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Model Rail magazine have an interesting exclusive in the latest edition. Hornby's marketing manager Simon Kohler talks to Model Rail's Ben Jones and answers questions sent in by Model Rail readers. A whole army of Model Rail magazine readers sent in questions and their help is acknowledged with their names listed. The 6 page feature includes a picture of Simon prooving to Ben that Hornby's latest model, the Class 390 Voyager, can power a complete nine-car set with a single motor power bogie! There are also pictures of the Margate factory and the production team in China assembling our models!

The feature is required reading for those who want to learn more about the thinking that goes into which models to produce, the development process for new products and the future plans.

There are 2 pages of the article devoted to Hornby Digital and it is a very interesting read with Hornby answering questions from experienced DCC users. Hornby do not see the mass market going for a £300-£400 digital command console however if there are enough mass market customers who are prepared to pay this sort of money then Hornby will develope a console for this market. Hornby do have plans for sound.

Simon talks about Hornby's future plans for Airfix and Humbrol and how new products could be developed for railway modellers around the products of these recently aquired brands including the potential of self assembly kits.

There is discussion about new locomotives and why Simon had a hard time selling the Q1 to the new product development team and which has subsequently been one of their most successful new releases. There is talk about Blue Pullman's and Garratts. Scalextric models are for "now". Hornby have to think about what they can do with the model 10 years down the track as development costs are so much higher for a model railway product than a slot car product and the return is realised over a longer timescale.

Live Steam is on hold for the moment as Hornby have so much planned for the electric market!


There are some interesting thoughts and answers for all the internet based Hornby "knockers" who get a buzz out of "knocking" Hornby in public and those who have read the feature will find it difficult to knock Hornby in future! Simon makes the point that if you have a complaint about a Hornby product then please contact them directly. They cannot do anything about your complaint if you talk about it in a forum! If they get one complaint about a product then it is an isolated issue. If they get 200 complaints about the same thing on a product then they realise they need to make some adjustments.

The article is well worth a read and you should all rush down to you local newsagent and pick up a copy of Model Rail if you have not already done so!

Happy modelling
Gary

PS There are a number of occassions when Simon makes the point that poor track laying is the cause of a large number of "complaints" that they have so wisen up on this area of our modelling guys and we will all have a much better model railway and DCC experiance!
 

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A useful synopsis Gary, thanks. I am afraid to say that it is clear that people expect a product to run "straight out of the box" no matter how poor their track and the increasing sophistication of Hornby locos may well make them more sensitive to poor track quality - just think how wheel profiles have improved! Hornby and Bachmann are both making efforts to improve the swing of their couplings but again, buffer locking has much to do with track layout.....

60134
 

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Simon made a point some time ago that it could be the same person making a single complaint through several channels and so the issue appears to be much more common that it is in reality. Hornby know that this happens! Hence the request to contact them.

Simon reveals that a few years ago the Hornby rep for a region had learnt that there was a lot of interest in a certain loco. The rep came into Simon's office very excited about this hot new request. Simon did further research and discovered that the same modeller had visited 50 model shops and made the same request 50 times. All the model shops gave Simon exactly the same description for the gent who made the request!

It does happen and Hornby are wise to this sort of manipulation!

So next time anybody wants to try this trick wear a different disguise for each shop you visit!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 5 Jul 2007, 12:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Simon reveals that a few years ago the Hornby rep for a region had learnt that there was a lot of interest in a certain loco. The rep came into Simon's office very excited about this hot new request. Simon did further research and discovered that the same modeller had visited 50 model shops and made the same request 50 times. All the model shops gave Simon exactly the same description for the gent who made the request!

Happy modelling
Gary

Must be a big region to have 50 Hornby dealers in it ! - bit strange that it was exactly 50 shops, but then some of us believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden.
 

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Perhaps Hornby should employ their own version of CCTV in model shops, with it own protocol. That way they will be able to identify the perpetrator of this evil action. Get real Gary, it's all a bit corny even from you. Cloak and dagger stuff, there must be something in the water down there in Margate.
The Model Rail item was discussed several weeks ago in this forum. Yes Simon Kohler is a highly enthusiastic individual, and you are his best mate. The model Rail article was hardly objective, Hornby are one of their major customers. All of the Hobby magazines over the years have blotted their reviews by a lack of objectivity when it comes to criticism of manufacturers. It's hardly surprising it's their bread and butter. Its an established fact, you don't get objective reviews from Hobby magazines. Only rubber stamp endorsement of products, company policy, and what ever rubbish they choose to cover. Where you do get comments and complaints about quality, packaging faults, poor presentation etc, is on forums like this. I hasten to add I've also seen praise for products when it's due.
 

