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BBC Four - James May's Big Trouble in Model Britain

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14 minutes ago, Jeff Smith said:

The question is, what is modern image?  At one time it might have meant anything without steam, but now I'm not so sure....

 

Given the lack of agreement on what it means (does it mean what's modern now, or what was modern when the term was first used and is now anything but?) I find it's better just not to use the phrase.

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15 minutes ago, Jeff Smith said:

The question is, what is modern image?  At one time it might have meant anything without steam, but now I'm not so sure....

 

And here we go again...………………………..

:rolleyes:

 

 

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YAWN :boredom:

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1 hour ago, AY Mod said:

 

Steady.

 

Yes but that's what terriers are bred for...surely ?:diablo_mini:

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1 hour ago, Robin Brasher said:

The problem with modern image layouts is that by the time you have finished building it it is no longer modern image.

 

The problem with categorising layouts is there aren't enough of the ones you like, and too many of the ones you don't. 

 

Having just seen part one and read pages 1, 2 and 15, I'll be watching the second part to find new exciting ways to strip the insulation from wire and tin a soldering iron bit.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Jeff Smith said:

If society could be reset and a country's wealth be distributed equally amongst the population, within a few years there would be some at the top and some in the gutter.  This would be human nature.

That is probably true, but in a civilised society steps are taken to ensure that the difference between the very rich and the very poor is kept to a level that keeps all the citizens happy enough not to engage in a violent revolution against those who, by inheritance, exploitation, theft or hard work have amassed too much of the limited resources available to the country as a whole. A fair taxation system can produce a happier and more productive society. We just need to work on the problem of coming up with a fair taxation system!! Shouldn't be too much of  a problem!

 

all the best

 

Godfrey

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<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<But my favourite part of the hour was when May explained that teenagers' faces had been blurred (at the big Telford show during the Airfix announcement) so that they might still be able to get a girlfriend. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

From Mike Storey

 

Boys of a certain age have always had this fear of not being cool when faced with the opposite sex!  When this persists into adulthood some try to be cool when talking about our toy train hobby as well, as we can't be seen as playing with trains.  So we offer explanations about operating a miniature railway or some such guff instead of saying we enjoy the model/toy train hobby.   Fortunately, we don't need our faces blurred - or do we?:unknw_mini:

 

Brian

 

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49 minutes ago, adb968008 said:

Where’s the incentive to perform ?

it might be fairer, but those with ability to earn more, wont try as hard, or look elsewhere for riches. Look at anyone in the £100k-£120k tax bracket, they give 60% of that to the government, lose pensions allowances and more..it’s not worth earning that £20k, it’s £100k or £130k or search for loopholes.

i should point out, earnings in this range £50k goes in direct taxation, NI etc already, before disposable tax income those lucky enough have to spend, which could net another 10%... at that point they already are paying more tax than 4 families (not individuals) on average income do.

 

if everyone becomes equal, the disposable drops, lowering spending ability, which loses economic performance and hence jobs, it would only work in a mass exporting situation. The model has been proven for 45 years in Eastern Europe to have failed, leading to loss of skills, lifestyle and wealth compared to the West.

 

anyway none of this is relevant to the discussion, unless of course those in that income bracket spend a considerable part of that disposable income on Hornby products...

 

Hmmm. Difficult area and probably not one for this forum. But your assertions are easily disproved, and the "trickle down" economics of the Right (the Friedman Model) are abject nonsense, simply because the evidence (that stuff identified by both extreme left and right as fake news) says so.

 

Incentives?? Most fiscal incentives these days are based on tax avoidance, and not wealth creation (sources: OECD, UN, EU and, strangely, the FEC). Trump has created probably the greatest incentive for tax avoidance, or a lack of taxes altogether, since Reagan, and has increased the national debt by $1 trillion, at least, to be paid for by the average Joe. The average Trump voter has only benefited, in real terms, where professional skills are now in short supply.

