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  • Gaps in commercial coaching stock ranges

    Obviously with an increasing number of manufacturers getting into the business of British outline, and the expanding ranges as a result. The competition gets fiercer !

    However numerous gaps also begin to appear, particularly with regard to coaching stock. Simply because coaching stock was often turned out to general designs with a number of variations within a family. The BR Mk1 being a good example.

    Although the Dapol range of coaching stock RTR and self assembly type models, is I think most would agree a little dated by current standards. I would have thought this should be a good excuse to start adding one or two modern models to the same level of quality as the expanding locomotive range provides.

    There are of course many coaching stock types not yet modelled. But there are also gaps in some otherwise fairly comprehensive ranges. For example the good selection of SR Maunsell coaches in OO (from Hornby), has a gaping hole of NO catering vehicles. This also applies to the same companies Hawksworth range, with again no catering vehicles. Again that other concern Bachmann has just upgraded their Thompson coaches, but appears to have again totally overlooked catering vehicles. As for Southern Bulleid coaches, I would guess the very limited Bachmann range, is due for an upgrade. But as the speed this company appeares to be working at, we the customers may have to wait decades. So as that range is limited to currently just four types, with around another 15 more types not yet modelled. Including First class coaches, Catering types, "Shortie" types, "Multi-door" types and the BRCW built variants. Does this open the door to someone else jumping in and stealing a march on the copetition ????

    The Duke 71000

  • #2
    When you put out an example where you listed company ABC producing coach type 123 and say they don't do catering vehicles, then it's not entirely the best option asking company PQR to pick up the so called slack. Whilst the suggestion is good and no doubt sensible there's probably a reason why Hornby and Bachmann haven't made catering vehicles. If you ask Dapol to jump in then the success (if any) on Dapol producing a certain catering vehicle is dependent on what Hornby or Bachmann release in the first place. And also is there concrete evidence that Dapol will be able to sell 2000-3000 units in order to recoup their investments?

    To be really honest I've been in the hobby since 1999 and I've been on online forums since 2006 and not once have I seen someone asking for catering vehicles apart from Mk1 variants. So how popular were they?
    Jeremiah Bunyan...

    Comment


    • Arthur Hodgett
      Arthur Hodgett commented
      Editing a comment
      I think you are correct Jeremiah. Farish in (N) never sold all the catering coaches for the HST, they were in the bargain bin for years. Dapol have decided to compromise on just one catering coach for the whole HST range and thankfully it and the TGS are included in the main pack, which means they sell the two more difficult to sell coaches in the same quantity at the main engines. I think this is a good way to produce and sell the one of coaches in any rake. I hope the idea catches on for other sets.

    • JeremiahBunyan
      JeremiahBunyan commented
      Editing a comment
      Indeed, Dapol have found the perfect solution for the HST sets.
      Last edited by JeremiahBunyan; 17 November 2017, 03:20.

    • The Duke 71000
      The Duke 71000 commented
      Editing a comment
      Well having been a modeller since the 1970's. The Editor of two Societies (GRS & JRS), and the owner of an Imports/wholesale/retail model railway business. In addition to having numerous qualifications in real railways, as well as Marketing, Market research and Advertising. I am indeed very aware of the market place. Probably more so than anyone in Britain. As I have access too a large expanse of worldwide market research from numeorus sources, covering the last 40 years of the hobby.

      As Dapol currently have nothing in the way of OO scale carriages that they are responsible for design and production. The items in this category that they currently offer, would in my experience be much better marketed as something along the lines of the Hornby "Railroad" range. i.e. to Junior modellers. They therefore need to consider how and what to produce to modern standards in the way of new coaching stock. If Dave Jones (DJ Models) can launch LSWR Gate stock (originally built around 1904) through a single retailer in todays market place. I see no reason why Dapol could not enter the market doing some rather nice period stock including catering vehicles with possibly LED table lamps. Especially as Hornby seem to have a never ending demand for Pullmans.......

      The Duke 71000

  • #3
    Well having been a modeller since the 1970's. The Editor of two Societies (GRS & JRS), and the owner of an Imports/wholesale/retail model railway business. In addition to having numerous qualifications in real railways, as well as Marketing, Market research and Advertising. I am indeed very aware of the market place. Probably more so than anyone in Britain. As I have access too a large expanse of worldwide market research from numeorus sources, covering the last 40 years of the hobby.
    Great set of qualifications, you must be one of the most useful people out there for the hobby.

