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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just reading a reply in a thread I started about the Farish Class 60, and someone made a comment about the limited colour schemes released so far. This got me wondering, why don't manufacturers release undecorated versions of their models so that modellers that want to do specific schemes that aren't covered by the official releases can do so? It's quite common practice in the US, what's stopping the UK manufacturers from doing the same? Especially when you consider that there are a large number of third party decals and paints for exactly that job...

Thanks,

Dave.
 

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Don't think there's much of a demand for it in the UK. Probably because a) i'ts almost unkown on this side of the pond,
I doubt if the model manufactures think it would sell enough and c) lots of liveries are registered trade marks and the owners of said trademarks are too stupid to see all the free advertising they're missing out on.
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 23 Nov 2007, 11:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Don't think there's much of a demand for it in the UK.

That's about the size of it.
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 23 Nov 2007, 01:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...i'ts almost unkown on this side of the pond...
But isn't that a chicken-and-egg situation? Maybe it's not that common over here simply because the undecorated shells aren't available?
.

QUOTE Plus most US steam locos are all black so there is not that much to do.
Steam locos may be mostly black (at lest in the US), but what about UK regional steam? Not to mention all the numerours colours for diesel locos what with BR's various schemes, sectorisation and privatisation? And that's just the locos, there's also carriages and wagons to add in to the mix.

As for modellers not having the skill, I'm sure there are many out there that do have the skill, including I'm sure most of the posters on sites like these
. I've seen quite a few conversions that people have done, and I reckon that the sort of person that would buy an undecorated shell would be able to do a good job of a paint job from scratch.

Regarding the argument that 'it's not worth it because there isn't enough demand' - if there wasn't enough demand then there wouldn't be companies making alternative decals for use in repaints. Quite a few people do the repaints anyway, it's just that at the moment, they need to use a shell that's already been decorated.

Finally, on the issue of cost, I'll admit that I might have this wrong as I don't work in the manufacturing sector, but I would think that much of the cost of a model is in the design and initial tooling. So a manufacturer makes the shells anyway for the ones that they are going to send out painted from the factory. I would think that the extra cost of adding a few extra shells to the end of the production run wouldn't be prohibitive in cost, and they could be sold to those that want to do their own livery.

I think that there's an untapped market for undecorated shells. I'l admit that it would probably be quite small compared with the overall size of the UK market, but I still reckon they would sell
.

Just my 2 pence worth
.

Regards,

Dave.
 

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QUOTE if there wasn't enough demand then there wouldn't be companies making alternative decals for use in repaints. Quite a few people do the repaints anyway, it's just that at the moment, they need to use a shell that's already been decorated.

It isn't quite that simple. Transfers aren't available for a quite a few liveries and brands - MML for starters, and that is the local mainline operator for the biggest transfer manufacturer (Fox) Indeed Fox announced a year or two make that they were deleting a lot of modern image transfers , such as PTEs , because of lack of demand . When you consider just how many liveries there have been in the last 10 years , its easy to see the market is extremely fragmented which may make demand for an individual item limited.

BR black steam is fairly easy and so is Corporate Blue. BR Brunswick green can be done , though two tone is more difficult. However many of the modern liveries are very tough propositions indeed. NSE toothpaste is a struggle because of all the colours and thin lines . First GE , and Stagecoach are even worse - masking for curved stripes is desperately difficult. Very few people will make a decent job of First's "barbie" liveries - and the "neon nightclub" version currently used by First GW is almost impossible. That's before you come on to the real nightmares where they ran amok with the vinyls and perpetrated fade transition effects that are unreproducable by any known paint technique - First GW "*** packet " being a classic example

I'd doubt if even 5% of modellers can cope with spraying the less complex modern liveries to a satifsfactory standard. And a decent airbrush and compressor set up is going to set you back nearly £300

I've done BR Blue, BR black, and BR green. I'm steering clear of the rest
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 23 Nov 2007, 18:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It isn't quite that simple. Transfers aren't available for a quite a few liveries and brands - MML for starters, and that is the local mainline operator for the biggest transfer manufacturer (Fox) Indeed Fox announced a year or two make that they were deleting a lot of modern image transfers , such as PTEs , because of lack of demand . When you consider just how many liveries there have been in the last 10 years , its easy to see the market is extremely fragmented which may make demand for an individual item limited.

