N Gauge Forum

General Category => N Gauge Discussion => Topic started by: Rabbitaway on March 27, 2018, 09:55:20 pm

Title: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Rabbitaway on March 27, 2018, 09:55:20 pm
Are we seeing the decline of N gauge?

Manufacturers are pushing more 00 and turning to 0 gauge, N gauge releases reduced, or in significant delay, or cancelled and not many new items being announced

Is it because N gauge became popular due to cheap prices a few years back but this has ended and you get more model for your money in larger scales

On one hand manufactures are dumping slow selling models onto the retail market and also charging premium money for first releases therefore responding to a limited market

Second hand prices are high as modellers are resorting to this option due to high new prices

This is not a thread about high prices again but about the state of the market and the long term future of N gauge

I must say that 0 gauge looked tempting at a discount price of under £400 for a diesel at Ally Pally, garden railway instead of N gauge in the loft?
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 27, 2018, 10:31:54 pm
Itís always been niche. Dapol are definitely tapping into O gauge more, and I think itís fair to say that RTR O Gauge is a big growth market at the moment. For the manufacturers I suspect thatís partly because thereís no expectation of how much an item costs. Iím interested to see what they charge for their new JHA hoppers in O given theyíre £55 in OO. I canít see N weathering those sort of prices too lightly. A big bogie wagon is quite a bold choice for RTR O.

Releases are slow in all scales - but with companies like Revolution (or rather with Revolution) there are a lot of exciting models coming onto the market.

I personally think nowís an amazing time for N gauge, but I admit Iím coming from the fortunate position of having a lot of stock I picked up at good prices over the last 5 years when prices were lower. Second hand prices certainly donít indicate decline.

Edit: fixed stupid phone autocorrects!
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Chris Morris on March 27, 2018, 10:47:10 pm
I think you may be right. N gauge is a brilliant scale for both getting a lot in a small space and being able to create a true scenic railway in a reasonable space. Neither of these can be achieved in O. Possibly one issue is that there is a lot of concentration on the loco these days rather than the whole train and itís environment. Whilst modern N gauge locos are very good indeed they cannot have the sheer stage presence of an O gauge loco.
We need to work hard to keep promoting the joys of N gauge and show what can be done in N but not in larger scales at every opportunity.
Having said that I must confess to having an interest in a larger scale which is much less popular than N.

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/3123-270318224606.jpeg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view&id=63471)
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: RailGooner on March 27, 2018, 10:56:33 pm
Are we seeing the decline of N gauge?
...

I wouldn't say so. RevolutioN and DJM are successfully injecting new energy. 3D printing is revitalizing kit-bashing.


..
 but I admit I’m coming from the fortunate position of having a lot of stock I picked up at good prices over the last 5 years when prices were lower.
...

Similar story here - if I don't stop buying stock soon, there'll be no space for a layout! :D
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: acko22 on March 27, 2018, 11:12:36 pm
I would say OO gauge will always get the biggest stage as it is the longest established and best known gauge in the UK (everyone has heard of Hornby), O gauge has had a massive injection with Dapol and the price of their 08 in particular which to be fair was until then was an pricey gauge.

I think though one area that will really help N gauge is hammering the more modern image models, I am an 1980s experiment child and there is a hell of a lot missing from the 80s to now, i think we need to encourage more people from the younger end of modelling to come to N gauge instead of the others and that only way we can do so is by getting stuff in from what they remember and want to model.

Added into that i think there could be a natural switch to n gauge as lets face it modern build houses aren't as roomy as older houses in general (my 3 bed Vs a new build is almost twice the size), so if we can get models to entice a 30 odd year old in their new build house to model the gauge I think its fair to say N gauge has a long life ahead of it!

I think with the new energy been injected into the hobby by the likes of Revolution and 3D modelling this will do a lot to entice younger modellers to the good side.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Ben A on March 27, 2018, 11:17:19 pm
Hi Rabbitaway,

I think this is a golden age for our hobby.

The sheer variety of scales, vehicles and railway companies now available is unprecedented. 

There are more magazines on sale in new stands than I can recall from years gone by.

Exhibitions I attend with Revolution seems busier than ever.

In N specifically modellers no longer have to wait for the big one or two manufacturers to decide to produce something; the internet and globalisation have enabled us just get on with it ourselves.  There have been three crowdfunded models now delivered by Revolution (TEA, Class B tanks and Pendolinos, albeit deliveries ongoing of the latter two) with 4 more expected this year: TEAs in 00, KFAs, IZAs and 92 with more announcements scheduled as we feel the market permits.

It is true that in recent years Farish have slowed down a bit, but Dapol now seem to be recovering their mojo and other manufacturers are also promising new models.

It may be that attention is turning towards other scales but each has its own advantages - 0 has presence and detail, 00 is the best supported, while N clearly wins when it comes to the optimum combination of fidelity, variety and space-saving.

Cheers

Ben A.

Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: broadsword on March 28, 2018, 12:04:38 am
Time will tell , at the moment the range  of products is  very  good
so I the prospect is good, though I'd like more easy to assemble
kits and I hope any new locos  are both  dc  and dcc.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: woodbury22uk on March 28, 2018, 12:13:02 am
I think that we are in a Golden Age as Ben A wrote, and one which leads to an even better future. The great thing about the scale is that whole trains can be modelled operating in a compact space which leaves all the larger scales looking for believable compromises. Whatever the attraction of 0 gauge, such as getting a lot of loco for your money, you need a huge amount of real estate if you hope to run a 4 car multiple unit any further than trip through the carriage wash and even that will require a 12 foot plus length.

I think there is still scope for us and other N-gaugers to keep highlighting the potential of our sized trains running in the landscape. I hope that the added freedom of manufacture these days will encourage the market to express its needs and wants more clearly, so that what is produced is well-aligned, and provides a sufficiently attractive return to producers.

Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Snowwolflair on March 28, 2018, 12:33:22 am
We are definitely in a golden age, but not for all.

The hobby has expanded due to offering, but also due to a period of lower cost.  The quality of offering will continue but I see a contraction already, based on price and modelers with lesser means will give up the hobby.

In support of this I sight the number of "selling up" listings on eBay.

This wont harm the hobby but will limit the ability of manufacturers to expand their offerings.

Ironically the greatest benefactor of his situation will be the niche manufacturers, just as the white metal kit manufacturers flourished in the 70's and 80's.

By niche I mean companies like Revolution and DJM and take a look at the vast increase of Shapways offerings in N gauge in the last two years.

