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Its not neccessarily a China issue when the design work is undertaken at Margate or Barwell etc. Its more a case of the designer or whoever has the say thereafter specifying the wrong materials and cutting back on sensible design. Take Hornbys new Rocket where aside from stacks of fragile plastic details which really ought to have been metal you have the main driving axle simply resting in a slot, rather than passing through the frames, and held in place by two lumps on the inside of the body which in turn is held in place by a single very thin screw. And then you have the crazy situation of the wires to the tender ending in a soldered joint without any cable grip and a sloppy easy disconnected tender coupling meaning the wires are all too easilly stressed to the point of snapping off the soldered joint. Yes mine is in bits as a result and I am now thinking the solution is to remove the motor from it and have it a one end of a rake of its coaches powered by a Rapido Lion at the other end.
 

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All manufacturers should never ever have resorted to China production. It will and has come back to bite them!
Keep it within the areas where the product is understood.
Possibly true, but at the time, it was seen as the only way to bring high spec models to the British Market and bring them at a sensible price.
 

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Its not neccessarily a China issue when the design work is undertaken at Margate or Barwell etc. Its more a case of the designer or whoever has the say thereafter specifying the wrong materials and cutting back on sensible design. Take Hornbys new Rocket...
Or the Heljan class 14.

Mine is still in pieces, a year on, because I still can't get a replacement drive gear for it.

I don't know who designed this model, but one only has to try to dismantle it to see how poorly designed it is - quite clearly done on the extreme cheap. Over the years, I've come across quite a few issues, usually one or two per affected loco, but the Heljan class 14 takes top marks for the most poorly designed of the lot - design faults everywhere. Designed by an amature in my opinion. Looks good, but is absolute garbage.

At least with the Hornby Rocket, you can solder wires back together. On the Heljan class 14, if wires become detached from the lights, you haven't got a hope in hell's chance of fixing them because the lights are an integral part of the body and hidden behind other plastic so no chance of soldering without melting plastic. On properly designed models by other manufacturers, lights are usually part of a removable PCB.
 

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I work for a company that supplies electrcal products sourced from China that we sell on as our own brand. A complete nightmare...they never stick with the design they supply as pre-order sample, they keep changing the specs without notice and although initially thay seem OK, over time it becomes a nightmare. If Hornby are doing likewise, no wonder the boss is going bald and even toys come under several directives they have to abide by.
Whatever happened to all the tooling from Wrenn, Lima ans others? Surely it wasn't all shipped to China?
 

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At least with the Hornby Rocket, you can solder wires back together.
Not when the wire subsequently snaps where it exits the loco. The reason is the loco is limited on space the wires have to be pretty accurate in length as their is no storage space for excess wiring in the loco so if in resoldering a wire is pulled tighter or shortened it is likely to put in excessive stress. IMO what they should have done is the wiring in the loco taken to a micro socket into which the tender wires plugged, although given on mine the factory managed to solder four track pick ups to four pins of the six pin socket quite what a mess they would make of micro connections is another matter.
 

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...Whatever happened to all the tooling from Wrenn, Lima and others? Surely it wasn't all shipped to China?
Wrenn tooling was sold on within the UK long before the move to China. Where it may be now who knows? History
The Lima group tooling - at least all of it from which there has been subsequent production - that'll be out of the UK, and most likely in China.
There was a redundant tooling clear out from Margate, not much left in the UK.
 

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I think it's easy to underestimate young children and dismiss them as being likely to break it. Let's not forget, also, that technology has given us the tools to make operating a model railway easier for children. My seven year old grandson enjoys running a train around my layout and enjoys being able to speed it up, slow it down and stop at stations. Thanks to dcc I can set the maximum speed. I load the train onto a wifi Multimaus and he can run a dmu back and forth quite safely without risk of "breaking it". He doesn't have access to points control or route setting as that's all on my tablets. I can also take over control should I need to or hit the emergency stop button but there's rarely a need. My granddaughter, 9, is fascinated with model making aspect. She's eagerly waiting an opportunity to come and try out some static grass laying in the next few weeks. Give the children in your family more credit and let them get involved and play with your precious toys. A bit of encouragement now whilst they are young and who knows they may be inspired to become serious modelers later in life.
 

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Wrenn was acquired by David Boyle (Dapol) and some of the plastic wagon bodies dating back to Hornby-Dublo remain in the Dapol range although the 13T steel sided wagon is a replica (the HD tooling having been lost). Wrenn otherwise was sold on to a group acting as a Collectors Club which ceased trading in 2015
 

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I think it's easy to underestimate young children and dismiss them as being likely to break it. Let's not forget, also, that technology has given us the tools to make operating a model railway easier for children. My seven year old grandson enjoys running a train around my layout and enjoys being able to speed it up, slow it down and stop at stations. Thanks to dcc I can set the maximum speed. I load the train onto a wifi Multimaus and he can run a dmu back and forth quite safely without risk of "breaking it". He doesn't have access to points control or route setting as that's all on my tablets. I can also take over control should I need to or hit the emergency stop button but there's rarely a need. My granddaughter, 9, is fascinated with model making aspect. She's eagerly waiting an opportunity to come and try out some static grass laying in the next few weeks. Give the children in your family more credit and let them get involved and play with your precious toys. A bit of encouragement now whilst they are young and who knows they may be inspired to become serious modelers later in life.
There is a lot of good points here.

