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Realism or lack of it (Was: Märklin Price Increase of 19% for 2005)

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  • zscaleinfo
    ... Actually, Märklin is still pretty much the only important z-scale manufacturer. Of course there are smaller manufacturers addressing niche areas in
    Message 1 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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      >IMHO, Marklin has operated as a sort of cosy club, an
      >arrangement suitable when one is the only supplier in the
      >market. The way they work with special releases/limited runs
      >and consumer loyalty 'clubs'
      >seems to indicate that they are geared to the collector who
      >doesn't mind paying a premium.

      Actually, Märklin is still pretty much the only important z-scale
      manufacturer. Of course there are smaller manufacturers addressing niche
      areas in z-scale product sphere and of course it is encouraging to see that
      there are attempts to bring in the market alternative track systems, for
      instance, but will they be here to stay? It remains to be seen. Z-scale was
      born back in 1972 and the only manufacturer having made a serious commitment
      to the scale so far is Märklin. With all due respect, Märklin is the
      raison-d'etre for all the small series manufacturers around z-scale. If
      Märklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of z-scale for everyone. So
      simple.

      But despite of their earlier scepticism of the early 90's, Märklin seem to
      have renewed their strong commitment to our scale and we should all be happy
      for that. Just look at all those incredible new z-products they have put out
      in the past few years, and we speak about truly new products here, not just
      repaints. At least I think that products like the German V100, GG-1, NOHAB,
      Anhalter Station kit and many others are truly remarkable. Sometimes Märklin
      bashing of this list is just so plain silly and totally lacks the realism.
      Reminds me of the Grimm's fairytale of fisherman's wife who was always
      complaining of what she had no matter how much more she got and ended up
      losing everything at the end.

      I don't think that any of us is collecting/operating z-scale trains to save
      money. Z-scale is not a mainstream scale and higher precision required in
      manufacturing and smaller series reflect on prices too. Also, Märklin has
      never been known for making bargain basement products in any scale. I am not
      happy with z-scale prices either which on the first look are relatively
      high, but I try to weigh the higher price tags against what I actually get.
      And my conclusion is that the price may be high, but it is also justified in
      view of the true quality and customer support you get. It is not once or
      twice that I have been pleasantly surprised when first buying from a certain
      auction site older z-locomotives in an apparently bad shape and when
      disassembling them for service noticed how incredibly well-built they are
      and how they after servicing suddenly appear like brand new. I've seen
      locomotives from early 70's, with hundreds of operating hours behind them
      and yet, all metallic mechanisms inside were still in a wonderful shape.
      Also, how many manufacturers actually can sell you spare parts for
      locomotives they made some 30 odd years ago in rare cases they are required
      for repairs?

      We all have our freedom of choice, and there are those to whom the price is
      everything. To those constantly complaining of the cost of z-scale, I would
      just like to say that maybe you have simply chosen the wrong scale in that
      case. Z-scale is bound to be more difficult, more expensive, more
      challenging but more rewarding too than "easier", more popular scales. But
      one needs to have a right kind of attitude, more realism and understanding
      the true nature of our scale would not hurt. And US dollars' longtime
      downhill against Euro is beyond Märklin's control too.

      As to Märklin's z-scale model policies, of course they are targeting
      collectors as well as those of us who like to run their trains. It's like
      that with all the other scales too when it comes to high-end manufacturers.
      I don't see it as a problem though. I think there is a very good balance
      between collectibles and mass production models in Märklin product catalog.
      There are buyers for both, has always been.

      Tapani Tuominen
      trains@...
    • sgt_tim7
      ... If ... everyone. I disagree!! And so will alot others. Z scale is here to stay and as far as I am concerned, Marklin can close their doors. I know that
      Message 2 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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        --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "zscaleinfo" <trains@z...> wrote:
        If
        > Märklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of z-scale for
        everyone.


        I disagree!! And so will alot others. Z scale is here to stay and
        as far as I am concerned, Marklin can close their doors. I know
        that will disappoint many of you, but not me. I will not purchase
        any of their products and Price has nothing to do with it.

        Marklin has stood around for years only making that F7 goofy looking
        loco while leaving the rest of us begging them and the world to make
        a Modern version of a US locomotive. Finally, AZL has broken ground
        and they haven't stopped running yet. MTL has recognized this are
        are wanting a bigger piece of the action.

        I am a modern U.S. modeller and Marklins U.S. stuff is rediculous.
        Odd couplers, trucks set too far back, doesn't look prototypical
        (Despite what some say), and just doesn't appeal to me. I will
        admit to a select few Locomotives and rolling stock looking OK.