 

Similarly, your assertion that people are disincentivised by higher tax regimes are completely disprovable. People will earn more money, if their skills (or their entrepreneurial efforts) are in sufficient demand. I know personally, because I lost out on paper by leaving the security of relatively poorly paid, protected railway industry employment, into a very well paid but perk-lacking Olympics role, for the last five years of my working life (apart from a few years delving into consultancy and co-owning an energy efficiency company). You just find ways around the tax regime, mainly through the pension and tax credit schemes easily available. I actually paid similar tax over several years  than under PAYE. The consultant project and engineering folk that worked with or for me, paid even less (but they had no paid annual or sickness leave, nor a severance deal). Only the extremely rich, such as several distinguished believers in a certain point of view recently, have decided to jump ship, just to either avoid tax altogether, or to avoid having to expose their income and holdings to public view (under emerging EU law). A certain famous actor in France actually took Russian citizenship to avoid new taxes, but he is, by common assent, quite bonkers. Incentives?? Don't make me wet myself.

 

Key facts in the Hornby debate are that:

 

a) when the last time such extremes of difference between the very, very rich, and the rest of us, were extant, Model Railways were broadly a rich person's hobby, and thus niche and low volume. Not particularly apposite for Hornby's game plan. Evidence from the ONS, OECD, UNICEF and others, shows that extremity increasing, under the policies prevalent since 2010.

 

b) The increasing divisions of the extremely wealthy and the rest in China (whatever some people on here explain as something else) are placing much greater emphasis in their stock market on faster and better returns. White goods and Hi-Tech are getting far better results for them (including the industries Phil of this parish cites). It does not bode well for Sanda Kan, or anyone else seeking to serve the model railway market, with its slimmer margins and more long term development. They will be under consequent pressure to increase wages, just as much as by government decree, and their stock value is becoming stressed - witness the increased (albeit still relatively low) inclusion of property operations in Sand Kan's annual reports.

 

There is an extraordinary conflict of theories at present, as to what the future holds. Hornby must be hoping it does not change too much.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, brianusa said:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<But my favourite part of the hour was when May explained that teenagers' faces had been blurred (at the big Telford show during the Airfix announcement) so that they might still be able to get a girlfriend. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

From Mike Storey

 

Boys of a certain age have always had this fear of not being cool when faced with the opposite sex!  When this persists into adulthood some try to be cool when talking about our toy train hobby as well, as we can't be seen as playing with trains.  So we offer explanations about operating a miniature railway or some such guff instead of saying we enjoy the model/toy train hobby.   Fortunately, we don't need our faces blurred - or do we?https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_unknw_mini.gif

 

Brian

 

 

Whatever Brian!! Personally, even though I had built two layouts by the time I was 20, and was a member of my school MR society (which was disbanded just a few years later, due to the retirement of the sole teacher who was prepared to give his time to it), I very quickly realised when entering the real railway, that expressing such interest was not conducive either to getting my end away, but also to being taken seriously at work. My continued involvement with model railways in Kent remained well hidden. The same was true about claiming to like Abba.....

 

I even had to hide my employment with BR, such was its reputation for a decade or so, claiming at parties that I was a transport consultant, which was pretty safe in those days, as no-one, including me, had any idea what one was....

 

And yet, the current Mrs Storey still married me, but I think that was mainly because I had a Triumph Spitfire at the time. I have disappointed her ever since.

 

 

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I’ve spent much of the past fifteen years travelling the former Soviet Union. If you think their model has led to loss of skills, I can only suggest that you go and see for yourself. I’ve visited a large Polish facility in Gdansk quite recently, making pylons for windfarms and a range of large, high-quality fabrication work. I found in Azerbaijan that they might have been a bit behind the times, but if you have the skills you can update relatively easily - and you should see the Baku Ship Yard now. Do you think Skoda cars are made by unskilled labour? 

 

I do know an economic model which has destroyed skills on a wide scale, but it’s not in Eastern Europe...

