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Hornby: A Model World


Phil Parker
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8 minutes ago, Miss Prism said:

If Airfix kits weren't profitable, I doubt whether Hornby would be investing in new kits as much as they do. And if aircraft kits are profitable, then railway kits could be profitable. It's just a matter of mindset, isn't it?

 

It's surely a case of taking a judgment as to whether railway kits would be potentially more or less profitable that RTR and RTP, and how they might impact sales of those, though?

 

Maybe that judgment has already been arrived at....

 

John

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11 minutes ago, pete_mcfarlane said:

I think the answer was in a recent episode, where Simon Kohler talked about the people who build Airfix kits as wanting detailed models, just like the people who buy Hornby trains. That suggests Hornby (rightly or wrongly) seem to view these two groups as completely separate from each other. 

 

Any modelling site will show hints of crossovers where some will have an interest in several disciplines. It's only when you get to the About Hornby Hobbies pages on any of the brand websites that there's the vagest whiff of other worlds which, IMO, is missing opportunities.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago we were talking to some folk about multi-discipline show potential; it works in Europe but is largely bypassed here.

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1 hour ago, AY Mod said:

Just a couple of weeks ago we were talking to some folk about multi-discipline show potential; it works in Europe but is largely bypassed here.

Yes, the Wembley Model Engineering shows used to be a real mix and I went to demos of micro film aircraft, rc car racing and ‘stunt trucks’, large model boat pools and met Rev.W Awdry operating Farquhar all under one roof! I know the Brighton Modelworld show used to do similar and they were fantastic. I suppose it’s a lot of effort bringing all those groups together as few have fingers in all those pies? Maybe a publishing group is the ideal central contact these days. 
I have to admit I’ve not been hooked by the programme, it’s fine ‘coffee table’ style viewing if it’s on but not something I’d go out of my way to record unlike Tim Dunn’s series. Much like the GMR show though it’s very useful to the hobby so I’m all for it being there as part of the choice and very glad the makers haven’t stick rigidly to just Hornby. It’s just like a show, if there’s a few things good in it then it’s worth the trip. 
 

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On 04/12/2021 at 13:57, Miss Prism said:

If Airfix kits weren't profitable, I doubt whether Hornby would be investing in new kits as much as they do. And if aircraft kits are profitable, then railway kits could be profitable. It's just a matter of mindset, isn't it?

I agree.

 

Here's a thought, how about some 'body-line' kits to go on Hornby's existing chassis. The success of some of the 3-D printed kits to go on their Peckett chassis, for example, makes me think that there could be a market for some quality, injection-moulded plastic kits to go on existing mechanisms?

 

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1 hour ago, AY Mod said:

 

Any modelling site will show hints of crossovers where some will have an interest in several disciplines. It's only when you get to the About Hornby Hobbies pages on any of the brand websites that there's the vaguest whiff of other worlds which, IMO, is missing opportunities.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago we were talking to some folk about multi-discipline show potential; it works in Europe but is largely bypassed here.

 

Just a thought:

 

Could you imagine a number of "groups" - perhaps IPMS, NMRA, The Model Railway Club etc - getting together and "taking over" half the NEC, with a show drawing attention to various aspects of their respective areas of model making?

 

They'd probably also end up drawing in lots of "special interest" / gauge groups and selling lots of weekend entry tickets.

 

Doing something like this properly might be feasible - but I could imagine it being a logistical nightmare.

 

 

Huw.

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27 minutes ago, Dunsignalling said:

I've noticed none in the UK since the sad demise of Brighton Modelworld.

 

John

I used to help with the Swanage Railway stand at Modelworld.  I remember the huge pool with a model of Titanic and the iceberg and the circus models. One of the members of the South Dorset Modellers used to exhibit his circus models there and he is still making them. Another makes model boats and military vehicles so perhaps there is scope for other disciplines at model railway shows. I used to make lots of Airfix kits and collect die cast cars and buses as well as being a model railway enthusiast so I find the Hornby programme's films about Airfix, Corgi and Scalextric just as interesting as the films about model railways.

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Another example of the Hornby empire's lack of joined-up thinking is the fact that Scalextric has lovely Jaguar E-type and Aston Martin DB5 models; while the Airfix range is turning out kits of the same cars, produced from tooling that probably dates back to when the real E-type and DB5 were on sale.

 

Anyway, I'm not here to bash Hornby.  The TV series has been very interesting, there aren't many things these days on broadcast TV that I enjoy, but this is one of them.

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30 minutes ago, Huw Griffiths said:

 

Just a thought:

 

Could you imagine a number of "groups" - perhaps IPMS, NMRA, The Model Railway Club etc - getting together and "taking over" half the NEC, with a show drawing attention to various aspects of their respective areas of model making?

 

They'd probably also end up drawing in lots of "special interest" / gauge groups and selling lots of weekend entry tickets.