    As Dapol currently have nothing in the way of OO scale carriages that they are responsible for design and production. The items in this category that they currently offer, would in my experience be much better marketed as something along the lines of the Hornby "Railroad" range. i.e. to Junior modellers.
    True, but really in what way does any of this relate to Arthur's response and my response to your "catering vehicles" suggestion? I know you have more than one suggestion in your OP but I responded to a part of it and left the rest for someone else. And for the record, Dapol don't need a brand name to market their already available coaches. Their price points are clearly indicative of their position in the market. Marketing them as budget models when their price point is already there is pointless?

    If Dave Jones (DJ Models) can launch LSWR Gate stock (originally built around 1904) through a single retailer in today's market place.
    Ummmm....KMRC commissioned DJM to do that. DJM didn't do it by himself and sell through only one retailer.

    I see no reason why Dapol could not enter the market doing some rather nice period stock including catering vehicles with possibly LED table lamps. Especially as Hornby seem to have a never ending demand for Pullmans.......
    With all your qualifications and research material I am surprised you have no reasons, I am listing some below:-
    - Dapol currently have a backlog of N gauge models to bring to market.
    - Dapol currently have a backlog of O gauge models to bring to market.
    - Dapol dabble in OO gauge, but their main focus is N and O.
    - Dapol were just going through a horrid financial time and are pulling through, aren't you aware of the costs of R&D, tooling etc. today?
    - They have a lot of money invested into 3 other OO gauge projects (B4, Cl.21/29, Turbot) currently maybe more (3 have just come to market/coming to market - Cl.122, GWR Railcar and Cl.121)
    - They have a lot of money invested into 8 N gauge projects (B.o.B, Cl.142, Cl.50, Cl.59, Cl.68, HIA, Maunsell coaches and MJA) and 4 O gauge projects (57XX, 14XX, HEA and HAA) currently and maybe more (1 has just come to market with regards to O gauge - Jinty)
    - Dapol aren't anywhere near as big as Hornby, Bachmann etc. They're a smaller team and it's best they focus on whatever they have on their plate. And this obviously means they have lesser disposable income to spend constantly on newer projects.
    Jeremiah Bunyan...

    Comment


    • JeremiahBunyan
      JeremiahBunyan commented
      Editing a comment
      Take note, this is the first time I've responded to anything in this topic that's not "catering vehicle" related.

    • Joel Dapol
      Joel Dapol commented
      Editing a comment
      I think from our point of view (mainly commercial of course), we would be more interested in a range of coaches rather than filling a gap. From a cost point of view producing just one type of coach is very expensive. What makes coaches viable is that generally you have some commonality of tooling. For example the tooling on our Mark 3's was roughly the same as a high end locomotive and yet the MRP is under £30. What makes this investment possible is that much f the same tooling is used on all the different types and we make up the low MRP by selling volume across the range. To come in with for example a sleeper, or an accurate buffet would mean a horrendous tooling bill, an expected low MRP and worst of all low volume. case. I think even with the higher expected volumes in OO, this would still be the case and explains why one off coaches tend to have a high MRP and represent a more risky venture and may explain why these tend to be made by retailers selling direct who have a higher margin than us anyway.

      In any case we at Dapol welcome the suggestions and will always consider any put forward our way, so please keep them coming.

    • The Duke 71000
      The Duke 71000 commented
      Editing a comment
      Firstly I was referring to "OO" scale. This being a larger market place than N or O scales. Having said that I am aware that Dapol have generated quite a nice little niche in N scale, and this should be used as an example of what can be achieved. I am also fully aware of Dapols current position in the British market place. Indeed if I can help it grow, this helps me, (and other modellers) as competition helps to stimulate demand and grow the ranges available.

      The reason I mentioned catering vehicles in "OO" is because these gaps present an opportunity not a problem. Obviously if a modeller has the space for 12 car trains, then only 1/12th is likely to be a catering vehicle, so sales are not going to be huge, but there will always be a trickle demand. Not such a bad problem when you understand how the Japanese instigated "Batch Production" system works, which affects most major players today. Secondly if Dapols name is for example on a Hawksworth catering vehicle then modellers are forced to buy Dapol in an otherwise Hornby world. This helps to spread the Dapol brand name and experience of Dapol products to a broader customer base. This also helps encourage modellers to check out the Dapol range, as currently the range is not as widespread as the two major players in "OO". I didn't for example find any Dapol products when I wandered into Toymaster in Weymouth.......

      Dapol are obviously looking to increase market share. So by producing the missing item in another companies range, (which is quicker and cheaper than producing the whole range, even admitting that the cost for one vehicle is steeper than a range pro rata), they get a foot in the door. So too complete your model train you have to entertain Dapol.

