I am considering setting up a small business, specialising in mail-order
of UK outline models to modellers in the Euro-zone countries, as I am
based in Ireland.
In an attempt to gauge the size of the possible market, I am asking for
If you are based in a Euro-zone country and would prefer to purchase in
Euro, and wouldn't mind taking part in a little market research, please
drop me an e-mail
Thanks for reading!
Living in France and modelling UK I find myself almost living in eBay
as very few dealers in the UK make enough effort to catalogue their
goodies online. There are specialists with limited range, there are
dozens of sellers of RTR but mention the word "Spares" or "Decals",
"Name/number plates" and silence reigns.
Buying is not a problem for anyone as PayPal type systems, ordinary
bank cards etc suffice for just about everything.
However, the Germans have some bizarre bank card habits which can
leave you frustrated rather, and come to think of it the Austrians are
similar. My old Lloyds card worked in the African wastes and the US
back woods but would not buy petrol in France. My French card was
unwelcome in Italy! You cannot use cheques (euro) freely between
member states and the UK clings to its dark ages pound sterling and
almost unique time zone.
In short dealing in Euro or sterling is really a myth and the plastic
There is however definitely a market in Europe - even if it is only
"peter abraham" wrote
There are specialists with limited range, there are
I suppose it's a simple question Peter of retailers stocking what provides a
return for both the space utilised and the cash investment necessary.
It used to be a relatively simple matter in the old days with Hornby where
maybe 100 spares would vitually cover their entire product range, but after
the acquisition of models from Dapol and the shift of manufacture to China
the number of spares has probably increased more than ten-fold, and
availability from the manufacturer is limited to a few months after the last
production run of that particular model.
The same with name, numberplates and decals. The various ranges are just
too vast for most small retailers to carry in any sort of depth. When all
the small shops are gone due to competition from the mail order big boys,
the situation will only get worse.
I do appreciate the problem - especially the big guys who
grab the Xmas trade and leave the problems for the full timers. That
is not my beef! There is a long list of accredited repair / dealers
for Hornby but an amazing number have no stocks.
We have the same problem here as traders of all shades refuse
to keep stock and expect the customer to know exactly what they need
and be prepared to pay in advance even if the result is anincorrect
component. Most of the spares numbers are cachι to the trade and not
available to the end user. When I had my own business (electronic
and pneumatic controls systems) there was every effort to shut out
people like me even in the various trades involved.
Yes everyone must make their living but one of the ailments in
Europe is to shed all support sytems and trained, skilled technicians
in favour of fast buck, quick turnover using cheap unskilled sales
Gosh, that feels better.
Until recently you couldn't find Hornby stuff over here in
The Netherlands for love nor money. At least I couldn't and I
frequent things like Eurospoor and the train market in Houten
and frequently wander around the big towns in the Randstad.
Curiously enough, a couple of years ago I started seeing Hornby
stuff in what was then my local hobby shop in Utrecht. Indeed, the
wagons were actually cheaper to buy there than in the UK!
Equally curiously enough this change of heart seemed to
coincide with Hornby's live steam product.
Recently I've seen more places stocking Hornby basics (few engines
here, trucks there) and they all seem to have one thing in common:
the live steam product. Looks like it's managed to create a
presence here where previously there was none.
As to the original idea... if I had a job (and therefore readies)
I'd be interested, especially when at the last show (couple of
weeks ago in Rijswijk) there was only one stand selling BB
motorised bogies and then at the stupid price of more than EUR 72.
As it was I picked up what I suspect is a Lima motor bogie for
EUR 10 to stick in the cheaply bought Lima coaches that I plan
to butcher for an experiment (assuming I can mount it).
The original ideal may work but (a) the prices have to be
reasonable and (b) I agree with what Peter said: plastic reigns.
But we've never owned Hawaii (or the Sandwich Islands as they used to be
called). Originally they flew a version of the Red Ensign, because of
the Kings friendship with a Naval Captain, and later it was changed, but
still kept the Union Jack part.
Hi Arthur, I think you may be swallowing the politically-correct sanitised
These are the simple facts from http://www.shgresources.com/hi/symbols/flag /
"In 1794, King Kamehameha of Hawaii was given a British flag by Captain
George Vancouver. It is believed that he was the first to raise a flag in
Hawaii. Until 1816, Hawaii was under British protection"
a.. 1794-1816 Hawaii flew Union Jack as its National Flag
It was a de facto British Protectorate.
Hawaii's turbulent history is well explained here:
On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 00:00:06 -0000, "Steve W"
Some sailors might have thought so, but Britain disagreed about this
- and protection isn't the same thing as owning anyway.
Leaving aside the author's confusion about the use of "England", and
the union of the crowns and governments of England and Scotland:
" But the astute Ka-meha-meha, while looking for English protection
from the greed of other nations, stipulated that the Hawaiians should
"govern themselves in their own way and according to such laws as they
themselves might impose." The action of Vancouver was not ratified in
England, owing to more important European questions, and a real
protectorate was never established. "
If you do some Googling, you'll find the details are disputed. It
doesn't help that many modern USians have a bit of a fetish about
flags, reading rather more into them and their use than modern
Europeans tend to.
Well of course I agree, Arthur. *Everything* is disputed nowadays.
And I know what you mean about clinging to meaningless symbols. When I was
at the MoD I tried to introduce TOPS codes to replace the old Regimental
names. The Black Watch would have become the 48/2 and all the soldiers would
have been numbered in the 48 200 range instead of having names like
Just think, none of this sentimental nonsense we are getting nowadays when
some poor squaddie gets dismembered in Iraq. Just a notice that number 48
297 has been withdrawn from active service. Unfortunately the generals were
having none of it, and I was quietly transferred to the Department of
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