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There is an interesting interview with The Hobby Co about ViTrains in the latest edition of Model Rail.

In the interview it is explained how ViTrains who manufacture in Europe can compete with companies who outsource manufacturing to China. How ViTrains use paint in the manufacturing process with their high tech state of the art equipment is astonishing!

Their announcement policy is similar to that of Dapol in that they will announce a new release no more than 1 month before it is available for sale.

Worth having a read.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 6 Nov 2007, 10:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>There is an interesting interview with The Hobby Co about ViTrains in the latest edition of Model Rail.

In the interview it is explained how ViTrains who manufacture in Europe can compete with companies who outsource manufacturing to China. How ViTrains use paint in the manufacturing process with their high tech state of the art equipment is astonishing!

Their announcement policy is similar to that of Dapol in that they will announce a new release no more than 1 month before it is available for sale.

Worth having a read.

Happy modelling
Gary

The article was interesting to a degree but the amount of question dodging that seemed to be going on meant that in the end all we got was really pr spin. Effectively the Hobby co refused to say if they were going to expand their range just hinted that they had the capability. I suspect that Vitrains have already decided to limit themselves to models suitable for the collectors market rather than the modellers market
 

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teh collector aspect was stated clearly in the article.......I also read between the lines that Hobbyco are still, in relation to ViTrains..a company that 'orders' special editions...a bit like NRM and Bachmann?

Therefore, since they cannot 'dictate' or influence company policy, they really just have to 'take their turn'...??

'modellers' and 'collectors' seem very close together these days...????

the responses concerning 'having the models sitting on shop shelves' was a bit double-speak to me......

In some places, there were intiial problems of items selling out fast..........and Hobbyco seemed to be complaining?

Now I am aware of Vitrains #37's sitting on a dealer's shelf.....with little movement......so , is 'shelf exposure' another sidestep to 'poor sales?'

so..rapid sell-out...''not planned, so please wait''

and 'not selling'' becomes 'deliberate policy of exposure to ViTrains name?'

but I like 'em anyway, and prefer them to Bachmanns.
 

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I actually think they did pretty well for a first shot at a new market. they aknowlaged the problems and corrected them. the unpainted front was quickly replaced. that was my biggest criticism.

I dont think they really maketed the fact that they had made corrections and i think at first it was priced a little too close to the superior bachmann model.

essentially its a good model. Vitrains could be to the UK what PIKO hobby range is to the UK. good modern budget models. even the hornby RR range cant compare to that as they are ld models. even from a basic model we expect all wheel drive with centre motor.

I think £25-30 would have been a better price for this model.

Peter
 

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I've not seen the article , so any comments will be very provisional, but I find it interesting that the interview was with the Hobby Co , not Vi-Trains themselves . I do have a strong sense that the ultimate principals of Vi-Trains hold the British market very much at arms length - the British stuff is not on their website, they don't visit the UK themselves, they only communicate with the market via a British based intermediary and what is said by them is apparently bland and uninformative :

bangerblued
QUOTE but the amount of question dodging that seemed to be going on meant that in the end all we got was really pr spin. Effectively the Hobby co refused to say if they were going to expand their range just hinted that they had the capability.

Contrast Heljan's style - they turn up in person every year at Warley, they have their British items on the website, they make announcements directly. Etc etc

There has been an immense amount of speculation about Vi-Trains and their activities, much of it quite charged, and when I herard there was a Vi-Trains interview in Model Rail , I had rather hoped we would finally get something from the horse's mouth ie Vi-Trains own management. Then there would have been some kind of basis for meaningful discussion about the company. Instead it seems we are not allowed even to see this particular horse and have to make do with uninformative comments from the horse's handlers . This is not going to provide any form of firm basis for discussing their activities
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 8 Nov 2007, 12:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Contrast Heljan's style - they turn up in person every year at Warley, they have their British items on the website, they make announcements directly. Etc etc

Maybe Heljan have more money to spend on promotion, after all they have been established for many years. Warley, is not the be all & end all - Vi could be saving their expenses money for Nurnberg (which will give them far greater exposure than Warley & the British Toy Fair put together.)
 

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The impression I got from the interview, re ViTrain's public face was that The Hobby Co's relationship with the manufacturer was one which Vitrains were repeating throughout Europe..or at least, those countries they were making models for....ie, each country would have it's own ''Hobbyco''.........not the company, but you get my drift?