 

Doing something like this properly might be feasible - but I could imagine it being a logistical nightmare.

 

 

Huw.

 

Many years ago, I used to help organise the model section of the Town & Country Festival at Stoneleigh. It was a general public event with most modelling disciplines represented as well as farming, traction engine etc.

 

All sections were given a budget and they all hated each other. The plastic kit modellers insisted on bringing the same models every year and claimed that this was what the public wanted. Model engineers did the same, with the added bonus of being asleep on their stands. The boat guys eventually decided that organising a pool was too much trouble and tried to throw the job back to the main organisers (they wanted water, just someone else to provide it). Railways stood apart a bit in our own air-conditioned room. We never repeated a layout, except Thomas, year on year.

 

Basically, the idea is fine. Actually making it work would be a nightmare I suspect. Sad - as I'd really love to see something like Dortmund, or Modelspoor in the UK. With normal daily crowds of 30k, you'd think there would be possibilities, but it seems not in the UK.

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12 minutes ago, johnlambert said:

Another example of the Hornby empire's lack of joined-up thinking is the fact that Scalextric has lovely Jaguar E-type and Aston Martin DB5 models; while the Airfix range is turning out kits of the same cars, produced from tooling that probably dates back to when the real E-type and DB5 were on sale.

 

Anyway, I'm not here to bash Hornby.  The TV series has been very interesting, there aren't many things these days on broadcast TV that I enjoy, but this is one of them.

 

Different markets. The slot car boys want something ready to run, and fill the body with motor. Kit builder want the thing in pieces and all the interior detail. It might be possible to design something to do both, but would this mean compromising the product?

 

Motorising the 1/32 Airfix kits used to be a thing - my dad has several from his slot car racing days, but the market moved on and buiding your own car is a minority interest judging from the slotcar events I've attended.

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On the idea of a Multi Discipline Show, I exhibited my layout at Dortmund, several years ago now, an NEC style complex with each very large hall a different discipline, I particularly liked the flying helicopter display, I seem to remember it was open for at least four days, open to late 8pm or 9pm, and I think around 130,000 visitors, not for the faint-hearted exhibitor. The large catchment area and excellent public transport, I think made it all viable.

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7 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Different markets. The slot car boys want something ready to run, and fill the body with motor. Kit builder want the thing in pieces and all the interior detail. It might be possible to design something to do both, but would this mean compromising the product?

 

Motorising the 1/32 Airfix kits used to be a thing - my dad has several from his slot car racing days, but the market moved on and buiding your own car is a minority interest judging from the slotcar events I've attended.

True, although I wasn't trying to suggest that one model should serve both markets.  More that the data files could lead to re-tooled versions of some classic Airfix kits.  I could name more, but I definitely don't want to get into wishlisting territory.

 

The Jaguar XKR-R and Aston Martin DBR9 have been produced by both Airfix and Scalextric.  I've not seen the slot car version but I have built the Airfix DBR9 (not a perfect kit but better than the 1960s-toolings) and it's clearly not based on any Scalextric moulds, but could well have originated from the same 3D scan and drawings.

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50 minutes ago, Robin Brasher said:

. . perhaps there is scope for other disciplines at model railway shows.

 

For many years the Derby Show had a model boat display - this first started at the Mickleover village hall shows, as the father of a club member was a boat modeller. In particular he built some very good lifeboat models which he displayed with a collecting box for the RNLI and when we started the Assembly Rooms exhibition, the display was enhanced to include other members from the Derby and Burton Model Boat Clubs. This continued for a number of years.

.

 

 

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2 hours ago, AY Mod said:

 

Just a couple of weeks ago we were talking to some folk about multi-discipline show potential;

For a number of years there used to be one held at what was the Black Lion Centre in Gillingham (Kent). Whilst there's a lot of cross-over between disciplines now the feedback then was it was fine for the general public but there wasn't enough of any particular area to really grab the interest. Maybe a 50/50 mix of Warley and Telford would work though the only way to find out is try it I suppose.

Stu

 

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I went to a smallish show in Sheffield centre 3-4 years ago. It was advertised as a model bus show; this was a little different for me to attend (though I have a strong interest in the subject, & was hoping to find some 'retail' there , which i did), but it was a 1st for attendance for me.

Once inside, it was an interesting experience. Model bus enthusiasts seem to thrive on 'fleets', with numerous kits available (or have been), and conversions. Often they invent their own fictitious fleets too, which is rare with railways. However true layouts seem rare, and those that exist are often contrived as a big parking lot for buses!. There was some of this evident, also some trade selling kits & bits. However they also included trams, with a small number of excellent operating layouts (another self-interest). And, a surprise, a couple of railway layouts too. These seemed to be a little 'amateurish' to what we  normally display though, (no disrespect intended). All in, a refreshing 'nice' show, and covering a few disciplines.

