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Lets split this from the OO/HO discussion.

Continental HO is more expensive than British OO.

What are the justifications for this?

Track is twice the price. Accessories seem double the price also.

And locomotives seem to start from about £85 for tank engines with diesels running at £125 to £150!

I will admit that more work goes into creating a German steam loco by virtue of the fact it has all that external plumbing and extra detail to worry about. But what about diesels?

The thing is even if continental locomotives were the same price I simply have little interest in modelling or collecting anything based on prototypes outside the UK. That does not mean I don't like looking but I am unlikely to part with money.

And even though British locomotives are so much cheaper to the Germans than German locomotives they still have the desire to want to only model German prototypes and are prepared to pay the higher prices to do this. Think of HO/OO Live Steam. Hornby do a £500 set. Whilst Hornby do make sales of Live Steam within Germany, the Germans continue to buy the £2000 German equivalent!

So price simply is not a factor in what railway modellers choose to model. It is what interests them that is far more important. And for 90% or more of modellers they simply want to model their home territory or something that reminds them of home.

But given that continental stock is more expensive, how is this justified?

Better detail and finish or what?

Basically as a UK modeller I am not too bothered by a comparison as I believe we Brits get excellent value for money these days with the massive improvements that have been made over the last 10 years.

But our continental friends must be looking at what we Brits get for out money and asking questions of the continental manufacturers and what they get for theirs.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One obvious point to note from research is that a lot of Marklin locomotives seem to have a metal frame and body. This is costly and forced Meccano out of business in the 1960's as they could not compete with the plastic Triang range.

And when Triang Hornby eventually started up Wrenn production again using the old Dublo diecast bodies they were marketed as a premium range costing almost twice the price of Triang Hornby plastic bodies locos at that time.

An example from the 1969 Triang Hornby catalogue:-

Triang Hornby R759 "Albert Hall" Hall Class 4-6-0 Loco = 72/6

Triang Hornby by Wrenn W2221 "Cardiff Castle" Castle Class 4-6-0 Loco = 134/9

Old shillings and pence has been used.

This is clearly a major factor from a price and quality perspective.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Interesting that you say H0 track is more expensive than 00, as Peco 00 track is actually H0, if you were to build a layout in H0 using Peco track it would cost axactly the same amount as one in 00!

There is another thing to be considered, Bachmann & Hornby models ar made in China, while Fleischamnn and Roco and other H0 brands are made in Europe, as the manufacturing costs are considerably cheaper in China compared to Europe it's no wonder the Chinese built models are cheaper.
Take a look at US outline H0 I think you'll be supprised by the prices, considerably cheaper than the British H0 equivelant, but then the market is larger in the US which naturally results in lower prices.
Comparing apples to apples there wouldn't be be any differance in price between 00 and H0, and if there is it will likely be lower because modellers of foreign prototypes may be more likely to buy the odd British model if it were to match their own stock.
As an example Australian or US modellers may be more likely to buy a H0 model of the Flying Scotsman to replicate it's visit to their country on their layout. This isn't possible at the moment because of the scale differance so the market could increase if British models were built to H0 scale, resulting in lower prices than the present 00 offerings.
 

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Which is exactly what I said, manufacturing costs in Europe are higher than they are in China, for an even and fair comparison, try this
Bachmann 00 BR class 20 diesel £36.50 (taken from Rails of Sheffield's site)
Bachmann H0 US GP-40 diesel US$37.50 (£21.17) complete with factory fitted DCC decoder (taken from Caboose Hobbies site)

OR

Bachmann BR 3F "Jinty" £37.50 (taken from Rails of Sheffield's site)
MMP 0-6-0 tank switcher loco US$42.50 (£24.00)(taken from Caboose Hobbies site)

As for track, like I said, Peco track is H0 scale so it costs exactly the same in H0 or 00.
 

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Much though I like Continental equipment, at current prices it would be hard to justify the expense. It should be said that Marklin and Trix are particularly horrendous and of course, picking three rail track as an example wan't exactly a typical item these days.

Having said that, Continental trains seems to sell rather well!

Expensive as it might be, the quality is generally VERY high indeed - just not sure it's actually worth it to me personally these days. Most of my equipment is now quite old.
 

