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pedromorgan wrote "...lost under a generic "Hornby International Inc." brand" I was actually quite surprised when I first heard about that. I was expecting to see red boxes all over europe!"

Hornby have very sensibly recognised that the French are very attached to Jouef, the Spanish to Electrotren and the Italians to Lima!

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QUOTE So is the perception that the Americans like playing with toy trains and the Euros like model trains?

No it's more like in the US these groups operate side by side. If you go to a convention in the states you'll see both Toy and Scale represented. Strangely you'll see a lot more TV Shows and videos showing toy layouts but I would be willing to bet money that the scale crowd is actually larger. It's more of a perception of those people on the outside looking in. There's more going on (action) with a toy layout so that's what they feature. It's like the coverage of other hobbies which are skewed by those on the outside looking in.

Toys are big but I think scale is bigger since the most popular scale in the US is still HO by a long shot. Next would be the larger scales like G & O assuming you can group them together then N Scale.
 

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My hope is that the economies of scale that Hornby will be able to gain by bringing so many disparate operations under one roof will help to ensure the survival of a model railway business which generates enough profit which can be ploughed back into developing new product.

David
 

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"You've totally mis-read my post. I'm trying to represent an American point of view" - I don't think i misunderstood your post. i understood that that is what you were trying to do.

"what I meant here is buying offshore" oh i see. that does make more sense. but it also opened up another question, with the model trade in the US becoming more and more internet orientated, will the big US distributors be able to hold their market if offshore companies start offering the same sort of prices. i hear no end of complaints on the model railroader forum about walthers customer service!?

"Rivarossi is another discount brand sold out of New York" "It has everything to do with perception. "- my point was that that was then and this is now. rivarossi is not the same company any more. all they have done so far is to provide us with items that they already had in their repetoire. it will be interesting to see what they make of the first few totally new models under this brand. i know hornby see the Riv brand as a premium brand in the us as well as over here. the past Riv models have little to do with how hornby or the public sees the company right now.

along similar lines, mehano were seen as a budget company then recently they have had a few very high standard models and people are looking at them again. i wonder if bachmann would have taken them on if they were producing the old models?

Peter
 

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Don't get me wrong I would love for them to succeed. What I would really like to see is these companies produce some Era II-IV locomotives rather than the latest express trains. To me they seem so much alike.

When I was referring to them being sold out of New York I was referring to this large discounter that would run these full page ads. As far as the Internet goes I would think that's more of a problem for the shop rather than the manufacturer. Often prices are cheaper here than the home country already except for German locomotives and rolling stock.
Take toy soldiers for instance, cheaper here
than the UK.

Going back to a previous question Athern has a very high reputation in the US. Part of this is the goodwill they generated with all their rolling stock kits. Other brands that are generating some noise are Broadway Limited and Precision Craft Models. Besides these there are literally dozens of others.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 22 Mar 2006, 15:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So who are the best rated American manufacturers in HO? I am unfamiliar with many of the names their but would like to get some of the articulated ones made by Athearn. Before I fork out though I would like to hear some recommendations.


Neil, the Athearn Challenger is good model let down by a cheap sound decoder, MRC. The model itself is great, finely detailed and better than most of the BLI models. It's as good as a P2K USRA 2-8-8-2, much better than the P2K Berkshire. In terms of running qualities infinetly better than most brass models but those are really collector items. Athearn make good diesels, so do Kato, Atlas, P2k. The BLI AC6000 is a winner in terms of model appeal and detail but the decoder lets it down. Mehano make RTR models for IHC and are a cheap, no frills type brand. Most of their models do lack the precision of the other brands but make up for it by being pretty robust. Bachmann have a good range of basic US steam but their diesels aren't up to scratch.

Ozzie21
 

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The problem with Bachman is their stuff is all over the map. Some good, some great and some crap. They have won best product in MR 2 years running but they also make crappy sets that you'll toss with the tree or near to it.

You need to be careful when buying their stuff, for the rest Oz seems to have a good handle. When I go to NYC I want to check some of the shops there just to see how they operate. If they have displays or are mearly mail order. I was really disapointed with Rails of Sheffeild, the store was a dump.
 

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QUOTE Neil, the Athearn Challenger is good model let down by a cheap sound decoder, MRC

I had been thinking about the Athearn Challenger as it does look good but I have heard a lot of conflicting info about quality. It sounds a bit like BLI in that it looks fantastic and runs reasonably well but the decoder is crap. I was thinking about trying one of the Precision Craft locos as they have Loksound decoders which I know to be good. They didn't get a good review in the Model Railroader but the issues the pinpointed didn't seem of concern to me. Maybe their criteria is different from mine. Have you tried one of these Ozzie?


I hadn't heard of P2k. I'll have a look at them.


QUOTE I was really disapointed with Rails of Sheffeild, the store was a dump.