Personally I will buy the new models I like as they appear but i'm building five kit or 3D print models for every one I buy.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on March 28, 2018, 12:42:27 am
I have always considered O gauge and larger to be model engineering rather than railway modelling.

Like many of my age group, I started with O gauge Hornby  tinplate before moving on to Triang OO.

However, after being involved with N gauge now for so long, I'm afraid OO models just look like plasticy toys to my eyes.

I'm not worried about the  demise of N gauge. It ain't going to happen.

 :NGaugersRule:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: The Q on March 28, 2018, 07:27:30 am
We have the reduction of people being interested in Railways,
 as it's not a computer,
as children are taught less hand skills and can buiild a model railway,
as it's even less the IN thing..

Those in low to middle age are suffering a financial squeeze enough to preclude hobbies that require an extra room, modern lofts aren't big enough for a model railway.

The population is aging, the older population are more likely to have a usable loft, a garden with room for a shed, a garden not filled with rug rats and footballs.
The older population has poorer eyes (that one I know :( ), have probably got rid of their mortgage (I know that one as well :claphappy: ) giving more disposible income.

Therefore as the older population increases there will be a higher percentage of larger scales and garden railways

I don't believe however that N gauge will reduce, eventually it will be OO that will reduce, you only have to look at the age group on here, compared to other sites. Much more like to be younger participants, much more likely to be diesels / electrics.
This will gradually feed through the hobby, till those returning to the hobby after girls / wives / children /  mortgages, will return to N gauge, not to OO as most do now.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on March 28, 2018, 08:38:10 am
Interesting comment.

There are many angles from which the OP can be approached.

I do think that there will always be a bunch of young folk who will always have an interest in model trains. Those people will provide the requirements for the market.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 28, 2018, 08:41:07 am
Iíve never bought the argument about people being ďpriced outĒ. There are always people selling up - I acquired the bulk of my stock from a chap doing just so in 2012 (IIRC), when prices were far cheaper.

 Weíre fortunate itís a hobby where the ongoing costs donít need to be anything significant at all. Once you have a collection thatís it, it just (generally) appreciates slightly in value. As such, even if your hypothetical modeller decided it was all too expensive and that he was going to sell his entire collection, the strong residual value would leave him with a not insignificant sum with which to buy new models.

The second hand values having increased with the new prices reinforces this.

One has to recalibrate your expectations - I have 16 ďsilver bulletsĒ, that I paid no more than £20 each for. I want a couple more, but theyíre now £30ish, which Iím entertaining. If they were £40+ Iíd sit tight on my current rake. Other things Iím considering selling to buy other models, but thatís part of the fun for me, itís certainly not a reason to give up altogether

Re: the young, most children will still have Brio or a similar wooden trainset as toddlers, many will progress to Hornby circles of track even, itís from there that the near instant gratification of Xboxes and PS4s will cannibalise the market, but youíre never going to stop that, itís just one of those things.

Iím 30, my son is 1, Iíd quite like if he wanted a model railway, heís fascinated by watching mine, but equally thereís a PS4 beside the TV, and if he wants to play that then sobeit, Iíll not be trying to influence him too heavily.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on March 28, 2018, 09:04:12 am
I must admit that when I arrived at me mates daughter's place on a UK trip in 2014, I had to build a wooden railway layout!

Looking back, I enjoyed it.  :beers:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 28, 2018, 09:13:14 am
Ha! I enjoy it, but so does my wife, and actually it's shown her part of why I like model railways, as ultimately the enjoyment is derived from a similar thing!

I came home the other day to find the Brio extending all the way from the living room, through the hall, into the dining room and the kitchen, the little battery operated train took about 5 minutes to do a circuit. I was quite impressed.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: red_death on March 28, 2018, 10:07:10 am
What Brio is battery operated now!!!! Sacrilege, how will the youth of today maintain any sorts of decorum if they don't have to push their brio trains round!

No wonder there are so many problems in our decadent Western society 😥
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Newportnobby on March 28, 2018, 10:10:44 am
I think 'The Q' has some very valid points. Without getting political I think the Chinese wage increase coincided with UK 'Austerity' measures. As a consequence prices rose while income didn't. I think the older generation are still more likely to turn to modelling their memories as they are better placed financially and domestically than youngsters who have more 'interesting' toys like mobile phones, computers, internet and TV/Film streaming than building a train set let alone a model railway.
Last I heard N gauge was between 10 and 20 percent of the overall market and I can't see any way of that growing, despite innovations like RTR sound equipped motive power. With the exception of RevolutioN Trains the other manufacturers, in my opinion, do not engage enough with their consumer base so one has to ask how deep their interest in N goes.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: bluedepot on March 28, 2018, 11:07:42 am
for the first time (that I can remember anyway) trains are getting released in o gauge that you can't get in n (117, 05, 07 etc.)

plus a lot of rarer prototypes are getting made in oo - often by new or smaller manufacturers

so I suppose n feels a bit forgotten about currently?

we have got very high quality recent releases though plus the move to sound so it's not like we have reason for gloom - I think it's just because of o gauge taking off that n feels neglected

I was looking at o gauge items yesterday but a vba was about 70 quid and an hea was 40 quid, so even a small layout with 3 diesel shunters plus say 10 wagons would cost a fortune esp with sound. also I think o gauge track looks rubbish (what I saw looked over scale). I will build an o gauge layout one day but not until older or retired I think - unless I get rich unexpectedly!

revolution and hopefully djm can take forward more niche n gauge items and farish develop the more standard range of items for the foreseeable future though.

anyway I had better do some work now before I get sacked!

Tim






Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: port perran on March 28, 2018, 11:25:02 am
I donít believe that N Gauge is on the decline. However, change is afoot.
The move to sound and DCC etc (something which holds no appeal for me) is tremendous and inspiring to many but that is applicable to all scales.
The major manufacturers are switching to more recent eras and who can blame them. Old dinosaurs like myself are becoming fewer by the day and many of those are interested in only steam. So from their viewpoint (with fewer steam vehicles being produced) it may appear that Nis in decline.
However, lets move away from locos and stock. Just look at the increasing range of building, structures and lineside bits and pieces now available. There is so much more about now than even 4 years ago. That surely is proof of demand.
What is worrying is that the main British manufacturers are in this dilema of price versus what peopl are prepared to pay. Iím not at all sure that the manufacturers of locos and rolling stock are addressing this.
For me, and I have plenty of locos and stock, the 100.00 loco. 25.00 wagon and 40.00 coach has pushed me over the threshold. Itís not that I cannot afford it but I cannot see the value. Maybe Iíd think differently if I was just starting out.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: red_death on March 28, 2018, 11:31:24 am
O gauge has the benefit that the market is used to paying a reasonably high price so there is greater scope to produce smaller production runs, but the reality is that there will always be a finite limit to the growth of O gauge due to the space it takes up (the same is also true of OO to a lesser extent).