        Before you know it, and it is coming fast, Marklin will be fighting
        for the U.S. market. It is apparent to me, by the comments I am
        reading about what people are saying at these Train Shows about how
        amazed they are that NEW U.S. Items, modern, are finally being
        produced. Z scales problem is plain and simple, we are not getting
        due media coverage. Give us an hour on National TV and we, the Z
        community, will grow by leaps and bounds.

        I applaud the new comers. So much to produce and not much
        competition. Heck, AZL and MTL are working together to not step on
        each others toes with the U.S. Locomotives they are producing, MTL
        is starting to dedicate more assets to "Z" and their are smaller up-
        and-coming companies out their. If Marklin stops making Z, it won't
        bother me!
        My 2 cents to your comment.

        Tim
      • miked_r@yahoo.com
        I couldn t agree more. Just so it is understood, I am more upset with the Euro-Dollar exchange rate than Marklin. My point is that everyone should be ready for
        Message 3 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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          I couldn't agree more.

          Just so it is understood, I am more upset with the Euro-Dollar
          exchange rate than Marklin. My point is that everyone should be ready
          for 19% sticker shock. I happen to work for a Japanese company. We
          keep prices low but sacrifice product as the Yen strengthens against
          the dollar. But 7 years ago, when we made both large profit and had a
          strong dollar, we put away those profits or reinvested in R&D.

          Marklin is in business to make money, whether in Germany or the U.S.
          or anywhere around the world. Anyone in business to lose money will
          not last very long.

          I have no beef with Marklin as some who have posted seem to, just
          making this large customer base aware of the realities of the
          Euro-Dollar exchange rate. I ended up with a bargain when I bought my
          GG-1 a few months back. I love the GG-1 and all of my Marklin
          products, whether old or new, even the fidgety turnouts...

          I have priced some of the European sellers and their prices are not as
          good as buying from the dealer I work with in Michigan. I work with
          him only because I don't have to pay NY State sales tax*, his prices
          are lower than anyone else and he will order whatever is not in stock.
          His shipping is fair. (*I do end up declaring my non-taxed
          online/mail/phone-order retail purchases at year's end on my NY State
          tax return-a new requirement; NY State never misses a chance to
          collect tax; So I do end up paying tax somewhere along the line...)

          Michael
        • miked_r@yahoo.com
          Please substitute profit for product after the word sacrifice in the paragraph below... (grinning sheepishly...) Michael
          Message 4 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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            Please substitute "profit" for "product" after the word "sacrifice" in
            the paragraph below...

            (grinning sheepishly...)

            Michael

            --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, miked_r@y... wrote:
            >
            > I couldn't agree more.
            >
            > Just so it is understood, I am more upset with the Euro-Dollar
            > exchange rate than Marklin. My point is that everyone should be ready
            > for 19% sticker shock. I happen to work for a Japanese company. We
            > keep prices low but sacrifice product as the Yen strengthens against
            > the dollar. But 7 years ago, when we made both large profit and had a
            > strong dollar, we put away those profits or reinvested in R&D
          • Tom Fisher
            Why would MTL, which exclusively models N. Am. prototypes, fail if Marklin went down especially since MTL is coming out with its own track? I have 1 Marlin
            Message 5 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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              Why would MTL, which exclusively models N. Am.
              prototypes, fail if Marklin went down especially since
              MTL is coming out with its own track?

              I have 1 Marlin tanker and 2 small diesel-hydraulic
              locos from Marklin. I could live without them. On the
              other hand, if it wasn't for MTL, Penzee, Robert Ray,
              FR, and AZL, I wouldn't own Z.

              --- zscaleinfo <trains@...> wrote:

