newbie question

"kim" wrote

to
assemble
etched
Silver
A bit unfair, I'd say. Do Parkside Dundas and Ratio not count as "major suppliers" of mainstream kits? Seen 'em in just about every model shop I've ever visited! (Conceded that their mainstream is substantially pre-1950, which nevertheless stilll defines much of modelling, even if only to model ratty life-expired pre-BR wagons still banging around in the 70s).
It could be argued that the glory of British railway modelling actually resides in its kit and detail suppliers - lest we forget, virtually all British based and providing rather more home employment than Hornby and Bachmann do now. The quality is on the whole good, the prices not excessive for the often-eyewatering amount of design and etching work that's gone into them, and the range of prototypes staggering. RTR isn't going to dream of competing with them, and indeed relies on the likes of Chris Leigh to funnel "most wanted" suggestions to them to match public demand, as they have to sell a lot of units to justify particularly the plastic tooling. The aftermarket gang can then pile in for every variant and finescale option.
Kit design arose from the enormous dissatisfaction of 1970s and 80s modellers with RTR choice and accuracy (that and watching with interest the cutting-edge work of military modellers, hence the quality of brass and resin work now available) , but it's now flowered into an ecosystem of its own. The only hassle is keeping up with it! Stall-gazing at ExpoEM and the like makes my eyes swim by the end of the day, plus having to go round with an "I could really do with one of..." list two pages long just to target shopping on current upgrade projects, let alone buy new kits.
My only concern is that our newbie successfully makes the transition from casual "trainset" interest into seeing what an absorbing hobby modelling can be. Buying stuff is one thing, but once some good show layouts or even Pendon are studied, the rest will follow readily. That and joining an interest group (not necessarily a local club, unless it's unfeasible to operate even a portable baseboard regularly at home) and picking a good magazine. Model Rail is just about the best all-round of the latter for the general modeller IMO. If John Redman's youngster is keen on the current rail scene, for instance, then I've been mighily impressed by the keenness (and youth - important to keep continuity) of DEMU (Diesel and Electric Modellers United) even though I model something older and coal-powered. They appear at shows and do great work in recruiting and enthusing the youngsters. The kitbuilding urge will follow soon enough!
Tony Clarke (with a boxful of shabby Airfix Prestwins to renovate, among much else)
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It sounds a bit like what has happened to specialist wargame figurines since the 1970s. The major players have almost all gone or changed hands several times but the range of what is available, and its quality, has actually improved for its having become a cottage industry.
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"John Redman" wrote

since
Absolutely. It would seem that wargaming can currently hold a high-street shop presence (branches of Games Workshop, including staff that will run out-of-hours teaching sessions) that railway modelling can't, and hasn't done in 20 years. It's certainly got the youth interest, and modelling standards are high - modern acrylic paints help - though I personally have less than zero interest in Warhammer 40000 or variants on Lord Of The Rings. Still, when they want an in-depth hobby with a huge spread of evocative prototypes and narratives to satisfy the adult mind, we'll be there waiting...
A lot of it comes down to harnessing effort and imagination. If your eight year old hasn't been to a decent major railway modelling exhibition, it's a good age to start - I see a lot of kids at shows now, probably more than was the case 8-10 years ago, which has to be good. To get out of Thomas The Tank Engine syndrome where possible, a good preserved railway or even just a mainline station is a good option too. Go to Didcot, watch the 125s roar through the mainline station and the 66s chunter in the sidings, then visit the steam depot there, then drive up the road to the Pendon Museum at Long Wittenham. If that doesn't enthuse him, nothing will!
Tony Clarke
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The interesting thing is that GW is just the visible bit of the iceberg. There are loads of historical figure manufacturers who are one-man bands but whose ranges are vast, accurate, and extraordinarily well done. Go back to the 1970s, OTOH, and if you wanted - for example - the Prussian army that Napoleon defeated at Jena, it didn't exist. Nobody made Prussian figures with accurate uniforms for that date. There were gaps in every manufacturer's range and gaps that nobody filled at all. Today, no matter what army you want, someone somewhere makes it.
My other nerdy preoccupation is steel ships, and it's the same story there. The major plastic manufacturers have more or less abandoned designing new modern warship kits, and when one does, it's a *really* big deal. Meanwhile, all sorts of tiny firms have evolved which make everything from photo-etch gun crews in 1/700 scale up to 1/350 scale resin battleships which cost anything up to 1000 and which sell in numbers of a few hundred, tops. There is a company which does 1/700 scale British WW1 cruisers in resin with accurate in-scale moulded deck planking. Those planks are five inches wide yet these guys have found a way of casting them in resin even though they are under a millimetre wide.
There is even a guy knocking out 6" brass gun barrels on a CNC lathe in 1/700 scale, with the muzzles drilled out and a bit of the internal rifling visible.
All this has happened since the big boys went away, and you have to wonder if it's happened precisely *because* they went away.
Maybe your hobby needs Hornby to go bust again :-)

