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Gaps in commercial coaching stock ranges

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

  • JeremiahBunyan
    commented on 's reply
    "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

  • Joel Dapol
    commented on 's reply
    I like toi think they might though ;-)

  • The Duke 71000
    commented on 's reply
    Jeremiah,
    Thought you might respond. But you didn't mention that in response to my original Post !

    Whatever, I do note that these restaurant vehicles are selling fast according to a couple of traders I spoke too today, by phone. So there must be a lot of closet Southern fans out there with reasonable size layouts....

    Now we just need a suitable Western Region catering type (suitable for Inter-regional working) and that will complete my Western Region stock for the layout.

    So tell me as you've just joined the hobby (just teasing) what era/area are you modelling ?

    The Duke 71000
    Last edited by The Duke 71000; 9 August 2018, 20:27.

  • JeremiahBunyan
    commented on 's reply
    "Does all this mean Hornby and Bachmann are keeping their eye on this Dapol Digest for suggestions?"

    No, work on the Maunsell Kitchen/Dining cars started in late 2016/early 2017. Long before you decided to post about it.

  • The Duke 71000
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • ndg910
    replied
    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!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • LNER4468Fan
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • woodbury22uk
    replied
    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, 10:06. Reason: Added a salutation

    Leave a comment:


  • The Duke 71000
    commented on 's reply
    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

  • The Duke 71000
    commented on 's reply
    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

  • woodbury22uk
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Joel Dapol
    commented on 's reply
    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.

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

  • JeremiahBunyan
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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