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OK we buy British made in China, Chinese products have always been over the years cheap and nasty in materials and assembly.
I bought a new Bachmann(China) 00 DMU model 158 two car set £67 as compared to Fleischmann DMU two car set £116 - what is the difference, for starters quality and reliability.
The Bachmann DMU 158 model has to be the most noisy (loud) running model on my layout. The DMU 158 is entirely plastic make up - chassis and body. This model requires most careful handling at all times or parts simply detach or break off.
My model 158 required to be sent back to Bachmann at their request to envestigate the reason for the excess noise - after six weeks, Bachmann returned the DMU 158 in the same running state and no explanation enclosed or as to what work had been carried out. OK Bachmann attitude has lost them a future customer. what is one lost customer to Bachmann - nothing as there are plenty more customers waiting to purchase their future models.
In contrast, Heljan has adopted an entirely different attitude - I contacted Heljan requesting their help with a fault arising on model class 47 Intercity diesel locomotive. Heljan replied by return, to send the class 47 back to their factory for checking.
After sales is a very important factor when buying railway models, and models made in China have never been strong in after sales service. Buy cheap and you certainly get what you have paid for.
 

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QUOTE Bachmann 00 BR class 20 diesel £36.50 (taken from Rails of Sheffield's site)
Bachmann H0 US GP-40 diesel US$37.50 (£21.17) complete with factory fitted DCC decoder (taken from Caboose Hobbies site)

Not really a like for like comparison as having seen the Bachmann American stuff at Warley it is very basic with mainly moulded detail and very few detailing parts fitted. Its like Hornby stuff from the 1960's. The Bachmann Class 20 is a higher spec model from a bodywork detailing point of view and is remarkable value. I personally would not want the Bachmann HO at £21 as it is too plain (but as a loco for the kids its just great!
). Also sales taxes in the UK are 17.5% and almost nothing in the USA.

And there are similar American diesels (eg Athearn) at the same American store that retail at $80 (no tax) and models by Athearn are the more acceptable to me (as a reader of the American modelling press). As always you pay your money and you take your choice.

I personally would not buy anything American as it does not interest me in the same way that I would not buy anything European. But the comparisons are interesting.

This is going to be another OO/HO type discussion!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I think that Marklin is in a different position than Fleischmann or even Trix due to the fact that there is a large collector market. I know from experience that German stamps are more expensive than they are in the US and much of what is here is sent to Germany to garner higher prices. These people are serious about their hobbies.

I have a question and don't get me wrong but doesn't the average German have more to spend than the average Brit? I know that their expectations are very high as regards to build quality and maybe they are just willing to spend more.

Speaking for myself it's almost a reflex action to expect to pay more for trains made in Germany and I would sense that there would be a riot if Marklin moved all of their manufacturing over to China. That being said when Scalextric moved their manufacturing to China it seemed to have had a direct impact on improving quality.

I have nothing but respect for people wanting to collect that which is familiar to them. I would though suggest that you may be short changing yourselves. One of the joys of collecting stamps from other countries is learning about another culture. I would think that in a small way you would gain something similar with trains.

For the time being feel yourselves lucky that you can purchase such beautiful trains at reasonable prices and don't worry about the fact that I can buy British prototype even cheaper here in the U.S.


BTW,

I'm writing this from a hotel room in Shanghai.
 

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Why don't we just admit it - we Brits are happy with cheap and cheerful, never mind the quality, just look at the heaps of stuff I get for my money!

Other more discerning purchasers are willing to pay more, get less in numbers but enjoy far higher quality.

But the mould may be being broken. Over the next few months Hornby International models will be released, i.e. ex Rivarossi/Jouef/Lima. Will we see good quality models at Chinese made prices? If we do, we'll have the best of both worlds. Not only that, they will be correct scale/gauge in HO, not pick 'n' mix OO.

 

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I find myself struggling with the intent of opening a comparison topic from a stated position of complete refusal to buy anything non-British, which feels more like a point scoring exercise. So I applaud Dennis' penultimate paragraph regarding the understanding of other cultures and the pleasurable knowledge that can be gained from it.

As a VERY young kid, my first set was an 8' x 4' board with one oval of fibre based, new fangled 2-rail steel flexi-track with a Graham Farish King Geo V and a single Wagon-Lit coach - among the first plastic models on the British market. My old man though they were brilliant but I didn't because I wanted a Dublo A4!

A few moves and years on, another country and another Christmas brought a black Triang Princess and its grey 2-rail track. I despised that too! It still wasn't an A4 and it didn't even have Walschaerts valve gear like the Dublo! Horror of horrors, I then found a rich young school friend who had some (a LOT of!) Marklin HO and the huge leap in quality was unignorable, although at that time, I couldn't make myself actually like the boring black locos and drab coloured coaches. I was probably something of a 'Little Englander' at that young age, but that was to pass . . .