I'm not sure that we've fully exploited the benefits of N gauge yet ie really promoted that you can have scale length trains in a reasonable space and still have decent quality mechanisms, DCC sound and accurate detailed models.

Purely in N gauge alone we've never had so much choice - when you look at diesel and electric classes that haven't been done RTR there are not so many obvious choices left (Class 85 please Farish along with upgraded 87 and 90!). The missing link for modelling much of the last 50 years is multiple units though that is slowly improving.

So, no I don't think we have seen the end of a golden age for N gauge.

Cheers, Mike
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Lawrence on March 28, 2018, 11:39:07 am
I assume you are on about British N Gauge? I see little decline in American and Japanese models and layout accessories, perhaps you might consider expanding your horizons  ;)
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: jthjth on March 28, 2018, 11:52:54 am
There is one aspect to O gauge that I think is often overlooked - most people can only buy a limited amount of stock. That detailed shunting plank can only accommodate a loco and a few wagons. Most people (though not all) are not going to have room for the quantity of stock that I have in N. I have drawers full of stock. If I had done that in O Iíd need an additional house. So I suspect Dapol is meeting an unmet demand for O RTR, but that demand may be quickly met. A decade or so ago we had a similar situation in N. Farish had gone down the tubes and Bachmann was trying to get production going again. Not much else was being produced RTR. So many of us have been on a buying spree as the new models came out from Farish and Dapol. But this had to slow down as many of us reached stock saturation point. Once I purchased almost anything that the manufacturers released new, now I buy a little more selectively. I suspect Iím not alone. So I think the rate of new model release has slowed to something more sustainable.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on March 28, 2018, 11:57:09 am
A good response. Agree. :beers:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 28, 2018, 12:07:23 pm
All of that is why I'm surprised Dapol have decided that the best markets for the JHA bogie hopper is OO and O. These are wagons which run in sets of up to 44 on the national network.

By my super quick maths an O gauge one will be c365mm, which means that even a rake of 10 will be absolutely monstrous, and likely well over £1000. A large bogie hopper is a curious choice (to my mind) for the sort of small depots which most O gauge layouts entail.

I'd love an O gauge layout, but I'd love it to be what I have in N, but in O, which is an insane proposition. The stock isn't readily available, even a comparatively modest garage layout in N would require a barn in O.

As for people reaching 'stock saturation' as it were, that assumes everyone started from the same baseline, whilst I'm also not buying much anymore, there are plenty of people who are still buying models who don't consider their collection largely complete. Either they're later to modelling, or have accumulated things more slowly, or are only just getting the models they want on the market now. There have been successive years of new releases that haven't really appealed to me, but then Revolution come steaming in and empty my bank account. There are some models, mainly wagons, where I would probably buy a complete rake if they came out. I think these things ebb and flow, although like others I'm price sensitive with regards to quite how much I want new stuff!
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: red_death on March 28, 2018, 12:23:30 pm
I don't think Dapol are doing the O&K hoppers in O are they? I could easily have missed it in the excitement of Pendolino packing!

That would be a very strange move to do them in O!
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 28, 2018, 12:29:23 pm
I definitely probably read it on RMWeb, but there's every chance I'm totally making that up.

Edit: Yep. I'm making that up. Must stop drinking so heavily in the morning. :dunce:

Regardless, they're not doing them in N. Which saddens me. But it's not the Powell Duffryn variant, which I'd much prefer (and would fit the aforementioned "I need a rake" criteria).
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: jthjth on March 28, 2018, 12:40:21 pm
I can see mention of those wagons in OO. Perhaps you lost an O somewhere?
That aside, and my thoughts that Dapolís foray into O might be a bit of a short lived shooting star, I have to say their N class 68 is an excellent model, both in looks and the quality of the mechanism and electronics. So someone is still taking an interest in our scale. If they produce something if this quality every other year, and keep a steady stream of rereleases of their older stuff (at very reasonable prices I may add) I shall be happy. Staying in business is key, as the past history of other manufacturers over the years has demonstrated.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 28, 2018, 12:56:14 pm
Haha, yes, I definitely read it as "OO & O", but I think I probably mentally transposed an "O" from O&K. But yes, wholly moot!

I suspect O will find a level, again because of the proliferation of depot layouts it lends itself to a 'loco heavy' roster. It's interesting to see that most of the new RTR products are from the BR blue era, with the exception of the Heljan 60, which I belive sold poorly, in part due to terrible QC. I wonder if that's in part because it's the common era choice of those in their 40s-60s who have the disposable income to fund O gauge collections.

If it shores up Dapol's balance sheet than that's unlikely to be a bad thing for N, even if it just means re-runs of existing models, rather than new ones. We've seen recent re-releases of the IKA and FEA container flats, where second hand prices were starting to go crazy, which is good, and suggestive that they see a continued market there. Likewise the new run of HSTs is clearly hotly anticipated. Let's just hope they don't screw them up somehow.  :doh:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Chris Morris on March 28, 2018, 01:31:16 pm
I also would not be surprised if the current O gauge bubble bursts sooner or later. At the moment an unfulfilled demand exists for rtr O. It is quite probable that, due to the physical size of O, demand will be fulfilled fairly quickly.

It is somewhat inconvenient that Dapol are currently concentrating more on O but they are a business and therefore must invest in whatever projects are likely to give them the best return on that investment.

All we can do is push the merits of N gauge at every opportunity. The best opportunities being magazines and exhibitions. We need high quality layouts for exhibitions and we need them to be turned into articles for magazines. Plus other good N gauge modelling articles for magazines.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Intercity on March 28, 2018, 03:42:58 pm
have been glossing over this thread as people post their views, one question I have is what is a Golden Age and how do you define it?

I would echo the views that we have massive selections to choose from (even if some are dated these days), I left the N gauge scene in the late 90s and recently returned, my jaw dropped when I saw the selection that we have to choose from now, and it seems the bar gets raised each year, (Pendolinos, class 68s and dare I say it Dapols Mk3s), I know there have been quality issues and compromises made in order to release many of the products (the real world doesn't have everything matching either).

We however dont really seem to hear much from younger members of the hobby, is that an indication that the hobby is "dying" out, I am sure there are many who just dont post on forums, video games have certainly killed off quite a few people from all scales (they even managed to keep kids indoors instead of going outside to play, oh the horror, outside in the elements and all the creepy crawlies, can I shoot them with an RPG).

