Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A strange state of affairs

RM hit the mat this morning. Hmmm...
A few weeks ago I read Steve Flint's leader with some amusement. I thought it was a kite-fly or a joke, but now it seems that I was hasty The news that H***by are to go to pure internet sales through their own web site has been greeted with a howl of horror. RM have printed a selection of responses (all negative and not countered by Peco in the heading photo caption) and what I predicted a few weeks ago has happened. The Hattons ad which used to fill most of the mag has shrunk and  H***by items are almost absent. In other regular shop ads they are entirely absent. This seems utterly crazy.

I can't remember the last time I bought a new H***by model - quite a while ago anyway, but if I were to buy one today I wouldn't go online to do it, I'd wander up to the Hobby Box or get it from a dealer at an exhibition. That way I can feel the goods and test it before leaving. And in this point alone I'm far from unusual.

Second point, as we are continually told, the hobby is full of old men. A lot are online, but not all. Who has the cash to lash out £100 plus apiece on locos? 13 year olds? No...old men with a small pension and low outgoings. Where do they do it? Shops.

My view a few weeks ago was that RM looked scared. And so they should be. Not because the 'free' review models are gone, that's irrelevant, but because of advertising which is their biggest earner. No models= no shops= no ads=no revenue. It's a circle and if Bachmann et al follow suit, then the days of 29 pages of Hattons ads are gone and your copy of RM is £8.40. Is this a bad thing?

The other thing to note is that there is a review model on the cover. Now I've been getting RM since 1976 and I can't remember there ever being purely review samples on the front. Inside the news that the company in question - Locomotion Models - now have Simon K. on board as Manager. This is the same Simon K that left H***by a while back.
Do I deduce some sort of link between these two things?


  1. "And in this point alone I'm far from unusual." - Do you have any evidence for this other than local anecdotal?

    I suspect that sadly, you are wrong. The hobby has been heading away from shops for many years. It's ALL about the price nowadays for many modellers. Like you, I want to see a loco in the plastic and buy from a model shop but when I say this to people they complain the shop can't match the price of a low-overheads box shifter.

    As for no money - well those poor pensioners are buying £100+ locos and then paying someone to put £200+ of sound and light chips in them and then paying someone else to weather them. And they don't own layouts according to one chip-fitter I know either.

    When "modellers" stop paying £15 for someone else to put coal in a tender, then I'll believe there is a money shortage.

  2. It is about the price - totally agree. However if the 'low overhead box shifters' can't get the goods and these goods are only available from one outlet at a fixed price, then where does that leave us? This is not so much about price as general availability. I'm far from being a Luddite, and I'm aware that much of the sales are done online now, and that's they way it's going to go. My point was not this directly, but the knock-on and my perception of the reaction to this from certain areas.
    C x

  3. Hornby want to maximise their profit. They think, rightly or wrongly time will tell, that they can shift enough inventory whilst cutting out the middle men to rake in a profit. And bear in mind that they will take the whole retail price for themselves. Nobody else gets a slice of the action. They can shift fewer models and still increase their revenue and profit margin.

    Ruthless I know, but they aren't your friend or mine. They certainly aren't a friend of 'the hobby' whatever that is. They are just an entity that we might do business with, one set up to make a profit for the owners.

  4. Having picked up my copy from the village shop this morning, I've had a bit of a look at it.......hmmm.....I certainly don't think H****y's new head honcho will have endeared himself to the guys who have written in as I get the impression that he hasn't read any of their's more of a "this is what we're going to do, like it or lump it" response....
    Glad I don't model in 00.
    Nice model of Appledore though, I was comparing the photos with (what's left of) the prototype from the train on the way home and I reckon it stands up pretty well......
    (If we we nuked East Kent do you reckon anyone would notice? Doubt it.)

  5. I bought a copy, mainly for The Abbey End and Appledore articles but read the letters about H****y's decision and can only agree with Stig. In fact, I think the reply from the 14 year old 'sales and marketing' director is the biggest load of jargon-speak b******s I have come across for a long time. Not only did he not bother to address the very well made comments but signally managed to say nothing in support of H****y's decision. I too am glad I don't model in OO std gauge.