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Really this is a question that only the Hornby cognoscenti can answer.

Had Hornby continued with production in Britain their models may by now have doubled in price to around £160 however they would have had a "Made in Britain" stamp on the bottom and would have used British materials and been assembled by British employees.

Would you have continued to buy Hornby models had this happened?

Or would you have switched to buying equivalent Bachmann models retailing at around £80 with the "Made in China" stamp on the bottom?

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Gary,

I´m aware that I´m not from the group you intended to answer your question.

Still, personally, I avoid "Made in China" at all costs if possible, i.e. if there is a comparable EU or Swiss made model available, I buy that one.

I´ve written before on why that is, and don´t want to get into it much further - quality control, spare parts, better material being used imho etc. - and my current favorites are HAG of Switzerland and Trix of Germany (along with Gützold and Brawa as "orchid" manufacturers
). I´ve found Both Hag and Trix models to be a lot more rugged (at the same leve of detail as, say, Bachmann or Jouef, Rivarossi or railTop, just to name some Chinese made brands) and "solid" than the aforementioned competitors.

Not to put them down; I like my RailTop SBB Re 482 A LOT. But now that I have a Hag Re 4/4II, I tend to use that one more frequently than my Railtop. It has a greater appeal. And, in comparison, I´m glad I paid extra for it, for Swiss precision engineering, for being able to contact Hag (which I did) when the engine arrived with one window snapped out of place, and ask for instructions on how to fix the engine. NB: Good thing my mom is of Swiss heritage, as otherwise I would not have understood too much of the local dialect. However, try to do that with Liliput-Bachmann. Or Hobbytrade.

Althugh I´m aware that an engine such as the S2/6 would never have been feasible were it made in the EU, yes, Made in the EU or Swiss Made is worth a premium for me.

Or, what would you prefer: an IWC or a Longines timepiece, or some Chinese made watch? Both show the time, both accurately. Still...
 

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I am a strong believer in quality of all models or any other manufactured merchandise. Certainly would pay a higher premium for my model railway requirements, however the markets dictates prices that customers are prepared to pay and main reason that all goods in retail outlets show the label "Made in China".
It is all very well to encourage cheap and nasty made products - what happens when all UK manufacturers go to the wall or bought over by Asian companies. Where is the UK worker going to find employment and in turn the finances to buy such items as railway models made in China.
The UK can not afford to continually buy cheap imports to the expense of UK employment eroding away - my main reason for buying made in the UK and in this instance paying £160 for a Hornby model.
 

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It's not only the customers whose willingness to pay or not pay that soley dictate where things are made. The accountants have a lot to answer for as well. They don't want to see large factories with expensive overheads and expensively-employed employees lurking just round the corner - eats into the profits too much. Get someone to make them elsewhere and just import the finished product - much better! That's why we have relatively little of our own manufacturing left in this country.

I would much rather buy something made in the UK, but in the above circumstances it is only small 'niche' manufacturers who seem to be surviving in general.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Good point about niche manufacturers.

Could Hornby produce "Railroad" products and train sets for the masses in the UK and niche high quality models which are labour intensive in China?

Nobody has yet said they would not buy "Made in Britain" £160 Hornby and buy "Made in China" £80 Bachmann instead.

The only real comments have been from folk who by their own admission will only buy products that meet their quality threshold anyway which current Hornby does not. And there is nothing wrong with this and I do understand where those folk are coming from and if Hornby or Bachmann are not their cup of tea so be it.

I would guess on that basis they would buy neither £160 Hornby or £80 Bachmann!

We really do need to hear from Hornby customers for whom current "Made in China" Hornby does meet their quality threshold.

More the Timex than Rolex type customers perhaps?

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Just another modeller
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Gary, You said:

<<Really this is a question that only the Hornby cognoscenti can answer.

Had Hornby continued with production in Britain their models may by now have doubled in price to around £160 however they would have had a "Made in Britain" stamp on the bottom and would have used British materials and been assembled by British employees.
Would you have continued to buy Hornby models had this happened? Or would you have switched to buying equivalent Bachmann models retailing at around £80 with the "Made in China" stamp on the bottom? >>

*** First a small correction or two: They may indeed have still been made in UK at double the price but its unlikely either the machinery or materials would be UK sourced... those things too have gone, as made in UK machinery was once exceptional, but was long ago overtaken by lower cost but technically more advanced stuff. I also doubt the employees would truly fit your probably "classic" definition of British....

as to "cogniscenti" - To me, real Hornby for a very long time after they were taken over still had the word Dublo after it, and its only very recently (less than a decade) that "Margate Hornby" have, to me, really earned the right to use the name Hornby - but they have done that now very well and they have at last totally shaken off the shabbyness that was the Triang / Lines Brothers heritage.

