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Dapol N Gauge Western


TomE
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Sadly this is caused by inflation but more significantly by the steady decline in value of the pound.

Probably there are a whole range of different factors, from wages in China being on the increase, raw material and transport costs likewise. The £ is not especially strong against many currencies either as you say.

 

Many say a "tipping point" will arrive very soon where the cost savings of manufacture in the Far East are offset by these other factors and manufacturing will return to the UK etc. Whether infrastructure and expertise still exists is maybe another question.

 

However I would make a further challenge in any case. Against the costs of items we were purchasing a decade or more ago are the items REALLY that much more expensive in real terms?

 

Take one example - the Poole manufactured Farish A4 retailed at £89.99 when released in about 1999 - to compare the same manufacturer's products let's take what their recent A1 (A similar sized and type of loco) costs now, 15 ish years later RRP listing at £144 odd. In terms of quality there is no comparison. While perfectly acceptable back then (we had nothing else) the old A4 is laughable when put next to the exquisite DCC ready A1 of today. Allowing for 15 years inflation, in real terms just how much more expensive is the A1?

 

I laways said I would be prepared to pay more for better quality products - I believe that is what we are now getting. I think what is happening in reality is more that after a period where we have been spoiled by the low cost of these new products, prices are now starting to catch up.

 

Anyway, as a final reality check reality can anyone really say that the forthcoming finely detailed DCC ready, coreless motor, loco drive Ivatt 2-6-0 with see through spokes on all the exquisitely finely profiled wheels at a list price of £104.95 is not worth the extra fifteen quid over the old Farish A4's £89.99 I mention even ignoring the effect of 15 years of inflation?!!!

 

Roy

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Probably there are a whole range of different factors, from wages in China being on the increase, raw material and transport costs likewise. The £ is not especially strong against many currencies either as you say.

 

Oh hold on a moment, wasn't that the original reason given by manufacturers for moving all production from the UK to China in the first place. Having said that, if you think we have got it bad with price rises, look at Hornbys ranges of Jouef and Electrotren £200+ for a loco.

Personally I look to the bargain corner, means waiting longer for a loco but I get more for my money.

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thinking this through... If I have a driving experience day on the western at the SVR for my 21st birthday this august I might just have to have the model as well ;)

 

EDIT: IMO this EP looks better than the competition already. I also commend the smoother running of Dapol mechanisms, which are also a tad quieter than those of competitiors. I think this will turn out to be a smashing little model.

Edited by Leicester Thumper
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Plates for 1015 were bought at the Bristol show last weekend, a maroon model's been on order from Hattons for a while. Just need to decide how to do the unique headcodes on 'Champion'.

I can't explain why, but this is a release I can't wait for!

 

jo

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Flicking through the June issue of British Railway Modeling on my iPad, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Dapol ad on the last page proudly announcing that the N gauge Westerns are going to be released in May

 

D1005 Western Venturer in BR Blue

D1029 Western Legionnaire in Maroon small yellow panels

D1038 Western Sovereign in Green small yellow panels

D1056 Western Venturer in Maroon full yellow ends

 

Clearly a poor piece of proof reading from the Dapol folks on D1056 as this should be Western Sultan

 

Then I recalled that the same ads had the Class 22 in BR Blue arriving in March and then the green ones in April and they haven't seen the light of day yet

 

But progress of sorts I guess and who knows, maybe May means May this time!!

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I would guess that adverts (like articles) have to be submitted a while before publication so the dates listed may have slipped a bit. Still, I think we can take it as read that both the 22 and Western are imminent. The fact that magazines have review samples available is positive. My guess is that a small batch were shipped over by air for review while the majority are on the slow boat from China. ;)

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However I would make a further challenge in any case. Against the costs of items we were purchasing a decade or more ago are the items REALLY that much more expensive in real terms?

 

(snip)

 

I laways said I would be prepared to pay more for better quality products - I believe that is what we are now getting. I think what is happening in reality is more that after a period where we have been spoiled by the low cost of these new products, prices are now starting to catch up.

 

Anyway, as a final reality check reality can anyone really say that the forthcoming finely detailed DCC ready, coreless motor, loco drive Ivatt 2-6-0 with see through spokes on all the exquisitely finely profiled wheels at a list price of £104.95 is not worth the extra fifteen quid over the old Farish A4's £89.99 I mention even ignoring the effect of 15 years of inflation?!!!

 

 

Yep, I have to agree.

 

We all judge 'value for money' differently but certainly, for me, the quality and range we are now getting in N gauge is well worth a few extra pounds. 

 

And I can't see that the gradual creeping up of prices, when offset by inflation and increases in disposal income, is likely to reach a point when everyone suddenly re-evaluates their expenditure on modelling (as suggested earlier by oreamnos). Surely we do that all the time and there is no one price point that everyone will agree on and act together. Besides most won't necessarly stop buying or significantly scale back, but reappraise and instead, for example, of buying five new locos a year will spend the same amount on four and a few other cheap bits and pieces. 

 

G.