              >
              > >IMHO, Marklin has operated as a sort of cosy club,
              > an
              > >arrangement suitable when one is the only supplier
              > in the
              > >market. The way they work with special
              > releases/limited runs
              > >and consumer loyalty 'clubs'
              > >seems to indicate that they are geared to the
              > collector who
              > >doesn't mind paying a premium.
              >
              > Actually, M�rklin is still pretty much the only
              > important z-scale
              > manufacturer. Of course there are smaller
              > manufacturers addressing niche
              > areas in z-scale product sphere and of course it is
              > encouraging to see that
              > there are attempts to bring in the market
              > alternative track systems, for
              > instance, but will they be here to stay? It remains
              > to be seen. Z-scale was
              > born back in 1972 and the only manufacturer having
              > made a serious commitment
              > to the scale so far is M�rklin. With all due
              > respect, M�rklin is the
              > raison-d'etre for all the small series manufacturers
              > around z-scale. If
              > M�rklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of
              > z-scale for everyone. So
              > simple.
              >
              > But despite of their earlier scepticism of the early
              > 90's, M�rklin seem to
              > have renewed their strong commitment to our scale
              > and we should all be happy
              > for that. Just look at all those incredible new
              > z-products they have put out
              > in the past few years, and we speak about truly new
              > products here, not just
              > repaints. At least I think that products like the
              > German V100, GG-1, NOHAB,
              > Anhalter Station kit and many others are truly
              > remarkable. Sometimes M�rklin
              > bashing of this list is just so plain silly and
              > totally lacks the realism.
              > Reminds me of the Grimm's fairytale of fisherman's
              > wife who was always
              > complaining of what she had no matter how much more
              > she got and ended up
              > losing everything at the end.
              >
              > I don't think that any of us is collecting/operating
              > z-scale trains to save
              > money. Z-scale is not a mainstream scale and higher
              > precision required in
              > manufacturing and smaller series reflect on prices
              > too. Also, M�rklin has
              > never been known for making bargain basement
              > products in any scale. I am not
              > happy with z-scale prices either which on the first
              > look are relatively
              > high, but I try to weigh the higher price tags
              > against what I actually get.
              > And my conclusion is that the price may be high, but
              > it is also justified in
              > view of the true quality and customer support you
              > get. It is not once or
              > twice that I have been pleasantly surprised when
              > first buying from a certain
              > auction site older z-locomotives in an apparently
              > bad shape and when
              > disassembling them for service noticed how
              > incredibly well-built they are
              > and how they after servicing suddenly appear like
              > brand new. I've seen
              > locomotives from early 70's, with hundreds of
              > operating hours behind them
              > and yet, all metallic mechanisms inside were still
              > in a wonderful shape.
              > Also, how many manufacturers actually can sell you
              > spare parts for
              > locomotives they made some 30 odd years ago in rare
              > cases they are required
              > for repairs?
              >
              > We all have our freedom of choice, and there are
              > those to whom the price is
              > everything. To those constantly complaining of the
              > cost of z-scale, I would
              > just like to say that maybe you have simply chosen
              > the wrong scale in that
              > case. Z-scale is bound to be more difficult, more
              > expensive, more
              > challenging but more rewarding too than "easier",
              > more popular scales. But
              > one needs to have a right kind of attitude, more
              > realism and understanding
              > the true nature of our scale would not hurt. And US
              > dollars' longtime
              > downhill against Euro is beyond M�rklin's control
              > too.
              >
              > As to M�rklin's z-scale model policies, of course
              > they are targeting
              > collectors as well as those of us who like to run
              > their trains. It's like
              > that with all the other scales too when it comes to
              > high-end manufacturers.
              > I don't see it as a problem though. I think there is
              > a very good balance
              > between collectibles and mass production models in
              > M�rklin product catalog.
              > There are buyers for both, has always been.
              >
              > Tapani Tuominen
              > trains@...
              >
              >
              >
              >




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            • Jeffrey MacHan
              Hello Tapani, Thank you for a masterful explanation of the role Märklin has and still plays in the Z universe. You are quite right in that no other company
              Message 6 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                Hello Tapani,

                Thank you for a masterful explanation of the role Märklin has and
                still plays in the "Z" universe.

                You are quite right in that no other company comes close to Märklin
                in terms of capital investment, product lines, international market
                share and revenus generated from "Z". During my discussions with Joe
                Rocchia of Märklin in Göppingen, he mentioned that "Z" represented up
                to 15% of the company's production. Although I am not aware of any
                published figures, Märklin's annual revenues are thought to be in the
                250 - 300 million USD range although the company has publicly
                acknowledged that revenues have been dropping sharply. In any case,
                it is possible that the "Z" portion would be somewhere in the 15 - 30
                million USD. (If anyone has more credible numbers, please jump in).
                NOTE: this is only an educated guess but if this is the case,
                Märklin's "Z" revenues would be about the same or larger than Micro-
                Trains Line's annual revenues.

                But the toy industry is changing rapidly and Märklin is feeling the
                heat from cheaper, overseas production. It now appears that 2/3 of
                toy train production comes from China. In fact, Märklin's management
                feels that the company is faced with "extinction".

                "We have tried as much as possible to keep our production in
                Germany", said Maerklin boss Paul Adams. "So we raised our prices
                and now we find ourselves in a situation where the market no longer
                accepts them".

                Read the entire article here:
                http://tvnz.co.nz/view/news_business_story_skin/461645%3fformat=html

                A 1992 Harvard Business Review article by H. Simon entitled "Lessons
                From Germany's Midsize Giants" examines Märklin's corporate culture
                and helps to explain the current crisis the company is facing.