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This question is merely a personal question - at Hornby's Margate factory, what is actually manufactured? as reading shows all models are manufactured in China so my question "what is manufactured in Margate?" other than storage!
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 5 Jul 2007, 12:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>bit strange that it was exactly 50 shops, but then some of us believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Unless you live in Egypt then you believe in pharoahs at the bottom of the garden..................


QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 5 Jul 2007, 13:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>there must be something in the water down there in Margate.


Yup - it's called adouble house whisky

QUOTE (double00 @ 5 Jul 2007, 13:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This question is merely a personal question - at Hornby's Margate factory, what is actually manufactured? as reading shows all models are manufactured in China so my question "what is manufactured in Margate?" other than storage!


As far as I am aware - nothing. Although I believe this could be changing and Humbrol paints and possibly Airfix may be made here.

Regards

John
 

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I have been buying Bachmann locos for the past four years, not because I have anything against Hornby it's just that Bachmann are producing the models I want at the moment, and I have never once had a problem with the running qualities. Now if I did get a problem with the running of a new model then the first place I would look is my track as that is the most variable factor in the track/loco relationship when one takes into account heat, cold, damp, dirt, oil, electrical connections, etc, etc. It's too easy to bung the model back in the box and blame the manufacturer.
 

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QUOTE The Model Rail item was discussed several weeks ago in this forum

If it was I couldn't find it.

QUOTE bit strange that it was exactly 50 shops

The figure of 50 shops visited was not taken directly from the article but it would probably be that sort of level for the salesman's eyes to start rolling with £££££'s as can sometimes happen before the salesman's brain gets enganged!

QUOTE The model Rail article was hardly objective, Hornby are one of their major customers. All of the Hobby magazines over the years have blotted their reviews by a lack of objectivity when it comes to criticism of manufacturers. It's hardly surprising it's their bread and butter. Its an established fact, you don't get objective reviews from Hobby magazines. Only.... .....what ever rubbish they choose to cover.

Thats being a little disengenuous however there are Hornby "knockers" who would view everything the magazines do in that way. I could substitute "Hobby magazines" with "Hornby knockers" and the above would pretty much read the same!


Simon Kohler does remark that negativity drives folk away from the hobby. I agree entirely with him however Hornby "knockers" would expect me to say that.
The magazines do an excellent job of informing and encouraging folk to participate in the hobby and any forum worth their salt and seeking to grow should have similar aims.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I don't knock Hornby, I criticise when it's needed and praise when it's due. There has been some remarkable work done by Hornby and remarkable progress made.

Where they let themselves down is with lack of spares especially spare bodies, good strong servicable motors instead of the cheap crappy can motors they fit and the poor quality control in the China factory.

That's not knocking Hornby, that's being constructive. I they addressed the issue of quality control in the factory then I'm sure a lot of the Hornby knocking would go away. I have had locos with motors not properly fitted, terminals not crimped properly, ringfield magnets fitted askew in the motor housing, brushes fitted so tight in the ringfield motor faceplate that you need a hammer and punch to remove them. Little things like these need looking at by Hornby.

Dealing with the spares shortages and in particular the desperate spare bodies shortage situation (as we all know the new locos tend to bit a bit fragile to say the least and bits do break no matter how careful you are). Fitting motors that don't have a limited life which you can change the brushes on and motors which have plenty of power.

If these issues were addressed even if it meant putting a fiver on a loco, then it would be well worth the effort.

I love the super detail loco's but feel that urgent work needs to be done in the areas mentioned.

For example just had another new Great Northern turn up, the linning on the wheels is all marked. A little more careful inspection before it leaves the factory will go a long way.

I think Hornby will get there eventually but right now they need to do some work in these araeas.
 

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If Hornby and Bachmann are interested in what the public want for the coming year run a pole on the site. At least the result of a pole cannot be tampered with by staff on a magazine ( I'm not suggesting they would of course ) Let the voting be in the open so we know we have an honest result.

