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Hi. I know the magazine (and maybe this forum) has been here before, but the June edition of Hornby Magazine has a perfect example of why this era system should be scrapped by Bachmann (and the magazine). Manufacturers go to a great deal of bother to research their models, and they have all the information the modeller needs to fit a particular model into their layout / collection. So why are the Era systems so vague? The Era 4 covers 1948-1956. So, taking the new 08 diesel in Black, stated as era 4, one would think it would be suitable for the 8 year period. But the text of the review is quite right in detailing that the prototype was released in 1956, finished in Black, but presumably only suitable for 1956. Why can't Bachmann provide this information in their catalogue / on-line, for this and all their models, and not just this blanket period?
 

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QUOTE (carltonf @ 11 Jul 2008, 20:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi. I know the magazine (and maybe this forum) has been here before, but the June edition of Hornby Magazine has a perfect example of why this era system should be scrapped by Bachmann (and the magazine). Manufacturers go to a great deal of bother to research their models, and they have all the information the modeller needs to fit a particular model into their layout / collection. So why are the Era systems so vague? The Era 4 covers 1948-1956. So, taking the new 08 diesel in Black, stated as era 4, one would think it would be suitable for the 8 year period. But the text of the review is quite right in detailing that the prototype was released in 1956, finished in Black, but presumably only suitable for 1956. Why can't Bachmann provide this information in their catalogue / on-line, for this and all their models, and not just this blanket period?

Completely agree, love the magazine, it is soooo much better than anyting I expected with that name, and has such a lot of good articles, but the era system annoys me every month, we have an integer system for years - one which we are all rather used to - what is wrong with using that as opposed to making life more complex - the recent articles on vehicles had to give the actual years for virtually every one because the era system would have been next to useless for them.

Sorry everyone else the world doesn't need another discussion on it but I can't hellp myself!

TimP
 

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It's one of my pet peeves too. Eras are fine for geologists and students of ancient history who deal with enormous periods of time, but the history of railways changes year by year, and even month by month with the tacky packaging that passes for liveries these days. Giving an 'era' for a model is useless if you still have to ask what it means or what part of an era they are talking about. It's about as much use as the 1st and 2nd radius and so on that has appeared in track nomenclature over the last few years - it's a term that doesn't actually provide any factual information. I would be happy to see it dropped.
 

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So that shunter would actually be better suited to era 5 then? Why can't they just put something like "used from 1956 to 19xx instead, or is that too much like hard work!
 

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QUOTE (hairyhandedfool @ 14 Jul 2008, 17:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So that shunter would actually be better suited to era 5 then? Why can't they just put something like "used from 1956 to 19xx instead, or is that too much like hard work!

** I think you are all missing the point of this:

For years British modellers have said "why can't we have an era system like the European "epoch" one. Instead of complaining we should be encouraging them to mature the way its presented.

**Such a system is never ever designed nor will it be able to attempt to reflect the issues of privatisation, it exists just to give a general timespan for the prototype creation and production. The well matured and accepted EU system of Epochs is the same, and has the same issues with livery changes under privatisation etc. THOSE are nothing to do with the general concept of an Era or Epoch system at all.

**Don't forget if you are quite focussed on being correct you are in the minority (as I am). ANY help to give an approximate timeline will help the other 90% ++ of modellers who really in the main simply collect what they like anyway, mixing steam~diesel/prototypes/regions/periods randomly and anything that quietly help them focus even a wee bit is useful

**The 08 - was initially actually produced from 1953 and was very close visibly to the LMS 12xxx class which was its parent design. the era chosen by Bachmann is just fine for this loco in general. Most modellers will never even realise that the model detail changed significantly over the years... nor will they ever actually care as near enough is good enough for them - and thats their choice.

**The 08 has been in service since then in many guises so its appropriate in one way or another for 1953 to 200x. I DO agree that it'd be nice to have a sub explaination of the specific dates for any specific prototype and an indication of any significant changes for the specific model produced though - I've long tried to get road vehicle Mfrs to do this so its easier to choose the right date spans for cars for a layout too!

**There will always be derivatives or designs that are created at the end of an "era" period. However they are no less correctly placed in that era because of it. It has to start and finish somewhare consistently after all!

So...

Personally I think the Bachmann initiative is a good one which we should help and encourage not snipe and carp at - it has a way to go to be always right, well accepted and "best presented" but it will only get there if we are positive and helpful.

regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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Whilst I find the era system helpful when perusing a catalogue I always use an enthusiast website for detailed information. I only model UK SR and there are a number of sites which give details of all locos and coaches from year of build to scrap, I would assume that other regions have similar enthusiasts who publish such information.
I realise that I have only recently returned to the hobby after a long absence but I have been pleasantly surprised by the standard of RTR models produced and feel that both Hornby & Bachmann do a v.g. job.
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 14 Jul 2008, 23:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>** I think you are all missing the point of this:
So...

Personally I think the Bachmann initiative is a good one which we should help and encourage not snipe and carp at - it has a way to go to be always right, well accepted and "best presented" but it will only get there if we are positive and helpful.

regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
Agreed, the system is there to try to simplify things for people and enable an easier understanding of the general changes. Bachmann are trying to assist the modeller.
 