BR black steam is fairly easy and so is Corporate Blue. BR Brunswick green can be done , though two tone is more difficult. However many of the modern liveries are very tough propositions indeed. NSE toothpaste is a struggle because of all the colours and thin lines . First GE , and Stagecoach are even worse - masking for curved stripes is desperately difficult. Very few people will make a decent job of First's "barbie" liveries - and the "neon nightclub" version currently used by First GW is almost impossible. That's before you come on to the real nightmares where they ran amok with the vinyls and perpetrated fade transition effects that are unreproducable by any known paint technique - First GW "*** packet " being a classic example

I'd doubt if even 5% of modellers can cope with spraying the less complex modern liveries to a satifsfactory standard. And a decent airbrush and compressor set up is going to set you back nearly £300

I've done BR Blue, BR black, and BR green. I'm steering clear of the rest

*** Some time ago I made a big effort to try to get some of the retailers to look at stocking loco's painted but with no numbers or nameplates etc pre-fitted. I suggested they arrange a sheet of numbers and an etch with assorted nameplates etc so that modellers could buy several at once and create their own chosen fleet.

I'm convinced it would have been a GREAT way to increase sales up front - However it seemed to die as I couldn't enthuse them about it.

A shame, as I'd for example have happily bought several 8F's/Black 5's/Bachmann Jinties, etc etc at a time with only LMS lettering and numbered them myself... and as for diesels, exactly the same.

Seems they prefer to sell little and often and make modellers wait for the annual round of new releases rather than get the money in the till quick-smart and fund the tooling for new models - I can't figure it

Perhaps I'll have to commission my own "limited runs" :)

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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As most modellers in this country seem to have one of everything, the rtr boys seem to reckon that it's not necessary to supply undecorated, where as in the States, with a greater degree of standardisation, there is the demand.
I for one would welcome it with a loco shed layout with 10 4F's, and 7 8F's, it would save a bit of time.Now back to my third Stanier Mogul - oh - that's kit-built.
Paul M.
 

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Hornby claim they tried it in the 1980's and there was no UK interest.

They may be right. When you look at the boxes of old locos and coaches that were offered with alternative names and numbers the reality is that the alternative names and numbers are normally in the box untouched. Try looking next time you spot such an item in a secondhand section and see for yourself.

Hornby did offer blank Scalextric cars recently in the UK and there was no interest. They were produced for the USA where there is interest in decorating your own racing car and Hornby experimented by offering a few in the UK (I think the figure was 200 or something like that). They were actually more popular in the UK with collectors than with racers according to stockists who I have spoken to!

Bachmann and Dapol did blank wagons a few years ago. Guess what? They stayed on the shelves and are now considered collectable forever remaining as blanks!


Now overseas markets outside the UK may be different and if Hornby and Bachmann offer something just in overseas markets then who knows?


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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If there is no interest, why are there:

(1) frequent questions on forums "how can I get the old number off without damaging the paint"
 

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***Doop - wrong button, sorry

(1) frequent questions on forums "how can I get the old number off without damaging the paint"

(2) A couple of transfer makers offering matching colour panels and replacement numbers

(3) A thriving industry doing special editions with "your choice of number"

(4) A thriving nameplate business

I do accept that for a large part of the market having a "factory fresh" loco to collect is a very different thing, and there are also those who lack the confidence or adequate interest to tackle the changes.

However I suspect that there are also very many modellers who add detail to their loco's (which often needs the original numbering removed as they are usually modelling a specific loco) and many others who simply want a collection of the same loco with different numbers and who ARE able to do it.

Certainly enough to warrant a "special edition" of key locomotives with say half a dozen alternative names / numbers etc...

I do think that the retailers who are just box movers are the wrong ones for this though - its a niche that the more "hands on modeller" oriented stores could do very well with.

As to US models: Interesting that on one hand US modellers are often claimed by others to be runners not builders or fiddlers with loco's as the BRitish are, yet undecorated models DO sell ok there....

Kind regards

Richard
 

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I wonder how sales of the blank Heljan Class 47's are going?

Good point of the cottage industry relivery businesses. Its the difference between a professional doing a job though and an amateur.

How many modellers are really that confident that they can do a job on a blank loco that matches the standards of the ready to run models?

Kent Models have plenty of body spares that can be used for projects. When you talk to them about this the impression is the market is not prepared to pay the price required for just a body to enable the trade to make a respectable margin relative to the additional shelf space required. They will have 100's of blanks at Warley and they will be taking 100's of blanks back to Kent after the show! The fact is anybody who wants a body for a project need look no further than eBay. There is plenty of material there!

And these days there are around 50 to 100 sperately fitted detailing parts to most Hornby and Bachmann locos. Would these be supplied unfitted, or fitted, or not supplied at all? It suddenly becomes a complex business and I can see why Hornby and Bachmann are not keen!

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Just to add that there are some very good amateur modellers however the ones that I know (Warley MRC mainly) prefer to use kits or old £20 locos to detail that they have picked up from eBay as it is handy to have low cost reliable proprietory running gear to help the loco along when detailed!

Whats the point in offering a body for £15 to £20 when this is the case?