Also do the sales of OO and O gauge models just fund those respective gauges, or is all money put into general development, it maybe sales of N have slowed down and it was deemed the other gauges have enough interest to inject needed money into the companies producing the models.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Snowwolflair on March 28, 2018, 03:52:58 pm
The average age of railway modellers is 65, and itís been that way for the last hundred years.

Iím sure the early 65 year old have died off by now so there must be a steady stream of younger people replacing them.

Retirement seems to be a big prompt to take up the hobby.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Newportnobby on March 28, 2018, 03:58:23 pm

Iím sure the early 65 year old have died off by now

Nice to know I'm gonna peg it early next year :worried: :worried: :thankyousign:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: dannyboy on March 28, 2018, 04:10:41 pm
You will be the exception to the rule Mick!  (We need your 'sense of humour', (well, that's what I call it).;D

Hang on, what am I saying, I am an exception to the rule - thank goodness.  :)
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Snowwolflair on March 28, 2018, 04:16:15 pm

Iím sure the early 65 year old have died off by now

Nice to know I'm gonna peg it early next year :worried: :worried: :thankyousign:

they would be 165 by now  :D  although looking round the show on Saturday some may still be around :goggleeyes:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Newportnobby on March 28, 2018, 04:24:20 pm
As a transition era modeller I think we do OK for steam and thank the heavens for Farish. Sure, some of the more recent items are retooled old ones like the Castle and the upcoming 8F but we have the C class, J72 and E1 to look forward to although it's anyone's guess at when they will come to fruition.
I reckon I can find a genuine reason for getting an early crest C class :hmmm:
Still bewailing the lack of unrebuilt WC/BoB, though :'(


they would be 165 by now  :D 

For some reason I don't think I want to go on for that many years :no: :uneasy:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 28, 2018, 04:26:17 pm
The average age of railway modellers is 65, and itís been that way for the last hundred years.
...
Retirement seems to be a big prompt to take up the hobby.

Interesting stats - where are they from? Pleased to see I'm bringing the average down!
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Snowwolflair on March 28, 2018, 04:34:04 pm
Not really stats but around 1957 Railway Modeler did a survey that reflected this, and its typical of most clubs I have been a member of.

Like you I still lower the average but I have been building models for nearly 50 years  :worried:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Newportnobby on March 28, 2018, 04:38:23 pm
You might find this poll from 2015 interesting although response wasn't huge...............
I wonder what it would be like now :hmmm:

http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=29395.0 (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=29395.0)
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Snowwolflair on March 28, 2018, 04:41:24 pm
Yes, adjust these number to allow for older modelers who are not computer active, therefore don't vote, and the profile looks correct.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Train Waiting on March 28, 2018, 05:05:55 pm
An interesting question!

I think we are in a 'Golden Age'.  Here's why:-

Accurate well-running locomotives and multiple units of many kinds.

A super range of rolling stock.

Excellent Peco and Kato track (and other ranges as well).

DCC/sound kind of things for those who want it.  Gaugemaster controllers and their guarantee for those who don't.  (I know Gaugemaster does DCC equipment as well but I'm keeping it simple!)

A good service from manufacturers and retailers - some of whom are members of the Forum.

And... this Forum (run by volunteers - thank you all so very much) and its members.

[Now my personal one: Union Mills, Mr Colin Heard and a new (very affordable) locomotive each year!]

This is a Golden Age and I'm very grateful.

By the way, I think we are in a Golden Age of steam railways as well.

With best wishes.

John
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 28, 2018, 05:28:58 pm
Not really stats but around 1957 Railway Modeler did a survey that reflected this, and its typical of most clubs I have been a member of.

Like you I still lower the average but I have been building models for nearly 50 years  :worried:

Fair enough, so a total guess really. I have no interest whatsoever in joining a club, I'm not sure that's a  reliable methodology.

I'd expect it to be (a bit) younger than that I must say. Taking Nobby's poll results if we assume people are in the middle of the decade they are answering for (and the overs are 75) then the mean age is 56.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on March 28, 2018, 10:39:48 pm
Well I know how old I am, and I ain't saying.  :D

.... Oooops it comes up in the birthdays every year on here...  :dunce:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Rabbitaway on March 28, 2018, 11:13:47 pm
Wow, looks like my thread started quite a debate!

As I said, did we see the peak about a year or two ago and activity and market appetite is now reducing.

For long term security for N gauge what sort of market share would it need, 20%, 30% ?

Agreed that Ben and Mike are going a great job raising the profile but in reality their market share is low. DJM is doing very little in N with just one wagon release so far. Therefore we do need GF and Dapol to keep the momentum going.

Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Intercity on March 29, 2018, 05:05:59 am
Slightly outside the main scope for British outline, but donít forget Kato, Atlas, Athearn, those mainland European ones whom I canít remember (and probably canít spell correctly either), once you include those modelers and manufacturers I think N gauge (N scale) still has a huge interest although the outlines of said modelers will be spread over many locations.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 29, 2018, 08:45:11 am
As I said, did we see the peak about a year or two ago and activity and market appetite is now reducing.

I think that point is heavily swayed by personal perception. Iíd say nothing at all has changed in the last 2 years, and if there was a heyday then it was 5-7 years ago when wagons and coaches were less than £20 in the shops. Definitely not a year or two ago.

However, that coincides with when I was buying most. I think thereís a natural tendency to translate your own experiences onto others.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: carpy on March 29, 2018, 11:04:54 am
having only been in this wonderful hobby for 10 years, i am now annoyed that from my first few years i was easily able to buy whatever i wanted which has been prewar gwr steam engines. having been told by the first retailer to buy anything that i saw that i wanted, to a degree this i did at the time,subject to available finances. since then very few engines are in the market.
so even over the short time i would naturally think we are over the golden age as for availability of engines
carpy
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: DJM Dave on March 29, 2018, 11:55:15 am
God i hope the golden age isn't over, that's for sure.

Before you all jump on me, i'm an N gauge modeller and think that although certain items have not sold as well in recent years as manufacturers have expected (350 etc) the hobby is quite buoyant right now.

Now as a manufacturer, yes, only 1 wagon so far, i do think there are now fewer and fewer opportunities to produce something in N where you are guaranteed sales and therefore profit, unless its an exceptional item like the recent DCC sound fitted class 40 for instance, which is simply marvellous.

I think the next 18 months will be very interesting, and models that have had gestation periods that have been too long could come to the fore and make a lot of people very happy.