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm finally getting the chance to watch episode 1. I like to think that I'm quite aware of how us 'railway modellers' or 'enthusiasts' come across to the wider world and I think that it pitches well (unlike some of the aggro in this thread). I must profess to being slightly bias, being a quiet DOGA member and with a few of my friends appearing. I have operated Batcombe a couple of times, though the last time was probably around 2012. It is fun, runs reliably and the viewer will see many nods to various Southern branch lines in the landscape.

 

It was great to see how much SK seems to really care about Hornby. The insight into the delays that can occur in production were interesting (in relation to the J36).

 

(Edited to make more sense)

Edited by Torn-on-the-platform
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Posted (edited)

Can we try and stick to Hornby and the programme in this thread, rather than continue to wander somewhat off topic so frequently. A little wandering can be fun, but it's getting a bit thin now.

 

I hope that this isn't taken as a backhanded compliment, but it's unfortunate for H that their Terrier is going to compete with Rails version and I hope there isn't going to be ongoing bad blood between them a la Hattons and Bachmann over the 66. H's Terrier is good enough to buy and I wouldn't hold out on buying it if it weren't for the Rails/Dapol one, though if H's was the only one on offer I'd be disappointed in its detail shortcomings. I'm hopeful the Rails one will catch the details better, and if so (and that appears likely), unfortunately for H that's where I will be putting my money.

Edited by Ian J.
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You seem to be projecting a range of predetermined conclusions onto a single statement.

 

Here’s my Jawa speedway bike, circa 1972. A state of the art design by any standards; robust, functional and its direct descendants are still in production today.DCBF5994-B362-4FEF-BEA5-127CC6014677.jpeg.916876ac73975f31bc89dd1aa6455bf0.jpeg

 

Or, here are examples of Soviet space technology. Don’t forget that for some time now, the Russians have been operating the only functional booster capable of reaching the ISS. 

 

BD4AA996-8CE8-46D1-A762-31BA7BD1A736.jpeg.2bd7e92985609b118320faf5c4ad268a.jpeg23958DF2-BD94-4AA2-BA3D-3FF7BF9043C3.jpeg.b4987dd241654f8888c0e14ca7c31ec3.jpeg

 

I don’t make any comment beyond the obvious one, that while their economy generally was undoubtedly suffering from the effects of thirty years of war, invasion and revolution, and their system and goals were quite unlike ours, the USSR was quite capable of designing and producing anything to which it attached sufficient importance. The renovation of the Baku oilfields from the mid-1990s on was directly founded upon the skills base left by the USSR. The same applies to the Polish fabrication facility I recently visited. 

 

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Maybe a mod could split this subject off into a thread topic of its own ?

 

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4 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

Whatever Brian!! Personally, even though I had built two layouts by the time I was 20, and was a member of my school MR society (which was disbanded just a few years later, due to the retirement of the sole teacher who was prepared to give his time to it), I very quickly realised when entering the real railway, that expressing such interest was not conducive either to getting my end away, but also to being taken seriously at work. My continued involvement with model railways in Kent remained well hidden. The same was true about claiming to like Abba.....

 

I even had to hide my employment with BR, such was its reputation for a decade or so, claiming at parties that I was a transport consultant, which was pretty safe in those days, as no-one, including me, had any idea what one was....

 

And yet, the current Mrs Storey still married me, but I think that was mainly because I had a Triumph Spitfire at the time. I have disappointed her ever since.

 

 

funny only for the last sentence should have driven a Bachetta 

 

Nick

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7 hours ago, Godfrey Glyn said:

That is probably true, but in a civilised society steps are taken to ensure that the difference between the very rich and the very poor is kept to a level that keeps all the citizens happy enough not to engage in a violent revolution against those who, by inheritance, exploitation, theft or hard work have amassed too much of the limited resources available to the country as a whole. A fair taxation system can produce a happier and more productive society. We just need to work on the problem of coming up with a fair taxation system!! Shouldn't be too much of  a problem!

 

all the best

 

Godfrey

 

Agreed - we just have to look at Denmark ot Sweden as an example of countries where higher taxation is a positive and does not hinder economic productivity or the happiness or fairness of society as a whole. Those who earn more should be taxed more - it might be a simplistic statement but I truly believe it. 

