answer your questions in order. 1. I like to see operation that's prototypical in the sense that it reflects prototype practice in terms of train movements. I'm not so bothered about a timetable whereby all the movements are correct relative to each other, but I do like each individual movement to be what I would expect on the real thing. That includes things like the right locos hauling the right loads and the right kind of shunting movements. I'm less bothered about working signals, but if they do work then the loco movements should correctly take them into account. My family don't care about prototype. They just want to see things moving. 2. I don't think there should be any gaps longer than necessary to get one train into the fiddle yard and the next one out of it. The exception is if you have a lot of animations (to use the GMRC term), which can be going on while the trains are static or off-set. A good example of this on the exhibition circuit is Denton Brook. This sort of thing also pleases my family. 3. I like info boards to the side of the layout, where appropriate, particularly if they can give me background information on the prototype that the model is based on. But they're not essential. My family won't read them. 4. I've never found it off-putting to hear the operators communicating with each other! 5. The only essential thing is that the trains run, and run both well and appropriately. Everything else is a bonus. But lighting can be very useful to help set the scene, and additional non-rail movement can add a lot of interest. Just make it realistic rather than gimmicky. The same applies to sound; no sound is better than bad sound, but good sound is an enhancement.
  11. Well, Hatton's clearly think that it isn't, and they're the ones who've done the calculations based on actual knowledge of the costs and projected sales figures involved. The fact that nobody else has considered accurate pre-grouping rolling stock viable either is also pretty strong evidence. But it is pretty obvious, I would have thought, that "correct first time" can only be correct for one particular company, and possibly even for one particular company at one particular time. So the question is, which company's coaches do you make, and how many of them do you think will sell? And what do you do about the inevitable complaints from all the people whose favourite company hasn't been picked? Look at all the arguments over, for example, the Bachmann crane, and the volume of moaning from people disappointed that their preferred variant hasn't been produced. RTR is never going to please all of the people all of the time. There are far too many different prototypes for that, and far too many different opinions on how those prototypes should be modelled. But, from a manufacturer's perspective, all that's necessary is that it pleases enough people to turn a profit. I think the Hatton's coaches will be profitable, and if that does stimulate enough interest in pre-grouping to make it worthwhile for a manufacturer to consider producing something more accurate for the period, then it will be a good thing all round. On the other hand, taking a risk on accurate models that then don't sell in big enough quantities to justify the investment would have the opposite effect, of scaring off manufacturers from touching the era again. If I was a pre-grouping modeller, I'd welcome these coaches as being the sort of thing that would benefit my interests, even if I didn't actually buy any myself.
  12. You jest, of course. But, actually, one of the things that tends to bug me a bit on otherwise rivet-perfect layouts is a tendency towards generic non-railway items by the lineside. Cows are a very good example - although black and white Friesians were not unknown in the 1930s and 1950s, they are hugely more common on layouts set in those periods than they were in real life at the time. To me, as someone who is from a rural area and fairly knowledgeable about agricultural history, that's an easily noticeable error. But to most people, it doesn't matter in the slightest. To them, cows are cows, and so long as the cows are the right scale and in the right place, that's good enough. On the other hand, while I do know a fair amount about cows, I'm not really all that knowledgeable about pre-grouping rolling stock. A layout set in a rural backwater with brown cows in the cattle pen and a train consisting of a tank engine and a rake of Hatton's "Genesis" carriages will look fine to me. I'm sure some purists will grate their teeth over it. But that is not really my problem, any more than my dislike of black and white cows on historical layouts is theirs.
  13. My daughters (aged 13 and 9) are really looking forward to seeing you. They want to see the winning layouts as well, but they were both particularly pleased to see a team which proved that model railways aren't just for boys,
  14. If RTR ever does do pre-grouping on a significant scale then I'm pretty sure it will concentrate on the bigger companies, and focus on a fairly restricted timescale. But the fragmentation of it isn't all that dissimilar to 21st century privatised TOCs. And modern production techniques make relatively limited runs of different models more practical than it would once have been.
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