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Andy Y

C&L Finescale

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Perhaps we should think less about our own hobby needs and should more than spare a thought for Roy, Luke (the manager) Jenny and Jim who have had the rug pulled from under their feet.

 

 

Totally agree with you, but the staff I believe have been kept informed and Peter has tried to sell the whole business without any luck. Hopefully all will find new employment ASAP

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Fingers crossed it's not going to a big dark hole in deepest Essex!

 

I think that's pretty much the first thought any time a business changes hands these days, Mike!

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I wish the staff , the best of fortunes , its sad to see them get the short end of the stick, always had a great service from them and Pete, its very sad to see this business revert to a " cottage industry " whatever that means

 

The supply of track components needs to taken in hand by the relevant gauge societies in my view, it shouldn't be solely dependant on a single supplier ( we have been here before )

Edited by Junctionmad
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I wish the staff , the best of fortunes , its sad to see them get the short end of the stick, always had a great service from them and Pete, its very sad to see this business revert to a " cottage industry " whatever that means

 

The supply of track components needs to taken in hand by the relevant gauge societies in my view, it shouldn't be solely dependant on a single supplier ( we have been here before )

 

I can't see how taking this 'back in house' could work as supplier costs are driven by economies of scale and I guess the same moulder, extruder etc supplies both 4mm and 7mm scale chair and rail components to C&L . Also I doubt any of the societies have the means or operations to scale up to provide this service, particularly as few if any appear to have on-line ordering and payment facilities. 

 

Difficult to see how a specialist like C&L goes beyond cottage industry status and ends up becoming another 'ebay shop' type operation. Shows were once bread and butter to small suppliers however reading between the lines on Pete's blog I doubt that much profit was ever generated from these given the costs involved these days.

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I can't see how taking this 'back in house' could work as supplier costs are driven by economies of scale and I guess the same moulder, extruder etc supplies both 4mm and 7mm scale chair and rail components to C&L . Also I doubt any of the societies have the means or operations to scale up to provide this service, particularly as few if any appear to have on-line ordering and payment facilities. 

 

I doubt there's anything much to be had in way of economies of scale, nor is there generally in the model railway world. The market just isn't big enough. No one is selling tens or hundreds of thousands of anything and I wouldn't be suprised if some of the C&L components were being order at minimum quantities. Personally I think the scale societies could easily take on distribution of items such as track components if required and indeed offer a decent service. The Scalefour Society has a public online shop with online payment via Paypal/credit or debit card along with a very good stores 'manager' in Jeremy Suter. The service is excellent. As with most things if there's is a necessity to do something then people will find a way to do it...

 

Justin

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There's a company in the West Country who have recently discovered chaired track. Their arrival in C&L's traditional market space could easily turn things upside down.

 

When I was supplying track-making kits and parts in the 1970s, EM gauge easily out-sold 00 and P4. I very much doubt that is the case today, 00 is now probably well ahead. So the introduction of ready-to-lay bullhead pointwork in 00 is going to be, er, interesting. A lot of handbuilders may decide it is just so much easier to buy ready-made, even if there is a very small range of sizes. On the other hand it may cause a whole new generation of modellers to take an interest in properly modelled track. A new owner for C&L will be having a lot to think about.

 

Martin.

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Press Release: "The purchaser has a detailed knowledge of both the C&L and Exactoscale ranges, as well as having been a modeller for many years."
 
If the operative word there is "both", one name springs to mind. I've had a little bet with myself. smile.gif

Martin.

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My thoughts are very much with the staff who will be looking for new employment best of luck and thanks for your excellent service.

Have to admit that this situation is one that worries me when venturing off 'main stream'for modelling supplies and I am glad that I'm not about to start building a layout with these components as the base product. Will have to think long and hard next time a layout is considered.

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I can't see how taking this 'back in house' could work as supplier costs are driven by economies of scale and I guess the same moulder, extruder etc supplies both 4mm and 7mm scale chair and rail components to C&L . Also I doubt any of the societies have the means or operations to scale up to provide this service, particularly as few if any appear to have on-line ordering and payment facilities. 