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I have to agree with Richard & Neil on this - the era system will not & cannot be perfect, but I think it will be fine for the majority of modelers.

Those that wish to be more specific will probably have access to the information they need anyway.
 

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Evening Chaps,

Just been catching up on the latest chat on the forum and thought I'd explain our position on the era system.

When we launched the mag we had requests to provide further basic information about the time period a locomotive would have appeared in a particular livery and, to that end, we decided upon Bachmann's era system. I think we all have to accept that it will be never be perfect - there are simply too many variations in railway history to make the time periods black and white. However, it does do its job for those who want to get a reasonable idea of which period a particular item of rolling stock is suitable for.

I hope that the seasoned modellers will appreciate that it does help the newcomer, but I also take on board your comments.

Anyway, I'm off to the 'shed' again now to wire up a few more point motors ready for the next show outing for Bay Street and Carper Road - Hartlepool on July 26/ 27!

Cheers,

Mike, Editor.
 

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I don't know why we have to so anally retentive. My pleasure is in the modelling. OK I am working generally to era 5 but the main thing here is the word 'generally'. OK I know about incorrect era road signs and I dare say if I looked at the railway history in detail you might pick holes in my layout, but do you know what ...... I don't care. When i 'disappear' into my loft and engross myself in model railways I am not at work, and I am relaxing. The hobby is an escape from an extremely stressful job and it keeps me sane. So what if my history is not quite right, I have (or will have) a beautiful layout. I am avoiding modern stuff and have something I take pleasure in. To all of you out there where everything has got to be so exact I admire you but we are not all like you.

QUOTE (carltonf @ 11 Jul 2008, 20:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi. I know the magazine (and maybe this forum) has been here before, but the June edition of Hornby Magazine has a perfect example of why this era system should be scrapped by Bachmann (and the magazine). Manufacturers go to a great deal of bother to research their models, and they have all the information the modeller needs to fit a particular model into their layout / collection. So why are the Era systems so vague? The Era 4 covers 1948-1956. So, taking the new 08 diesel in Black, stated as era 4, one would think it would be suitable for the 8 year period. But the text of the review is quite right in detailing that the prototype was released in 1956, finished in Black, but presumably only suitable for 1956. Why can't Bachmann provide this information in their catalogue / on-line, for this and all their models, and not just this blanket period?
 

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Hello Everybody.

The Era system is a good idea. It gives newcomers a good idea of what run with what. Sure its not perfect but I think anyone who wants to model a particular year or years will know what they want because they will already have the knowledge or will have done the research.

Anything that encourages newcomers to the hobby is to be welcomed.
Good job Hornby Mag.
 

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As a European modeller, I suppose I am spoiled with the German Epoch classification system.

But it is a guide only. Epoch 2 is split into 3 parts (a, b and c). While there would have been some cross over between a and b as well as a and c, it is doubtful that stock painted for epoch 2a would have made it to epoch 2c.

Any epoch system is only ever going to be a guide. I think it is unfair to expect a manufacturer to say this locomotive is an exact replica as it was on this specific day (unless you are micro metakit, but look at their price!)

As long as you understand the limitation, it is a great tool to help you decide whether the item did/was/could be an important addition to your layout.

Like Richard says "ANY help to give an approximate timeline will help "

John
 

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QUOTE (john woodall @ 16 Jul 2008, 11:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As a European modeller, I suppose I am spoiled with the German Epoch classification system.
Yes, we certainly are, but as you say its a guide, it's not difinitive !

QUOTE (john woodall @ 16 Jul 2008, 11:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think it is unfair to expect a manufacturer to say this locomotive is an exact replica as it was on this specific day
& even if they did someone would pop up & say that a lamp bracket or something was the wrong shape/type/positioned incorrectly !
 

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Even the German system seems to be more fallible than it first appears! There is a further problem when trying to cover several companies, as each one will have its own different key dates for introduction/withdrawal of train types or changes in liveries. Before 1948 the only events affecting the appearance of trains across all the companies were the Grouping and WW2.

I can't help thinking that for all the effort put into devising and explaining the era system it would be far easier for everyone if the catalogue/website said something like "This locomotive was in this general configuration and livery between 1956 and 1964, as were others of the same type between 1955 and 1968". This would convey more information in a clearer manner in about the same amount of space! The supplier almost certainly knows the dates from researching the prototype, and if exact dates are uncertain it would be OK to give an approximate date.
 

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QUOTE (Edwin @ 16 Jul 2008, 20:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Even the German system seems to be more fallible than it first appears! There is a further problem when trying to cover several companies, as each one will have its own different key dates for introduction/withdrawal of train types or changes in liveries. Before 1948 the only events affecting the appearance of trains across all the companies were the Grouping and WW2.

I can't help thinking that for all the effort put into devising and explaining the era system it would be far easier for everyone if the catalogue/website said something like "This locomotive was in this general configuration and livery between 1956 and 1964, as were others of the same type between 1955 and 1968". This would convey more information in a clearer manner in about the same amount of space! The supplier almost certainly knows the dates from researching the prototype, and if exact dates are uncertain it would be OK to give an approximate date.