I don't think the younger generation are the problem. I think we in the older generation are the problem and as we get older, we get more fumble-fingered. That's why we go to O Gauge! And so that we can see it!
 

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I think a lot of the problem is recognizing the children in particular if taught to take care most will. But you have to remember some engines, more so steam are quite weighty and awkward for small hands and balance can be an issue though some children should not be allowed anywhere near a model railways really all depends on the child. Start with some less expensive old models so they learn how to handle them and they will soon learn. Again those with a destructive streak keep well clear.
 

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I completely agree about the toys pricing Vs hobby models. Messing with trains in the 70s as a kid is part of what got me into engineering which is may career as did Mecanno and Lego.

As I have picked the hobby up in my mid 50s again after a brief few years of Thomas with my daughters 10-15 years ago I am finding Triang on line. Yes they are not as great models, but they are bullet proof and very fixable. The rail community including this forum have been so helpful as has You Tube too. What a great hands-on and early hobby and like any sport you love playing, it is great to pass it on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Sometimes, when I read online fora, I come to the conclusion that there are an awful lot of 'ham-fisted' people in our hobby, evidenced by people describing their inability to handle models carefully or how to lay level track properly. And quite often, the results of the ham-fistedness ends up being the cast-off second hand tat on Hattons' website that no-one will ever buy. Such a waste of good models.

Come on guys, we need to lift our game! If we want high quality models which are comparable to the European market as we have been clamouring for for the last 30+ years, then we have to expect that such models are more fragile, so require handling carefully and will not go round sub-radius 1 trainset curves!
We can't keep holding the hobby back to maintain compatibilty with trainset standards.

For those who can't handle models properly or require sub-radius 1 trainset curves, there is Hornby Railroad which is suitably provisioned with a big stash of long amortised models dating back to the 1960's and 1970's. What? Not good enough? We can't have it both ways!

The fact that the manufacturers are all producing ever higher-spec models indicates to me that this is where the market is otherwise Railroad would be produced by all manufacturers and would be a far bigger market than we see now.
I don't think you understand what i mean. i don't want low-price models that are durable AND look like masterpieces. they don't have to. all i want is for it to look like the prototype. hell, the repurposed hornby thomas loco would be a good enough e2 for a range like this. these models do exist yes, but you cannot call 67 a budget price. no parent will buy a child this, unless they're millionaires. especially with it likely being a very low production cost model. and for those who say there isn't a market, there never will be a market for "toys" if children don't get a chance to get into trains in the first place, is what i mean. rich pensioners can still buy their high quality hyper accurate expensive models, but there really should be a chance for those with lower standards and incomes to get into it. apologies if this reply sounds a little crass and rude, it's not intentional.
 

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I don't think you understand what i mean. i don't want low-price models that are durable AND look like masterpieces. they don't have to. all i want is for it to look like the prototype. hell, the repurposed hornby thomas loco would be a good enough e2 for a range like this. these models do exist yes, but you cannot call 67 a budget price. no parent will buy a child this, unless they're millionaires. especially with it likely being a very low production cost model. and for those who say there isn't a market, there never will be a market for "toys" if children don't get a chance to get into trains in the first place, is what i mean. rich pensioners can still buy their high quality hyper accurate expensive models, but there really should be a chance for those with lower standards and incomes to get into it. apologies if this reply sounds a little crass and rude, it's not intentional.
No problem, no offence taken.

So would I be correct in reading that Hornby Railroad products (including Thomas as a E2) meet the requirement you are looking for, but are still too expensive ?

I'm really not sure how that can be resolved. These models are already long since amortised, which make them and Hornby unique - I don't think any other manufacturers are in a position to be able to offer them. This means that the only costs associated with them are actual production costs but we are still saying that cost is too high.
There comes a point where we might be wanting our cake and wanting to eat it as well...which is unviable for manufacturers and will be the reason why other manufacturers don't have 'Railroad' ranges - because they can't get the costs down to an 'acceptable' level.
 

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... the repurposed hornby thomas loco would be a good enough e2 for a range like this. these models do exist yes, but you cannot call 67 a budget price. no parent will buy a child this, unless they're millionaires...
If the child wants it, that's easily affordable. Between mobile phones, games consoles, this year's replica sports kit and/or film character clothing, a bike, <insert trending item here> ; parents can be lashing out 10x that p.a. per child for what are toys. And this is people in regular jobs with mortgages on modest family homes: my sample of 'friends with kids' includes nurses, manufacturing operatives, motor mechanic, building labourer, social worker, LT driver, schoolteachers.

It's more about priorities: among the boys majoring on replica clothing and electronic games gear, with the girls the latest in mobile phones or they are apparently 'socially dead'; and it's a laptop or tablet as well, by the time they are in secondary education.
 
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