Anyway... This is not just a british thing - here in AU most icon brands are also now owned by some anonymous US or asian fund managers, and much of what was good is now made elesewhere - and yes, as a Brit downunder, I'm sad about it from both sides.

However, back to the subject:

As much as it might surprise you to hear, I actually like almost all Hornbys new products very much, I'm delighted they do well as a PLC and have broadened their base. My criticisms all are at their unnecessary failings in regard to quality control specification and project management. I have exactly the same criticism of any brand that fails in that area.

It is NOT because they are Hornby and NOT because the General tooling and design aren't good - In fact they ARE good in most areas that matter to customers at every level, take away predjudice and in fact they are every bit as good as most US stuff, and also several of the EU brands such as Roco for example!

Would I pay lots more for the SAME product made in UK? If there is no comparatively significant advantage accuracy, detail and quality wise, NO.

Would I pay a small premium for nostalgias sake? - possibly... but that could never be the case sadly.

I do think that downplaying quality because of where its made now is wrong for any brand including H ...for a simple example, having had to take the top off many Lilliput loco's recently I can definately say that their more recent chinese tooled / made stuff is far superior to their EU made stuff in both engineering and quality of tooling and detail.

I actually greatly respect the brands such as FL and MK that still make in EU, and mourn every time an "icon" brand is taken over by another offshore Mfr, but that seems the way of the world.... something dictated by national governments and global money, not something we can really do much about.

As a mischievous thought though: Pehaps if Peco moved offshore they might eventually be able to afford new tooling and produce track that was tecnically more competent and looked at least a little bit like that which UK prototypes run on :)

Richard

PS: Gary, you are definately a crusader - and there's nothing to be ashamed of in that.

But... the problem with crusades is, fighting one-eyed, one tends to harm more of ones own than ones enemies - study the history of crusades of all types, and you'll see thats true. We all need to keep balance in debate, which is why when you claim sainthood for Hornby, pragmatic people point out the truth that they'd otherwise let lie quietly.

PPS: We seldom agree totally, but you do stimulate lively stuff from time to time.
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Here's another point,

I may also get a good kicking again, but hey it has to be said with in the context of this thread:-

ZTC???

British made VERY expensive but people are still buying it though, even though there are much better systems out there for much less money!
Reading owners reports there still seems to be software issues with the system as well, that have not been resolved for a very long time.

Where's the quality control there then?

So obviously more expensive for British made doesn't mean you will get a better product either!!

Ian
 

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QUOTE ZTC???

I am going to be totally honest and admit that I did think of them in the context of this topic although they do offer a niche unique product and not one that is mass market. Folk can probably be a little forgiving of any idiosynchrosies because of this which is understandable.

I also thought of Dapol.

Dapol "Made in Britain" 6 wheeled tank wagons = £12.

Hornby "Made in China" 6 wheeled tank wagons = £6.75.

Which 6 wheeled tank wagons are modellers going to buy?


"Made in Britain" or "Made in China"?

Happy modelling
Gary

Richard said:- QUOTE PPS: We seldom agree totally, but you do stimulate lively stuff from time to time.

Everyone has a point of view and it can sometimes get a little heated. The important thing is to be able to drink a beer with each other when we meet down the pub!
 

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Gary - you said: I am going to be totally honest and admit that I did think of them in the context of this topic although they do offer a niche unique product and not one that is mass market.

I also thought of Dapol.

Dapol "Made in Britain" 6 wheeled tank wagons = £12.

Hornby "Made in China" 6 wheeled tank wagons = £6.75.

Which 6 wheeled tank wagons are modellers going to buy?


"Made in Britain" or "Made in China"?

****

ZTC - already more than twice the price it should be, and sadly its slipped very far behind in the competence of its software compared to other brands from EU or US. That is a genuine shame, as the brand is NOT good value at all in any way.

By the way -a positive brand ex UK - Union Mills - Very nice N scale UK prototype loco's, reasonably priced, run very well and a very small UK company that makes in UK.

Slaters is another good example - nice accurate 4mm and 7mm scale stuff - still UK tooled and sourced in the main.

TANK WAGONS

Dapol - really silly error on their chassis redesign, makes it look silly on the track as the tanks way too high. This is in common with most of their wagons, which almost universally have the wrong chassis wheelbase or detail.

Hornby - redesigned the chassis to some degree but kept those terribly "Lima" plastic stays & ladders that are always wobbly looking or gently curved instead of dead straight as anything that holds someting down should be.

I'd buy the Hornby as its far easier to fix the simple percieved fault than replace the chassis - but while the hornby is far better, neither are very good models.

In the case of Wagons, for anything pre modern Era, I think that dapol is always a compromise, Hornby are really overdue to revisit the accuracy of many of ther otherwise well built models & only Bachmann make halfway decently accurate RTR chassis/body combinations.

