Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 20 of 71 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,650 Posts
I checked the Hornby International website recently and there has been no news updates since June 2005.

Many of the Jouef and Lima items were due for release in the first and second quarter of 2006.

So I thought I would do a google search to see if any continental shops actually had these products up for sale.

Now it appears that our continental retailer friends are way behind the UK when it comes to offering products online as a google search on several products generally revealed just a very small handful of shops around Europe with online stores and offering Hornby International product.

The retailers I visited when in France and Spain did not have any online presence whatsoever and offered a very small range of model railway products.

Is Europe really in the dark ages when it comes to railway modelling and the internet?

For things like camping and outdoor leisure European websites are far superior to anything offered in the UK and from that point of view it is the UK that are in the dark ages. This is evidence that where there is a demand then the Europeans are very capable of building fantastic websites and it is simply down to the very limited interest in railway modelling for this very poor online showing and the lack of any real investment in time and money in this area.

It genuinely seems that there is little interest among Europeans (Germans excepted?) for railway modelling and the British really are the number 1 model railway online fanatics in Europe with by far the largest European internet presence.

So well done the British!


It just seems a pity that Hornby International with its website seems to mirror the European online scene when it could very easily be the European leader in this area as there is so little competition.

It seems like a chicken and egg situation.

Do you make the big investment in the hope that you can create interest in Europe, or do you wait for the interest to develop before making the investment?

For the moment it seems that the Euro modeller simply has no where to go and is an isolated hobbyist.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,650 Posts
I did suggest that Germany may be an exception.

In terms of German products there will inevitibly be more as Marklin have a catalogue of 4000 products (including accessories) compared to Hornby (UK only) with 1000. Still not convinced about the overall German online presence being any higher than the UK.

The rest of Europe outside the UK and Germany does seem to be a bit of an internet model railway desert with the odd oasis present.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
That I would have to agree with but what companies are out there? If anyone knows of other manaufacturers or suppliers that are not German, British or American please share the link. I would always want to see what else is available.

Oh and Gary, $100 says I can find more German manufacturers/suppliers/dealers that are online than you can British. Are you up for the challenge? Are you willing to place your money where your mouth is?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,844 Posts
Last week Mintel reported that the UK was now Europe's top market for internet sales having just overtaken Germany. You can read the BBC's brief report here. The BBC report does not list the figures for other markets, so I can't extrapolate any further than that.

It's an interesting challenge that Dennis has thrown down. It would be interesting to see the result. It seems to me that a lot german engineers/designers seem to have moved into the toy space to try to continue to make a living.

and while waiting for the show to begin I paid a visit to the Uhlenbrock site and downloaded their 2006 new products brochure - there is an English version. The first page is all about a new lighting system for model railways which runs the full gamut from dawn to dusk to dawn with lightening thrown in - so it appears that a German company is giving the Dark ages and the Light ages too! Donner und Blitzen. I wonder will it catch on. I noted their web counter is now over 900,000. You can check them out here

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
David et al. I am not denigrating the British at all. I wouldn't visit England every other year if I felt that way. The report by Mintel shows how dynamic your economy is. I was only refering to Model Railroads. I would not have made the same wager on the market as a whole. My contention is that the German market for railroads in more than twice the size of the UK and that there are more shops, suppliers and manufacturers in Germany.

So who wants to lose $100?
It's simply a numbers game and the numbers in this one instance is with the Germans.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,844 Posts
Dennis, I didn't think you were "having a go". I was just pointing out some recent information which shows that the UK Internet market is taking off, but as you say that doesn't extrapolate onto all sectors equally. It does seem to me that there are more people interested in model railways than in Germany than in the UK, and if that is the case, there will probably be more "cottage industry" types who have turned to the Internet to sell their wares.

I would advise anyone who is thinking of accepting Dennis' challenge to consider the "anti DCC" attitude displayed in the letters' pages of Britain's largest circulation model railway magazine and then decide whether this is "anti technology" or just "anti DCC". It is possible that these same people might not use technology to purchase items for their hobby. By contrast, consider the fact that the Germans seem to have cornered the European market in DCC equipment and having weighed these two considerations decide whether or not to proceed.

At the very least we might have some interesting new websites to visit from the links page??


David
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,650 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The German modeller has had the benefit of the two largest home manufacturers of model railway gear offering digital products for many years and so it is inevital that the DCC market in Germany is strong. They would stop offering DCC equipment otherwise!

With the benefit of Britains largest home manufacturer offering DCC gear very shortly then the technology side of modelling could be about to take off in the UK in a big way.

And also in France, Spain and Italy as Hornby have indicated that they will offer Hornby Digital with appropriate branding in these territories.

We are getting sidetracked here into a discussion about Germany and comparisons with the UK. I have acknowledged that Germany may be an exception to the rule.

The original starting point was Continental Europe as a whole with little online presence in those areas where Hornby International are supplying Lima, Jouef, Electrotren and Rivarossi product.

I would agree that there could well be a link between the use of DCC and the size of the online presence in that country.

If you have a technology mindset then logically you are more likely to access the internet.

So Hornby Digital may well advance Model Rail Forum membership!

And by eventually reaching those parts that no other company has reached may well help to bring Continental Europe out of the internet dark ages.

The Germans are clearly passionate about engineering and technology.

What is it that gets the pulses racing among French, Italian and Spanish hobbyists?