 

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QUOTE those who have read the feature will find it difficult to knock Hornby in future!
The article certainly shed some interesting light on the thinking at Hornby as embodied by Simon Kohler and also revealed something about the level of knowledge at Model Rail as well. There was one error of fact in the DCC section of the interview. As Gary has not used it in support of one his more contentious arguments in the Hornby DCC debate, I will say no more.

David
 

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Is there anyone here (except Gary) who believes this "50 (or thereabouts) shops " thing ?

This means that one person has visited 50 shops & asked about a particular model, 50 shops have noted this (plus remembered a description of this person) & 50 shops have mentioned it to one rep.

Don't know about the water at Margate (I live there & drink it), but maybe Gary must really see fairies at the bottom of his garden.

One thing I have found out about the saint is that they tell you one thing whilst meaning another !
(If you want clarification on that Gary I'll gladly e-mail you with full details).
 

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for the benefit of Gary the topic is here. it was brief and concise.
http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...?showtopic=2980

For the record i really dont believe the 50 retailers story. mainly because i would struggle to find 5 retailers! and even then probably only 1 or 2 shop assistants that even know what a loco is.

Gary i think you need do differentiate between discussion and complaint. I dont like wingers either but discussion about a point is exactly what internet forums are for-weather that point is good or bad. about 5 years ago i questioned weather the buffers on the hornby princess were correct. and they were but i would have never known had it not been for a very helpfull individual who posted a picture. i certainatly would never have gone off to hornby and questioned them about it because it would have been rood. they have far better things to do with their time than to constantly answer questions from people (alot of which struggle to find the plug on the controller!)

"If Hornby and Bachmann are interested in what the public want for the coming year run a pole on the site. At least the result of a pole cannot be tampered with by staff on a magazine ( I'm not suggesting they would of course ) Let the voting be in the open so we know we have an honest result."
I am very sceptical about the results published in model rail!

Welcome back gary. you have certainatly livened up the forum!!

Peter
 

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Would you believe that I don't need clarification on the saint thing. I am also a saint!

I can well believe that there are modellers out there who would do anything to encourage Hornby to produce what they want! Remember this event probably took place before the days of the internet and there were far more hobby shops around then.

QUOTE There was one error of fact in the DCC section of the interview. As Gary has not used it in support of one his more contentious arguments in the Hornby DCC debate, I will say no more.

If dbclass50 is thinking what I am thinking Doug and I had discussions on this whilst I was over in France before I had even read the article. Could I suggest that anybody who wishes to report a factual error in the article approach Hornby directly as in the interests of a quieter life it would be nice to keep such discussion out of the DCC area of Model Rail Forum. It could be that Hornby were misquoted in the article and/or the proof reading process was inaccurate. Or it could be that Hornby are happy to stand by what was said in which case they would normally have evidence. This section really is/was intended to be a showcase for DCC so that visitors can visit and read about what DCC can do for them or seek help. For a visitor to read some heavy "Mr DCC" tech debate is more likely to put them off!

QUOTE Gary i think you need do differentiate between discussion and complaint.

From a forum point of view yes but can Hornby? If something is raised about a Hornby product that leads to a discussion surely it suggests that it is because somebody is unhappy with something for whatever reason?


There is much to comment on and discuss in the Hornby article and we can look at points raised over the next few months.

Will there very soon really be no new viable D & E model offerings to offer?

Will interest in steam really extend beyond 10 years?

Is there really no viable interest in any subject from the 19th centuary?

Is track laying really the big issue?

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE If dbclass50 is thinking what I am thinking Doug and I had discussions on this whilst I was over in France before I had even read the article. Could I suggest that anybody who wishes to report a factual error in the article approach Hornby directly as in the interests of a quieter life it would be nice to keep such discussion out of the DCC area of Model Rail Forum. It could be that Hornby were misquoted in the article and/or the proof reading process was inaccurate. Or it could be that Hornby are happy to stand by what was said in which case they would normally have evidence. This section really is/was intended to be a showcase for DCC so that visitors can visit and read about what DCC can do for them or seek help. For a visitor to read some heavy "Mr DCC" tech debate is more likely to put them off!

Firstly, it was I who stated that there was a factual error.