                <http://groups.google.ca/groups?
                q=marklin+revenues&hl=en&lr=&selm=cf697647.0303011927.5346d72e%
                40posting.google.com&rnum=2>

                Food for thought,
                Jeffrey MacHan
              • Flayrah
                I wouldn t be surprised if Marklin completely stopped manufacturing US prototype equipment. For 2005, there only appears to be one new item, and that s a
                Message 7 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                  I wouldn't be surprised if Marklin completely stopped manufacturing
                  US prototype equipment. For 2005, there only appears to be
                  one "new" item, and that's a re-paint; plus I've noticed some
                  dealers are placing the 2003 and 2004 US "starter sets" on sale -
                  perhaps an indication that they didn't sell well? If Marklin
                  perceives a lack of interest in sales of these items, they may
                  decide the market won't support new or additional products.
                • randy smidt
                  As far as North American product, Marklin may simply retrench at this point and wait out the exchange rate problem like many other European businesses are
                  Message 8 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                    As far as North American product, Marklin may simply
                    retrench at this point and wait out the exchange rate
                    problem like many other European businesses are doing.
                    Besides, with all the new releases planned from MTL,
                    AZL and smaller manufacturers, Marklin will have a
                    hard time competing in the US market this year.

                    I think that if MTL came out with a steamer priced
                    even as high as $300 and passenger cars, Marklin would
                    see sales of North American prototype trains drop to
                    almost nothing. Of course, so far MTL has shown no
                    interest in passenger trains. I personally model both
                    N.A. and German prototypes, so I will still buy
                    Marklin product as long as I can afford it. If I
                    really want something, I have been know to save up for
                    two years or even buy something on lay away.

                    The GG-1 is one of the best locos I have (in any
                    scale)! But with one new product a year for North
                    America (and a very regional, though important,
                    product at that) Marklin isn't going to keep up with
                    MTL or even AZL.

                    One thing to keep in mind is that MTL has stated that
                    they are now looking at Z scale as a growth market and
                    even AZL is starting to produce more competitively
                    priced locos while Marklin still sees Z scale as a
                    small portion of their sales. Even IF Marklin's Z
                    scale sales surpass all of MTL's N and Z sales
                    combined, the attitude toward the product line IS
                    different!

                    Isn't speculating entertaining! ;-)

                    Randy Smidt

                    --- Flayrah <flayrah@...> wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    > I wouldn't be surprised if Marklin completely
                    > stopped manufacturing
                    > US prototype equipment. For 2005, there only
                    > appears to be
                    > one "new" item, and that's a re-paint; plus I've
                    > noticed some
                    > dealers are placing the 2003 and 2004 US "starter
                    > sets" on sale -
                    > perhaps an indication that they didn't sell well?
                    > If Marklin
                    > perceives a lack of interest in sales of these
                    > items, they may
                    > decide the market won't support new or additional
                    > products.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > -Z- WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in
                    > Small DoseZ!
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    > z_scale-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • kd79ctls
                    ... I got to say I agree and disagree with all. Marklin is a company out to make money ( the bottom line). If they have to raise prices to pay the bills and
                    Message 9 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                      ---Hi
                      I got to say I agree and disagree with all. Marklin is a company out
                      to make money ( the bottom line). If they have to raise prices to pay
                      the bills and move factory over to other countries they will. Every
                      Company here in America does that and no one here complains until to
                      there gone. Why should they be any different.
                      I personally think they should have two line like most big HO company
                      do. One high end with good engine, high detail and limited runs and
                      one lower with somewhat a lower price tag. Then you and mix and match
                      the line for different price points and keep all happy.
                      I like to have both lower priced engines and higher one. Lower one
                      you can modify without thinking of the money you could lose and if
                      you take them somewhere you doesn't worry about something happening
                      to them. Higher one to collect and run at home as the jewel of your
                      collection and your railroad.
                      Kevin
                    • Tom Fisher
                      I don t think anyone has said that Marklin has no right to make a profit or to produce in China. ... __________________________________________________ Do You
                      Message 10 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                        I don't think anyone has said that Marklin has no
                        right to make a profit or to produce in China.


                        --- kd79ctls <kd79ctls@...> wrote:

                        >
                        > ---Hi
                        > I got to say I agree and disagree with all. Marklin
                        > is a company out
                        > to make money ( the bottom line). If they have to
                        > raise prices to pay
                        > the bills and move factory over to other countries
                        > they will. Every
                        > Company here in America does that and no one here
                        > complains until to
                        > there gone. Why should they be any different.
                        > I personally think they should have two line like
                        > most big HO company
                        > do. One high end with good engine, high detail and
                        > limited runs and
                        > one lower with somewhat a lower price tag. Then you
                        > and mix and match
                        > the line for different price points and keep all
                        > happy.
                        > I like to have both lower priced engines and higher
                        > one. Lower one
                        > you can modify without thinking of the money you
                        > could lose and if
                        > you take them somewhere you doesn't worry about
                        > something happening
                        > to them. Higher one to collect and run at home as
                        > the jewel of your
                        > collection and your railroad.
                        > Kevin
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >


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                      • Don
                        There was a long story in BUSINESS WEEK a few weeks ago that discussed some of the problems General Motors was having because labor was working about a 30 hour
                        Message 11 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                          There was a long story in BUSINESS WEEK a few weeks ago that discussed
                          some of the problems General Motors was having because labor was working
                          about a 30 hour week and wanted to work LESS. That just might run the
                          cost of goods / pricing up a tad.

