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Continental/US retailer commissions.

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Hi, 

 

As I read through the forum and see the lovely models being commissioned/produced by the likes of Rails, Hattons, Kernow and others, I was wondering if this practice is being undertaken by other retailers across the planet?

 

Are retailers in Germany/US/other places commissioning their own models and are there any really unusual items out there that I have missed?

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REE in France seem to be commissioners of rolling stock - looks very good too. I'm not sure about locos though.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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Certain European model shops do commission models.

To my knowledge, eRail in Greece have commissioned ESU to produce a Greek V60 diesel shunter: https://www.erail.gr/shop/esu-31416-ose-a-121-era-iv/

Some Belgian, Dutch, French, Italian model shops do too.

I know that Piko do limited runs for various of their own sellers.

While REE do French versions of the ESU T16/BR94, I would call them a Manufacturer in the same way as our own Rails/Hattons/Kernow are becoming.

I suspect that in Australia, a similar process of major retailers moving into manufacturing is also taking place.

The USA, I do not know - they have so many established and new manufacturers already, it would surely be a very hard market to break into.

Cheers,

John.

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I regard REE as a manufacturer in its own right.


Generally, European "specials" seem to be new liveries rather than new loco types. AFAIK, the majority of Australian models are sold "direct"—in some cases by organisations which have a shop. At least one manufacturer (Ausicision) has since started its own shop selling its own and other manufacturers' products. These models are commissioned from China just like Kernow, Hattons etc. do.

 

I think some US shops do reliveries of models for their local railroads, and have been for some time. But I'm not aware of anybody commissioning locos in the way we've seen in UK. Britain is to some extent unique in having a large number of companies who had their own designs for everything—even when they were ordered from private builders. There were only a small number of companies in France, and a few state systems in Germany. The US had many companies but, with a few exceptions, they didn't have their own designs.

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4 hours ago, Allegheny1600 said:

The USA, I do not know - they have so many established and new manufacturers already, it would surely be a very hard market to break into.

 

Sort of.  I believe Des Plaines Hobbies (Chicago) has bought and continued some small production lines.

 

Prairie Shadows (Canadian retailer) has had Rapido shrink some of their stuff to N as exclusive models for them.

 

Some get exclusive paint schemes or numbers done of existing products.

 

I think there is a market for deal-direct-with-China models made for a retailer (like Hattons is doing, and how Kernow {is/did} where the economics of eliminating the middle man and having a reduced need for a profit margin(*) can make some models more viable.

 

Despite the number of current manufacturers in the US market there are still a lot of either niche models (either never done or really need a modern tooled version), or prototypes that are very much regional and so are unlikely to ever generate the sales that an Athearn/Atlas/Walthers/etc need.

 

 

* - I say "reduced profit margin" to indicate a hobby shop may view say break even as acceptable (on the assumption the shop itself is profitable and there may be extra sales from people buying the exclusive model) vs say someone like Exactrail who sell direct only and sort of needs more of a profit to stay in business.

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9 hours ago, Philou said:

REE in France seem to be commissioners of rolling stock - looks very good too. I'm not sure about locos though.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

 

As already said, REE are manufacturers in their own right (in the sense that Hornby is a manufacturer) and they are also acting as marketing agents for other small producers such as Mikadotrain.  In France/Benelux at least this seems to be developing trend with for example LS models acting for Models World.

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Sorry - I missed the original reference to REE :blush:. LS was the other, but I couldn't remember the name at the time. I'm not into continental modelling but I did subscribe to 'Le Train' which had ads from the various non-mainstream suppliers.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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No problem Philou.  I think what this demonstrates is that the business model being followed in France is a little different to the UK.  There are probably fewer major traders and they do not yet seem interested in commissioning models*.  There are however a number of what might be called small producers (compared to the Hornby/Jouef, Roco/Fleischmann, Maerklin/Trix producers.  While operating individually these seem to be coalescing into marketing and sales groups.