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 My guess is that a small batch were shipped over by air for review while the majority are on the slow boat from China. ;)

 

Absolutely correct. Here's a couple of snaps to whet the appetite of the locos we had on show at Taunton.

 

As.jpg

 

N22-2s.jpg

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...And I can't see that the gradual creeping up of prices, when offset by inflation and increases in disposal income,....

 

I broadly agree with Grahame's and Roy's posts but there is no offset through increased disposable income for me.  I have a stable job that pays a fair wage but my employer has not increased salaries in 3 years with the result being that in real dollars my disposable income has actually declined over that period.  I am sure I am not alone.  Were my wages increasing at the same percentage rate as the price of models, I would be a very happy man!  My concern is really that increased prices will lead fewer people to decide that N gauge railway modelling provides sufficient enjoyment per dollar vis-a-vis the many alternatives, resulting in reduced sales, and consequently even smaller production runs and even higher prices.  While I hope I am wrong it seems like an unsustainable price spiral which will ultimately hurt both the existing manufacturers and the hobby as a whole.

 

The photos of the Westerns are most appreciated and the models look fantastic.  Thanks for posting them.

 

Matt

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I have managed to get my grubby mits on one of the new Dapol Westerns in order to look at how to convert it to 2FS and super detail it and I have to say I'm very impressed. Cosmetically its going to leave me with very little to do as Dapol have really captured the elegant, powerful look of the prototype. Beyond a new name and number (I have a lovely picture of 1039 Western King at Bath Green Park), DG couplings, front end plumbing and weathering it won't need touching. 

 

 

post-1074-0-72501300-1368125973_thumb.jpg

 

Converting it to 2FS may be a bit more involved as Dapol have come up with a very effective bogie design which gives the reliability of split axle pickup on the distinctive inside framed Western bogie. The problem is it traps the wheels in and I haven't, yet, worked out how to get them out for turning- but I will. Dave Jones has also promised to get on the case when he returns from the States.

 

post-1074-0-54682600-1368126238_thumb.jpg

 

post-1074-0-57040900-1368126280_thumb.jpg

 

Oh, and it runs very nicely as well. Those waiting for a top draw Western will not be disappointed.

 

Jerry

post-1074-0-45960500-1368125957_thumb.jpg

Edited by queensquare
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..... my employer has not increased salaries in 3 years

 

(snip)

 

 My concern is really that increased prices will lead fewer people to decide that N gauge railway modelling provides sufficient enjoyment per dollar vis-a-vis the many alternatives, resulting in reduced sales,

 

 

 

Disposal income is not just a factor of your rate of pay or wages - reduction in tax rates, increases in free-pay allowance, increases in pensions, etc., all can help, although in general for everyone costs and prices are increasing on everything (including essentials like food and alternative hobbies).

 

So why would price increases suddenly do that (reduce sales) just for N gauge model railways. Prices are increasing on all scales/gauges and all alternative hobbies. If you have an alternative to spend your disposable income on why would it suddenly offer better value for money and enjoyment.

 

G.

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Disposal income is not just a factor of your rate of pay or wages - reduction in tax rates, increases in free-pay allowance, increases in pensions, etc., all can help, although in general for everyone costs and prices are increasing on everything (including essentials like food and alternative hobbies).

 

So why would price increases suddenly do that (reduce sales) just for N gauge model railways. Prices are increasing on all scales/gauges and all alternative hobbies. If you have an alternative to spend your disposable income on why would it suddenly offer better value for money and enjoyment.

 

G.

 

As I see it, if prices are increasing on everything alternative hobbies can offer better value if they are cheaper relative to railway modelling to begin with.  Railway modeling in any scale is not a cheap hobby even given all the cost savings tips you see in the magazines.  Other hobbies are even more expensive but some are cheaper.

 

Given all sources of income for many folk are not keeping pace with price increases across the board, if the rising costs of railway modelling outstrips the capacity for some to afford it, some of those people will decide to budget down, drop railway modelling as a hobby and take up a hobby that is more affordale to them.  Hattons is offering new Farish Class 08 shunters for £65.  If you don't have £65 to spend on a 2 inch long toy then if you have any sense you're not going to do that hobby and will choose an alternative instead.  It's a pity (on many levels) but I do think the end result is ultimately going to be reduced sales on model railway items.

 

Matt

 

p.s. - When I started modelling British outline in 2005 I could buy an 08 for around £30-£35 from Hattons.  I know the new version is "better."  It's also easier to break and harder to fix and it only runs just as well as the old one!

Edited by oreamnos
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I do agree that model railway prices are increasing rapidly and they are spiralling out of control. However there are cheaper alternatives.

available. Case in point- at my regular model shop there's a brand new Class 31 for around £44 plus a Class 40 for around the same price. Ok the details are not as good as the more expensive locos but they still look good all the same. Plus at exhibitions most of the public are more interested in train movement. Plus check out the second hand cupboard at local model shops. Then try toy and train fairs. Plus another thing to consider -only a few years ago we did without fancy details, DCC, sound etc. Just because the latest model has intricate details, sound, DCC etc, doesn't make the older models less appealing. Periodically model magazines give great ideas on how to make a layout on a shoestring budget Don't be put off by rocketing prices!

