Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Kitkruncher

James May's Big Trouble In Model Britain - 9pm - 6th March on BBC Four

Recommended Posts

Thought the VR bit wasn't  a fantastic idea - what, pay money for something I can't put on a shelf ?! -  But if they started looking at AR (augmented reality) then they might be on to something

E.g. operate your real model railway but see computer generated smoke, moving crowds on platforms,traffic etc  added on top of what you really see....

 

..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, IanHx said:

But if they started looking at AR (augmented reality) then they might be on to something

E.g. operate your real model railway but see computer generated smoke, moving crowds on platforms,traffic etc  added on top of what you really see....

Now THAT'S a really good idea... I could imagine doing that, and then having the option to add "period" filters to give a 1950s B+W film look, or 1970s home movies (or some special rose-tinted pre-Beeching golden era look...)

best,

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cmatthewbacon said:

Anyway, given that Hattons and Rails seem to be quite happily selling many Hornby models of Class 66s and Terriers, we have to assume that the "conflict" on the screen was probably just a little played up for dramatic purposes... and as for "embarrassing them on national TV," it ain't going to be broadcast without them being onboard -- despite James May's voiceover, this wasn't exactly hard-hitting investigative journalism. The "fight" was about as vicious as the "dressing down" Caitlin got from the guy who builds prototype Scalextric cars, and as real as the sound man's "cloak and dagger" antics to record the the Terrier... 😜

I think you may have hit the nail on the head.  The Battle of the Banners and the Battle of the Terrier and Class 66 may well have been confected by the BBC just to introduce some "jeopardy" into an otherwise cosy story where all the big boys share a common love of the hobby, know and respect each other regardless of occasional spats.  And I doubt whether Hattons or Rails of Sheffield will suffer from the publicity.  I bet Kernow Model Centre are wishing he had picked a fight with them! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Now this might have been coincidence or a slow internet connection at my end but out of curiosity I did try logging on to the Hornby website during the programme... it was sooooo sloooow loading - just like at the time of the Airfix 2019 range announcements earlier this year. Could this have been the result of significant increased traffic to the website generated by the programme? As I said could be coincidence, but it would be fascinating to know if the programme has generated  significant extra interest and subsequent incresaed sales for Hornby...

 

Perhaps we'll have to wait for Series 2 to find out...  🚂   :thumbsup:

 

Rich

 

PS always fancied an A4 Class, 4-6-2, 4464 'Bittern' in LNER garter blue... no stop...

Edited by RichG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, cmatthewbacon said:

No, he didn't. Hornby had already released the Class 66 back in 2007, and it had already been available on and off for some time. It seems to be generally thought to be not very detailed and sits at the cheaper end of the range. Hattons were releasing a premium model that is more aimed at the £160 Bachmann model than the £80 Hornby one. Hornby are releasing their old-tool model at a price that the cheaper/newbie end of the market will support. The model was originally tooled by Lima, so like many Airfix tools, it's paid its dues, and that price isn't a "loss-leader". And at no point did Hornby Simon say anything to "admit" that it was...

 

As for "slighting" their retailers... who's the retailer and who's the kit maker in this story?The retailers, whose core business is in making a margin on selling other people's model trains, seemed rather surprised that Hornby, whose business is making model trains and selling them to retailers at a price that the retailers can mark up and make a reasonable margin on, were unhappy about the retailers getting into the model making business. Why would a couple of retailers, even large ones, slight one of their biggest suppliers, and the best known name in UK model railways, by trying to muscle in on their model making business, one might equally ask..? (And I know that Hattons have been doing it for years... I used their  Beyer-Garrett online promo stuff as reference when I was building and weathering the Kitmaster one...)

 

Anyway, given that Hattons and Rails seem to be quite happily selling many Hornby models of Class 66s and Terriers, we have to assume that the "conflict" on the screen was probably just a little played up for dramatic purposes... and as for "embarrassing them on national TV," it ain't going to be broadcast without them being onboard -- despite James May's voiceover, this wasn't exactly hard-hitting investigative journalism. The "fight" was about as vicious as the "dressing down" Caitlin got from the guy who builds prototype Scalextric cars, and as real as the sound man's "cloak and dagger" antics to record the the Terrier... 😜

 

best,

M.

 

 

Thanks, I didn’t realise that they already had a 66.

