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Author Topic: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?  (Read 3098 times)

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Offline Bealman

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #75 on: April 01, 2018, 09:40:52 am »
An excellent and measured response. Thank you!

Pm me how the roast went!  :beers:

Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Bob G

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #76 on: April 01, 2018, 10:45:27 am »
Our leg of lamb has just gone in for a long, slow cook.
But it will be ready long before Dapol get around to the WC/BB or any of their other "in abeyance" models.

I'm just grateful i managed to buy enough class 33s to keep me going.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #77 on: April 01, 2018, 11:19:00 am »

1. The issue of affordability looms large on this thread. I wonder if a significant part of this is due to the age profile of the respondents. In retirement we all make less money than we did while working so things which may have been easily affordable a few years ago are less so now.


I'm not sure that really stands up to close scrutiny, Webbo.
Having reached the age of 64 I have no mortgage and a car fully paid for so am lucky enough to owe nobody anything. I have several friends who are in a similar situation. We do, however, have limited resources in most cases.
Compare my position to someone maybe ½ or even ¾ my age who, I dare say, has a mortgage and maybe a couple of loans to pay for and whose income is devoted to getting to the position I'm in.

I think, although my spending has had to be curtailed, I'm in a far better shape as a consumer.

Everyone has a different scenario/lifestyle but the fact remains price increases have outstripped income and difficult decisions have to be made by us all (something not limited to the modelling community)

Offline Roy L S

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #78 on: April 01, 2018, 11:30:08 am »
Interesting to read this thread. It seems particularly "British" to somehow associate "Golden Age" to a time when models were unsustainably cheap!

No question we are in a golden age right now, OK volume of releases may be lower and prices somewhat higher but the sheer quality of each new model reaches a new level both in detail, running and technical advancement. The Class 40 is a case in point, the bar well and truly lifted, a model bristling with features (even cab lights on DCC) all for a RRP of under £140 and a discounted price of £118 ish.

There will be some who would be happy to not have this level of detail but clearly most want it, and it is a misconception to think that less detailed models will be significantly cheaper anyway as assembly is only one part of the production cost. 

The market for N being considerably lower than for 00 there is no way it would justify two ranges from one manufacturer beyond maybe one simple "entry" loco, but don't forget, for those who want cheaper, albeit less authentic wagons with no "bells and whistles" there is still the Peco range, and the recently re-released Daopl "B Sets" at £24 a pair from Hattons is incredible value.

I am itching to get my hands on the J72 and sound fitted 8F and happy to pay the price, it just means I only buy one of each instead of all BR liveries as I once would have, but then when models are of higher quality less is more anyway surely?

Roy

Offline austinbob

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #79 on: April 01, 2018, 11:43:32 am »
I can't agree with your reference to higher quality Roy, unless you mean more model detail is 'higher quality'.
Although the detail on most modern models is exceptional, the variability in running qualities of individual models is also exceptional. For one loco type you can often expect a performance range from perfectly quiet and good slow running to the other extreme of 'didn't work out of the box'.
My impression is that older models, whilst often having less detail, are simpler in construction and less likely to have faults and subsequently go wrong. For me the model detail is not as important a factor as affordability and having good performance and reliability. As long as the 'feel' of the model is similar to that of the prototype fine detail is not an issue for me.
I have more recently taken to buying older models 2nd hand and also refurbished models from the likes of Ozymandias on this forum.
 :beers:
Size matters - especially if you don't have a lot of space - and N gauge is the answer!

Bob Austin

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #80 on: April 01, 2018, 11:56:14 am »
Progress cannot, and should not, be stifled and, after all, it's the consumer base picking faults with previous models that has led to retooled higher detailed*and more accurate output from the manufacturers. To an extent I agree with Bob and still love my old Farish 8F, pannier, Castle, Class 25, 31, 33 etc as, to me, if it looks like a class 31 it is a class 31. I don't know enough to point out what is incorrect (and suspect I'm in the majority there). I'm not bothered about directional lighting and even less bothered about sound but am being pushed down a route where I have to pay for them regardless.
I can't stand in the way of what the majority want, however, and agree with the comment made about cheaper versions halving the market rather than increasing it.