                          Don

                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Jeffrey MacHan [mailto:jmac_han@...]
                          Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 12:19 PM
                          To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: Realism or lack of it (Was: Märklin Price
                          Increase of 19% for 2005)



                          Hello Tapani,

                          [snip]

                          But the toy industry is changing rapidly and Märklin is feeling the
                          heat from cheaper, overseas production. It now appears that 2/3 of
                          toy train production comes from China. In fact, Märklin's management
                          feels that the company is faced with "extinction".

                          "We have tried as much as possible to keep our production in
                          Germany", said Maerklin boss Paul Adams. "So we raised our prices
                          and now we find ourselves in a situation where the market no longer
                          accepts them".
                          Food for thought,
                          Jeffrey MacHan
                        • harold grady
                          Sgt. Tim, those are words very well spoken. Marklin is serious about the American market but not serious enough. What it amounts to is too little too late.
                          Message 12 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                            Sgt. Tim, those are words very well spoken.
                            Marklin is serious about the American market but
                            not serious enough. What it amounts to is too little
                            too late. They are not flexible in seeing changing
                            consumer demands. They are extremely rigid.
                            Harold Grady
                            --- sgt_tim7 <sgt_tim1@...> wrote:

                            >
                            > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "zscaleinfo"
                            > <trains@z...> wrote:
                            > If
                            > > M�rklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of
                            > z-scale for
                            > everyone.
                            >
                            >
                            > I disagree!! And so will alot others. Z scale is
                            > here to stay and
                            > as far as I am concerned, Marklin can close their
                            > doors. I know
                            > that will disappoint many of you, but not me. I
                            > will not purchase
                            > any of their products and Price has nothing to do
                            > with it.
                            >
                            > Marklin has stood around for years only making that
                            > F7 goofy looking
                            > loco while leaving the rest of us begging them and
                            > the world to make
                            > a Modern version of a US locomotive. Finally, AZL
                            > has broken ground
                            > and they haven't stopped running yet. MTL has
                            > recognized this are
                            > are wanting a bigger piece of the action.
                            >
                            > I am a modern U.S. modeller and Marklins U.S. stuff
                            > is rediculous.
                            > Odd couplers, trucks set too far back, doesn't look
                            > prototypical
                            > (Despite what some say), and just doesn't appeal to
                            > me. I will
                            > admit to a select few Locomotives and rolling stock
                            > looking OK.
                            >
                            > Before you know it, and it is coming fast, Marklin
                            > will be fighting
                            > for the U.S. market. It is apparent to me, by the
                            > comments I am
                            > reading about what people are saying at these Train
                            > Shows about how
                            > amazed they are that NEW U.S. Items, modern, are
                            > finally being
                            > produced. Z scales problem is plain and simple, we
                            > are not getting
                            > due media coverage. Give us an hour on National TV
                            > and we, the Z
                            > community, will grow by leaps and bounds.
                            >
                            > I applaud the new comers. So much to produce and
                            > not much
                            > competition. Heck, AZL and MTL are working together
                            > to not step on
                            > each others toes with the U.S. Locomotives they are
                            > producing, MTL
                            > is starting to dedicate more assets to "Z" and their
                            > are smaller up-
                            > and-coming companies out their. If Marklin stops
                            > making Z, it won't
                            > bother me!
                            > My 2 cents to your comment.
                            >
                            > Tim
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >




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                          • de Champeaux Dominique
                            ... It s exactly the same for me..... Dominique Découvrez le nouveau Yahoo! Mail : 250 Mo d espace de stockage pour vos mails ! Créez votre Yahoo! Mail sur
                            Message 13 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                              --- Tom Fisher <tfisher10@...> a écrit :
                              >
                              > Why would MTL, which exclusively models N. Am.
                              > prototypes, fail if Marklin went down especially
                              > since
                              > MTL is coming out with its own track?
                              >
                              > I have 1 Marlin tanker and 2 small diesel-hydraulic
                              > locos from Marklin. I could live without them. On
                              > the
                              > other hand, if it wasn't for MTL, Penzee, Robert
                              > Ray,
                              > FR, and AZL, I wouldn't own Z.