Secondly, I have merely pointed out the fact that there is and if nobody wants to know what it is, that's fine by me. /I/ can point to evidence that the statement made is incorrect.

Thirdly, this topic is not actually in the DCC section

Finally, if we can't discuss heavy "Mr DCC" tech stuff in the DCC forum, where /can/ we discuss it or are forums only open for subjects Gary approves of?

David
 

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QUOTE Is there anyone here (except Gary) who believes this "50 (or thereabouts) shops " thing ?

No it sounds more like an analogy rather than a story based in fact.

QUOTE The 6 page feature includes a picture of Simon prooving to Ben that Hornby's latest model, the Class 390 Voyager, can power a complete nine-car set with a single motor power bogie!

I wasn't aware that they had a forthcoming release of a Voyager! How will it compare to the Bachmann one? Shame their Pendolino would not be able to pull that many coaches!

QUOTE Finally, if we can't discuss heavy "Mr DCC" tech stuff in the DCC forum, where /can/ we discuss it or are forums only open for subjects Gary approves of? Isn't this what the DCC section is for. I beleive that we had all agreed that the Hornby interpretation of DCC should be discussed under a separate section so that it is not confused with DCC.

I think most of the people on this forum are aware that the magazine reviews and interviews are sycophantic in the extreme. They have to be or they have no chance of getting a future interview or advertising. There wasn't anything in the interview that I hadn't already heard, probably because I discussed many of the same issues with him.

QUOTE Simon Kohler does remark that negativity drives folk away from the hobby

I discussed this with Simon too and it was more about rivet counters than specifically Hornby critisicm. He is dead right.

I also discussed the Garratt with him and he did seem interested in the idea and discussed how they could do it.

I certainly would like to see some of the older 19th century locos produced especially ones from the Caledonian Railway and Highland Railway but it isn't economically viable to make these. Unfortunately Hornby is all about economics and it is this area where they excel. They aren't going to make a model that can't be produced in at least two guises and that will sell well.

There needs to be discussion about product and model related issues by interested parties. I am assuming that this is why forums like this exist. It would be pointless to create a forum to promote a specific company as you will always get dissenters who do not like the company you are trying to promote. The difference between internet forums and mags is that you have that freedom of speech and a reflection of true thought on the subject rather than a biased pamphlet based on propaganda.

If there is no critisicm then there will be no improvement or motivation to improve by the model companies and you will have stagnation. The UK model market is still recovering from a period like this. Do you really want to go back to that?

Welcome back Gary we have missed our visits to the Twilight zone.
 

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I'm not sure about Hornby Knockers , there are certainly lots of Hornby boobs.

SPT156 wrong roof colour
Full yellow ends 121
Wrong front end on 59
Missing front panel on 67
Really poor workmanship glazing on Stanier coaches

Certainly the article asked about the poor haulage qualities of some recent Limby introductions- however they really gave Simon an easy time. They may re-introduce traction tyres. But how can they release a model in the first place without thoroughly testing haulage capabilty. Oh but the 5 pole motors a big improvement says Simon- no its not .Not if the model can't pull anything like a prototypical train.

More searching questions-

How come an M7 costs £85?
Why are the Staniers charged at £25 and forthcoming Maunsells £20?
If Hornby researched DCC so much how come they didn't realise DCC chipped locos may behave eratically on DC prior to making their announcement(since rescinded)at Christmas that all new locos would be dcc fitted? They now don't recommend chipped locos run on DC. Can they make up their mind?
Can their decoder be used satisfactorily on all current and recent Hornby models without issue?

The last two issues certainly don't lead to a conclusion that they really know what they are doing.

Now believe it or not I am/was a Hornby supporter. I remember the early days of unwrapping a present and the excitement of finding a red box inside.....Magic! However do you really believe the Hornby of early 70s would have released a model that couldn't pull 3 coaches ? The Hornby of 2007 has (Lord of the Isles/Class 59/Class73). It might be much more margin aggresive and the darling of the stock market ....but its not the company I once knew and respected.

I haven't even mentioned quality control or lack of it.

So will this article silence Hornby knockers? The only thing that can do that is Hornby itself! The internet and forums are here to stay. Live with it and the fact that if you produce something deficient it will get criticised.

The area of 50 shops certainly wasn't Scotland- having difficulty in getting past 10. So I think this is one of these stories which like topsy just grew!

Russell
 
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