* Note I stated 'higher detailed' and not higher quality. That is done to death elsewhere on the forum

Online javlinfaw7

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #81 on: April 01, 2018, 12:51:59 pm »
I tend to think that the Golden Age of any thing is a period in the past looked at through heavily tinted and one directional glasses.

Offline Papyrus

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #82 on: April 01, 2018, 05:38:22 pm »
A few thoughts from one who started out in N in the 80s and 90s, took an enforced 20 year break, and started up again in 2013...

Then:

Solid locos of a limited number of prototypes with low levels of detail, but at least they were generally reliable and could pull long trains. They could be expensive (£35 for a Peco Jubilee was way out of my price range...).

Generic coaches and wagons.

Buildings and scenic kits and bits were limited and kit-bashing or scratch-building were more or less essential skills,

Help and advice came from the NGS, Railway Modeller, or a club if you happened to live near one. Nearly every town had a model shop.

Now:

A huge range of locos, comparatively speaking, with unprecedented levels of detail, but, as has been said many times before, sometimes at the expense of fragility and poor hauling capabilities.

Ditto a much wider range of coaches and wagons, much more prototypically accurate.

Ditto scenery and buildings...

...and the internet has changed everything. So much more is available now at the click of a mouse and the number of manufacturers has widened. Cottage industries have blossomed to the extent that almost any item you want is available somewhere if you look hard enough. Forums such as this one will find you the answer to any query you can think of, and clubs and the NGS are as strong as ever.

So, are we living in a golden age for N? Undoubtedly. Will it continue? I see no reason why it shouldn't. Major manufacturers may have the occasional wobble about their profits (Arnold didn't see fit to capitalise on the Brighton Belle, frinstance), but 3D printing and crowdfunding are changing the landscape again. I'm not worried.

Shame about the model shops though...  :(

Cheers,

Chris
Sometimes I sits and thinks. Sometimes I just sits.

Offline Roy L S

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #83 on: April 01, 2018, 08:11:58 pm »
I can't agree with your reference to higher quality Roy, unless you mean more model detail is 'higher quality'.
Although the detail on most modern models is exceptional, the variability in running qualities of individual models is also exceptional. For one loco type you can often expect a performance range from perfectly quiet and good slow running to the other extreme of 'didn't work out of the box'.
My impression is that older models, whilst often having less detail, are simpler in construction and less likely to have faults and subsequently go wrong. For me the model detail is not as important a factor as affordability and having good performance and reliability. As long as the 'feel' of the model is similar to that of the prototype fine detail is not an issue for me.
I have more recently taken to buying older models 2nd hand and also refurbished models from the likes of Ozymandias on this forum.
 :beers:

Hi Bob

When I say higher quality in that I include specification and mechanisms, the current coreless motor locos blow any British steam locos before them away in terms of smooth quiet mechanisms and controllability, and the tender driven B1, J39 etc are not far behind.

Fair to say my experience of current Farish loco performance has been overwhelmingly positive and that is both steam and diesel. I haven't found variations in performance between models of the same type at all, and I have multiples of a fair number of models both steam and diesel, including 7 J39 and 6 B1s - (don't ask!).

For me the old Farish models now look toylike by comparison to what we have now, with in many cases ridiculously undersize non see through driving wheels, tiny pony wheels, obvious compromises to fit generic chassis wheelbases, moulded on detail, no cab glazing. The chassis weren't all perfect runners either in my experience, with wobbles and not especially outstanding low speed control. Add to that a lack of any attempt to model anything below the footplate, not even rudimentary brake-gear. No, I am glad they are rightly consigned to the past, I think the modern standard of models have seen British N grow into a credible modelling scale and a genuine choice, something that would not have happened if standards had remained where they were...

Regards

Roy


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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #84 on: April 02, 2018, 09:45:34 pm »
I have now read through this entire thread and I hope understood the points being made.