                              It's exactly the same for me.....
                              Dominique






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                            • Ralph Scott
                              Actually Marklin is the middle of the road when it comes to European model train manufactures. There are plenty of other large European companies whose prices
                              Message 14 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                                Actually Marklin is the middle of the road when it comes to
                                European model train manufactures. There are plenty of other large
                                European companies whose prices are much higher but so is their
                                quality. Marklin bashers also should remember who started commercial
                                Z scale in the 1st place and the fact that it was aimed at the
                                european maket as 1st priority. It wasnt until repeated requests
                                from the US that the US outline was started. So I think if you bash
                                it too much you will lose it then we will see who stands on their
                                own.
                                If you think Marklin is expensive in the US then then try buying it
                                in New Zealand and then try buying MTL in New Zealand. Its all
                                relative ! - apart from their coupler design ( which can be
                                interchanged with MTL/KD and Jorger) marklin Z is an excellent
                                product with excellent reliability and robustness.
                                Ralph

                                >
                                > Actually, Märklin is still pretty much the only important z-scale
                                > manufacturer. Of course there are smaller manufacturers addressing
                                niche
                                > areas in z-scale product sphere and of course it is encouraging to
                                see that
                                > there are attempts to bring in the market alternative track
                                systems, for
                                > instance, but will they be here to stay? It remains to be seen. Z-
                                scale was
                                > born back in 1972 and the only manufacturer having made a serious
                                commitment
                                > to the scale so far is Märklin. With all due respect, Märklin is
                                the
                                > raison-d'etre for all the small series manufacturers around z-
                                scale. If
                                > Märklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of z-scale for
                                everyone. So
                                > simple.
                                >
                                > But despite of their earlier scepticism of the early 90's, Märklin
                                seem to
                                > have renewed their strong commitment to our scale and we should
                                all be happy
                                > for that. Just look at all those incredible new z-products they
                                have put out
                                > in the past few years, and we speak about truly new products here,
                                not just
                                > repaints. At least I think that products like the German V100, GG-
                                1, NOHAB,
                                > Anhalter Station kit and many others are truly remarkable.
                                Sometimes Märklin
                                > bashing of this list is just so plain silly and totally lacks the
                                realism.
                                > Reminds me of the Grimm's fairytale of fisherman's wife who was
                                always
                                > complaining of what she had no matter how much more she got and
                                ended up
                                > losing everything at the end.
                                >
                                > I don't think that any of us is collecting/operating z-scale
                                trains to save
                                > money. Z-scale is not a mainstream scale and higher precision
                                required in
                                > manufacturing and smaller series reflect on prices too. Also,
                                Märklin has
                                > never been known for making bargain basement products in any
                                scale. I am not
                                > happy with z-scale prices either which on the first look are
                                relatively
                                > high, but I try to weigh the higher price tags against what I
                                actually get.
                                > And my conclusion is that the price may be high, but it is also
                                justified in
                                > view of the true quality and customer support you get. It is not
                                once or
                                > twice that I have been pleasantly surprised when first buying from
                                a certain
                                > auction site older z-locomotives in an apparently bad shape and
                                when
                                > disassembling them for service noticed how incredibly well-built
                                they are
                                > and how they after servicing suddenly appear like brand new. I've
                                seen
                                > locomotives from early 70's, with hundreds of operating hours
                                behind them
                                > and yet, all metallic mechanisms inside were still in a wonderful
                                shape.
                                > Also, how many manufacturers actually can sell you spare parts for
                                > locomotives they made some 30 odd years ago in rare cases they are
                                required
                                > for repairs?
                                >
                                > We all have our freedom of choice, and there are those to whom the
                                price is
                                > everything. To those constantly complaining of the cost of z-
                                scale, I would
                                > just like to say that maybe you have simply chosen the wrong scale
                                in that
                                > case. Z-scale is bound to be more difficult, more expensive, more
                                > challenging but more rewarding too than "easier", more popular
                                scales. But
                                > one needs to have a right kind of attitude, more realism and
                                understanding
                                > the true nature of our scale would not hurt. And US dollars'
                                longtime
                                > downhill against Euro is beyond Märklin's control too.
                                >
                                > As to Märklin's z-scale model policies, of course they are
                                targeting
                                > collectors as well as those of us who like to run their trains.
                                It's like
                                > that with all the other scales too when it comes to high-end
                                manufacturers.
                                > I don't see it as a problem though. I think there is a very good
                                balance
                                > between collectibles and mass production models in Märklin product
                                catalog.
                                > There are buyers for both, has always been.
                                >
                                > Tapani Tuominen
                                > trains@z...
                              • bscaro
                                Hi This thread has taken on a bit of a life of its own . . . but there you go. My original comments are directed more at the way Marklin position themselves -
                                Message 15 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                                  Hi

                                  This thread has taken on a bit of a life of its own . . . but there
                                  you go.