 

The retailers turning manufacture - I got the impression that they did that more out of frustration because Hornby weren’t producing new stuff for them to sell in the days when the new management took over.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I forgot about the VR thing I thought it was brilliant. Imagine not just seeing your little train drive past on the layout but you're in the cab or on fire step? Driving your little train. I'd buy that. Not a CGI image but live on an actual model. Driving through your carefully built layout. I think RC models have a similar possibility. A cockpit view. 

A merge of the old and new. 

 

Edited by noelh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 3/14/2019 at 4:26 PM, nheather said:

 

I agree.  It didn’t appear that there was any coicidence in it.  In fact the Hornby guy admitted that Hattons had one planned first so they decided to rush one out, bring it out first and sell it as a loss leader.  The Horby guy came across as a bit of a git in this episode if I’m honest.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

 

Or he came across as a man presiding over a group of companies which has lost a VERY serious amount of money in the last ten years....

 

So, which would folk prefer:

 

A. Hornby treat their rivals with great reverence and humility, being very careful not to tread on anyone's toes and then subsequently go out of business (very possibly taking Airfix down with them)...

 

OR

 

B. They act like any other modern business would, in order to keep their heads above water.

 

So, gents, which one outcome would you prefer?

 

Chris. 

 

PS: After making these new product announcements, both the "wronged" companies DOUBLED the value of their Hornby orders, when compared with the previous year. Does this tell us anything?

Edited by spruecutter96
Correcting a typo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Smaller Hobby Import companies like mine are doing OK in fact we are about to post our best ever year.  being smaller we can re-act quicker to market trends or the ups and downs i.e Brexit.  The larger companies in the Hobby world are like a big fat Dinosaur strapped to a train going down the hilly track with no breaks and some one taken out the Bridge over the chasm.  They know whats coming but sod all they can do about it.

 

What we sell you don't really need in the bigger picture, you may think you need it, but it is often what we sell goes out the window when things get tight.

 

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, noelh said:

I forgot about the VR thing I thought it was brilliant. Imagine not just seeing your little train drive past on the layout but you're in the cab or on fire step? Driving your little train. I'd buy that. Not a CGI image but live on an actual model. Driving through your carefully built layout. I think RC models have a similar possibility. A cockpit view. 

A merge of the old and new. 

 

But is it that much different to Train Simulator which has been out for ages.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, spruecutter96 said:

 

Or he came across as a man presiding over a group of companies which has lost a VERY serious amount of money in the last ten years....

 

So, which would folk prefer:

 

A. Hornby treat their rivals with great reverence and humility, being very careful not to tread on anyone's toes and then subsequently go out of business (very possibly taking Airfix down with them)...

 

OR

 

B. They act like any other modern business would, in order to keep their heads above water.

 

So, gents, which one outcome would you prefer?

 

Chris. 

 

PS: After making these new product announcements, both the "wronged" companies DOUBLED the value of their Hornby orders, when compared with the previous year. Does this tell us anything?

 

Chris. 

 

I do understand.  But with the hundreds of possible models out there why deliberately go into direct competition.  I appreciate that Rails and Hattons were encroaching on Hornby’s business but they are also two of the biggest customers so why piddle them off.  And why release the same model when you know that all it will do is to dilute sales for everyone.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Edited by nheather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Most interesting thing across the two episodes for me were the assembled test shots of the Buccaneer that flashed across the screen at one point.

 

And the number of people I knew in the Telford shots!

Edited by Dave Fleming

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, nheather said:

And why release the same model when you know that all it will do is to dilute sales for everyone.

Because a Rails or Hattons model makes no money for Hornby, which badly needs to turn round its finances. Whereas a Hornby model DOES make money for Hattons or Rails. Hornby can't afford to miss any revenue opportunity in the world of making model trains, still less see one of their long-term best-sellers replaced by a competitor's, but Rails and Hattons still make plenty of money from selling other companies' models, and in fact it's their core business...

 

According to RMWeb, the UK market is dominated by Hornby and Bachmann. In 2017, Bachmann did about £16.5m revenue in Europe, and Hornby did £22m total, and it looks like about 20% of that is in Europe and 10% in the US, which leaves around £15.5m in the UK. So, Bachmann's European revenue is comparable with Hornby's UK revenue. I don't know the relative sizes of European model railway markets but lets assume that the hobby is reasonably popular in Germany, and less so in France and Italy. If 2/3 of Bachmann's sales are in the UK, then it does £11m. and Hornby does £15m. If the smaller vendors do as much as 30% of the total market, then that still leaves Hornby with a 40% overall market share... so if Rails does £6m. a year, £2.4m is Hornby, which is probably rather a lot more than their likely profit on an "own-brand" Terrier...

