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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 ?

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I disagree with you very profoundly here. (And I must apologise to ME20-06 that this seems to have veered off into some very familiar British territory)

In the last 8-10 years we have seen a huge improvement in British outline models in OO, especially on the diesel side. These excellent new models have been subject to unprecedently savage and vicious attack particularly on the internet but also in print as some of the prominent internet critics have broked their way to a print platform.

The "in your face" style of reviewing as practiced by Rail Express , and Steve Jones website has done immense damage to my bit of the hobby in Britain. The orchestrated chanting of "its c*** , it's s***e" against almost every new release has at times obscured the fact that there has been an huge improvement in the standards. An outside observer could be confused by this to the point of thinking things have got worse, not better. Indeed there are clear signs of that happening. I've seen cases of people removing the bodyshell of a controversial Bachmann new release to substitute a Lima one - despite the very substantial inferioirity of Lima models to the current generation of tooling. We also have on this forum the persistant efforts of triangman, which as to what motors are used in newly tooled Hornby OO RTR are frankly incorrect. I've seen triangman and rb277170's efforts in trashing the M7 review - I doubt if they've ever owned an example of the model

This has evidently confused you, geodel , which is understandable as you are unfamiliar with the ground. I'm aware that the traditional British N manufacturer , Farish was pretty basic (Dapol seem to be"setting new standards in N" by taking 25 year old OO models and "cloning" them in N). But really as a Continental outline N gauge modeller, I'm not quite clear what you are doing here targetting British 4mm RTR and one of its manufacturers. Surely its none of your concern - they don't make N? And you certainly aren't familiar with the territory you're discussing

We've recently had a thread attacking British outline layouts at exhibitions as uninteresting from someone living 10,000 miles away , and a Continental modeller citing a single closed society event. For the record I've never seen anyone trying a layout to run to a timetable at a public exhibition. A sequence , yes "Move 1 - Coal train to yard. Move 2. Down Express with Royal Scot. Move 3 ..." To suggest people don't watch the British layouts at shows because they use timetable running with long gaps has no obvious basis in fact.

QUOTE More vigorous and louder criticism (obviously of the constructive kind) is needed, instead of having a mindset accepting that a brand new model will be okay after a facelift and repaint and replaced decoder just because the manufacturer was lazy. Most unfortunate in this respect are the uncritical reviews freqen tly found in several popular railway magazines, who apart from wanting their free samples from the manufacturers, continue to willfully ignore stark errors and failings in the model for fear of putting the readers and potential buyers off. If only they stood up to the manufacturers and pointed out these mistakes and poor quality then they could influence the hobby for the good of the modellers...

So you have been reading electricnose, geodel? Steve Jones never sailed closer to the wind of the libel laws than in that posting.

For the record, Tony Wright has said publicaly (in my hearing at lectures at 2 CMRA Workshop events , and doubtless elsewhere as well) that review samples at BRM are either used as the raw material for projects or donated to charity. In some cases it's obvious - the notorious Britannia article where Tony threw away the chassis , replaced it with a Comet etched one, threw away the tender and replaced it with a kit , then reworked the main bodyshell was clearly a case of "lets do a replace the chassis with a Comet kit article. What have we got in the office - Oh there's that Hornby Britannia". By the way it was the 20 year old Brit in its last production year - not the recently reased state of the art Brit

Similarly if you watch the Detailing RTR DVD you can watch Tony taking apart a teak Hornby Gresley literally and figuratively. By the time he's cut away the entire sides and replaced them with etched ones soldered up in 2 layers and pulled off the bogies and replaced them with MJTs there's not much left. That's a review sample getting the chop. His comments on the model are far more detailed and severe than in Neil S Woods review (and by general consideration the Hornby Gresleys are both the weakest and most expensive of all the "new generation" coach ranges from either Hornby or Bachmann). BRM's editor models in 7mm , so no "freebees" for Gifford Sidings there

As far as Model Rail is concerned , Chris Leigh has stated repeatedly in writing that they buy most of their review samples , and often mentions the local shop who supplied. In the case of one item that got a favourable review (a product from a society I'm involved with) we know he bought the product incognito because the first we knew about it was when we read the review.