                                  My original comments are directed more at the way Marklin position
                                  themselves - and it seems to me they are positioning themselves to
                                  appeal to a 'club' or elite 'collecting' market rather than
                                  a 'modelling' one. That's my perception when visiting their dealers
                                  with their show rooms in a number of countries.

                                  What I wondered was whether that approach could be sustained in the
                                  light of MT's entry into the market in a big way, with a locomotive
                                  chassis choice that seems designed to enable them to quickly release
                                  all the major EMD models of the 50s and 60s.

                                  The idea of Marklin having two lines is one way around that problem,
                                  and might be one thing they could do. They already do it to a limited
                                  extent with little starter sets that are very reasonably priced with
                                  the 0-6-0, one wagon and an oval of track.

                                  And maybe not a bad idea, to be entirely selfish.

                                  I could care less what Marklin bodies are like as I only use their
                                  chassis. [And most of you already know my opinion of the US ones is
                                  not high, but let's not go there again.]

                                  But, to those who say they wouldn't care if Marklin upped stumps,
                                  where would you get steam loco chassis ? Even the MT steam loco used
                                  a Marklin chassis !

                                  Let's not be unrealistic.

                                  Cheers

                                  Ben

                                  > I personally think they should have two line like most big HO
                                  company
                                  > do. One high end with good engine, high detail and limited runs and
                                  > one lower with somewhat a lower price tag. Then you and mix and
                                  match
                                  > the line for different price points and keep all happy.
                                  >
                                • zscaleinfo
                                  ... I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry today. If Märklin really closed it s doors and dropped z-scale, it would, first of
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                                    >-----Original Message-----
                                    >From: sgt_tim7 [mailto:sgt_tim1@...]
                                    >Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 17:30
                                    >To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                                    >Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: Realism or lack of it (Was: Märklin
                                    >Price Increase of 19% for 2005)
                                    >
                                    >--- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "zscaleinfo" <trains@z...> wrote:
                                    >If
                                    >> Märklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of z-scale for
                                    >everyone.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >I disagree!! And so will alot others. Z scale is here to stay and
                                    >as far as I am concerned, Marklin can close their doors. I know
                                    >that will disappoint many of you, but not me. I will not purchase
                                    >any of their products and Price has nothing to do with it.

                                    I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry today.
                                    If Märklin really closed it's doors and dropped z-scale, it would, first of
                                    all, hit the consumer confidence in the future of z-scale worldwide. People
                                    would start to leave the sinking ship in masses and turn their eyes to other
                                    scales, N most likely. If they see that not even the world's biggest model
                                    train manufacturer believes in z-scale anymore, it's a very stong
                                    discouraging signal. The accessories manufacturers would reach the same
                                    conclusion and eventually discontinue their z product lines and focus on
                                    other, more lucrative scales instead of a dying curiosity, a minority scale
                                    on a way to extinction. The commercial risk of staying in the z-scale market
                                    without the credibility and inertia given to it by Märklin, the biggest and
                                    oldest model train manufacturer backing the scale would become unbearable.

                                    >Marklin has stood around for years only making that F7 goofy looking
                                    >loco while leaving the rest of us begging them and the world to make
                                    >a Modern version of a US locomotive. Finally, AZL has broken ground
                                    >and they haven't stopped running yet. MTL has recognized this are
                                    >are wanting a bigger piece of the action.

                                    The F7 you mention, is a product from a different era. In the 70's Märklin
                                    did cut the corners a little bit by using the same mechanism in several
                                    locomotive series which resulted in mildly distorted proportions in some
                                    products. In some locomotives it is more obvious than in others. Marklin has
                                    redone some of the older locomotives and introduced more true-to-scale
                                    successors with updated mechanisms. Most notably the German 216/218 series.
                                    If there is a demand and it becomes commercially viable, I am sure they will
                                    introduce a new version of F7 too.

                                    The product lines of the two manufactures you cite are not comprehensive
                                    enough to keep z-scale alive alone in a hypothetical situation that Märklin
                                    would leave the world of z. Back in the early 70's when Märklin introduced
                                    z-scale, there was not a single accessories manufacturer for z-scale. In
                                    order to make z-scale a viable alternative to N-scale and an immeadiate
                                    success, which was Märklin's goal very much, they had to offer, not only the
                                    rolling stock and a good selection of track segments, but also accessories
                                    of all sorts from signals and catenary to transformers and plastic
                                    structures kits. Even tiny automobiles in 1:220. Z-scale relies on the
                                    availability of readymade products more than other scales due to it's tiny
                                    size and support from accessories manufacturer's is essential if the model
                                    train manufacturer can not cover those needs.

                                    >Before you know it, and it is coming fast, Marklin will be fighting
                                    >for the U.S. market. It is apparent to me, by the comments I am
                                    >reading about what people are saying at these Train Shows about how
                                    >amazed they are that NEW U.S. Items, modern, are finally being
                                    >produced.