Therefore, each individual ''agency'', for want of a better description, would bid with the ViTrains factory for their own prototypes?

From the point of view of the UK market, a direct interview with ViTrains would have been a bit pointless?

The observation that 4mm OO gauge for the UK, and HO for the rest of the world did not seem to matter any more, was interesting, as it demonstrates yet one more monster being laid to rest......with modern tooling and technology, scale didn't matter.
 

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Having now seen the article.....

The Hobby Co paint their relationship with Vi-Trains almost in the terms you might expect of someone like Eureka Models, Austrains or Auscision or on a grander scale , Hornby : ie commissioning their own models from the factory . Or for that matter like Bachmann Europe vis a vis Kadar. But - unlike Eureka , Austrains or Hornby , they use Vi-Trains brand, not their own, The Hobby Co.

alaisterq
QUOTE The impression I got from the interview, re ViTrain's public face was that The Hobby Co's relationship with the manufacturer was one which Vitrains were repeating throughout Europe..or at least, those countries they were making models for....ie, each country would have it's own ''Hobbyco''.........not the company, but you get my drift?

Therefore, each individual ''agency'', for want of a better description, would bid with the ViTrains factory for their own prototypes?

Yes , but - all the HO stuff is on display on Vi-Trains website, and the British stuff isn't. Whereas the Belgian items are on the website. I assume Vi-Trains are going direct in Italy? Certainly it seems Vi-Trains themselves decided what they would make for Italy , whereas it is presented as the Hobby Co's choice what is made for Britain. And the same is indicated for Lima - even though at the time RIKO and the Hobby Co simply described themselves as the UK importer

A key thing seemed to be the continuity between the old Lima/RIKO relationship and the current Vi-Trains/Hobby Co relationship. Effectively each side has gone bust and personnel from each have set up a "son of" company to carry on the relationship in the old way :

QUOTE From the ashes of Riko came The Hobby Co which continued to research and commission OO models from Lima until the Italians ceased production

This might well explain why the British Lima range was apparently to a substantially lower spec than Lima and Rivarossi : Lima would presumably have made what Riko told them to make to Riko's specification.

But - Hornby do not describe themselves as "the importer of Sandakan" , Eureka, Austrains and Auscision trade under their own brand , and bachmann Europe is a 100% subsiduary of Kadar

dbclass50
QUOTE Maybe Heljan have more money to spend on promotion, after all they have been established for many years. Warley, is not the be all & end all - Vi could be saving their expenses money for Nurnberg (which will give them far greater exposure than Warley & the British Toy Fair put together.)

The thing is, Lima were similarly remote and they had a much larger British range. This "armslength" phenomenon is not new with these people. While Nuremburg is clearly very much larger, just how much would it cost Vi-Trains to put 2 people on a cheap flight to Birmingham with hotel accomodation for 2 nights? £750?? The Hobby Co have a stand at Warley - the cost of Vi-Trains putting a couple of their people on it for the weekend would be small in comparison to the project. Listing on the Vi-Trains website would cost nothing

It is not clear from the interview who actually does the development. Research is said to be Hobby Co

This aside , having read the interview , two things stand out. They are producing new 2 versions of the 37/4 each month. A limited edition is 800-1000 pieces, standard versions , more. At a conservative estimate they are putting out 1,600 37/4s a month - that's 19,200 per year, minimum. I can't see how the market can sustain this. Its not as if they have the market to themselves , with a better model of the same loco from Bachmann having just come out, plus the old , basic Hornby model. There's no pent up demand - we are now on the 3rd version of the Bachmann 37/4 since 2000 . I'm struggling to see the collector who is going to buy 24x 37/4s a year for several years No wonder if the price on the street is down to £36. Second hand Lima is going for under £25 . There is no bottom to this price if product continues pour onto a saturated market

Their next model will offer no relief - its a 37/0 . Bachmann did a modern generation 37/0 a few years back, and a revised one is due any month. Again there are rivals, probably better rivals , and no pent up demand