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As I see it, if prices are increasing on everything alternative hobbies can offer better value if they are cheaper relative to railway modelling to begin with.  Railway modeling in any scale is not a cheap hobby even given all the cost savings tips you see in the magazines.  Other hobbies are even more expensive but some are cheaper.

 

Given all sources of income for many folk are not keeping pace with price increases across the board, if the rising costs of railway modelling outstrips the capacity for some to afford it, some of those people will decide to budget down, drop railway modelling as a hobby and take up a hobby that is more affordale to them.  Hattons is offering new Farish Class 08 shunters for £65.  If you don't have £65 to spend on a 2 inch long toy then if you have any sense you're not going to do that hobby and will choose an alternative instead.  It's a pity (on many levels) but I do think the end result is ultimately going to be reduced sales on model railway items.

 

Matt

 

p.s. - When I started modelling British outline in 2005 I could buy an 08 for around £30-£35 from Hattons.  I know the new version is "better."  It's also easier to break and harder to fix and it only runs just as well as the old one!

 

Hi Matt

 

With respect I totally disagree with your analysis, you are simply not comparing like with like as far as the two models are concerned and consequently the comparison of prices is in my opinion fundamentally flawed.

 

The old 08 was only an 08 to someone with a very vivid imagination indeed (Or extremely bad eyesight!), it was wrong in almost every respect imaginible. Even the last Bachmann incarnations of the model had their basis in the original tooling from about 1981 so no wonder it was dirt cheap - it was a relic of the past where the tooling cost would have been recovered donkeys years ago.

 

Now in British N we are seeing models in an altogether different league from that old tired stuff. The new 08 is an exquistely detailed model that actually looks like an 08, with a whole host of details such as see through spoked wheels and brake gear (even though barely visible behind the correct outside frames).

 

As to performance, sorry, but as long as you don't get one with poorly adjusted pickups (QC here can be an issie just as with the old ones) running quality (especially slow control) is in a different league to the old "effort" entirely and with a proper double-reduction gearbox so it should be. I have four all are excellent, especially my most recently purchased green one.

 

Long standing modellers of British N such as myself have been crying out for models of this standard and typically will be prepared to pay more for them. New modellers in the scale (Especially converts from larger scales) will in many cases be atteracted by the quality and fidelity of these models and British N is no longer the "joke" it once was to many. Long may that continue.

 

In any case compare a few prices. The "Old" tooling Fowler 4F currently still listed is barely any different in price to the newly listed state of the art model to come. The J39 due for release around September's list price is also around the same as the old 4F and dicounted at Hattons you can preorder at £64 which is actually cheaper and I think amazing value for a "State of the Art" model.

 

The fact thet a model is just two inches long does not somehow devalue the product, indeed in my opinion it is incredible that it packs such incredible detail with performance to match into something so tiny. 

 

Back on topic, the pics of the new Dapol Western say far more to substantiate my point than any words. To compare them with the old Farish model (while reasonable in it's day) in terms of price alone is to ignore the step change in detail, quality and features between the old and the new.

 

I honestly believe that this is what modellers want, and rather than discouarage people it will attract them to the scale as a now truly credible alternative to 00 etc.

 

Regards

 

Roy

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I agree fully. What time period would the maroon ones be please?

The Westerns started appearing in Maroon in 1962. Not sure what year the last one was repainted into rail blue but probably around 1970. They cover pretty much the whole of the 60s though.

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Hi Matt

 

[edit]

 

I honestly believe that this is what modellers want, and rather than discouarage people it will attract them to the scale as a now truly credible alternative to 00 etc.

 

Regards

 

Roy

 

Roy, I completely agree with you about what modellers want but we'll have to disagree about whether or not the higher prices for the new models in all scales will attract new people to railway modelling as a hobby, regardless of scale.  Potential newcomers to the hobby aren't going remember the "bad old days" of the original 08 (for example) and be grateful for the new 08 even though it cost more.  The new 08 (and Western and WD and Hall and 5MT and A1 and A3, etc., etc.) are all those people are going to see in the shops and they won't have an appreciation it wasn't always like this.  And even though the new models they will see in the display cases all look fantastic, those people are also going to see that the 08 costs 65 quid and that mainline locos are near or over £100.  I think the prices will discourage them and they'll decide that railway modelling is too expensive relative to possible alternative hobbies.  I do hope your opinion about this is the one which prevails in the marketplace, Roy, but regret I am more pessimistic.  In front of every silver lining, there's a dark cloud.

 

But even while I fret that its time is coming to a close, I would agree with anyone who said that we are presently still in a "golden age" of railway modelling, of which these new Westerns are a big part.  They look fantastic and I will buy as many as I can afford now (to avoid having to pay a higher price for one from the second batch later!).  :no:

 

Matt

Edited by oreamnos
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