I know what you mean Dennis. My wifes family live in Sheffield and when we go to visit I pop in there. Last time I was a bit disappointed with their service as well as their shop. But I suppose they are primarily a mail order outlet. I will be going to Sheffield later this year and I was thinking about looking at MG Sharp instead as they have a lot of European and American outline.
Obviously I want be buying anything as when I buy it from Australia I don't pay the vat and only a madman would by German locos from the UK.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 12 May 2006, 08:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I had been thinking about the Athearn Challenger as it does look good but I have heard a lot of conflicting info about quality. It sounds a bit like BLI in that it looks fantastic and runs reasonably well but the decoder is crap. I was thinking about trying one of the Precision Craft locos as they have Loksound decoders which I know to be good. They didn't get a good review in the Model Railroader but the issues the pinpointed didn't seem of concern to me. Maybe their criteria is different from mine. Have you tried one of these Ozzie?


I hadn't heard of P2k. I'll have a look at them.

I know what you mean Dennis. My wifes family live in Sheffield and when we go to visit I pop in there. Last time I was a bit disappointed with their service as well as their shop. But I suppose they are primarily a mail order outlet. I will be going to Sheffield later this year and I was thinking about looking at MG Sharp instead as they have a lot of European and American outline.
Obviously I want be buying anything as when I buy it from Australia I don't pay the vat and only a madman would by German locos from the UK.


Neil, I'm not sure which version of the Loksound decoder Precision Craft. I know that the yanks are a bit put off by them as they don't use a polyphonic soud system like Soundtraxx do. The Loksound decoders use a looped sound sytem of around 65seconds except for the steam chuff which is polyphonic. I have ony seen the pictures of the Precision Craft locos but I suspect that they will be similar in quality to the BLI locos seeing as they come from the same place. P2K is short for Proto 2000 which is LifeLike models top of the line brand. Thery do numerous diesels and what they term The Heritage Steam Collection which was an 0-6-0, 0-8-0, 2-8-4 and a 2-8-8-2. The first 2-8-8-2's were made by Roco then by China so the quality dropped. The 0-8-0 and 0-6-0 were also made by China but the quality was better. The 0-6-0 was i think the best loco they made. The 2-8-4 or Berkshire was an indifferent product. I had 6 of them but only 2 would run any good. The were designed rather poorly which causes problems with fixing them as they are designed not to come apart, easily. I sold all mine an bought another couple of brass ones in their stead. For P2k look in
www.lifelikeproducts.com and follow the links for Proto 2000.

Ozzie21
 

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QUOTE I had 6 of them but only 2 would run any good

Given what you have said about their running quality I might look elsewhere. I have had similar experiences with some locos and I prefer to have them run ok from the start unless there are really good reason otherwise. The Precision Craft ones look pretty similar to the BLI although I understand they are metal rather than plastic which I prefer.
Thanks for that

Neil
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 13 May 2006, 08:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Given what you have said about their running quality I might look elsewhere. I have had similar experiences with some locos and I prefer to have them run ok from the start unless there are really good reason otherwise. The Precision Craft ones look pretty similar to the BLI although I understand they are metal rather than plastic which I prefer.
Thanks for that

Neil

Yes it was strange that LifeLike got it so wrong as the fix was quite simple, apart from the lousy driving wheels. I did pull one to bits and thats how I found out how bad they were to pull apart. All that was wrong was that the bottom brush cap was not properly insulated from the chassis. They, the chinese, used about a 2mm square piece of masking tape to insulate the brush cap from the frame and this had moved when the frames halves were pushed together, split frames you see. This wouldn't be a problem with DC but creates a short with DCC. The problem is that everything on this model that can be glued to the frame is!, the motion bracket, front end including steps compressor mounts etc, rear of the boiler. And the boiler support stays which are glued to the chassis are also glued the running boards which are glued to the boiler. it's that funny chinese CA glue that is used which no amount of debonder seems to soften. Result is you break most of it getting it apart. Also with the Chesapeake and Ohio locos they didn't do there home work on or they would have found out thet there were four distinct batches from three different manufacturers all with different details. Not sure about the Nickle Plate or Virginian locos but I suspect they got them wrong too.

Ozzie21
 

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QUOTE (Dennis David @ 14 May 2006, 00:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Probably a price saving measure. Ozzie are you familiar with the detail parts that are available in the US? These companies do a thriving business in parts that correct some of these problems.

Yes mate I am but it's a thing with life like models. They produce terrific diesels for the most part then forget the details which makes one road distict from the other. Most of what they produce is the works catalogue item ie the demonstrator. Dosen't matter that 6 class ones bought say SD60's that have different details, Lifelike's are all the same. Athearn on the other hand have got it right. Check out the new SD45T2 Tunnel Motors in Southern Pacific. I think they produce about 5 different versions of the SP Tunnel Motor that covers nearly every major rebuilding of these machines and each one is different. And to top it off they run like a wet *****.

Ozzie21
 
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