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4 hours ago, Robin Brasher said:

I used to help with the Swanage Railway stand at Modelworld.  I remember the huge pool with a model of Titanic and the iceberg and the circus models. 

 

And one of the radio control car clubs loading radio controlled Minis on to a moving r/c Harrington Legionnaire as per The Italian Job.

 

I can also remember one of the r/c car clubs sending cars into the arena against the Robot Wars House Robots. Utter carnage!

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4 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Many years ago, I used to help organise the model section of the Town & Country Festival at Stoneleigh. It was a general public event with most modelling disciplines represented as well as farming, traction engine etc.

 

All sections were given a budget and they all hated each other. The plastic kit modellers insisted on bringing the same models every year and claimed that this was what the public wanted. Model engineers did the same, with the added bonus of being asleep on their stands. The boat guys eventually decided that organising a pool was too much trouble and tried to throw the job back to the main organisers (they wanted water, just someone else to provide it). Railways stood apart a bit in our own air-conditioned room. We never repeated a layout, except Thomas, year on year.

 

Basically, the idea is fine. Actually making it work would be a nightmare I suspect. Sad - as I'd really love to see something like Dortmund, or Modelspoor in the UK. With normal daily crowds of 30k, you'd think there would be possibilities, but it seems not in the UK.

 

Up until the pandemic, there was a multi-disciplinary event at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at which I have exhibited or operated on a couple of occasions. I think there was some talk about holding it again this year (I was asked if I could bring a layout) but nothing came of it.

 

However it certainly had a good mix of modelling types with layouts in the lecture building at the top of the hill, and in some of the other buildings on the site, a display of static model boats, working boats on the pond (including landing craft bringing an invasion force of tanks against a specially-constructed model village. I can't remember whether there was a miniature railway as such, but there was a vehicle rally with traction engines (miniature and full-size), classic cars and commercial vehicles and (I think) a display of stationary engines. I think about the only thing missing was a BBMF flypast, which would have been easy enough to organise given that it was the same weekend as Eastbourne Airshow.

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While not quite the leap to a mixed modelling show I am always pleased to see tram layouts at railway shows and railway layouts at tram shows although you can argue there is a lot similar with trams and trains although I expect we are a long way off a wide range of commercially made trams which  would really give the hobby a boost.

 

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One multi disciplinary show is (was?) the Shoeburyness show which was usually on the sme weekend as Warely. Probably 80% model railways but always a good set of displays from trucks, boats and planes. Their web sites says they hope to have a show in 2022.

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6 hours ago, PaulRhB said:

Yes, the Wembley Model Engineering shows used to be a real mix and I went to demos of micro film aircraft, rc car racing and ‘stunt trucks’, large model boat pools and met Rev.W Awdry operating Farquhar all under one roof! 

The Model Engineer shows in London were very good. I remember going one year and a catching a glimpse of Dave and Shirley Rowe's Exebridge Quay (the one with working boats and 7' gauge trains) behind a huge crowd, the like of which none of the other displays had. Unfortunately I was about 12 and hadn't grown yet, and I never got another chance to see the layout. 

 

 

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Tonight's is the penultimate episode isn't it?

 

I have to confess I was a bit surprised when Hornby announced they were developing a 'full-fat' P2 so it will be interesting to see whether there's any coverage of the development process. I think I saw some footage from Darlington loco works in the trailer.

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19 hours ago, Dunsignalling said:

I've noticed none in the UK since the sad demise of Brighton Modelworld.

 

John

 

The Rhondda Show was an enjoyable mixed modelling event with everything from layouts to radio control boats. Unfortunately it stopped around 10 years ago. I think there was damage to the sports center after one of those winter snowstorms and it never returned.

 

I've become much more of an all-round modeller in recent years. It started with dabbling back into plastic kits with a 1/24th Hurricane, then branched out to r/c flying and a 1/16th Russian army tank. I keep coming back to trains as the core interest but the other excursions have been pretty good for developing new skills which feed back into railway modelling.

 

One of the best and biggest general shows I went to was Intermodellbau in Dortmund.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Barry Ten said:

 

The Rhondda Show was an enjoyable mixed modelling event with everything from layouts to radio control boats. Unfortunately it stopped around 10 years ago. I think there was damage to the sports center after one of those winter snowstorms and it never returned.

 

I've become much more of an all-round modeller in recent years. It started with dabbling back into plastic kits with a 1/24th Hurricane, then branched out to r/c flying and a 1/16th Russian army tank. I keep coming back to trains as the core interest but the other excursions have been pretty good for developing new skills which feed back into railway modelling.

 

One of the best and biggest general shows I went to was Intermodellbau in Dortmund.

 

 

Most of the French shows I've attended seem to have a mixture of model engineering, model boats and cars, and even flying model aircraft. I like the mix; military modellers can certainly teach us a thing or two about weathering, amongst other things.

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