The other thing is the emphasis on collectors. Gary suggested the collectors market is huge compared to that for scale modellers. But if a limited edition is 800-1000 pieces , then if collectors buy one of each release there must be no more than 800-1000 collectors out there. By comparison, the current membership of DEMU, a largely 4mm society, is over 800 and there are plenty of finescale 4mm D+E modellers who are not members of DEMU .
Just how many 37/4s per year is anyone going to buy? The Hobby Co speak of "motivating people to start collecting" as if Vi-Trains is diecast buses or Franklin Mint collectables. The reality of diecast buses is that I've just bought two de-certified "limited editions" for £6 and £8 respectively from Hattons , market down from an RRP of about £35. That's routine, and many folk simply wait for the bargains. There used to be a local shop that specialised in diecast. These days less than 25% of the shop is diecast - the rest is soft toys dolls, and what have you.
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 8 Nov 2007, 22:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>just how much would it cost Vi-Trains to put 2 people on a cheap flight to Birmingham with hotel accomodation for 2 nights? £750?? The Hobby Co have a stand at Warley - the cost of Vi-Trains putting a couple of their people on it for the weekend would be small in comparison to the project.

Apart from the fact that unless you book well in advance cheap flights & accomodation vaporise close to any medium/large scale events. Maybe it's part of the deal "sole (official) importer = you do your own promotions" ? Maybe Vi-Trains did not have a couple of fluent English speakers available.

There is certainly not a problem with more than one manufacture producing e.g. German models in mainland europe, after all it is a much, much bigger market than the UK. Buyers will make their choice with their wallets or credit cards, surely, having a greater choice will encourage the bigger manufactures/suppliers more incentive to improve what is already on offer.

Having said that, we have e-mailed VI-Trains about who we can obtain SNCB locomotives from & have yet to receive a reply, either from them or the UK importer - fortuneatly, I am not holding my breath. If they were available from another manufacture/supplier I would be trying elsewere. Maybe they are concentrating on production - we do not really know how "big" they actually are.
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 9 Nov 2007, 08:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This aside , having read the interview , two things stand out. They are producing new 2 versions of the 37/4 each month. A limited edition is 800-1000 pieces, standard versions , more. At a conservative estimate they are putting out 1,600 37/4s a month - that's 19,200 per year, minimum. I can't see how the market can sustain this. Its not as if they have the market to themselves , with a better model of the same loco from Bachmann having just come out, plus the old , basic Hornby model. There's no pent up demand - we are now on the 3rd version of the Bachmann 37/4 since 2000 . I'm struggling to see the collector who is going to buy 24x 37/4s a year for several years No wonder if the price on the street is down to £36. Second hand Lima is going for under £25 . There is no bottom to this price if product continues pour onto a saturated market
Their next model will offer no relief - its a 37/0 . Bachmann did a modern generation 37/0 a few years back, and a revised one is due any month. Again there are rivals, probably better rivals , and no pent up demand

This bounty of 37's must also be impacting on Bachmann's model also
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 9 Nov 2007, 08:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The other thing is the emphasis on collectors. Gary suggested the collectors market is huge compared to that for scale modellers. But if a limited edition is 800-1000 pieces , then if collectors buy one of each release there must be no more than 800-1000 collectors out there. By comparison, the current membership of DEMU, a largely 4mm society, is over 800 and there are plenty of finescale 4mm D+E modellers who are not members of DEMU .
Just how many 37/4s per year is anyone going to buy? The Hobby Co speak of "motivating people to start collecting" as if Vi-Trains is diecast buses or Franklin Mint collectables. The reality of diecast buses is that I've just bought two de-certified "limited editions" for £6 and £8 respectively from Hattons , market down from an RRP of about £35. That's routine, and many folk simply wait for the bargains. There used to be a local shop that specialised in diecast. These days less than 25% of the shop is diecast - the rest is soft toys dolls, and what have you.

I think Gary would be right. Not all collectors out there will be after 37's. That's just one model. There's the rest of the D&E market, then steam, retro and older models.
 

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All the advertising has pushed the 'limited edition', aimed at the collector, angle; so the interview really conveyed nothing much new on the business plan. So if the range is to grow, it will be on the basis of locomotives that carried the widest possible range of liveries, so that the same body shell can be churned as many times as possible to the collector, in 101 livery variants. This does seem to ignore the fact that this Lima-esque approach succeeded when the only competitor offered an even worse product, and was rejected by the UK market, presumably including the collector, when a better competing product emerged. Now they fancy a re-run against three significantly better competitors? Not a horse I would put my money on!
 