 

* But note that Roco and I think Maerklin use local marketing companies (non production) to promote their models and to suggest models for the local market.

 

In fairness to both REE and LS it is probably fair to say that their own output of new items is now probably greater than that of Hornby/Jouef although whether their total production volumes are larger I could not say.  

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In the US, a lot of the commissioned models these days are done in conjunction with Historical societies.  Rapido has a upcoming RS-11 in conjunction with Anthracite Railroads Historical Society.  The ACL / SAL / SCL Historical Society has had Kadee do runs of freight cars.  There are others...

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4 minutes ago, TheEngineShed said:

In the US, a lot of the commissioned models these days are done in conjunction with Historical societies.  Rapido has a upcoming RS-11 in conjunction with Anthracite Railroads Historical Society.  The ACL / SAL / SCL Historical Society has had Kadee do runs of freight cars.  There are others...

 

I think it comes down to what you mean by commissioned, and in the case of the original poster I think it's getting actual models made as opposed to just a unique paint scheme / road number.  He specifically mention the 3 UK hobby shops who have all commissioned (or gone to China directly) for exclusive models like the 14xx, Bulleid Diesel, D6xx, SE&CR D Class, NER autocar, LNER Dynamometer, SECR P class, etc.

 

So your examples wouldn't count unless I am wrong.

 

Though it is also worth pointing out (which I forgot to earlier) than the New Haven stuff done by Rapido (the coaches, FL9, EP5) have all been done in a partnership with the New Haven historical group.

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I would not know about continental retailers commissioning new models. There are of course retailers that commision special liveries versions, Huenerbein from Aachen is one of these that also commissions special liveries of LS Models.

Further Märklin makes some models only for a selected group of retailers (MHI - Märklin Händler Initiative); I do not know whether these retailers are involved in product choice or not.

And REE Modèles is of course a manufacturer but has now also a retail shop in Paris which sells REE and other brands of trains. The shop is in the Rue de Douai (located were was formerly the very interesting shop Les Cheminots, I do not know what it looks like now).

 

Regards

Fred 

 

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Thanks for all the feedback .

 

I had been thinking of unique models rather than local livery variations and was wondering what surprises are out there......it may well be there are not many shops with the turnover of Rails or Hattons  that can afford to go it alone or are satisfied that their producers offers enough product to keep their turnover flowing.

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On 03/11/2019 at 00:23, Allegheny1600 said:

I suspect that in Australia, a similar process of major retailers moving into manufacturing is also taking place.


That's been the case for a long time here, going all the way back to The Model Dockyard in Melbourne in the 1960s. They commissioned Japanese manufacturers to build HO scale models of the NSWGR C38 and AD60 class locos, and the VR R class 4-6-4s. Bergs Hobbies of Parramatta in Sydney also started commissioning brass models of NSWGR prototypes in the 1960s. They later produced whitemetal loco kits, and an injected-moulded kit for a Sydney suburban station building. Most recently they've been working their way through the many and varied suburban and interurban EMUs that ran in Sydney. 

Mansfield Hobbies was another retail outlet that commissioned a range of brass NSWGR locos, which are still highly regarded and command high prices.

 

Casula Hobbies at Liverpool have produced wagon and carriage kits for many years, but now also have a range of RTR rolling stock. They've also announced a RTR NSWGR Z19 class 0-6-0 in HO.

 

The former Tom's Hobbies at West Ryde were affiliated with Trainorama, whose retail outlet is now known as Bob's Hobbies. 
 

Orient Express in Adelaide have for some years catered to the SAR modellers with RTR wagons, carriages and an F class 4-6-2T suburban tank engine.

 

By contrast,  Auscision went the other way, and went from being a manufacturer only to having a retail shop in Seven Hills in Sydney.

 

I'm unaware of any other retailer/manufacturers, but I'm open to correction on that. 
 

All the best,

 

Mark.

Edited by dullsteamer
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