BTW - of all the brands, one thing hornby do exceptionally well - their new generation wheelsets are very true rolling and have a nicer wheel profile than most - they are usually badly set back to back wise, but thats OK as they are easy to set right too, unlike Bachmanns in many cases!

Richard
 

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To keep it brief from me ... What's the difference between made in Britain or made in China? (Other than the obvious ...) I'm not going to pay extra for a loco to be made in a particular country (Regardless of where that might be) and thats basically my view on this subject.
 

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DT
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I don't see what the issue is. Sure in the '70s most cheap toys in the UK had 'Made in Honk Kong' stamped on the bottom. They were mostly junk.

I agree with what has been said above that Made in in China models are good quality and not too expensive. The stamp doesn't bother me.

Would Hornby models evolved to what they are today if production had remained in the UK?
 

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QUOTE Would Hornby models evolved to what they are today if production had remained in the UK?

The fantasy answer is yes with models being offered at a RRP of £160.

The reality answer is no because the company would have gone bust and Bachmann would have taken over Hornby and stuff would have ended up coming from China anyway!

Unless of course a wealthy benefactor came in.

QUOTE I don't see what the issue is.

Its a "Hornby" thing which only the Brits will understand (its the same as the German Marklin thing and the French Jouef thing). There are comments in another thread about "real Hornby" and Hornby models only being good enough since the move to China for Hornby to claim that they are "Hornby" and not "Triang". As a "real Hornby" sort of bloke it is easy to see the thinking behind these comments however there is a place for the "inferior" and lower priced "Triang" in the hearts of the British public and we should all remember it was the "inferior cheap" products of Margate that saw off "real Hornby". Clearly the British public historically liked their cheap and colourful model railways however times have changed.

Sanda Kan is the new Binns Road!


The issue is many silver fox British railway modellers seem to still hanker for the good old days and expect "real Hornby" engineering at "Triang" prices and models to be "Made in Britain".


We have to be honest with ourselves folks.

It ain't going to happen!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I personally have long lost any sort of national loyalty....having been kicked in the teeth so many times in the past.....probably by those very same workers who might have made Hornby stuff.

if the item is what I want, at a price I can accomodate, then I buy.

If it ain't, it doesn't , or it wont, then I keep my pennies in me pocket.....probably making from scatch instead?
 

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It has just occurred to me that there is an OO model being produced to Binns Road "proper Hornby" standards....

...the new LMS 10000 Diesel loco receiving wide publicity right now!

And even though this is being produced in Asia even so its price in the UK will be just under £500!

What price the model if it had a "Made in Britain" mark on it?

So this really has to be the ball park figure guide price for any enterprise including Hornby who wish to attempt anything approaching "proper Hornby" standards!

And at Hornby's £500 a model, Bachmann would get all my money!

Notwithstanding this the LMS 10000 Diesel is rumoured to be virtually sold out on a preorder basis...

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Possibly a question to ask rather than would you be willing to spend £160 on a hornby loco with made in England stamped on it would be. Would hornby still be around in their current market position if they hadn't moved production to China? Perhaps we should follow Heljans example of putting made in Denmark on the box and not the loco.
 

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You know I would have instinctively have said yes to paying more for made in Britain until Wiggy reminded of ZTC. I would pay more for made in the UK but only if it was better. Hornby do have some issues with quality control but so did Land Rover who were made in the UK. Even though they are made in China Hornby could always move its manufacturing elsewhere.

Regardless I think Hornby will always have a degree of customer loyalty as they are the company that most of us started off with.

QUOTE It is NOT because they are Hornby and NOT because the General tooling and design aren't good - In fact they ARE good in most areas that matter to customers at every level, take away predjudice and in fact they are every bit as good as most US stuff, and also several of the EU brands such as Roco for example!

The problem I have is with how much variability there is between their product. e.g. I got one of their newer A4's a couple of months ago and it's great. It would fit with the above quote. However there is still the Pendelino and GNER 225 in the same range which definitely would not. You just don't know what you are going to get, the good or the bad. Maybe if they moved the lemons into their RailRoad range it would give the regular range more prestige and credibility?
 

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Loyalty. In the world in general it can be a virtue or misplaced. In modelling terms it's not so serious and the lines blur.
95% of my boxes are red so I think I fit Gary's criteria! (Digressing when some say they are blue box loyalists I know what they mean but it's diluted as Heljan and Vi and Dapol also use blue..hehehe. The boxes themselves become a selling advantage.)
Unlike Richard my loyalty was to Tri-ang and still is. Toys? Yes and toys won! They still do to some extent today; a fact that's incomprehensible to some.
That said, however, I couldn't afford to pay twice as much for British made so Hornby would have taken the Dublo/Wrenn route without question.
So my loyalty repays the fact that Hornby (todays incarnation) brought me into the hobby and if not UK made then still UK owned.
As I was born in the UK I can say this: Nationalistic loyalty as demonstrated by Continentals doesn't exist in Britain. The Europeans have paid a price for this recently and it will get worse in future. It's a form of protectionism by the populace but as the differential grows, more and more will succumb. In saying this Chinese manufacture is an expediency that will also probably change.
 

