I wouldn't have commented in this thread , but as it seems to have headed into familiar territory of "put the boot into British modelling" , and as people might assume I advocated postions I don't ..
QUOTE Question is, why did Roco go bankrupt. It was because their CEO at the time, Mr Maegdefrau, wanted Roco to play in one league with Märklin, sales-wise, yet turn out better, more detailed models that are very close to brass engines. The BBÖ class 310, the DB cllass 03.10, the "Bundesheer" (Austrian Army) Taurus are good examples of this. However, Roco relied strongly on the German market, which was in an economic downturn at the time, and only few modellers bought the engine. Being top brass, Mr Maegdefrau then did about the stupidest thing a CEO can possibly do - he cut down on quality control, and on R+D (and moved to a newly-built facility in Rif/Austria, which cost a couple of million Euros as well). The lack of quality made continental modellers become rather wary of the brand, until Roco´s bank stopped the entire operation and took over under the new name
Interesting. My big criticism of the German manufacturers is that they have gone in this direction of "better, more detailed models that are very close to brass engines", resulting in extremely expensive models which are too expensive for the market to bear , resulting in low volume sales: "only few modellers bought the engine." I don't think the so-called "museum-quality" limited edition , at an eyewatering price and which no-one dare weather, is a healthy phenomenon. I'm glad we don't see it in Britain
But please note this is aside from where the models are produced. Heljan are a European producer. Their models are not obviously more accurate or to a higher specification than the latest Bachmann and Hornby. They have made mistakes. But nobody has found any fault with either their OO cl 35 Hymek or their new class 27. Both models have an RRP just under £80 - say 120 euros
By contrast we had another thread discussing a prestigeous new Marklin boxed set new release of the Etoile du Nord. The loco, an SNCF multivoltage C-C electric , has a list price of 295 euros. By the time that gets to France, the importer's cut (not a eurocent of which goes to pay salaries in Goppingen) will push the price in the French shop window to 365 euros. The coach packs are 395 euros each - almost 100 euros a coach
I think Heljan's approach is much more beneficial to the hobby than that Marklin boxed set. I certainly don't see that the Marklin loco should be 3 times the price of the Heljan one. Remember both are European made , and we are comparing prices in the country of the prototype (which in both cases is diffiernt from the country of the producer)
I must admit I'd always suspected the Lokmaus had played a significant role in Roco's downfall. The sets are blatently loss leaders , designed to generate follow up sales where Roco would make their money. I doubt the follow on sales happened. In the UK , people bought the sets to get the Lokmaus and dumped the stock and track. We still have most of a Roco digital set lying around the club room getting in the way of the new OO layout - the US group bought it 5 years ago to go DCC cheaply and ditched the rest. I've heard that in Germany people bought the sets for the stock then flogged off the unwanted Lokmaus on eBay. Neither scenario can have done any good to Roco's bottom line
As far as Hornby and the Rivarossi group are concerned , I suspect ME20-06 and I are seeing completely different stories. Hornby did not buy Rivarossi- they bought Rivarossi's pile of tooling, which they have only just got back into production. They will not have any stocks of spares for the HO/N products , especially where production of an item has only just started, and they probably don't have a properly established dealer network on the Continent yet. The don't actually have any obligations to support owners of Rivarossi locos bought in the old days - they bought the tools not Rivarossi and its liabilities
In the UK Hornby are a long established business ,as they are not in Germany. Hornby spares are available from various sources , though the range and availability is not as comprehensive as it was. I've successfully sourced Networker bogies and Mk4 interiors for a project recently - on the other hand I haven't sourced a power coupling for a Pacer. The Pacer's been out of the catalogue for 5 years and was only briefly fitted with a power coupling
Lima in the UK was not a quality range . The new Chinese produced Hornby class 60 is a superb model and no-one has found fault except perhaps that the oval sprung buffers sometimes rotate. It has all wheel pick up, a 5 pole centre motor (and no it is not a Type 7 motor which Traingman loves to call a "cheap throwaway motor) and both bogies are driven. It weights 800g . It is DCC ready. It has lights. It has seethrough raditor grills with interior detail . (Not for nothing are 60's nicknamed doughnuts). It has NEM362 pockets. It's as good as it gets in UK diesels
Lima did a 60 over a decade ago. It had none of these things - it featured a crude 3 pole "pancake " motor bogie , picked up from 2 wheels on each side , and had massive tension locks . It was about half the weight , relied on traction tyres to haul a load , the standard of finish was much lower , and the tooling less detailed. Whether what detail there was was accurate I'm not sure - it often wasn't with Lima. Wheels were crude and heavy
As for finishing - in my local model shop there's a Lima Midland Mainline HST train pack hanging about. I won't be buying it - its the first batch where they forgot to spray one of the colours. Self coloured plastic was a favourite Lima trick .I suppose it saved the cost of a coat of paint....
Hornby have re-released the Lima 156 - one of Lima's best efforts. I've got one. They've replaced the big 3 pole pancake with a compact new 5 -pole motor bogie with decent wheels. The model now has 8 wheel pick up, not 2+2. It's DCC ready - Lima weren't. It runs very nicely - smoothly, slowly and without stalling at pointwork. The quality of the livery application and finish is superb. It still has a large black box where the underframe detail should be - typical Lima
It's not in the same class as Bachmanns splendid new 108 DMU, with a level of detail we've not seen before, a very smooth mechanism (crawls at speed step 1 on 128), lights etc. Both retail for the same price - £60-75 depending where you shop. No doubt rb277170 would consider the Hornby model grossly overpriced - but how much is the Flieschmann Desiro? 300 euros??
There have been repeated suggestions that Lima's British range were to a substantially lower standard than everything else Rivarossi offered for every other market . It has been suggested this is all the fault of British modellers for not complaining loudly enough. My observation was that the original Lima importer , RIKO , was pretty uninterested in British modellers views. When former Lima staff turn up behind Vi-Trains, proclaiming their Lima background in their ads, and offer a 37 not quite as good as Bachmann at a very similar price, it's easy to see why people don't want to cut them much slack.
QUOTE Albeit the engine itself is made in China, I could call Brawa about which brake hoses to mount on my Bavarian G4/5H; as R+D was done in Germany, I got connected to an R+D person responsible for this engine who answered my question and told me stuff about the real Westinghouse (earlier) and Knorr (later) brakes that I didn´t yet know .
This is much closer to the pattern of Hornby and Bachmann in the UK - although I doubt either quite has Brawa's level of scholarship. Both Hornby & Bachmann do their R+D in the UK and have a stand at all the major shows. Neither Lima nor Vi-Trains do . (Heljan are of course Danish , but they do have a stand at the biggest show)
As far as cars are concerned , Britian actually runs a trade suplus on automotive (Its easy to forget Nissan at Sunderland, Toyota at Derby, Honda at Swindon, Ford , BMW, etc) . I have this dreadful sense that every car made in Britain is exported and every car driven in Britian is imported...
I don't think this has been a very constructive thread. I sense that because of the endless bickering, outsiders get a very negative view of British modelling and British models from here . When the assertions on which that very negative view is based range from the selective to the distorted to the outright untrue , it worries me - because this is one of the main public forums for the hobby in Britain , and it looks like a pretty poor shop window
As a final point I don't think a loss making manufacturer with falling sales is a good thing. There's the well-known story of how after Airfix folded 20 years ago, David Boyle , who went on to found Dapol , personally witnessed the old Kitmaster tools being taken out of the factory and smashed with a sledgehammer before dispatch to the scrapmerchant. Anyone want to see that happen to LGB's tooling ?