Some of you might have noticed 3 brand new locomotive codes on the product progress part of my web site.
These will not be announced until the models have been tooled and i can show tangible models just before production. I have been guilty of too much froth production in the past and i quite like the idea of just shutting up and doing it, then announcing, rather like Farish when in Poole.

So yes i think we have a way to go yet, but with N gauge keeping going up in price, i do wonder where the limit is.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: njee20 on March 29, 2018, 12:03:44 pm
A laudable strategy indeed Dave, and one which will likely win you fans. I wish the other manufacturers would do that. It makes a mockery of catalogue years that not a single new product from the 2018 Farish catalogue will be released in 2018!
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Karhedron on March 29, 2018, 01:08:25 pm
It makes a mockery of catalogue years that not a single new product from the 2018 Farish catalogue will be released in 2018!

It is actually part of a coherent strategy. Looking at prices in the 2018 catalogue, I suspect most of us will need to be saving until at least 2019 to be able to afford any of it.  :goggleeyes:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: trkilliman on March 29, 2018, 01:48:04 pm
I think the original question about the "Golden Age" will be interpreted by people in several ways.

Ten years back I could walk into Modelmania in Bristol and buy a Farish B.R. covered van for around £8-9. I had a job that paid fairly well and buying 2-3 wagons wasn't going to break the bank or infringe on some mandatory payment/bill.

There may have been a Golden Age for manufacturers, having goods produced so much cheaper in Hong Kong. Political decisions re' the workers pay and conditions have eroded the Golden Age of cheap manufacturing costs. The increased costs of production come straight back to you and I. For some they will cut back on purchases, and they may also feel their Golden Age has slipped away. 

This for me was a sort of Golden Age, before the year on year price increases have seen a situation arise where the likes of covered vans/Toad brake vans are around the £20 mark. The £50 coach seems a reality.  I elected to retire from work a few years early due to ill health, so my buying power is nowhere near what it once was.

Whilst I may likely get flamed for mentioning prices, just think of this. Many who have lost jobs that paid well may well have found themselves in minimum wage / zero hours jobs. Will they have the same buying power as previously...I seriously doubt it. It's no secret that outgoings are outstripping pay for many, and this has to be another factor re' purchases. It has been said that 2nd hand prices have shot up on the back of the cost of new. Things have sort of turned full circle. 55 years back as a lad my Father could not afford new model railway items, it was 2nd hand and make what you could yourself.

I have plenty of stock and could even sale some of it. Purchased over several years when I could easily do so, this was my N gauge Golden Age. I have now taken to making my own coaches using etched sides...and enjoying it!

Well I've rambled on, and some readers may think I'm deluded or way off topic. But for me my Golden Age was 10-12 years back.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: RailGooner on March 29, 2018, 02:01:22 pm
YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD

That's the title of a piece by Neil Walker in the latest NGS Journal 2/2018. Not read it through yet, but seems relevant to this discussion.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Karhedron on March 29, 2018, 02:21:02 pm
I think the original question about the "Golden Age" will be interpreted by people in several ways.

This is a very valid point. Are we walking about a golden age in terms of prices? Availability? New releases? Range?

In terms of prices, 10 years ago was a great time to be modelling. I picked up several new Dapol collett coaches for £9 each. Whilst not perfect (having the same compromises as the Bachmann 00 gauge equivalents), they were far ahead of the generic Farish coaches which were the best pre-nationalisation modellers could get prior to that.

In terms of availability, you probably have to go back to Farish's Poole days to reach a time when you could guarantee that models in a catalogue would reliably be in stock for years to come.

For new releases, I guess this peaked about 5 years ago when Farish and Dapol were racing to beat each other to profitable prototypes. Since then the rate of new releases has declined somewhat and we are still waiting for the backlog of models announced during this time to clear.

For range, you could say we have never had it so good (subject to the caveat that you may need to hunt around for things). Whilst it may be frustrating to start a project and find key items are no longer available, it seems that both Farish and Dapol do periodically rerun items that have sold out (indeed, they would be foolish not to considering such items have paid off their toolings and thus potentially have significantly higher profit margins). Also, a bit of patience scouring eBay can often turn up missing items, even if bargains are getting a bit thin on the ground these days.

We all have our own perception of what constitutes a golden era, just as we have different perceptions on value for money. N Gauge has become more expensive and also more "patchy" in terms of availability than in the past. However the range is wider than ever. It is possible to model most parts of country in the steam era with several signature locos for each of the big 4 produced to high standards as well as at least 1 (if not 2) families of pre-nationalisation coaching stock available.

Moving into the diesel and electric era, most of the classes of diesel have now been produced to modern standards with just a handful of short-lived classes left to go. Rolling stock from Mk1-4 is available to varying standards and new locos and stock are being released all the time. RevolutioN have successfully started a new way of bringing models to market and I look forward to seeing some of Dave's wares running on Chew Magna when they are ready.

I personally feel that the idea of a single golden age is misleading. N gauge is thriving in a way that I suspect no one could have imagined when Farish was first taken over by Bachmann. Yes, some of the things that we have taken for granted in the past will likely no longer hold true in the future but overall I believe that future is rosy for the scale.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Newportnobby on March 29, 2018, 02:31:44 pm
YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD

That's the title of a piece by Neil Walker in the latest NGS Journal 2/2018. Not read it through yet, but seems relevant to this discussion.

But if I've read it right he leaves alone locos and rolling stock to concentrate on the 'cottage industry' that has sprung up along with 3D printing etc mentioned earlier in this thread. For sure, all those little detail pieces are a huge help to N gaugers these days but it's the expensive end which will be the telling part. As has been said, when I was a paid worker I could have up to £1600 worth of pre orders but, having taken early retirement and living on a small personal pension until my state pension kicks in as well, I'm lucky if I can buy one loco per year. The ones I want that have been
announced/delayed/whatever will quite possibly have to be sent into the next world for me to play with ::)
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: trkilliman on March 29, 2018, 04:23:01 pm

I think it is thriving, and to my way of thinking largely due to it's size and what can be done in many of today's smaller houses. I do wonder what sales volumes are like though compared to say 8-10 years back?  We are looking at moving and have been taken aback at how small some of the new/newish builds are...even for two of us.

I also think the next few years will be interesting, with more 3D products becoming available. Perhaps crowdfunding will increase, and possibly be looked at in some form by the likes of Farish and Dapol outside of their catalogue items... to produce what there is a specific demand for. Certainly the continuing loss of retail outlets could lead to them having a re-think.