 

6 hours ago, adb968008 said:

Where’s the incentive to perform ?

 

Well if 'performance' in life is based solely on profit, earnings and economic wealth than that is a very sad situation and worrying reflection on humankind. 

 

Anyway, Hornby should be congratulated for being brave and going ahead with the programme. Based on he interest here, it has obviously stirred plenty of thought and comment.  I have seen reviews of the programme in a number of national newspapers - great exposure for the hobby as a whole and obviously for the company. Let's hope that results in positive outcomes all round. 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, D9020 Nimbus said:

Hornby' product selection processes as far as modern image prototypes are concerned seem reasonable—they have covered most of the "gaps" and to cover any more diesel or electric locos would mean going head-to-head with another manufacturer.

 

However, there currently isn't a modern-standard DMU in their range; they don't appear to value protecting the 142 or 156 in the way they protected the "Terrier" or large Prairie. (I'm sure Realtrack are grateful.) Same applies to several of the ex-Lima models. It appears to be a common Hornby failing not to update old tooling, resulting in their "losing" models—class 25, 37, 40, 47, 52, 66, 101, 121 in modern image; 4F, 9F, M7 in steam era, and I don't think that list is exhaustive. They did however produce new examples of classes 31, 50, 60, 67, 87. And they have updated the big LNER/LMS Pacifics several times.

So when did Hornby "lose" the M7, then? And to whom?

 

OK, they don't necessarily do another one every year (specially while they've had the H to promote) but I haven't noticed anyone but Hornby producing any ex-LSWR Drummond loco, with the solitary exception of the D15 from OO works.

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling
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6 hours ago, adb968008 said:

 

 

fwiw I think Hornby International would do well to make a Polish rtr steam outline to go with its PKP coaches, it’s a growth market, that’s growing faster than other western HO markets and much less saturated, that might not sit well with some grandfathers on the forum, but Hornby does ultimately need to follow the money, and in reality the UK market has shrunk and is less lucrative than it was.

 

Can't be that much of a disaster area judging by the number of new producers it's been attracting..…..

 

John

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1 hour ago, Dunsignalling said:

 

Can't be that much of a disaster area judging by the number of new producers it's been attracting..…..

 

John

 

But, is it attracting new producers? Or is it a case of new distributors and commissioners, making use of the same production facilities which are available to anyone willing to pay for them? Is the market REALLY growing, or just fluid, redistributing itself amongst ever smaller players? 

 

We saw much about the Professor Branestawm character variously demonstrating the Vent Van or running a chassis with PCB hanging off it with clothes pegs (which I don’t doubt, was a deliberate choice by the producers) we got a throw-away line about the Airfix designers showing the Hellcat as a concept and being given the go-ahead to move to production, plus the whole business about Jim The (Kit)Builder, but I got no real sense of how much of the company’s employee base this represented, or what proportion of its efforts. 

 

With production outsourced to China, no apparent tool-making capacity, warehousing and logistics outsourced to DHL, I found it quite difficult to form a clear picture of exactly what Hornby actually consisted of.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Dunsignalling said:

 

Can't be that much of a disaster area judging by the number of new producers it's been attracting..…..

 

John

 

Which begs the question, why do retailers feel the need to commission models directly from Chinese factories (and I'm talking about new tooling and not reliveries), and why do consumers evidently have the confidence to pre-order such unknowns or invest in crowdfunded projects from new suppliers when a similar policy from Hornby or another established brand would have a less positive reaction?

 

I'm sure more will be explained by Simon* in part two

 

(*who seemed to have been mentored in talking to the camera by Pete Waterman).

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Dunsignalling said:

 

Can't be that much of a disaster area judging by the number of new producers it's been attracting..…..

 

John

Quote

and in reality the UK market has shrunk and is less lucrative than it was.

 

Humble Jinty, 74,800 produced.