A few years later, as a young adult, I 'discovered' Arnold N gauge in some shop somewhere. I actually can't remember exactly where! But never again was I to be troubled by yearnings for Dublo, although to this day, I still regret never having had any myself. Through Arnold and its wonderful, but horribly expensive catalogues, I rapidly developed an interest in not only the now wonderfully liveried German trains, but French, Dutch, Belgian - all other European countries plus USA! Soon my explorations 'discovered' Fleischmann N gauge and, naturally their superb HO products then also came into my area of interest. There simply wasn't anything British in either gauge that remotely approached the quality of this jewel-like German machinery. Regular trips to family in Continental Europe cemented my appreciation of their superb full-size railways and brought yet more exposure to all the other many model manufacturers that abounded there, like MiniTrix, Hamo, Rowa, Rivarossi, Roco, Bemo, Hag, Heljan, Brawa, Vollmer, Kibri - an almost endless list of makers I had never before come across at that time. Many are better known in UK now, though sadly some have died . . . The Continental trips also exposed me to the enormous volume of high quality, fully illustrated model train literature covering not only the most incredibly complex layouts, but complete wiring for automatic control that just wasn't available in UK at that time, if even today. It was almost mind-blowing! Various of the manufacturers had facilities for independently controlling two locos on 2-rail and THREE locos if using overhead collection, long before DCC came on the scene and, of course, Marklin, Trix and others had been able to run two trains independently via 3-rail for donkeys years before that.

But none of this love of Continental has diminished my interest in British, neither model nor full-size and, now that British is definitely improving, I could be tempted back again! At the same time, I could just as easily be tempted into some of the extremely high quality Japanese models - they are just SO good. And, throughout, I have maintained an interest in all things American, simply because they have such an enormous breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. I get much of my updating of Continental info from USA because there is a TON more English Language info there than in UK! Almost any search for continental manufacturers on the web will pop me into a North American site that can keep me occupied for hours on end.

So, I have no great bias for OR against anything and that leaves me in a well balanced position when it comes to comparisons. There is good and bad in most things, I find. Fixed positions lead to very narrow views.
 

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Rail-Rider, let me ask you, are you British born and bred and do you live in the British Isles?


I and many others will understand your perspective better if you answer this question.

You do give the impression that you are a much travelled person and from this point of view I can understand why you may have an interest in overseas prototypes.

But for me as a true Brit being bought up as a youngster with Triang and Hornby and living in Great Britain then I only have an interest in buying model railway things that are British, and that is my perspective. There is so much to learn of the heritage of British railways that this on its own will take a lifetime!

It does not matter to me at all how continental products compare. I am very happy with the British products as they are thank you very much!


Happy modelling
Gary

PS Doug, if you read this maybe you should consider splitting the British OO and Continental HO sections into two seperate areas as they are of interest to two entirely seperate groups of modellers.
 

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A 'True Brit'?
English, Irish, Scots, Welsh and all the early invasions from every which way made this a rather mythical animal! It simply depends on how far back one tries to trace one's lineage. Pick an era, pick a label. It would probably be just as futile to try to see the future of today's growing multi-racial societies. I feel it much wiser to avoid politics and personal labels here, I'll stick to trains . . .

Perspective?
It virtually ALL interests me - mine could hardly be a broader view!
I really thought I covered that fairly comprehensively in my previous post and I would hope that others will understand that quite well.
Mind shaping events don't need to occur in an arbitrarily fixed order. While travelling might well be a trigger for broadened interests, the opposite is probably more often true - broad interests are the usual trigger for travelling! Both hold true for me and I am far from unique in that respect. The spreading of experience and knowledge are the key and most of mine, in the early days, came from books. Of course TV and video now play a big a part and multi-national forums such as this can broaden the knowledge and horizons of those whose minds are open to it.

Forums are for the sharing of similar interests, not pigeon holing and 'mine's better than yours'.
Let's try to pull it together, not push it apart.
British, European, American, Japanese, Indian, - I like them all!
O, OO, HO, N, Z - I like them all too - anything bigger I can't afford!
All I need is the money! (and the space)

As I said before, Dennis puts it very well.
 

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Looking at the poll of who is interested in what Mr Rail-Rider admits in that thread to not commiting himself to voting or commiting himself in that poll either! The neutrality of Mr Rail-Rider suggests either Irish of Swiss origins to me!