With production costs in H.K rising as they have, would further costs lead to some work returning to the U.K?

Sorry if I have gone off of topic a bit, but I reckon that Brexit, trade deals/embargoes, 3D printing and general production costs could well create knock on effects and notable changes in our hobby.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: leachsprite4 on March 29, 2018, 06:49:59 pm
Is it a golden age, yes because we are all getting great models or locos, rolling and even road vehicles now.

I like the  comments from djm Dave as I think the key is being able to make a profit. I'm sure we could all list a few things we'd like but would they make a profit.

I think it's interesting that really after 50 years of n gauge there is still only one British outline turntable on the market  :hmmm:

That said the quality of the models we now have are amazing compare the 4MT from farish and bachmann by farish.

Graham
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: acko22 on March 29, 2018, 10:48:15 pm
OK my last little ditty before I disappear again for a while!

Looking at what people have said after my first input, generally a lot say the "golden age" was about 5 years ago since then things haven't been as good.

I think that time was good as makers were fighting for business but the market could never last like that unless the market grew to match to keep the shelves emptying ready for the next batch or model. What we are left with is a really great range of models available both new and second hand even though prices are going up which can be attributed to numerous factors which we all know all to well.

Are the golden times over, actually when you think with the small traders and the new makers that are in the market now, plus the advent of 3D printing and other ideas that are coming to fruition. I would say while RTR models may be slowing down in general as they regroup after the mad rush 5 years ago, with crowdfunding, 3D printing and other new things coming in.

A great example of the bright future is in 3D printing go on Shapeways and you can get almost anything you need, or ask friends to sort something unique out for yourself  :D then for the RTR models I would say N gauge has proven crowdfunding in the UK with the TEA tanker and the Pendolino in particular proving as a community we can get the "niche" models we really want.

So all in all do I think we have seen the "Golden Age" in N gauge well we certainly saw a high point which has been followed by a slump. But I think with N gauge taking full advantage of the new opportunities there is plenty of good times to come yet even if we as a community have to push it ourselves by 3D printing, scratch building or by Crowdfunding.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: The Big Bear on March 30, 2018, 11:24:40 pm
@Rabbitaway (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=profile;u=2967), Iíd just like to thank you for starting such an interesting thread, which really struck a chord with me.

At 37, I count myself as one of those who has returned to the hobby after kids and other hobbies like wine and fast cars.  On the plus side, I relish the range and quality of Sectorisation-era models available to me as Ė no offence to anyone intended Ė there must now be a decent cohort of us railway modellers who just canít relate to the end-of-steam and blue diesel eras that dominated catalogues for so long.  If ready choice of 75% of the models one covets represents a golden age, then perhaps I am living in it.

But, without wishing to rehash old debates on this forum, I do fear that itís (perceptions of) value for money that will ultimately do for n gauge.  As I understand it, its total market share is stagnant at best, and declining for the major manufacturers.  And the point is, itís not dedicated followers on this forum who need to be convinced, itís new modellers with buying power.

Indicatively, I have two or three friends at work who also like the idea of returning to the hobby.  But, were I to let on that Iíve been waiting for the release of the GF InterCity Mk2fs for three years, and the RRP is likely to be £42.95 per 14cm of plastic, you cannot blame them for taking their £300 for a decent rake elsewhere and entering another Ironman event instead. 

And Ė again no offence intended Ė I find myself exasperated at the inflation-shattering price increases my forebears tolerated.  The last locomotive my parents bought me in 1995 was a Class 08; the price sticker for £29 is still attached.  Adjusted for inflation, thatís £53 in todays money; yet the comparator model when I re-entered the hobby in 2016 retailed for £94.95.  Yes, itís better quality, but not seismically as some suggest, and, in other domains of model engineering Ė R/C cars for example Ė increases in quality have stayed measurably closer to inflation.

I can relate to a great deal thatís been written on this thread.  Of my generation, I count myself as very lucky as owning a 4-bedroom house and finding space for a 7í x 2í7Ē layout, not to mention having the buying power for the occasional rake of carefully selected stock.  But it worries me that even n gaugeís traditional USP of scale-length trains in a reasonable space is open to challenge and resonates less than when it was fresh.  Some are committed proto-typical modellers from the outset, but most graduate from just running trains.  Based on my last 10 purchases, n gauge models cost 93% of their OO gauge counterparts (and a couple were actually more expensive) and, given my time again, Iím just not sure I would choose n gauge.  Getting more for your money is not an argument that should be readily dismissed: what was the great opportunity of n gauge when it was novel is now a clear threat.

Overall, Iíve not been back in n gauge long enough to judge whether itís in decline.  But Iíd tentatively suggest this should not be seen as a period of growth for n gauge.  The choice of models is good, but itís not expanding further in my experience: pre-orders sitting dormant for 2-3 years is not a sales model that many contemporary consumers would recognise or tolerate.  And other gauges Ė OO in particular Ė seem to be increasing the range share of later eras faster.  Crowd-funding is a laudable initiative, but it cannot be as proactive in model engineering as in market sectors where it has been game-changing.  Value for money in n gauge, both against inflation and other scales, worsens year-on-year and such irrationally buoyant second-hand sales can only mean many folk have been priced-out of catalogue sales.

I hope Iím wrong, but I just donít feel like Iíve entered a hobby in its golden age: starting and completing even a relatively modest n gauge layout over the last 3 years has often felt more of a challenge than a pleasure.  Unless something changes, I'm pretty sure my next major layout will be in the garden.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: PeteW on March 31, 2018, 01:25:19 am
I've been following this thread from the beginning, and have been reluctant to contribute because I've barely dipped my toe into the world of railway modelling, let alone the n-specific area of the hobby. But it's a holiday weekend and I've had a couple of glasses of a rather good Malbec, so what the hell...

My interest in model railways has always been first 'model', and second 'railways'. Last summer I took the opportunity to visit Pendon and in particular to see John Ahern's Madder Valley railway. I was, by turns, impressed, stunned, and humbled. I was impressed and stunned because here was an exemplary layout that - even if I had the time, the space and the budget - I doubt I could replicate. And then I was humbled because Mr Ahern created this masterpiece at a time when there was little to no rolling stock, no ready-to-plant buildings, and a very limited selection of scenic products.

I believe that if Mr Ahern could read this thread he would be appalled, infuriated or incredulous - or likely a combination of all of those. I truly suspect that if he had the opportunities to buy - at whatever price - the range of locomotives, coaches, wagons, buildings and scenic materials available now he would absolutely affirm that we are, in fact, enjoying a golden age.