Good advice. It's time to start the soft sell...
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On the other hand you could buy the entire Airfix zoo set just to get the elephant and use it in wargames and it was still cheaper than any cast figure at the time. Or if you needed a Dennis fire engine for a railway layout you could buy the Matchbox model for 2/6d (12.5p) as opposed to the recently released resin kit at 53.
(kim)
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That seems odd as in the RC GRP Hulled hobby, Deans Marine have arguably become the biggest model boat kit maker in Europe and bring out at least half a dozen new models of ships every year - in Time for the Dortmund Exhibition. They have just gone into selling battlefield tanks too. I was over there yesterday and discussing the fact the tanks are being imported [these are Chinese manufactured] during which the proprietor was bewailing the fact that they would have to set up a small manufacturing facility of their own due to poor delivery etc for which he clearly blamed UK agents and importers.
Companies like Dean's that have very comprehensive resin moulding and die making facilities have a very broad choice of manufacturing arena. I Guess it's the demand that rules the day. I noticed a number of OO gauge resin moulded tank wagon kits over there yesterday. Deck cargo for a carrier of some kind no doubt.
Cheers.
--
Roy

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If a child isn't already predisposed towards model ralways nothing is going to make him (or her) interested. Labouring the subject is just going to be counterproductive.
(kim)
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"kim" wrote

going
I said "enthuse". It's a matter of example and opportunity. Kids nowadays get far too few opportunities to investigate what's out there and figure out why it matters: too many predigested things foisted on them by adults concerned to shortcircuit risk and responsibility. Do kids have a "predisposition" to eating junk food and/or waving guns in playgrounds?
The older I get, the more I subscribe to the zero-sum theory of braincells: whatever's there first, stops other information crowding in unless it's genuinely more useful or more persistent. (The Jesuits believed in something similar IIRC...) The modern world seethes with stuff purporting to be "lifestyle information" but little of it actually cleaves to the imagination in the way that a skilled activity does, or indeed something as seemingly passive as hanging around a hundred-ton piece of hot metal and being wowed at what it represents. That's why I'm a railway modeller, anyway.
Tony Clarke
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John Redman wrote:

Depending on how long ago your youth was, you may well be remembering "Hornby Dublo" which ceased in 1964. They were bought by Tri-ang which became Tri-ang Hornby and then Hornby, without any of the Hornby Dublo range being included.. Meanwhile, parts of the Hornby Dublo range were re-released under the Wrenn name.