 

Difficult to see how a specialist like C&L goes beyond cottage industry status and ends up becoming another 'ebay shop' type operation. Shows were once bread and butter to small suppliers however reading between the lines on Pete's blog I doubt that much profit was ever generated from these given the costs involved these days.

 

The Scalefour society online sales is very good, as is the show stand sales. The EMGS website has improved a lot also in recent months due to an ongoing revamp.

 

The C&L show stand is rather big, so a smaller show stand with less products to shift might well be more cost effective for going to shows, as might being selective about shows (ie ExpoEM, Scaleforum etc).

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There's a company in the West Country who have recently discovered chaired track. Their arrival in C&L's traditional market space could easily turn things upside down.

 

When I was supplying track-making kits and parts in the 1970s, EM gauge easily out-sold 00 and P4. I very much doubt that is the case today, 00 is now probably well ahead. So the introduction of ready-to-lay bullhead pointwork in 00 is going to be, er, interesting. A lot of handbuilders may decide it is just so much easier to buy ready-made, even if there is a very small range of sizes. On the other hand it may cause a whole new generation of modellers to take an interest in properly modelled track. A new owner for C&L will be having a lot to think about.

 

Martin.

 

I think there is enough ideas and thoughts there for a whole new thread....Probably one that would get locked though because it seems a lot of people just like to argue.

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Press Release: "The purchaser has a detailed knowledge of both the C&L and Exactoscale ranges, as well as having been a modeller for many years."

 

If the operative word there is "both", one name springs to mind. I've had a little bet with myself. http://85a.co.uk/forum/images/emoticons/smile.gif.

I think I can guess who your bet is. I also think it might well turn out to be a dead cert.

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The Scalefour society online sales is very good, as is the show stand sales. The EMGS website has improved a lot also in recent months due to an ongoing revamp.

 

The C&L show stand is rather big, so a smaller show stand with less products to shift might well be more cost effective for going to shows, as might being selective about shows (ie ExpoEM, Scaleforum etc).

Agreed - it would be good to see the various societies benefit however I still can't see how this would work in practise. Plastic moulding and wire drawing are not typical cottage industries so large scale suppliers still have to be involved somewhere in the chain to provide products to society re-sellers. I recall C&L having major problems a couple of years ago when a chair mould cracked and it cost Pete a fortune for a specialist repair - I guess from his own pocket. 

 

Anyway here's hoping that all's well ends well.....

Edited by purplepiepete

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I wish the staff , the best of fortunes , its sad to see them get the short end of the stick, always had a great service from them and Pete, its very sad to see this business revert to a " cottage industry " whatever that means

 

The supply of track components needs to taken in hand by the relevant gauge societies in my view, it shouldn't be solely dependant on a single supplier ( we have been here before )

 

Are you saying that the societies should manufacture the components themselves, or store and resell stock from other manufacturers?

 

I'm not sure quite how that would work when the 4mm range is mostly (except for items with pre-set check-rails, track bases and the paper templates) equally applicable to all three common gauges - would DOGA, EMGS and S4Society have to form some sort of consortium to supply them?

 

If one is to try to do finescale track modelling, I don't think it should be a requirement that one joins a society to be able to obtain parts. 

 

Edit: forgot about the track bases

Edited by sharris

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Agreed - it would be good to see the various societies benefit however I still can't see how this would work in practise. Plastic moulding and wire drawing are not typical cottage industries so large scale suppliers still have to be involved somewhere in the chain to provide products to society re-sellers. I recall C&L having major problems a couple of years ago when a chair mould cracked and it cost Pete a fortune for a specialist repair - I guess from his own pocket. 

 

Anyway here's hoping that all's well ends well.....

 

It is possible to provide moulded plastic products and wire drawn rail without having to do it on a massive scale. The 2mm Scale Association now has moulded plastic track bases and 3 different types of wire-drawn code 40 rail, all of which has been commissioned from professional companies by the Association or by our members, and done on a typical membership base of 800 to 900 members. It had to be done by the Association because there simply isn't the trade support in 2mm Finescale to make it happen. You will also find that the 3mm Society have done something similar.

