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MarkSG

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  1. This isn't really an answer to the question as such (sorry!), but the question does illustrate one of the ways in which the hobby has changed. When I was a teenager, railway modellers, broadly speaking, divided into two camps: "steam" and "modern image". The latter meant diesel, and the former was effectively a synomym for "historical". I started out as a modern image modeller, but switched timescale to steam when I realised that the pre-Beeching era offered more opportunity to create a reasonably authentic, mixed-traffic branch line that would fit in the space I had available in my dad's shed! However, time travels on, and it's no longer true that "historical" and "steam" mean essentially the same thing. Somewhat scarily, the "blue diesel" era (ie, modern image, to me as a teenager) is now longer ago than post-war steam was when I was a teenager. So there's an entirely new segment of the hobby, which didn't really exist to any great degree when I was a teenager, of modelling "historical diesel", with the blue era being probably the most popular. One obvious consequence of that is that there are more diesel layouts than there were back in the day, because, while the steam era remains essentially fixed, the diesel era continues to grow (and morph into the electric era, but that's a different story). In particular, people who like both railway history AND diesels now have a wide range of options open to them from a modelling perspective, whereas in the past that was a much smaller overlap. And, of course, as time moves on, so does the timespan covered by the era that can best be described as "when I was growing up". When i was a teenager, older modellers (including famous names who wrote articles in the magazines) were modelling from their own personal experience of steam in their own younger years. These days, I am an older modeller, and many of my contemporaries, famous or otherwise, are also modelling from their personal experience of diesel in their younger years, even if I'm sticking with what was history when I was a teenager and is even more historical now.
  2. Most heritage railways have unrealistically lengthy trains, too, at least for a branch line. Which is operationally OK, even with a relatively low-powered loco hauling them, as the low maximum speed means that there's no great demand on the motive power once things are moving. But it means that acceleration rates will inevitably be low, because inertia is the biggest challenge. I've been on an autocoach at the GWSR, and that did shift pretty smartly. But autocoaches and trains consisting of just two or three carriages, despite being a mainstay of branch lines in their operational heydey, are now restricted to special gala days on the heritage railways because they just don't have the capacity for a standard timetable.
  3. I wonder if there's any way, with DCC, to have a controller which displays a "scale speed" value. I know it's difficult, because even with DCC the actual speed of the loco will depend on the mechanism as much as the motor and the chip. But it ought to be amenable to being calibrated against a measured scale mile (or on a rolling road), and DCC-fitted locos could possibly come with the calibration programmed in.
  4. A price reduction once they've been on the shelves for a while is usually factored into the initial pricing calculations, because it's a way of tapping into a valuable secondary market. But, if the calculations have been done properly, then the price cuts won't kick in until enough of the upfront development and manufacturing costs have been covered to be able to afford to reduce the price without making the item unprofitable overall. As far as Hattons Andrew Barclays are concerned, not all of the liveries have been discounted. Several of them sold out at full price. So one of the things that will feed into any decision on a second run is to analyse which liveries, and which types of livery, are more popular and which are less popular.
  5. I wouldn't expect there will be a second batch until the first has completely sold out. But one of the advantages of an industrial is that it has a large number of potential liveries. So it wouldn't surprise me at all if a new selection of these does appear in due course.
  6. Nearly everything is a limited run these days. The economics of batch production in a Chinese factory make it pretty much the only way of working. A large up-front order is placed, and then the resulting models go on sale until they're sold out. Some sell out quicker than others. If a model has been popular, then manufacturers will sometimes do a second batch. Or, more commonly, do the same model again but with different liveries. But, on the other hand, sometimes they just leave that one in the past and move onto something else.