When I think about Madder Valley I honestly can't remember how many locomotives, wagons or coaches there were. What I remember is the quality of the modelling and that, yes, there were trains there. So how many locos does it take to make a great layout? Ten, twenty, fifty? Or just two or three? How many coaches? How many wagons to a rake, and how many rakes?

This isn't just nostalgia! When I look through the great inspirational threads on this forum, the same is true. The ones that stick in the memory are RogerdB's Wrenton, Belstone's Longframlington, and a host of others where - with respect - the rolling stock is the least of 'em.

Of course, I baulk at the £150 loco, the £30 coach and the £15-£20 wagon. But we have eBay, where you can still buy numerous items of rolling stock at prices way below list (I currently have four locos from eBay and haven't paid more than £30 for any of them). Moreover, we have - god bless 'em - Peco who are churning out wagon kits at about a fiver apiece that only need simple assembly and a bit of weathering. I suspect Mr Ahern would have sold his mother for Peco - and his soul for eBay!

I fear we have fallen victim to naked consumerism, where we know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

But on the question of value, I have everything I need (except time and skill!) to make the layout of my dreams and I'm probably about £750 all in. Which compares very favourably, I think, to my tragically under-used gym membership, my pathetically neglected Fender Stratocaster, and my near-forgotten Canon digital SLR.

In short, a golden age is what you make of it... and how you make it.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on March 31, 2018, 01:42:42 am
I can identify with the end of your post - I too have a Canon DSLR which I hardly ever use, and a brand new Fender Strat which spends most of it's time on the guitar stand.

Never had a gym membership, though.  :D

I agree with your comments regarding John Ahern.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: PeteW on March 31, 2018, 02:05:56 am
I can identify with the end of your post

No view on "the rather good Malbec"?  :D
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on March 31, 2018, 02:48:28 am
Just about to tuck into Easter Saturday lunch at seafood restaurant with a glass of red.

Sorry, back to the golden age of N!
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: amsie on March 31, 2018, 05:41:01 am
There's lots more 3D printed models available in N than there is in OO, and I've got a feeling there might be more N gauge 3D printed models available in the very near future.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: stevewalker on April 01, 2018, 12:08:37 am
I too worry about the ever increasing prices. Many people have suffered a real-terms drop in income since 2008 - I lost 30-odd % of my income 2 years ago and at the same time my wife lost 60-odd percent of hers! She has now regained hers and I have regained some of mine, but taxes (especially "stealth" ones) and prices have increased, so we are still effectively well below what we made 10 years ago. Meanwhile locos, trucks and coaches in particular have shot up in price.

Yes, detail has improved, but how much detail do we really need? How much can you see from 3' away, especially when moving?

My experiences with Dapol do not lead me to believe that manufacturing quality has improved.

I'd rather that less was invested in detail and that prices were brought down a bit.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: JasonBz on April 01, 2018, 12:57:32 am
This thread appears, like so many on a similar theme, to have nearly descended  into cries of I cannot by everything I want, when I want it - which generally starts at the  traction and stock collector end of our spectrum.

To have a realistic working model railway does not have to cost a lot of money.

Keep to the era and place you are modelling, buy the stock to suit that time and place, and over the period it takes you to actually build the layout I would guess that the outlay on the all important rolling stock would need to be no more than £25 a week..or a couple of trips to the pub.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: stevewalker on April 01, 2018, 01:40:33 am
This thread appears, like so many on a similar theme, to have nearly descended  into cries of I cannot by everything I want, when I want it

I, and I am sure most other don't expect to be able to afford everything that we want. What we are worried about is the huge increases in prices relative to rises in incomes.

In my case, it is concern that ever increasing detail is driving prices higher and higher, and that such detail is not necessary for many people - compare with OO's Railroad range.

A perfect example being in the latest BRM, where a Tampo printed sign on a Hornby offering is unreadable without magnification - and then actually reads something like "This sign is too small to be read. Good luck." What is the point in printing to that detail? - I am assuming that this is not an April fool!
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: trkilliman on April 01, 2018, 08:20:28 am
Steve Walker has summed up pretty much my views on the hobby at this time, and I'm sure that of many others.
As I have said a few times in the past there will always be people who can afford whatever the price is, but it's the greater number of people who have to balance their mandatory outgoings against spending on model railways that will make a difference to sales.

You read on here that people have had to cut back on their purchases and/or have become more focussed on their purchases instead of buying on a whim. The hobby is huge, and of course the number of forum users/contributers such as on here is likely to be small against the numbers who have a layout and are also potential purchasers.

The bigger picture of rtr sales is not likely to be made public. An indication may be the number of new models or announced ones that are shelved.
I envisage an increase in kit building and scratchbuilding, not a bad thing as it can bring you closer to your layout having actually created elements of it. With coaches having become rather expensive I'm surprised a manufacturer hasn't come up with some plastic kits. Dapol have the Stanier coache kits in OO and a like product in N could be popular.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on April 01, 2018, 08:33:01 am
Reminiscent of the old Triang CKD models of the sixties. I think there's been a thread on the forum where this was discussed.... RTR manufacturers offering a similar product at cheaper prices.

Nice idea, but can't see it happening.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: joe cassidy on April 01, 2018, 08:38:02 am
I not sure that coaches in kit form would be cheaper. Mike Howarth's Stanier coach kits were about £12 each if I recall correctly, which was about the same price as the Farish rtr coaches when they were launched.

Best regards,


Joe
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Chris Morris on April 01, 2018, 08:44:32 am
The reduced number of new announcements could of course be due to a change in policy; there is a commitment to only announcing new models when they are well on the way rather than just a gleam in the manufacturers eye.
I guess Dapol wonít commit to any more new loco tooling until the class 50 is in production. The rate of sales of the class 50 could pivotal for the future of new N gauge models from Dapol.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: NeMo on April 01, 2018, 08:53:19 am
In my case, it is concern that ever increasing detail is driving prices higher and higher, and that such detail is not necessary for many people - compare with OO's Railroad range.

I do see your point here, and in the toy shop in Berkhamsted, all the trains on sale seem to be Hornby Railroad bits rather than their higher-end stuff. The idea of having a range of products accessible to those with limited budgets, such as children, sounds very appealing and presumably sells okay.

But the problem for me is whether N is big enough a market to support both a children's range and an adult modeller's range. Has Hornby been able to grow the OO market with the Railroad Range, or merely divided an existing market into two?