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Did a search and this old thread seemed an appropriate place to ask...

Does anyone know what the current status of VT/Hobby Co is as I have just emailed them and been advised there is no Release programme for 00 locos in 2012...

Any info would be of interest

Thanks
 

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now this has to be top of the contender list for thread revival, 4 1/2 years, wow
 

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Indeed so, but it does enable me to quote my earlier posting as the explanation to Reddo's question.
QUOTE (34C @ 9 Nov 2007, 21:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... if the range is to grow, it will be on the basis of locomotives that carried the widest possible range of liveries, so that the same body shell can be churned as many times as possible to the collector, in 101 livery variants. This does seem to ignore the fact that this Lima-esque approach succeeded when the only competitor offered an even worse product, and was rejected by the UK market, presumably including the collector, when a better competing product emerged. Now they fancy a re-run against three significantly better competitors? Not a horse I would put my money on!
They are now competing against four significant RTR outfits in OO, whose summed output presents the customer with a yet broader range of product choice than existed in 2007; and their offering has not moved on from the 37s and 47s to add to Dufftractor Mountain. Retailers cannot afford to order product that shifts slowly when faster moving alternative models - some of classes never previously available RTR in OO - are competing for their stock investment. The only opening left is for special livery commissions I should think.
 
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QUOTE (reddo @ 21 May 2012, 11:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Did a search and this old thread seemed an appropriate place to ask...

Does anyone know what the current status of VT/Hobby Co is as I have just emailed them and been advised there is no Release programme for 00 locos in 2012...

Any info would be of interest

Thanks

Seems you have info straight from the horses mouth. It's gotta have more credibility than anything we on here might say.

Cheers

Jim
 

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34C - that was along the lines I was thinking - they need another 1-2 loco design/tooling to continue and this momentum should have been planned in 2011...

I have 2x those Rail Express specials on order - I was also hoping they might commission the 47853 Rail Express that featured on the May2012 cover in DRS livery - looks stunning IMHO.

Jim - thanks, but I suspect this is the corporate line and was wondering if indeed VT are having problems due to the Italian economy (loan foreclosure, lack of lending etc etc)
and if anything had been seen in the model press...

I quite like ViTrains - half the price of a Bachmann, with 8pin DCC, lights and a good motor plus an excess bag of detailing parts that can be used to detail older Lima bodies - suits me in these austere times and allows the extra bit of cash for the odd Bachmann loco I do want and/or a ZIMO DCC Sound upgrade...I can also lightly wetaher them without feeling I am damaging a very expensive model. All v subjective I appreciate.
 

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QUOTE (reddo @ 22 May 2012, 05:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>34C - that was along the lines I was thinking - they need another 1-2 loco design/tooling to continue and this momentum should have been planned in 2011...

I have 2x those Rail Express specials on order - I was also hoping they might commission the 47853 Rail Express that featured on the May2012 cover in DRS livery - looks stunning IMHO.

Jim - thanks, but I suspect this is the corporate line and was wondering if indeed VT are having problems due to the Italian economy (loan foreclosure, lack of lending etc etc)
and if anything had been seen in the model press...

I quite like ViTrains - half the price of a Bachmann, with 8pin DCC, lights and a good motor plus an excess bag of detailing parts that can be used to detail older Lima bodies - suits me in these austere times and allows the extra bit of cash for the odd Bachmann loco I do want and/or a ZIMO DCC Sound upgrade...I can also lightly weather them without feeling I am damaging a very expensive model. All v subjective I appreciate.

Me too! The Class 47 is a good representation of the prototype, and all mine run very well. Bags of room inside for a wide variety of speakers to suit your preferences.

Marry that to a bargain Zimo sound decoder, really nice.

I've used Shawplan's LaserGlaze on a couple and that is very effective. The only problem is that since the windows are now almost glass-clear it's easier to view the not very detailed cab interior. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

I like the separate detail pack idea, although some can be a bit tricky to fit. I feel a sense of involvement when doing it. Many of these things could easily get knocked off in transit and the models I use in my seminars and sound clinics are handled a lot by people I don't know. For these, I generally leave off the more delecate detailing parts, until the model 'retires' to my layout, when I have the parts stored, safe and sound.

Kind regards,

Paul
 
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