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Hi Ozwarrior - you and Gary both agree that "Toys R <were> Triang" ?

Quote <<Yes and toys won! They still do to some extent today; a fact that's incomprehensible to some. That said, however, I couldn't afford to pay twice as much for British made so Hornby would have taken the Dublo/Wrenn route without question>>

*** You are of course both dead right:

HD / Binns Road made some really nice stuff for its time but it was exxy and they made a lot of bad business errors too. HD gear was far better in many ways and they did it rather well BUT its methods eg its well proportioned metal body castings and rolls royce overall comparative quality were old school approaches that didn't transfer well to mass market and were very expensive to do.

They tried too late to transition with their excellent SD ranges and some lovely but exxy injection moulded plastic bodied stuff but it was too little, too late and still too expensive... and they missed the evolving market direction badly.

They were 100% doomed really once lesser but acceptable and lower cost plastic models arrived, and this in itself probably gives the answer to Garys initial question - can a quality brand survive at a price much higher than a lower quality but "largely acceptable one".
I think the answer is NO no matter where its made.

(remember other brands which also died - there was more than the original Dublo went this way because of price and business planning that didn't properly present the brand as it wanted to be seen....)

-------------

Lines Bros picked the market better and won hands down. They were uninspiring for a long while though...

Brave brands such as the airfix and mainline really started the "better fidelity, better quality and better price" thing rolling and they stirred the bigger Bachmann and Hornby into action but they did so with less than successful business planning.

Now B&H are in their stride, they have successfully redefined UK model quality at last and I can't imagine it wil lever slip back. Hornby & Bachmann have gained both quality and value in their newly tooled models (I do diferentiate from re-released old models and new toolings) and will be hard and very high risk/expensive to attack and are unlikely to be beaten other than temporarily in single narrow product areas... and then they will be big and tough enough to fight back if they choose.

Both brands leave their "roots" far behind with current generation product.

There is still room for clever Niche products, but NO amount of appeal to patriotism will gain any brand extra price without extra quality

-----------------------------------

Gary - re your LMS 10000 comment - Brass and the like will always be Niche.... Never taking anything real from the majors, as it appeals to those who find bespoke local commissions affordable, not to the H&B average man in the hobby.

The success of selected brass does give a great pointer to what will do well in plastic though - a Hornby or Bachmann LMS/BR 10000 would certainly succeed for example!!

Richard
 

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There is an old saying,

"There's no loyalty that a dollar wont buy!"

To all the people Im about to upset, Sorry.

For me and I dont like to say this but I would buy Hornby China over made in GB anyday not because of price but qualitity. I find made in china so much more detailed better painted and packed etc.

Whay pay 160 when I can have the same product for 80. I remember as a kid my loco's being returned to the hobby shop for repairs after they came out of the box. 2 months later there back and next day my day starting the process again because the new loco still was not fixed. 4 or 5 times that happened and it has stuck with me.

Im a brand "junkie now" so give me Hornby/Bachmann made in China. I dont like it, but in my opinion the stuff from china is better!
 

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Good subject Gary. I've already talked about what I think about the current Hornby regime over on the GNER thread so I will not repeat it here.

I didn't like it when Hornby moved to China. However this has enabled better detailed models at lower prices and so is a necessary evil. However, I'm not sure that Hornby necesserily passed on all the benefits to you and me , the consumer. And there is an issue over quality control.

The key point is that price is a driver no matter who makes the goods.

Hornby should take note of this. Back in the late 50s Hornby Dublo were at their peak- all little boys (and their fathers) wanted one even though they were relatively expensive. Hornby Dublo did not rest on their laurels and brought out "super detailed " models, like the range of Mk1 coaches, but still charged a relatively high price. This allowed Triang ,who were as about half expensive, into the market place. Triang , of course took over Hornby when the model railway crash came in the early 60s (everyone went slot car racing instead!).

There are parallels now:

Hornby producing superbly detailed models
Hornby are relatively expensive (compared to the equally detailed Bachmann)
There are new entrants in the field charging less :- ViTrains,Bachmann, (even Heljan if we are talking 47s!)
The prediction for the UK economy is that in the next 2 years there will be less disposable income.

So maybe ViTrains will deliver the Hornby shake up this time round by producing a decent HST for starters!

Russell
 
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