The TGV and trains that have shapely curves perhaps....

Happy modelling
Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
Now Gary here is something you and I can both agree on. The French, Italian and Spanish appreciate shapely curves.


Getting back on subject, it's only natural that the Germans got into DCC big time. The layouts over there have always been about maximizing action for a givin space with trains going in all directions, hense the early adoption of automated controls and electronics in general.

This doesn't seem to be as big a deal in the UK and the layouts they run. Now in the states it has become popular when it was shown how DCC could replace the old block system and suplement cab control. That's why you see how important hand-helds are in the States. This was an area where Germany was actually behind the Americans.

So you see there is a logic to all of this. Then of course there are the shapely curves.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,650 Posts
Lets take Ebay as being a barometer of interest in railway modelling.

Model railway sales on various Ebay sites by number of products offered:-

Ebay UK 23000 items
Ebay Germany 100000+ items
Ebay USA 70000+ items
Ebay France 11000 items
Ebay Italy 3000 items
Ebay Spain 1500 items (N and HO only)
Ebay Australia 4000 items

France is a surprise as this country seems to have a high level of interest in model railways which is not reflected in the availability of product in the French shops.

And is Germany really a bigger market than the USA or is this high level of product for sale a reflection of the depth of product available to Germans? Even so I suspect the Germans have the highest level of interest in model railways in the world!

The Spanish have a relatively low level of interest in railway modelling and no interest in anything larger than HO.

The interest in railway modelling in Italy is little higher than Spain and therefore it is a surprise that Lima were considered to be such a big and important company in its time. They probably exported much more product than they ever sold in its home market of Italy.

And whilst the level of interest in Australia appears on the low side as a proportion of its population it is broadly around 70% of that of the UK so relatively high.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,614 Posts
dennis. while i agree that there are more larger manufacturers in germany i dont think there are the cottage industrys that keep the brittish modelling scene so interesting.

i am yet to actually see a hornby intl item in person. i dont even know what the boxes are like. i think the stock is out there but the advertising is non existant. this is very poor.

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
Peter I even think that there are more German cottage induistries from what I have seen in my travels but it doesn't really matter I was just making a comment on what I thought was an inacurate generality.

What I do know is that the cottage industries that exist in Britain, Germany and the US are critical to this hobby and make some wonderful stuff. When I went to the Garden Railway convention I spent most of my time looking at some of this stuff like real custom steel bridiges, air operated switches, and cast metal detail parts. Really neat stuff and I'm sure you have the same in England.

Gary that's pretty interesting information and I think that it shows that the Germans take their hobbies very seriously. They're quite mad I tell you.


One bit of warning, about buying off of eBay in Germany can be a nightmare. They are very slow to respond to emails, don't have any sense of urgency in shipping and charge an arm and a leg for it when they do send your item.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
Very interesting eBay figures Gary. In NZ they don't use eBay much but Trademe has 1327 items, proportionately more than Australia. I could only find two listings on NZ eBay!
Maybe the weather is a factor in participation. I have several Hornby-Lima German bogied coal hoppers I picked up at the last Brisbane show. Perhaps they're struggling to get enough factory space in China, or the job is bigger than first thought. The packaging is dark blue with Lima loco but I'm afraid I'm too thick to photo and post.
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
Most German modellers that I know & have spoken to seem to prefer to shop "in the flesh" & see the actual item they are purchasing.

This could be one of the reasons why there are a lot of model/hobby shops in Germany (sometimes three or more in relativly small towns) & less internet activity. At the end of the day (IMHO) there is nothing like personal contact, going to the shop, meet other like-minded people & of course finding those odd little bits & pieces after a rummage.

Also, they do not seem as preoccupied with getting the item for the cheapist rate as some people. The internet is good, but it is not the be all & end all.

best regards
Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
Having just spent a week in transit I thought I was suffering from jetlag and halucinating when I saw the initial post on this subject, I am still having difficulty beleiving it isn't a joke.
Try inserting modelbahn into a search engine and see what comes up.
Have you won your 100 bucks yet Dennis?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
Neil, I assume by your post ( and the timing of it ) that you have now arrived in the UK.
If so, welcome back and I hope you have an enjoyable stay.
Hopefully you'll be staying in a Celtic country and not an Anglo Saxon one, so you should have a good time.
PS don't forget the distillery research!!! Best of luck.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (Gwent rail @ 29 Jul 2006, 18:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Neil, I assume by your post ( and the timing of it ) that you have now arrived in the UK.
If so, welcome back and I hope you have an enjoyable stay.
Hopefully you'll be staying in a Celtic country and not an Anglo Saxon one, so you should have a good time.
PS don't forget the distillery research!!! Best of luck.

You bet. I am succesfully reinstated back in Alba (Scotland) for the next month or so. And it's great to be back. I have a whole load of railway related things lined up to see while I'm home. Including a venture into saxon territory to see the National rail museum. However afterwards back here for some more distillery research. I am fortunate in that there's one only a mile away.


QUOTE This is not a comment on saying one side is "better" than the other but simply stating what I have seen in my travels

I agree Dennis that the markets cater for the products required by their respective clientel, however I found the whole premise upon which this thread was based to be ridiculous and completely unfounded. The net is so widely used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for model rail and real railways that I was quite frankly gobsmacked that such a thread was ever started.
 
1 - 20 of 71 Posts
Top