My view? I don’t really want to define “Golden Age”. I simply believe some things have got much better and others less so.

I have been involved in N gauge for the last 23 years and I think progress in terms of choice (loco types and stock types) and fidelity* is massively impressive.

Place a 1995 catalogue 08 & 56 next to their current equivilants and I think diesel modellers can sum it up very easily.

Steam I won’t really comment on, but I have seen enough photos of modern GWR models from Farish and Dapol to know my Poole Farish Prairie is now similarly outdated.

Add to this the imminent Revolution 92 which I hope to study at length next to my CJM version, and I think progress is unequivocal.

*I have avoided “quality”. It’s not a debate I think this thread needs.

The price of these models? Well I know I now can only afford a couple of locos a year or maybe just one decent rake, but that’s due to my circumstances. I honestly think that we all enjoy this hobby as best our circumstances allow, so it means we have our own “normal”. We therefore adapt as things, like prices, change.

I will finish by saying stating fact that we can now list a handful of “RTR” N gauge loco manufactures whereas in 2003 it might have been less than 2 (i.e Just CJM who could have ended up being the sole U.K. outline manufacture).

Skyline2uk

Offline Ben A

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #85 on: April 03, 2018, 10:01:26 am »

Hello all,

I have been reading the responses to this thread with interest.

In terms of a "golden age" to me the question seems simple:  If you had to choose, and on the basis of models alone (ie not real railway, your own life/age etc), would you rather be an N gauge enthusiast in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s or present?

For sure I would pick the present.

Cheers

Ben A.



Offline Bealman

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #86 on: April 03, 2018, 10:05:16 am »
After receiving your tankers, I can only agree.

Pictures on me layout soon. Easter got in the way!  :thumbsup:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline red_death

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #87 on: April 03, 2018, 01:06:14 pm »
If a manufacturer was to find a way of making reasonably detailed coaches available at a low price then it would surely be good for the hobby.

I think all manufacturers would agree with this - they normally have it in their cupboard next to the Holy Grail!

The idea of selling a kit of parts for the purchaser to put together is very appealing. I would want the sides to be fully printed but would be happy to paint roof, chassis and bogies myself. Some of what is currently seperate detail would have to be part of the mouldings. Maybe it would then become cost effective to mould the parts in the UK? For those who need ready to run model shops could offer a building service for a small fee which would be good for them. I’ll put my rose tinted glasses away now.

If all the painting is done but some assembly is not then how much discount would the purchaser expect? I've looked at the economics of doing this and frankly I can't see how it stacks up (and that is before you start manufacturing in the UK). Then there is the issue of what impact it has on sales - provided there is a market for the prototype then the sales of kits vs completed models is factors of 10 - 100 different, so you may end up with the majority of the production costs for a significantly reduced number of sales.  As I said I can't see it working at the moment.

Cheers, Mike



Offline Chris Morris

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #88 on: April 03, 2018, 04:48:09 pm »
Thanks Mike, you know how the costs break down. Like I said I had got my rose tinted spectacles on at the time.

Online ntpntpntp

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Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
« Reply #89 on: April 03, 2018, 05:26:25 pm »
It's interesting - though I suppose not totally surprising - that so many of the thoughts and replies are so UK focussed. There's a lot more to N than just British 1:148 folks!

I suppose for me personally, as a former British N modeller who went over to European N in the 80s due to what I felt to be vastly superior build and running qualities, the "golden age" was the 80s and 90s when we started to get even smoother running flywheel fitted models from Fleischmann, Minitrix, Arnold, Roco et al, plus blackened wheels and other detailing improvements that just "lifted" the models that bit higher. 

Since then I haven't observed any further step-change in running qualities, which is more important to me than more and more fine and delicate detail.  A few brands have changed ownership or disappeared into other ranges, some new brands have come in but prices have crept up beyond what I consider reasonable, even for simple rolling stock items. I find I hardly ever buy new items at shop prices. Ebay does quite well out of me but only on items I consider to be bargains.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

 

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