  7. That looks nice. Is that a model of the same van that Oxford are planning?
  8. Invision Community can be quite pricy if you go for the full-featured hosted version. But if you can host it on your own equipment (which, as far as I can tell, RMweb is doing) it's a lot cheaper. The most expensive self-hosted version is $850 setup and $300 a year thereafter, which is not unreasonable. And you can reduce that stll further by excluding the components you don't use, and only paying a renewal fee when you need to (the software doesn't stop working if you don't renew, it just won't auto-upgrade until you do). The hardware requirements for running it aren't particularly onerous - just out of curiousity, I downloaded and installed their compatibility checker on one of my servers and it meets them without any difficulty. That server costs me £60 a month to run, which gives a ballpark figure for comparison. Add in the cost of Invision, and it's around £70 to £90 a month depending on feature set and exchange rates. And that's easily covered by advertising - I have four sites which, according to the Alexa website rankings, are less popular than RMweb and yet comfortably exceed £100 a month in advertising revenue. MRH certainly ought to be able to afford it; according to Alexa they're in the top 500k of global websites and therefore capable pulling in ad revenue running well into four figures a month. But they're not really monetising the website, it carries very little advertising and that which it does carry isn't likely to be particularly lucrative. Maybe they should take another look at their ad strategy. But, as I've said before, it isn't the hosting costs which matter. If RMweb was one of my sites then I'm confident it would generate an operating profit on advertising alone. But I couldn't live off that. Nor could anybody. From an organisational perspective, something which generates a net profit of maybe £50 to £100 a month isn't paying for very many hours of staff time looking after it. If you want to earn a living wage from a mid-ranking website (which RMweb is), then you need more than just advertising to do it. Which is where we came in.
  9. So does that mean Accurascale may be thinking of producing one?
  10. Hmm. These don't fit anywhere in any project that I've currently modelling or got in mind. But, still. What kind of locos would, typically, have pulled these?
  11. Dolphins? All I'm getting is ships and pastry. Given the variety of subjects, I suppose one of us is probably lucky enough to get trains!
  12. And yet, advertising, demonstrably, works. That's fine. You don't need to. It works equally well whether you understand it or not.
  13. What you're paying for, though, isn't the privilege of contributing your pearls of wisdom, it's having somewhere in which to contribute them. Also, I hope, even if you are offering a lot of valuable free advice, you are also benefitting from the opportunity to read and learn from the contributions of others. There's nothing worse than a forum participant who treats it as a write-only medium. Now, it is, undoubtedly, true that a forum is nothing without at least a core of regular participants. There would be nothing here to monetise if there were no discussions going on. But then, if there were no discussions going on, Warners could shut it down and spend the money on something else, and none of us would be any worse off. I think part of the issue here is that many people aren't aware of just how labour-intensive a popular forum is to administer. There are some types of website that do run effectively on autopilot and can, therefore, easily cover their hosting costs and the relatively light administration costs from advertising. But forums are not, typically, among them. From a technical perspective they are a complex piece of code that needs fairly high spec hardware to run on. From a human perspective there's a lot of work involved in moderation and dealing with queries and complaints. As I've said further upthread, the biggest cost of a professionally run website is paying the salaries of the people who look after it. The commitment, both in time and money, of the forum operator vastly exceeds that of the participants. It's not at all unreasonable that they should seek to monetise the forum in a way which makes that all worthwhile. That's not to say that there isn't a valid debate to be had about the way in which it is monetised. Just like there's a valid debate to be had about the design and price of the latest Hornby releases, for example, or the balance of layouts and traders at an exhibition. But the most useful contributions to that debate come from those who can offer an informed perspective, those who can give a reasoned explanation of their point of view and those who accept that their opinion isn't necessarily shared by everyone else. And the least useful contributions come from those who enter the debate with a sense of entitlement, thinking that Warners, or Hornby, or the world, owes them something.
  14. I'm only going to a committee meeting if you've got biscuits.
  15. Also, even if people are accurate and honest in their statement of perception, it doesn't necesarily tell you what they will actually do. I think that £20 is a reasonable price for a typical OO gauge wagon, and maybe £30 for a good one. But that doesn't mean I'm actually going to buy one. Price is only one of a number of factors that goes into a purchase decision. Even something that's well within what I can afford to pay and am willing to pay isn't going to be paid if I don't want the product on offer.
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