      With regard to your comments about the backlog of work at Dapol. Firstly N and O gauges are smaller markets. The return on an OO item is more likely to help fund excursions into these other scales, rather than impede it. If as you suggest in your list of backlog items this problem is now a chicane to production, then I would say Dapol have a staff shortage, or they are spending too much time on the wrong scales. The research time and investment is understood, and in my opinion is currently too long. An indication of the problem of getting at the necessary original raw data, and doing part of the job in the UK and the rest in China. Again OO items sell in greater quantity, and can therefore help fund items for the lesser scales market. Brand consciousness is not achieved by being in the model shops. Only when you get into the toy shops do you acheive this. Which explains many of the otherwise slightly odd things Hornby does !!!

      The reasons behind Hornby's huge growth of recent years (not without pitfalls) is based firstly on its historical brand consciousness. Secondly Hornby seem to be convinced that DCC (which they introduced to the world as "Zero 1") is a very important factor, which I do not fully agree with. I do agree with the fact that someone who shall remain nameless, made a disastrous marketing error, and handed Hornby the keys, to the Chinese plant. Which then allowed production costs to be reduced by around 75% and quality to be massively improved. Hence the Margate plant was closed. This fact has of course now benefitted the British market place in general and allowed all the other players including Dapol to expand.

      If you question the general public in the street: Can you name a model railway manufacturer? The answer is nearly always Hornby. If you then ask the question: What scales does that manufacturer produce in? The answer is virtually always "I don't understand the question" or "I have no idea"
      The implication of that market research, is that the public are unaware of any scale other than "OO". A major reason why this scale outstrips virtually all other scales combined in sales, in Britain. Before Chinese production became the norm, Hornby's biggest retail outlet in the whole of the West of England was the Exeter (toy) pram shop. This one shop sold only Hornby sets. But the income from that one retailer outstripped all Hornby's other retailers in the region combined. The simple implication of that is that Toy shops outstrip model shops by a large margin !!!

      Today the only realistic and quick solution to getting into the numerous Toy shop marketing chains is to be present at the Worlds greatest Toy and Hobby tradefair in Nurnberg Germany at the end of January each year. My most recent tradefair guide now over ten years old, reveals 13,000 manufacturers were present with trade stands, and an estimated 100,000 trade buyers expected. (You need a relevant business card to get in). This tradefair opens doors to the whole world !

      Kernow models is run by someone who used to be in BR management. How he funds his special edition items by various manufacturers is of course his problem and not the manufacturers. But the implication here is that he has a customer base large enough to make a profit on the outlay. If not he's going bust. So the DJ models "ex LSWR gate stock", is an interesting product. These vehicles were all scrapped by around summer 1958. Not many modellers left you might think who would want such an item. But there it is.....

      Clarifying the product for the customer is a sensible course. So Hornby put the word "Railroad" on their older products to indicate its potential appeal to younger modellers, or more likely the Dads that have to buy them. By not making some type of statement along these lines, customers unfamiliar with a brand can be mislead. That will result in brand name resistence. So Dapols, current model coaches (and maybe some of their wagons) in "OO" really needs some sort of qualititive branding. A recent example of this problem was a modeller who bought some of the older (ex Wrenn) wagons, and was horrified to find they are not up to current expected standards. His statement was he will avoid Dapol in future. This was published on another modellers website. The fact that he does not understand the whole situation is irrelevant, he isn't likely to buy Dapol again. The potential damage in sales is greater than one modeller, as bad news spreads whether correct or not.

      Here's a question in regard to the market place. Which company is the largest manufacturer of model trains in the world ? One hint, it isn't British.


      The Duke 71000

  • #4
    I have some experience in this arena and some advice for the original poster. 10 years ago I identified a very wide gap in the market - 1/160 scale SNCF Corail Vu coaches. These are the compartment coaches built by SNCF from the mid 1970s to the late 1980s. Although there were 1451 coaches in total, there were 21 different diagrams originally, with at least half a dozen later variants created by modification. Having spotted the gap I looked at the potential market and recognised that there were a few of the more numerous types which might just support a volume production offer but that there were over 20 diagrams which would never achieve large volume sales. I wanted all the diagrams for my own purposes. Like many before me I devised a way to get these coaches for myself by producing a transkit based around an existing commercially produced coach but with etched overlay sides to replicate each of 18 diagrams. Through an enthusiast website I canvassed orders and then after the deadline for each type only produced enough to fulfil the orders. The whole project covered its costs and I had the coaches I wanted (some still not built!). Then Piko announced that they were producing 5 different variants of the more numerous types and a ready-to-run option was available to a wider market, whose needs would be satisfied to a large extent by these 5 types.

    So my advice to the OP is:-

    1. Develop and fund your own project;
    2. Do not overstretch yourself financially.
    3. Look with pride at the model produced commercially by somebody else because you had the expertise and courage to prove the case with your own project.

