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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jan 2017 18:56 pm 
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Given that Airfix is seen by many as the cash cow of the Hornby Group would they be so stupid as to sell Airfix ?

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jan 2017 21:15 pm 
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Dafter things have happened in business. The company I work for in the defence industry was sold in 2009 and since then we have grown at least 10% in revenue, manpower and profit every year.


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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jan 2017 21:55 pm 
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That sounds like the old management couldn't manage very well compared to their successors. Returning to the subject, if anything should be sold I personally would opt for Scalextrix or Hornby Railways, after all how often does anyone buy such a layout set compared to buying an Airfix kit, or to put it another way- I could not begin to guess how many Airfix kits I have built in my lifetime but I do know that I have only ever owned one railway layout and one racetrack as a child, they were just toys and I grew out of them in due course.

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 00:41 am 
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I don't know about Scalextric, but the market for model railways is huge, plus railway modellers are prepared to pay big bucks for locos and rolling stock, it's mega. My local shop is probably about 60% model railways, 15% die casts, 15% Scalextric and 10% plastic kits. It's the same with R/C specialists, they might stock some plastic kits, but the R/C side is huge. Plastic modellers tend to wear blinkers and find it hard to perceive there's other things going on in the hobby world that might be bigger.

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 06:11 am 
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I do know that rare locos (and rare Scalextrix cars) fetch big money and many people collect them as well as run layouts, die cast collectors are a world unto themselves and are just collectors and again rare and limited edition models will fetch high prices (I do have a modest collection of dinky vehicles which I do add to on occasion some of which I have restored myself) but I was thinking of this just as new rail and racing sets sold now in the marketplace and R/C like die cast collecting is a totally different range of hobbies altogether (I used to fly R/C for some years) and should not be used as an example here.

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 09:49 am 
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lancfan wrote:
how often does anyone buy such a layout set compared to buying an Airfix kit
Most railway modellers don't buy sets, they buy individual locomotives and rolling stock. Nowadays a loco will set you back in excess of £100, so not to be sneered at :!:

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 10:51 am 
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lancfan wrote:
I do know that rare locos (and rare Scalextrix cars) fetch big money
But it's not just the collectible, people are buying new stuff in large quantities. I think you're over estimating the plastic model market compared to other model related hobbies. Do a Google search for local hobby shops, I can guarantee you model railways and R/C will predominate and shops that do rail and R/C will almost certainly be doing Scalextric, if you're lucky they might also have a selection of plastic models.

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 13:39 pm 
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I suggested selling the Continental Trains (to concentrate on Hornby nee Tri-ang railways), possibly Corgi and Pocher. The slimmed down group would have consisted of Hornby Railways, Scalextric and Airfix. ALL the resources could then be put into these three ranges which make the money, particularly Airfix.

I also suggested renaming it Airfix Hobbies Ltd (or similar) as Airfix is probably the best seller, the trains are all Tri-ang (and Airfix/Mainline) and Hornby now is merely a name.

Instead it was decided to continue the whole range but drastically slim down each range. Historically companies like Airfix, Lines Bros, etc, folded because they got too big and unwieldy and valuable resources were being wasted on slow-selling brands. Look at Lego, one product but it dominates the market!

If Humbrol had pumped money into Airfix, supported by its huge paint range (and sent Heller packing) it would have had a strong, vibrant company. Every time Airfix went under, it was not due to Airfix - it was profitable. It was dragged down by money being wasted on failing ranges.

Hornby's current problems are due to the previous management/CEO trying to modernise which all went horribly wrong and put the whole group in a very perilous position. The new management/CEO seems to be slowly putting the train back on the track, but the train needs to get rid of a lot of 'unused' wagons rather than trimming a lot of used ones.

I would like to drive down to Margate and see that impressive 1950s facade with a huge Airfix logo on the front, flanked by smaller Hornby and Scalextric logos with a vibrant Visitor Centre and shop, with the rest of the building devoted to storing current models (without the present storage costs at Hersden) and perhaps a limited moulding facility for short-run models. One can dream.

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 13:56 pm 
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Not going to comment on the whole plastic kit v model railway bit, as Ratch has already put it into a balanced perspective, but I have to pick up on the suggestion that Hornby Railways are "just Tri-ang and Airfix/Mainline". if they were, the group would long since have gone under against the competition offered by Bachmann and Heljan. Instead, they have modernised, ditched most if not all of the old dross, and now offer very attractive and sophisticated products to the substantial British OO market. There are those who regret that they have rowed back a bit from some of the ultra-accurate (but ultra expensive) subjects they were offering a few years ago, but in my view that simply shows that they have been sensitive to market feedback. Interested by the comment about "Continental Trains" (by which I presume is meant the International Brands of Jouef, Rivarossi, Electroten, Arnold, and Lima) since I have been on the lookout for some time for reliable data on how they are performing. Is the suggestion they be disposed of (given they are relatively new acquisitions) based on a solid financial appraisal, or just presumption about their relative popularity?