But with respect geodel - do you have sufficient knowledge of ex LNER coaching stock to assess the models and their merits - or indeed any range of British coaching stock in any scale? How then can you judge the reviewing?. I certainly can't assess the merits of Brawa - I don't know the German coaches concerned so I can't assess how accurate the models are - and Brawa's selling point is their accuracy

As far as the price comparision is concerned - I compared list price with list price. If you wish to use a discounted price for Maerklin , then we use the cheapest price for Heljan we can find on Hattons or Rails of Sheffield's website . Compare apples and apples and the Marklin loco's still 2.5-3 times the price of the Heljan loco - which is excellent. Geodel saysQUOTE We must not be complacent but demand more and better for the same money, otherwise newcomers will be less attracted to model railways and without new recruits the hobby will gradually decline Well - are Marklin just lining their pockets? Difficult to believe given their financial troubles. Or are they just an inefficient producer, passing on their inefficiencies? Or what? What exactly do we get extra for 2-3 times the price?? Sound is frankly a luxury item and dispensible. Is it good for the hobby if locos are twice as expensive ??

The Pendolino is an odd one - because Hornby took the odd step of saying when they announced it that this would not be a high spec model , because it was not for scale modellers , it was for the trainset market and had to be kept down to a price. Therefore this is not "Hornby's major release of the year". Those are the Rebuilt Scot, the Rebuilt Patriot, the 56 , and the Maunsell coaches

Critism of the decoder should be tempered by the fact that there will be a DCC Ready version for £10 less shortly, which looks a far better option. As far as the mechanism is concerned - they said they were going to cut corners to keep the price down and this is the corner they cut. No , the model is not as good as Bachmann's Voyager. Would we be better off without it? No - the most important group of mainlines in Britain would be unmodellable after 2001. Is it better than the dire Dapol effort? Vastly

I've seen a Pendolino and seen it run. It appeared to run entirely adequetely at slow speed on DCC and fine at speed., though not as well as say the new Bachmann 108, and nobody believes it will take 9. The REx review , written by a reviewer supposed by some to be their hatchet man, found the running acceptable. The review is measured and no hatchet job. It would therefore appear some Pendolinos may run better than others -I'm inclined to suspect the decoders not the model itself (Duff solder joint somewhere??). Again geodel - before you criticise the reviewing , have you seen the model? As for build quality, see Nigel Burkin's review of the Vi-Trains 37 in the current MRM

And if we'd flamed Hornby to hell and back - would they have been more likely to bother? Or would they just say "we don't need the hassle. Lets stick a decoder in the dire Lima deltic , spray it purple and flog that to the kiddies for Christmas as a DCC set"

The flamethrower is not an instrument of persuasion. Repeated applications produce scorched earth. Bachmann , after 3-4 years of savage attack, have slashed their new diesel development and focus on steam

There's a pattern here . First they attacked the manufacturers. Then they attacked the magazines , and anyone else who didn't agree with them [before setting themselves up with specialist magazines in competition] . Then they turned on each other. We are currently in the second half of phase 3.

Some of us don't think this does the hobby any good at all

There has never been better support for British outline modelling, and it would perhaps be better if we got on and did some instead. Campaigns against sections of the British trade by people who don't model British prototype don't help

[With apologies to the members with interests in Continental modelling who must wonder what this thread now has to do with their interests.]

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What was meant was that some folk use the forum for a running sniping campaign against Hornby, making some often questionable statements. Or in other words "here we go again..."

"Margate" in this context was intended to refer to Hornby, not to members of the forum who live in Thanet. You hadn't previously posted in this thread and therefore it wasn't meant as any comment about you or about residents of Margate in general. Sorry if you felt that it did - that was not the intention, and I'm happy to clarify and apologise for any upset.