***No matter what the Mfrs do they will be criticised.... All they want to do is create a simple basic system which is what has been done. Certainly more history can be included in catalogs etc, but don't overestimate the number of modellers who will really appreciate it - most don't really care, and those who do will research in far more detail than we can expect from any Mfr.

As to influences on change you are simply wrong:

The most significant influence has always been the change of CME (Chief mechanical Engineer) at the railway, whether it was victorian days, pre-grouping, pre WW2 or post WW2 and well into BR days. Of late the same sort of influence has been seen from the change in private owner or captial partners, but it has always been the same - shape, livery, duties or details of loco's always change when the men at the top do.

Thats why a general epoch or era system is never perfect but is always adequate for the non-specific modeller and why personal research will always be critical to the modeller who cares.

AND why a brand can never please everyone. Bachmann, Hornby Mag.... keep encouraging the era system to help the average modeller, we scale modellers enjoy the specific research anyway :) :) :)

Kind regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 16 Jul 2008, 13:36) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As to influences on change you are simply wrong:

If you re-read my post I think you will see I am agreeing with you. Grouping and WW2 were the ONLY pre-1948 events that influenced all the companies at the same time. All the other events, whether change of CME or otherwise, only affected one company and hence can't simply be represented by an era-type system.
 

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QUOTE (Edwin @ 16 Jul 2008, 23:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you re-read my post I think you will see I am agreeing with you. Grouping and WW2 were the ONLY pre-1948 events that influenced all the companies at the same time. All the other events, whether change of CME or otherwise, only affected one company and hence can't simply be represented by an era-type system.

Yes, I see what U mean and yes, that is sort of correct, however even these changes took half a decade or more to really bed in significantly as they were usually accompanied with shortage of funds and practicalities in rationalisation but I don't think thats what they are trying to do at all.

They are simply trying to give a general date grouping for the loco as presented.

No matter what is done in any system there will be both subtle and extreme anomalies, and some will be grouped close to the lines they cross such as the 08 that started this thread, but its a simplistic guide, not an attempt to put a pin in a chart in a definitive way.

Good examples:

Most of the Midland 0-6-0's, loco's which became the compounds and 2p etc.... these dance across many lines
in fact this can be said of some examples from the GWR, Southern, LMS/Stanier and Gresley fleet which started well before WW2 but trundled on through to the end.... not always quickly re-liveried and changed much at all in an onvious way.

the 08 which really started with the last of the LMS and carries on in some ways almost to today....

Some of the current diesels that looked like they were gone but had a phoenix like revival thanks to privatisation.....

In the end its a good start to have the era structure on the table - it'll probably evolve and its never really suit the less than ten percent of us who model specifically, but its a help and a "first step" to consistency in the fleet for most who frankly, either currently don't have a clue without some guidance or don't really care yet but may some day...

Richard
 

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Surely something is better than nothing?

No system is going to be perfect, but if you use it as a guide, then even with its faults it is a great aid.

When it comes to Germany the Epoch system is really good. Except for one event, changes happened over a period of time. Epoch 1 covers the period from the start of railways in Germany to the formation of the DRG. Epoch 2 covers the period from the formation of the DRG up to the end of WW II. Epoch 3 covers the period from the end of WW II to the commencement of computer numbering. Epoch 4 covers the period up to the formation of the DBAG. Epoch 5 goes to the present day.

AFAIK there is only one specific event, which is the day the DBAG was formed. On the evening before its formation every item that had the old DB or DR logo on it had a sticker placed on it with the new DBAG logo (only the Germans would have done that!)

Who ever came up with the EPOCH system for the UK needs to be thanked for trying to help and assist modellers to build more believable railways.

The hobby is under a lot of pressure from other activities now days. If it is your thing to build a total fantasy preserved line with loco's and rolling stock that never existed together in real life then that is your choice (this is what my father does) If however you want to build a model railway that is based on real railway practice (with modelling compromises) then loco's and rolling stock are only one part. Peoples clothing, building types, road vehicles fences, street signs, weathering etc etc etc (I love that particular line out of the king and I) are all part of the total picture.

Ultimately this hobby is about enjoyment. We all obtain enjoyment in different ways.

John
 

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QUOTE (john woodall @ 16 Jul 2008, 22:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Surely something is better than nothing?

No system is going to be perfect, but if you use it as a guide, then even with its faults it is a great aid.
Who ever came up with the EPOCH system for the UK needs to be thanked for trying to help and assist modellers to build more believable railways.

Ultimately this hobby is about enjoyment. We all obtain enjoyment in different ways.

John
Could not agree more John - I must add that many times in the past I have heard UK modelers bemoan the fact that there was not an epoch system for the UK, now that there is one there are still moans.

I think you have to look at epoch systems the same as a SatNav - useful for assistance but not always definative !
 

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QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 17 Jul 2008, 09:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think you have to look at epoch systems the same as a SatNav - useful for assistance but not always definative !

Like saying you're in a field when you're actually on the A2?

Regards
 
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