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 15:07 pm 
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When Hornby was taken over/merged with Tri-ang, virtually nothing of Hornby was carried over. So the new Hornby Railways was effectively the Tri-ang range but utilised the more famous Hornby name. They have modernised but there are still some elements of the old range (Tri-ang, Airfix GMR, Mainline, etc) but nil old Hornby (it was not easily compatible with the Tri-ang range).

The Continental Brands are I think a distraction. Model shops tell me that Hornby (largely because of the name) is strong in the UK but not very active outside the UK (where the majority of their modellers want their 'own country' trains). Hornby has tried to meet this need with the brands mentioned but is up against strong European/US manufacturers on their home turf. In the UK, we naturally want UK trains (Hornby, Bachmann/GF) so Continental trains are much smaller sellers.

Hornby's main market is undoubtedly the British railways. I feel that valuable resources that should be spent on British railways are being spent on several smaller foreign brands which cannot compete with the other big foreign brands. Airfix and Scalextric are lucky in that their subjects, F1 and aircraft, tanks, dinosaurs, etc, tend to be worldwide.

I think that rather than cull every range, the slower-selling brands should be culled and the higher selling ranges should be expanded/concentrated on. A large part of the problem is that Hornby now has to pay to store its products before they are sent out. So slower selling tanks and figures cost money to store. Hornby is buying in smaller batches to alleviate the problem (in and out quickly) and lots of flash sales to shift stock.


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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 16:44 pm 
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My understanding is that the bankers have identified Airfix and the trains as the jewels in the crown and the future big revenue earners- so what ever happens to Hornby, Airfix will carry on.

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2017 17:01 pm 
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I think you're right. That's why for the sake of Hornby, it should divest itself of the least worthy jewels and go for Airfix and Hornby!


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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan 2017 03:05 am 
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IMHO, Hornby has failed airfix and the rest of the brands and the new people have been left with a ton of poor marketing and development decisions. I don't hold out much hope for airfix as a brand unless it can brought under a white knight. Someone with exceptionally deep packets and an equally deep sense of airfix's historical importance to the hobby.

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan 2017 21:49 pm 
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I would imagine that the continental railway brands sell better in their parent countries. Lima are the only ones I recall that sold British outline locomotives, and I'd guess that those are not a threat to Hornby product :shrug: Maybe they were purchased as an attempt to go global :idea: Incidentally, I recall Hornby had some Basset-Lowke product in their showroom when I visited Margate. A venerable name (from Northampton) in model engineering, but I don't know what relevance they hold in today's modelling world :think:

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan 2017 22:34 pm 
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The international catalogue casts some light on what the plans appears to be - the fairly obvious one of capitalising on Spanish affinity for Electroten and French desire for Jouef, with Lima the poor relation for marketing in Italy at the moment, while Rivarossi's reputation for high-quality engineering (and sales in America) is being employed to target the transatlantic market. I understand Lima was purchased as part of the Rivarossi/Pocher package, and Hornby currently seem to be placing more importance on the latter as a low volume/high value line than in rejuvenating Lima - how justified that may be remains to be seen. We shouldn't forget Arnold, which as the pioneer of N-gauge (and the inventor of that awful coupling!) had a Europe-wide reputation. Even if that is now fading, it ought not to take too much pushing for Arnold to again become a credible competitor to Minitrix and Fleischmann's (incredibly expensive) N-gauge offerings. I note no-one seems to have any real evidence of how these brands are actually performing, and of course speculation in a vacuum is an inherently dangerous indulgence - but hopefully the Company themselves are managing to avoid that, by paying close attention to market data ...

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan 2017 22:55 pm 
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Regarding Hornby trains, all I can say is that I have one chap on my delivery round who is 'into 'train sets and I deliver at least 2 loco's/carriages/trucks packages a month. It can sometimes be 8-10 in a month.

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan 2017 23:32 pm 
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Sounds more like a collector than a user ?

David.

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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan 2017 17:41 pm 
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roadhousedisco wrote:
Regarding Hornby trains, all I can say is that I have one chap on my delivery round who is 'into 'train sets and I deliver at least 2 loco's/carriages/trucks packages a month. It can sometimes be 8-10 in a month.
Same here. He's definitely a user as he's shown me the layout.


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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan 2017 19:31 pm 
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I happily stand corrected on my assumption- never have seen the attraction in just collecting boxed models.

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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan 2017 20:07 pm 
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And how big IS your stash, Lancfan? ;)

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