newbie question

Which are the biggest suppliers of model railway equipment in the major scales? The reason for asking is that I have a relative who is 8 and his
grandma thinks he needs a train set. Neither of us knows much about this, but the general idea is to get something expandable, and for which expansion bits are reasonably easy to obtain and reasonably priced by the standards of the hobby.
I've looked at the FAQ and although it's helpful it doesn't tell me this sort of stuff (unless I missed it). I recall Hornby from my youth and I see they are still in business. In a box in the loft somewhere, we also have some Jouef stuff which I think is the French equivalent. Who else should we consider?
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Hornby do the most popular range, and have some excellent sets suitable for starting a youngster.
Look at www.hornby.com. Most major (toy) retailers stock complete sets which give you everything you need to get started, including a "TrakMat", which lets you build up the scenery and tracks by buying additional "TrakPaks". The other major supplier is Bachmann, but these are not as readily available.
You can't go far wrong with either, but, IMO, Hornby are the better of the two as far as a complete starter set, and one you can build up over time.
The other thing you will need is a table/bench/huge piece of wood to put it on.
John Redman wrote:

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Hornby is a good place to start with children. They are readlily available with reasonable customer support. A basic train set can be expanded. Its also compatible with most of the modern "ready-to-run" stuff. On the down side it isn't cheap, but then what is these days. Unless your'e getting serious about the trains you shouldn't bother with DCC. Bachmann offer some basic set fitted with this but every Loco you add will have be fitted with the DCC de-coders. A basic train set will come with a DC controller which should suffice initially. Have a look at some of the online suppliers to get an idea about prices and the type of engines and rolling stock available. They probably also have beginners guides. Some bargains can be found on the on-line auction sites. Todays model railways is a pretty big field catering from expert modellers to beginners but the important thing to remember is to have fun with your trains. I hope this helps
Incidently your old stuff won't run very well on modern track so you might be better selling it (its mostly collectable now) if you can bear to part with it and putting the money into the new models.
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00 = Hornby N = Graham Farish 0 = No one at present unless you include Tomy's toy range.

The original Hornby went out of business in 1964. The name was used by Triang until they too went out of business. It was subsequently relaunched as a separate company called 'Hornby' but selling models of exclusively Triang design. That is the company which is in business today and is currently the only one which sells a *complete* range of track and accessories.

Joueff was taken over by Lima of Italy which in turn is part of the Hornby company today. None of their designs is in current production. Your choice really is between Hornby's Thomas the Tank Engine range, Hornby's Harry Potter range and Hornby's regular range. There is nothing to stop your relative using individual items from the Bachmann, Peco and Dapol ranges as they all fit.
(kim)
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writes

A slight correction, Kim.
Hornby (or whatever the company was called at the time) have never gone out of business since founded as Rovex Plastics Ltd around 1950. Their owners have gone bankrupt twice but on both occasions, due to the healthy state at Margate, the company was allowed by the Receiver to continue trading and, indeed, developing the range of models.
Pat
Hammond Publishing, PO Box 199, Scarborough, YO11 3GT, Tel: 01723 506326, E-mail: snipped-for-privacy@mremag.demon.co.uk
Read 'Model Railway Express' Britain's leading and FREE online magazine for railway modellers. Updated DAILY with approximately 2,000 daily readers. News, Model Reviews, Book Reviews, Articles, Classified Ads. You will find us at www.mremag.demon.co.uk
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"Pat Hammond" wrote

Pat
I think if you re-read Kim's posting you'll see that he was referring to the original Hornby company (i.e. Mecanno Ltd) which did indeed go bust in 1964. The Hornby name was then acquired by Tri-ang (Lines Bros?) and since then Hornby have indeed never gone out of business, despite having a fair few difficult times in the last forty years.
John.
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My point was that owners "Triang" (Lines Bros) went out of business so the name reverted to "Hornby" even though they were making Triang models and not Hornby ones.
(kim)
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"Pat Hammond" wrote

The actual ownership of the company has also changed several times since 1950.
John.
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"Pat Hammond" wrote

And changed to a plc from a somewhat later date.
John.
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On Sun, 14 Aug 2005 22:33:49 +0100, kim put finger to keyboard and typed:

While we're on the "where are they now?" stuff, can someone fill me (another returnee) in on a couple of other manufacturers. I recall a brand called "Mainline" (the scale model arm of Palitoy) when I was building up my initial collection - what happened to them? And how/when did Bachman come on the scene? I don't recall that brand at all from my youth, but a look at some websites suggests that they're now one of the major players. And who are the main kit manufacturers these days?
Mark
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Mark Goodge wrote:

Bachmann have been around almost as long as any model firm. The firm began in the USa by a German immigrant toymaker in the 19th century. Production moved to Hong Kong very early, perhaps the early 1960s and in the 70s/80s the Hong Kong firm bought the entire business. They tried moving the entire operation to HK and then reopened the US part of the business. About 1991 they bought up the German firm Liliput and have since moved on the British market.

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Many of the Airfix kits from the 1950s are still made by Dapol.
--
Martin S.

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wrote:

Are those Airfix kits actual usable rolling stock or are they intended for use as static atmosphere / ornament?
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wrote:

Airfix/Dapol are mostly buildings and lineside accessories; there are several locos intended for static display (e.g. Deltic prototype), and a diesel railbus, for which motorising and detailing kits are available.
--
Martin S.

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MartinS wrote:

There were a number of wagons and BR MkI coaches. The wagons need weight, couplers and probably better wheels to operate.
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wrote:

I don't remember the latter. Were they former Kitmaster models which were acquired by Airfix?
(kim)
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kim wrote:

Yes. The wagons, as I rememer them, were a steel mineral, a "Prestflow"(sp?)cement, a "Transfesa" refrigerator (HO scale), BR brakevan, cattle wagon and a Kitmaster box van once available with a Triang motorbogie for pushing plastic locos. Low center wagon with JCB, ... I'm sure some of those were in the last Dapol catalogue I got in a mag last year. ?
Regards, Greg.P.
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wrote:

I remember seeing the wagons in the Airfix catalogues of the period but not the passenger coaches. (The soon to be reissued Airfix Tiger tank is also a 'railway' model but that's a whole different can of worms).
There was a shop at the bottom of the street where I lived which sold plastic kits of all kinds and only plastic kits (not RTR). They had the entire Kitmaster range in the window and continued to sell them long after Kitmaster went out of business. If only I knew then what I know now!
(kim)
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kim wrote:

Perhaps the Mk1 coaches didn't make it to Airfix production - I thought they did.

That's ok, if I'd known I'd have sent you my shopping list!!! I've still got the TT3 Royal Scot, City of Truro and the SBB Crocodile - sometimes I'm tempted to assemble them ...
Greg.P. NZ.
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kim wrote:

A 'railway' model in the sense that it's way underscale?
I never did understand how Airfix could claim a scale of HO *and / or* OO. They are just too far apart.
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