 

Hornby needs Rails, and Rails needs Hornby...

 

best,

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, nheather said:

But is it that much different to Train Simulator which has been out for ages.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

But that's just a CGI. It would be more analogous to a drone operator wearing a VR headset and feeling as if they're flying because they're seeing it from the drone. 

You could drive your model train from the footplate or watch from the station or a footbridge or wherever. Haven't we all at some point wished we could get into our models? How about a drivers view in Scalextric? 

 

All kinds of of possibilities. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, noelh said:

You could drive your model train from the footplate or watch from the station or a footbridge or wherever. Haven't we all at some point wished we could get into our models? How about a drivers view in Scalextric? All kinds of of possibilities. 

Given the size that mobile phones have made 1080p video camera modules, it wouldn't be that difficult to actually put a camera inside a Scalextrix car or Hornby train, and blend that live feed with AR overlays for a complete "holodeck" train or race experience. Or imagine "unrolling" your train driving, so although the real engine and coaches are going round and round a big loop, the blended scenery makes it look as though you are on a continuous journey, with your stations buildings being "repainted" with different names and people each time you come to them...

 

best,

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, cmatthewbacon said:

Given the size that mobile phones have made 1080p video camera modules, it wouldn't be that difficult to actually put a camera inside a Scalextrix car or Hornby train, and blend that live feed with AR overlays for a complete "holodeck" train or race experience. Or imagine "unrolling" your train driving, so although the real engine and coaches are going round and round a big loop, the blended scenery makes it look as though you are on a continuous journey, with your stations buildings being "repainted" with different names and people each time you come to them...

 

best,

M.

Cameras are, however, one of the biggest drivers of the seemingly exponential increase in smartphone cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Procopius said:

Cameras are, however, one of the biggest drivers of the seemingly exponential increase in smartphone cost.

Sorry, but that’s not true. 

First, although the price of premium top end Samsung and Apple phones is a bit higher than it was, say five years ago, what you’re buying is a multifunctional personal computer that’s more powerful than many premium laptops. In that rarified battleground, you’re paying for bleeding edge engineering, for marketing reasons. Mid market smartphones are more or less exactly where they’ve ever been at £150-250 cost price, while having the specs of a couple of years ago premium products. And if you live in Africa or India, you can buy a full spec Android smartphone for $40-$60, cheaper every year. Average cost of a smartphone globally is driven by what operators are prepared to pay, whatever the price of headline making outliers, and that number is stable or reducing as the volumes at the low end increase.

Secondly, even at the high end, the screen is far and away the biggest cost driver, followed by the various processors. That’s where the differentiation really comes in (folding? OLED?). The camera incidentally drives cost, true: more pixels mean more storage; more software means more powerful processors and GPUs, but the camera module itself isn’t that expensive, even when it’s also bleeding edge tech.

Finally, what’s premium now is a commodity in two years: that’s what smartphone economics does. Any number of amazing tech advances have been driven by the scale, competitiveness  and price sensitivity of the smartphone market. So, if you want a 1080p, 30fps camera that fits in a Scalextric Car or Hornby train cab, you can thank smartphones that you can buy one for $3 in volume...

best,

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched it last night. The portrayal is of course somewhat contrived for entertainment value.

 

What I took away from it was that larger UK train retailers had to a degree taken the supply chain into their own hands probably on the back of poor delivery performance and ranging decisions by Hornby and that Hornby were reasserting themselves and trying to reset the supplier / retailer role..

 

The decision by them to release price pointed and new tool models to directly compete with the retailers models is absolutely an assertion.

 

What’s interesting I suppose is while Hornby may be unhappy with retailers vertically integrating themselves they also seem happy to sell direct to the public via their website... So they effectively compete with their retailers. 

 

That direct customer sales sales channel is alluring as it is margin rich.. Once a business has had a taste of that it’s hard to stop..

 

Likewise once you’ve had a taste of what vertical integration can deliver thats hard to stop also..

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×