And the Scots, Welsh and English all basically shared the same railway system so "British" is not that mythical from a railway modelling point of view. Both Scots and English can share the enjoyment of owning a "Flying Scotsman". And the Welsh and English the joy of owning a "Cardiff Castle".

Its just those from Northern Ireland who are slightly isolated as geography has forced an all Irish railway system on that part of Britain which is the only sensible solution for a railway system in that part of the UK. However, the infrastructure in terms of buildings and scenery is very similar in Northern Ireland so a model of those parts would look very similar to the rest of Britain I suspect, all be it with different rolling stock.

However this is getting off the subject of a comparison but the reason I did ask Mr Rail-Rider for his origins is that he was the member who proposed a comparison elsewhere which made me think that he did not live in the UK, or had an interest in subjects from outside the UK for reasons of having lived in parts outside the UK or having family members in foreign parts.

It just helps with understanding the thinking behind such a request if one has an appreciation of what underlines this interest.

LisaP4 for example is Australian so has an interest in American outline as much of this is used in Australia, as well as UK outline, possibly because of family roots. Now from LisaP4's persective I can understand the cry for British HO as it may look better running alongside Australian HO.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I prefer train models made by Fleischmann - no one can fault the quality in materials used and accuracy. My several Fleischmann models are all modelled in BR era and as to running ability still outshine models made in the same era as Hornby.
Only let down by Fleischman, once with a DMU 614 two car set - noise while traversing on the layout. To Fleischmann credit, they requested that the DMU 614 be returned to them for examination and also emphasize that customers satisfaction was paramount.

Heljan also deserve a note, as they too request any of their locomotives that become faulty are returned to their factory in Denmark.
Now in comparison, Bachmann in bold lettering, inform that any locomotive outwith of guarantee must be accompanied with a fee of £25.00 before any examination will be undertaken.
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 23 Oct 2005, 18:46)LisaP4 for example is Australian so has an interest in American outline as much of this is used in Australia, as well as UK outline, possibly because of family roots. Now from LisaP4's persective I can understand the cry for British HO as it may look better running alongside Australian HO.

How very presumptious of you, I can't stand American outline, although I do like some of the techniques used by American modellers, and the common standards US models adhere to is some thing British outline manufacturers could learn alot from.
I have dabbled with some Australian narrow gauge but it doesn't really hold my interest. I would however like a model of a New South Wails railways C38 pacific (3801 which double headed with Flying Scotsman when she was out here in '88).

I like the clean lines of British outline, as most British loco's aren't decorated with spaghetti!


I'd like to see British H0 as I don't see why I should have to change the wheels on new models just so they look right, when modellers of other prototypes can just open a box and the model is correct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry to be presumptious although If I personally were to look at continental it is more the American stuff that would draw my interest.

QUOTE I'd like to see British H0 as I don't see why I should have to change the wheels on new models just so they look right, when modellers of other prototypes can just open a box and the model is correct.

Now I'm not stirring it (what moi!
) but what about N gauge?

One scale for the continental models and one (bigger) scale for the British models.


My guess would be that this is linked to the smaller British locomotives having to have a body with a compromise scale to fit on generic N gauge chassis components.

Now you don't see British N gauge modellers complaining do you! (British N gauge modellers when new model comes out =
)

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Actually the gauge problem in N is exactly why 2mm finescale came in to being. It still results in the same problem when you want to run British and Continental prototypes on the same layout though.
 

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Oh dear . . . trying to make some sense of some most peculiar and disjointed comments.QUOTE If I personally were to look at continental it is more the American stuff that would draw my interest.
The term, "Continental", as used in Britain, is universally accepted to mean continental Europe and that excludes everything outside it. Most people would take that to mean most definitely NOT America!

British N gaugers complain?
Several aspects to this.
  1. Unless one takes an active interest in the world of N gauge, it would be quite a presumption to comment on whether they complain of the scale disparity or not.
  2. In any case, the scale disparities between British N gauge and the rest of the world's N gauge is neither as great nor as irritating as the disparity between OO and HO.
  3. Some British N gaugers do seek to reduce that (smaller than) OO/HO disparity by accurate 2mm scale modelling.
  4. As British N gaugers don't have a huge range of RTR to choose from they, are pretty grateful for anything that comes along. (Take a look at Fleischmann's magnificent range alone - the choice is simply incredible. 164 coaches as an example!)
  5. There is a similar divide between the British and the 'Rest of The World' N gauge modellers as there is between OO and HO.
There are pros and cons for all scales and all nationalities.
I don't think we achieve anything useful by stirring it yet further with a topic that appears to have only that aim.
 
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