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Geodel:QUOTE I stand by everything I have said in earlier posts.

QUOTE Most unfortunate in this respect are the uncritical reviews freqen tly found in several popular railway magazines, who apart from wanting their free samples from the manufacturers, continue to willfully ignore stark errors and failings in the model

I'm sorry but I don't think you should stand by this. We can discount Rail Express and Modern Railway Modelling as being the magazines you mean- they are small and specialist. Ditto MRJ , - its very finescale and only reviews . Hornby Magazine is two issues old

That leaves Railway Modeller, BRM , and Model Rail. These kind of allegations have been made before , notably by Steve Jones , particularly in one blog posting which seemed to me to go very close to the law because the intended targets were so obvious .

John Brewer,editor of Rly Modeller , models GW broad gauge in 3mm, so RTR isn't much use to him. John Emerson of BRM models in 7mm and there's hardly any 7mm RTR. Tony Wright , the assistant editor , models in 4mm and has several times stated publicly what BRM do with their review samples. There is evidence to support this , and with respect both layouts he's involved with are exhibition layouts , so if review items run on them we could see it. The Detailing RTR DVD actually shows the fate of a couple of review samples , and Tony's comments on the various coaches are far more critical of errors in the Hornby Gresleys than Neil S Woods review, which actually missed every single error and asserts that the Brawa vehicles are better because the colour of the roof is nicer.. Both Neil's review (above) and the BRM DVD are readily available so anyone can verify the facts in this case [The DVD's well worth getting , but won't be much interest to Continental modellers]

In the case of Model Rail , Chris Leigh has made it clear both in print and at least one modelling event that they buy most of their review items - the shop where they were bought is often named in the review. Darren Sherwood Jones, the former staff model maker at Model Rail has written that the personal flack he was getting from some of the critics has led him to move from 4mm to 7mm

The fact that both Chris Leigh and Tony Wright have felt it necessary to spell out the situation on review models suggests that they felt the attacks were directed against themselves and their publications. Chris Leigh has published an article on modifying the profile of the cab roof front of the Heljan 52 - hardly wilfully ignoring the issue .

QUOTE I think you are the one trying to use it. Also I fail to see how constructive criticism of today's releases will lead back to Lima...that is pure scaremongering

It won't lead back to Lima. It'll lead forward to a lack of any new tooling for D+E products . It's why BRITHO will be waiting till Dec 2009 or 2010 for that 4-CEP he fancies: Bachmann are de-prioritising D+E.

If you want to see the consequences, look at Bachmann's Toy Fair interview with Doug and Gary. Much of it reads to me like series of deliberate snubs of the people who have been criticising Bachmann on the internet. Note the comments on "rivet counters". Note also the statement that the 150 is "not dropped" , and the comment that the drawings made available were not suitable. The relevant specialist society , DEMU , had made its own drawings and info available to Bachmann to assist the project , in an effort to rebuild relations with them after the damage caused by the sort of campaigning you are advocating. In a recent BRM interview Bachmann state that they see little further potential in British diesel models

The comment that it is "potentially dangerous" to say that the quality of British outline models has improved dramatically when it has ,is bizarre. Nothing is more likely to discourage people from taking up modelling in the UK than a constant relentless denigration of British outline models and British modellers in forums and magazines

Relations with the manufacturers, and with the principal critics of the manufacturers, remain highly divisive issues in UK D+E , and within the principal specialist society. I'm afraid we are clearly on opposite sites of that argument. If someone were standing on the basis of the arguments you advance - ie resuming the War against the Manufacturers - I'd vote agianst

I have no personal issue with you , geodel - this is very much a matter of principles for me, not individuals

QUOTE I hope that we can agree to disagree.

I hope so too. One of the ugliest features of this whole D+E debate has been the targetting of people who've expressed a dissenting opinion either by banning them from Yahoo groups, or barbed attacks on "certain people" on blogs. I think such tactics stink
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