Hornby Dublo/Meccano had a French factory which used the brand name Hornby Acho.
Jouef was a toy manufacturer which verged on making scale models. :-)

Not mentioned by the other responders are the European brands; Marklin with 3 rail AC (robust/expensive) and Fleischman with 2 rail DC (robust, compatible with the British/US/Chinese brands other than couplers)
Regards, Greg.P.
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Thanks to all who have replied so far - all very helpful. I suspected Hornby might be the answer but wanted to check - if you went into a Beatties you'd think the only plastic kit manufacturer was Tamiya so this has been very useful.
Showing my ignorance here, what are DC and DCC? DC I assume is as in "AC/DC"?
The stuff in our loft is my brother's, he was the keen one. I used to watch and occasionally break things. The Jouef bits were bought for him in Paris by dad on business trips. No idea what shape this stuff is in now. Why aren't old models compatible with new track? Is it a gauge thing?
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Sorry! I should have explained that better DC is as you guessed is Direct Current Most Hornby/ Bachmann and other "Ready-to-Run" (RTR- the usual description of pre-built and painted models. like Hornby) models operated on 12v direct current. This has been the industry standard for years. Although Hornby messed with a form of DCC ( Direct Command Control) in the 1970s it has really taken off in the last few years. With the DC system the controller feeds power to the engine via the track and the motor runs when the controller is turned up. In a DCC system each engine is fitted with a microchip which responds to a modulated signal fed in by a digital controller. The track is powered all the time at a steady level. The advantages are that the engine has a steady power source and more than one engine can run on the same track at the same time. Some controllers will handle dozens of "channels" allowing you to run several engines, all the points and also lighting circuits all from one controller. Its a clever system but if your'e like me two at any one time is about all I can handle. Track is still gauged at 16.5mm, but the height of the metal rail has changed a lot, to make more "in-scale" the size of the rails was reduced. Most track is sold by code. Peco sell a variety of track like Code 70 and Code 100. If you start with a train set you'll need to know what code the track is before purchasing any extra.
Some older model will run on modern track. Joueff models had pretty good wheels so they may run. Many of their models were at lot less toy like than many believe. The problems are not so much with the track but with the points, some older models won't run across modern points without de-railing It probably have be a case of try it and see. I'm sure, however old Hornby/Triang wheels are way too coarse to run on modern Peco or Hornby track, old Hornby/Triang stuff won't run with out replacing or modifying the wheels. As good as they were for their time the quality of older model isn't as good as modern stuff. Wheels, motors and detail are far coarser than modern models so they will look out of place. Hope this helps some more.
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Yes indeed, thanks.
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John Redman wrote:

The incompatibility arises with Hornby on turnouts as they have bit by bit gone from thick wheels to more scale looking wheels over time. Old (and new) European models will run happily with Hornby etc on current tracks.
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Triang-Hornby was Code 140 so any locos made to that standard will bounce along the sleeper chairs making intermittent electrical contact with blue sparks flying from the underside and emitting a strong smell of ozone. One of the joys of retro-modelling is having to buy quantities of old Super-4 track when it comes up for auction on eBay.
(kim)
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kim wrote:

I buy Series 2. :-)

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...
Was that the stuff with the built in grey plastic base made to give the impression of ballast? Used to have loads of it ... but no pointwork :-(
--

All the best,

Chris Wilson
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Chris Wilson wrote:

That's the stuff! Series 1 was the same stuff but single ended. Unfortunately the base tends to distort which changes the guage, so one needs loads of it to find enough sufficient to make up a display oval/layout. For some reason most of the turnouts seem to have the points lever broken off (floor usage and feet?) so a terminus and goods sidings is taking a long time to come together. Series 3 was made here in NZ but I like the look of Series 2 better :-)
Regards, Greg.P.

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Yes, I think I remember now, the lever had a little red end to it (no jokes please) and yes I did have one ... in the end though it just got plugged in to the end of my Series 4 track to make extended sidings.
.. and yes always set up on the floor ... even when a large amount of it (series 4) got pinned to a piece of chip board. Used to have a mimic car system to go with it ... very top bananas!
--

All the best,

Chris Wilson
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There's not much point to it then, is there? ;-)
--
Martin S.

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MartinS wrote:

It's easier to keep track of, that way. 8^[

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