 

Andy

Edited by 2mm Andy

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It is possible to provide moulded plastic products and wire drawn rail without having to do it on a massive scale. The 2mm Scale Association now has moulded plastic track bases and 3 different types of wire-drawn code 40 rail, all of which has been commissioned from professional companies by the Association or by our members, and done on a typical membership base of 800 to 900 members. It had to be done by the Association because there simply isn't the trade support in 2mm Finescale to make it happen. You will also find that the 3mm Society have done something similar.

 

Andy

 

That's good news Andy - I wonder if the other societies may follow this lead now.

 

However I guess to make a viable business generating profit to reinvest in new products / R&D is going to be tough unless the customer base widens. This seems evident given the number of small kit suppliers (particularly notable in 7mm scale) who have ceased trading or scaled back recently.

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That's good news Andy - I wonder if the other societies may follow this lead now.

 

However I guess to make a viable business generating profit to reinvest in new products / R&D is going to be tough unless the customer base widens. This seems evident given the number of small kit suppliers (particularly notable in 7mm scale) who have ceased trading or scaled back recently.

Logically, if the 2mm and 3mm associations can make the numbers add up, then in the rather larger 4mm market it should be a doddle. Except that the 4mm market already has multiple options on trackwork, of varying degrees of visual accuracy, and indeed gauge.

 

My perception is that interest in scale-appearance trackwork has never been greater, so the reduction in 'offer' that this news seems to indicate is a great pity.

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Logically, if the 2mm and 3mm associations can make the numbers add up, then in the rather larger 4mm market it should be a doddle. Except that the 4mm market already has multiple options on trackwork, of varying degrees of visual accuracy, and indeed gauge.

 

My perception is that interest in scale-appearance trackwork has never been greater, so the reduction in 'offer' that this news seems to indicate is a great pity.

The problem with Scalefoursoc (double the membership of 2mm scale Association, but difficult to know what proportion actively build track) is that there is still a strong following for the original soldered ply and rivet method, which is what the society sells. The newer plastic base and chair method supplied by C+L (own brand and Excatoscale) which is similar to the 2mmFS stuff, contains a lot of components which would serve for EM and 00 as well, so making and supplying the chairs, frogs, crossings, blades, in-house doesn't make economic sense as only the track bases are particular to P4, and the society hasn't the resources, or the purpose, to supply the users of other 4mm scales. To see the DOGA, EMGS and Scalefoursoc entering into an economic venture partnership seems unlikely and fraught with potential problems.

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I'm not clear what is the problem that the last few posts are trying to solve?

 

The press release from C&L says that the new owner is familiar with and will be concentrating on the trackwork items. So the chairs, etc., will continue to be available as now. More problematic is the future of the Carrs range of specialist fluxes, etc.

 

What is not easy to answer is which will be the more important in future? A slick online mail-order operation, or a workshop and skills to maintain the tools and develop new products? It is difficult to have both as a cottage industry. While operating a milling machine you can't just leave it to answer the phone or dash to the post office with an armful of jiffy bags. Been there, got the T-shirt. 

 

Martin.

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Don't see an issue with solders and fluxes, they're all available on-line. I do see an issue with the C&L own brand of track though. There are concerning signs that the tooling is wearing out and it will be expensive to replace. But then there is the Exactoscale range which has newer tooling so perhaps that isn't such an issue.

 

Concerning the staff, perhaps the new owner will keep them on.

 

Regards

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.....there is still a strong following for the original soldered ply and rivet method, which is what the society sells. ....

 

...and appears to be cheaper than the injection-moulded components. I admit to having a bit of a turn when looking at the prices of some of the top-grade full turnout kits; I'm not a track builder, so I shouldn't really be worrying but, if I were, I'd certainly be giving serious thought to the prices.

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However I guess to make a viable business generating profit to reinvest in new products / R&D is going to be tough unless the customer base widens. 

 

And as that hasn't happened since Bernard Weller kicked off, and Andrew Jukes finished, the current range of Exactoscale wheels, it suggests the tough conditions already apply. Perhaps the new owner could look at a crowd-funding solution? I'll chip in for WD and 9F wheels!

 

The Nim.

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.... I'll chip in for WD and 9F wheels!

 

BR Standard Pacific wheels?

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