On a seperate side note issue has anybody ever been able to build a kit that has the same good running qualities as ready to run? I have yet to see an example anywhere with models with kit chassii having poor slow speed running and/or coming off the track regularly becuase there is no provision for badly laid track! Even Warley's finest admits defeat in this area becuase there is simply never enough compensation built into kits and kit design. And as for the motors proprietory examples may only cost 4p or whatever but we have to agree that they are very smooth.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Gary,
To partly answer both your messages.
When I had my book/model shop I used to renumber locos for customers, if they bought the loco from me it was a tenner, extra fiver if it wasn't.

Now one of my little sidelines is replacing old Airfix/Mainline/Replica chassis with good quality motors (Mashima), and chassis (Comet). For my own collection I'm on my 10th 4F - you can never have too many 4F's if your a LMS modeller, all off e-bay for less than £15 each.

My kit built locos - mostly- are better than rtr, usually all driving, and tender wheel pickups, stronger, and more powerful, my locos have to pull FULL length trains. The only locos I have that will out perform my kit built locos are my two Modelyard adapted 9F's.
Paul M.
 

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It is a good idea on paper BUT many of the modellers who would tackle a major paint job are also the ones who do major surgery to locos to get as near perfect a model as possible and often start with bargain basement models

Secondly for many people wether we realise it or not looking at a shiny new model with a good quality paint job and finish sitting on the retailers shelf is one of the factors which persuades us to buy. A half finished model in primer coat just wouldn't look so tempting

Thirdly it would depend on the model I was one of the people who lauded heljan for selling unnumbered madels BUT I didn't buy one because i made the descision to only buy bachman 47's in future because these suit my modelling needs better ( Heljan and DCC sound are uneasy bedfellows)

I think it is something the manufacturers have probably considered but then dismissed because it is not clear just how much of a market there is for these models I think unnumbered wagons and coaches are probably a more likely winner as these would be very tempting for people wanting to build up a rake
 

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this subject was raised quite recently...I believe in one of Model Rail's' interviews.

As I recall, the response was, undecs don't sell.

As for 'removing numbers'......this is a different story...renumbering the same livery is simply like detailing.

In the US scene, I found the predominant use of undec bodyshells/stock, was to create either, fictional, freelance liveries...or the rare, one-in- a million prototype livery unlikely to be had from the mainstream.

Many US scene stock/locos are generic , rather than 'specific' items..ie, in themselves, the products of a mass market manufacturer..[EMD, GE, Thrall, etc}

Bear in mind, in the US scene, or at least, in the past, many 'prototype' liveries were in fact spurious...simply because [for example, Union Pacific] they actually 'sold' more of an item this way.

I 'believe' firms like Hornby [old], or Basset-Lowke, used to create fictional colour schemes on locos and stock, to broaden their sales appeal?

Are there not issues with copywrites for modern liveries too? [regarding decals?]
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 24 Nov 2007, 03:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>On a seperate side note issue has anybody ever been able to build a kit that has the same good running qualities as ready to run? I have yet to see an example anywhere with models with kit chassii having poor slow speed running and/or coming off the track regularly becuase there is no provision for badly laid track! Even Warley's finest admits defeat in this area becuase there is simply never enough compensation built into kits and kit design. And as for the motors proprietory examples may only cost 4p or whatever but we have to agree that they are very smooth.

Happy modelling
Gary

Yes, yes and yes. I can build loco's that run better than RTR every time and so can many of my firends living in the UK and Oz - its really not that hard to do. An improved/reworked Bachmann Jinty Body on a Hi-Level Kits chassis with a 108: Gearbox is a delight to shunt with compared to the original...

(And yes I agree, The Bachmann Jinty is is not too bad to start withstraight out of the box!)

I/we in many cases also paint and line at least as well as the manufacturers - better in many cases!

As to suspension, my rigid frame loco's don't fall off the track and my/their compensated ones / springy beam ones / conventionally sprung ones don't either.

Regarding track bad enough to cause such a problem, its not hard to lay flat track without humps, hollows and kinks. Are your Warley members REALLY that bad at building loc's and laying track??

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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QUOTE Are your Warley members REALLY that bad at building loc's and laying track??

Its not that straightforward. As major UK exhibitors taking layouts all over the country Warley baseboards are subject to all sorts of environments. The UK is a very humid and damp country with extremes of temperature. No matter how much bracing and sealing we put in plywood baseboards do not remain perfectly flat for long!


I would guess all exhibitors have similar issues which probably explains why so very often vistors see locos derailing.

Any ideas on this will no doubt be welcome.

QUOTE I can build loco's that run better than RTR every time

But at what price in terms of cost and time? Taking into account the very latest RTR models there may be some who might question whether that is indeed possible! A seperate topic on this might be useful.

Getting back to the topic Hornby issued in 1996 an unumbered Class 37 loco model. They produced 900 examples as an experiment. It was their worst selling Class 37 loco ever and dealers requested that Hornby did not repeat the experiment! Every time Hornby offer models that give the customer the option of fitting their own name/number they are poor sellers. It does not work for Hornby in the UK.

Happy modelling
Gary
 
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