    Anyone can produce a wish-list but it takes a lot of other skills to produce a business case which will satisfy your own financial aspirations, let alone persuade somebody else that your business case is sound enough for them to invest.

    Comment


    • The Duke 71000
      The Duke 71000 commented
      Editing a comment
      Woodbury22uk,

      Indeed I'm aware of the system you have used, as an expert modeller friend did just this many years ago to get complete models in TT (3mm) scale produced in etched brass. I would have done the same, but the paperwork and messing around was far to tiresome to make it attractive to me, as there was to little return for the effort. Indeed coaches I personally need for my large "OO" exhibition layout, that are unavailable RTR or in Kit form I simply scratchbuild. Many years ago I used to churn out N scale ex GWR coaches (to any diagram you want) in such large quantity, so rapidly, I used to sell the extras to fund my layout. I could make and complete anything up to half a dozen a day, and the only parts I bought were bogies and wheels. And they were better detailed than anything available RTR or in kit form at that time. The methods I used I have never ever seen elsewhere before or since. The methods were however only suited to N scale !

      I would however warn that there is a machine that has been available (not in the UK) for over 20 years, that can produce 3D (hollow if desired) bodies up to around 250mm long in plastic. The machine used to cost around £500 20 years ago. With it came software designed for a home PC, that allowed you to scan in virtually anything and simply produce it in a matter of minutes. The machine looked like a small microwave oven. It had small mechanical robotic arms and cutters within. From memory it needed two bottles of liquid (which I assume were the products needed to make the plastic). The only problem I could see was getting these products, which were designed in their bottles to simply connect directly to this machine. At the time the customers in my Model Railway shop that I showed, simply wouldn't believe this was possible. The catalogue this item was in, was unfortunately written in a foreign language, but was from a large reputable company. .

      However these methods are of no interest to a commercial manufacturer.

      The Duke 71000

  • #5
    The Duke 71000

    The somewhat crude modern equivalent of the production end is available from Aldi for much less than £500. The scanning bit needs something to scan. Plenty of free computer programs are available to replace the scanning bit. So if somebody wants something unique like a restaurant car from an obscure or even popular original it is quite possible to create it. I’m not sure how the original replicator failed financially but the instability of the cured resin in daylight was certainly not working in its favour.
    Last edited by woodbury22uk; 22 November 2017, 09:06. Reason: Added a salutation

    Comment


    • #6
      A good range of 00 Gauge coaching stock would be some GWR non-corridor stock, these were used on suburban/secondary passenger work as well as branchline passenger work, so any 00 Gauge GWR modeller could find use for them.

      Comment


      • #7
        Some great suggestions and like LNERfan says, GW non corridor stock would be a winner. However another suggestion would be the Super Saloons. Two body styles for the, I think, eight coaches each with 4different liveries and both varieties are still in existence to scan. Each coach is unique with different names and so there are potentially 64 unique variants off the tooling. What’s more They wouldn’t directly compete with the Pullman’s produced by Hornby as anyone modelling the Western would need these as Pullman’s were less common on the western until BR days. The Ocean Liner trains tended to only have a rake of 5 coaches plus two baggage cars but a rake of 5 would be sufficient for most and could be produced as a coach set.

        just a thought!!!

        Comment


        • #8
          GAPS IN COMMERCIAL COACHING STOCK - A little resume`

          Well having started this thread last November 2017, it seems I was on the right track. Hornby must have been reading my mind and have plugged the "gaping hole" in the Maunsell range with a suitable catering vehicle. Indeed I already have 3 in the Post to me, which will require nothing more than changing the running numbers on two of them.

          Further as I mentioned in that first Post that other company Bachmann, are going to upgrade the Bulleid stock. And add a couple more variants. Although as I also mentioned we may have to wait somewhat longer than their rather vague estimates for delivery.

          Does all this mean Hornby and Bachmann are keeping their eye on this Dapol Digest for suggestions ?

          The Duke 71000

          Comment


          • Joel Dapol
            Joel Dapol commented
            Editing a comment
            I like toi think they might though ;-)

          • JeremiahBunyan
            JeremiahBunyan commented
            Editing a comment
            "What era/area are you modelling?"
            As a collector since 1999, I don't buy anything era specific. I'll buy any Dapol, Hornby, ViTrains, Oxfrod Rail, Accurascale, Hattons etc. product that I fancy.

            "I like too think they might though ;-)"
            I'm pretty sure they are :P

          • LNER4468Fan
            LNER4468Fan commented
            Editing a comment
            Well Hornby apparently read my mind as they released the GWR Bow-Ended Brake 3rd and Composite Suburban Coaches in their 2019 catalogue.
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