Conversely, would adult collectors be happy enough with a cheap-and-cheerful series of locomotives and rolling stock? Suppose Farish continued to produce their older Class 31s at half the price of the new ones -- would they sell? I suspect not quickly enough to justify replacing the worn-out old mouldings as/when a new batch of "old" Class 31s were needed!

Cheers, NeMo
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Chris Morris on April 01, 2018, 08:58:10 am
One of the great things about N gauge is the possibility of running scale length trains in a relatively small space. This means a lot of coaches and wagons. 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.
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. Iíll put my rose tinted glasses away now.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on April 01, 2018, 09:00:34 am
I'm curious as what happens to the tooling/mouldings of the old stock.

I'm totally naive about stuff like this, but could a third party buy the equipment and take over production cottage style?

Just asking.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: NeMo on April 01, 2018, 09:07:15 am
I'm curious as what happens to the tooling/mouldings of the old stock.

I'm totally naive about stuff like this, but could a third party buy the equipment and take over production cottage style?

I think this has been discussed on RMWeb and elsewhere. The injection moulding tools have a finite life and cost tens of thousands of pounds to replace. So by the time Farish or Dapol are ready to move onto a new version of a given model, the moulding tools are probably life-expired and repairing them to a point where they'd be useful again might easily be beyond the budget of a cottage industry-type business.

Cheers, NeMo
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on April 01, 2018, 09:21:03 am
Actually I think I recall a similar discussion here, too.

Thanks, NeMo.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Webbo on April 01, 2018, 09:25:18 am
A couple of observations from me who has a limited amount of UK outline stock and is mainly a North American modeller:

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.

2. Models are increasing in price at a greater rate than inflation, but UK and NA models are more detailed and I would say generally better so represent a similar value for money.

3. The issue of long lead in times for product release is an interesting one and one that is potentially very annoying. I suspect that manufacturers announce future models in advance of production in order to best gauge the number of units to be manufactured. This can work very well. I have reserved Kato locomotives 6 months in advance of advertised release and lo and behold they appeared on time. Rapido trains who are the manufacturers of the beloved Pendolino took 8 years to produce all the coaches in their Royal Hudson set. I don't object to waiting, but I do object to delivery times that are greatly inflated over advertised expectations.

In summary, I think the times for N scale are now as good as they ever were on the whole. The times they are a changing not altogether worse, but certainly different.

And George, you're getting into Easter sooner than me. We are now Easter Sunday and I'm about to consume some roast washed down by the obligatory red.

Webbo
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on April 01, 2018, 09:40:52 am
An excellent and measured response. Thank you!

Pm me how the roast went!  :beers:

Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bob G 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.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Newportnobby 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 Ĺ or even ĺ 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)
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Roy L S 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
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: austinbob 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:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Newportnobby 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
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: javlinfaw7 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.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Papyrus 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
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Roy L S 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

Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Skyline2uk 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 donít really want to define ďGolden AgeĒ. 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 wonít 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 ďqualityĒ. Itís 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 thatís 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 ďnormalĒ. We therefore adapt as things, like prices, change.

I will finish by saying stating fact that we can now list a handful of ďRTRĒ 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
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Ben A 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.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman 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:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: red_death 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. Iíll 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
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Chris Morris 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.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: ntpntpntp 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.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: ACA on April 06, 2018, 05:51:50 pm

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.

I totally agree with this, modern image modeller are better catered for than ever before, there are some amazing steam locomotives and big four coaches now available and in the near future new models of pre grouping locomotives. Compared to what was available just ten years ago these are riches indeed. Yes there are gaps in N gauge no Atlantic's for a start compared with 00 but n gauge is a niche market in comparison due to 00 being more child friendly it is more likely to be the scale you start with and possibly stick with over time.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Western Exile on April 06, 2018, 06:59:39 pm

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.

I agree. It was largely due to seeing a picture of a Farish 47 in a Peco catalogue a few years ago that got me back into the hobby. To start with, I didnít believe it was N gauge as it looked so much better than the Minitrix and Graham Farish versions that I knew from years ago (and donít mention the Lima Deltic  :-\) in that it actually looked like a 47.
There is an enormous range available today even including wagon types that barely reached double figures in the real world. No, I like things just the way they are today, thanks very much.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: ohlavache on April 09, 2018, 10:03:39 am
I agree: it's much better to play N gauge in the 2010s than ever.
The quality has much improved, many new suppliers appeared for both rolling stock and scenery.

But for the very first time, I decided not to buy some items Iíd like to have because of the price going so high. This is true for Graham Farish and some of their recent announcements; it is also true for some continental suppliers such as Minitrix.
So I guess we are at a turning point in N gauge history.

We still have some years in front of us with more industrial superb models, such as the RGP1 from REE ModŤles, the BB 4200 from Hobby 66, all those lovely novelties from Revolution Trains and DJ Models, etc.
But they will be less and less affordable.
So here is my guess:
ē   3D printing will become key. We still miss coloured, highly detailed and robust 3D printing, but they will come. We are at the very beginning.
ē   How to control your model trains has started to change. Even if you stay on the DC/analogue side as I, you have innovations such as these ones from Kato (www.1999.co.jp/eng/10530450 (http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10530450) and www.1999.co.jp/eng/10303938 (http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10303938)) or that one from Rokuhan (www.rokuhan.com/english/news/2017/08/e-train-controller-2introduction-of-more-useful-functions-for-e-train-controller.html (http://www.rokuhan.com/english/news/2017/08/e-train-controller-2introduction-of-more-useful-functions-for-e-train-controller.html)). They are appealing.

So, I would say we are at the top of the current era but this era is about to move on to 3D printing and new ways of controlling our trains.
My guess as Madam Irma, fortune-tellerÖ  :dunce:
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: Bealman on April 09, 2018, 10:28:20 am
Even though I'm getting on and me eyesight ain't what it was, N is my gauge, and always will be.

The new models are fantastic (and yes, I know... I've promised pics of Revolution's incredible Class B tankers on my layout.... coming!), so yes, I think I'm happy with N 2018.

00 models look like toys to me.
Title: Re: Are we over the Golden Age of N Gauge?
Post by: tgv_obsessed on April 12, 2018, 11:48:38 pm
If you model as near to possible to prototype, don't mix  it up too much, run your trains at scale speed, have the skills in tracklaying and wiring required for peco 55, and have plenty of time on your hands, then this could be golden age.

If however, you like to play with your toy trains in a different way- say have them hurtle round multiple set track  ovals with tight radii, with some plastic platforms, then it is probably not a golden age.

I you are somewhere in the middle, then the guild of the age probably depends on how guilded ones pocket is.

I think this is probably true for OO too.