 

http://www.hornbyguide.com/item_details.asp?itemid=23

 

I dont beleive Hornby made 74,000 LNER J50’s, and even at whatever number it was, they are still sitting round cheap to buy a number of years later.

 

I have a list of UK model shops in summer 1996 (full list including addresses and phone numbers), 1210 of them.

 

I bet its not more than half that today and Id wager in the 1970’s it was double that.

 

Theres a strong clue in limited editions... 5000 used to be a limited edition of a single catalog number in the 1990’s,  Iirc model rail said they made around 6000 USA tanks, across all 10 variatons.

 

The hobby is smaller. Whats happened is technology has adapted to allow smaller runs to be viable to meet that reduced need at a price that supports it.

 

inversely, if someone wanted 75k of a new Jinty, i suspect the current supply chain would struggle to deliver and maintain existing supplies of other orders, considering the long lead times we currently see.

Edited by adb968008

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Just now, adb968008 said:

Humble Jinty, 74,800 produced.

 

http://www.hornbyguide.com/item_details.asp?itemid=23

 

I dont beleive Hornby made 74,000 LNER J50’s, and even at whatever number it was, they are still sitting round cheap to buy a number if years later.

 

I have a list of UK model shops in the 1990’s (full list including addresses and phone numbers), 1210 of them in Summer 1996...

I bet its not more than half that today.

 

You are comparing apples and hand grenades.

 

The humble Jinty dates from a time when there was far less choice of RTR loco and also when we were happy if it had the right number of wheels. The J50 competes with a number of similar models so we can now pick something appropriate for our layout. It's also been in production for far less time.

 

Model shops in 1996 were only just looking at this thing called the web. Mailorder had bitten into the numbers, but we modellers hadn't seriously voted with our wallets chasing the cheapest prices from the comfort of our computers.

  • The hobby is shrinking/dying
  • Prices are too high
  • Everyone in the hobby is ancient

are all tropes that people have been trotted out without any numbers to prove them for over half a century (Prices one here: https://philsworkbench.blogspot.com/2010/06/prices-of-models.html)

so can we stop it unless you have actual facts?

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Posted (edited)

Sorry to call you on this Phil,

but here is some numbers...

 

shops by region as per in 1996.

You are correct the internet was not an issue in 1996.

But discounting was still very aggressive due to Swapmeets, that today have largely died out due to the a forementioned internet.

of the survey area, 1016 shops compared with 1142 swapmeets in those areas, leaving just a hundred or so shops without swapmeet competition.

 

below is an extract from a Staffordshire University publication on the UK model railway industry, compiled with actual data from several known players of the day, including one well known name today.

 

5D8374F9-2BF9-4C37-B508-6EB524E52835.jpeg.86cc54e0e84d635f688316c85e9d646c.jpeg

 

also, I can suggest The Guardian Newspaper November 25th 1995, “Trouble in Toyland” which discusses the shrinking hobby, and plans to move to China to mitigate this, by Hornby.

and

The Times, 25th June 1995 “Dissappearing model shops”.

 

i have copies of both, the subject is nothing new. Swapmeets are gone, to ebay. But where are the 106 retailers stocking model products. (not just railways) in London today.

swapmeets were massive, sometimes every month in the same venue, even small ones could attract several hundred people in a few hours of an evening.

 

I havent suggested anything about Prices or Age in my post.

 

finally, the same staffordshire university document made this prediction in 1996...09D91CD0-7698-4629-A46B-73968FB5BA79.jpeg.7e487af03bf2d99db2abaf32dfe1730e.jpeg

 

 

Edited by adb968008
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21 hours ago, AY Mod said:

 

Careful, you're talking rubbish again. Do you any evidence for yet another assertion? Don't just hide behind what you'd 'heard' as they're talking rubbish too. Unless you are prepared to qualify the statements you make then it's best not to post them.

 

Oh yes, one of my biggest headaches when organising the layouts for the Mansfield Show is finding enough steam layouts. It would be far easier to fill the show with more modern "D&E"

 

 

Sorry, but you have to get to 8:50 in to see a diesel ......

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