                                    Talk is cheap. The real test is, will the new products sell well enough to
                                    encourage their manufacturers to expand the production or will they be
                                    forced to pull out after a while to minimize the losses. It is positive that
                                    so many manufacturers are showing interest in z-scale, but like I said, if
                                    Märklin pulled the plug, the others would think twice whether staying in
                                    z-scale makes sense or not.

                                    >I applaud the new comers. So much to produce and not much
                                    >competition.

                                    You seem to have a rather rosy idea of model train business. Even in the
                                    world's biggest z-scale market, that is Germany, there are still lot's of
                                    products that simply don't exist in z-scale, but would be very welcome and
                                    why is that? Because the accessories manufacturers at large simply do not
                                    consider it profitable to cater the needs of z-scalers at the same level as
                                    they do for N or HO customers. However, I do agree that we should encourage
                                    and see positivily the contributions of any manufacturer, big and small, to
                                    our beloved z-scale. And that includes Märklin too. Unfounded and highly
                                    emotional critizism of one manufacturer does not take us anywhere no matter
                                    how passionate we are about our hobby, which basically is a positive thing.
                                    Constructive feedback and suggestions to manufacturers work much better.
                                    Also, let's not forget that actually buying their products when we can, is
                                    the best way to support our hobby.

                                    >and-coming companies out their. If Marklin stops making Z, it won't
                                    >bother me!

                                    Well, it surely would bother me and many others who would like the z-scale
                                    to be here to stay for years to come and progress worldwide.

                                    Tapani Tuominen
                                    trains@...
                                  • sgt_tim7
                                    ... ........................................... But, to those who say they wouldn t care if Marklin upped stumps, where would you get steam loco chassis ?
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                                      --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "bscaro" <bscaro@y...> wrote:
                                      ........................................... But, to those who say
                                      they wouldn't care if Marklin upped stumps,
                                      where would you get steam loco chassis ? Even the MT steam loco
                                      used
                                      a Marklin chassis !


                                      AZL perhaps!!!!!!!! Perhaps a New company that hasn't been brought
                                      to life yet? With a dedication to "Z", a great business Plan and
                                      the right investors, a company could be born overnight that could
                                      rival both AZL and MTL. Point is, their is such a wide open gap of
                                      N. Am. locos and rolling stock that has never been attempted
                                      that "Z" could very well grow from 2%+ in total Model Railroading to
                                      25% or higher. With limited space and more multiple posibilities
                                      with "Z", more people would give up their HO and possibly their N
                                      layouts.

                                      Think of the miles and miles of "Z" scale track that could replace
                                      the thousands of feet of HO and N scale track that is represented on
                                      peoples layouts and modules. Layout space remains the same, but the
                                      acres of scale space would increase 10 fold. Having more space
                                      means needing more "Z" stuff to fill the void. If more Z is
                                      produced at a cheaper cost, then people will buy.

                                      My personal issue with Marklin- Thanks for starting "Z" in the
                                      world, but, you should have made modern US decades ago. I have
                                      followed "Z" for nearly 20 years. No modern diesel locos, no
                                      buy!!!! AZL changed all that for me. Sell all my N scale and now I
                                      am here! Yes, much more expensive, but as they say, Build it and
                                      they will buy! :) So many people are seeing what "Z" is
                                      developing into here, in the US, and they are getting into it.

                                      I say, the collectors can keep collecting, but the ones who are
                                      serious about the fun involved in this hobby, go forth and reap the
                                      rewards. NTS 2005 here I come!!!!

                                      I found 2 more pennies(cents)
                                      Tim
                                    • David Barnblatt
                                      I responded a few days ago about the Marklin debate with no comment from anyone regarding the real issue which is the value of the dollar. Here is my original
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                                        I responded a few days ago about the Marklin debate with no comment from
                                        anyone regarding the real issue which is the value of the dollar. Here is my
                                        original post:

                                        It really has nothing to do with labor costs. It is the value of the dollar
                                        to the Euro. In addition Marklin USA operates as a separate entity. Meaning
                                        that Marklin USA needs to make money like everybody else. Marklin Germany
                                        sells to Marklin USA just like it sells to other shops and dealers across
                                        Europe. Take that into consideration, add the lousy exchange rate, Marklin
                                        USA's big mark-up and finally the mark-up from the dealer and there you have
                                        the huge prices we pay over here for this stuff.
                                        This really only effects dealers that buy from Marklin USA and not some
                                        internet dealers that buy from partners overseas. It really is not worth the
                                        price difference.
                                        A good example is, say, a Marklin 8856. Here, at a well known model train
                                        shop in LA the 8856 costs $419.98! From a well known auction site dealer in
                                        the Netherlands it runs 200 Euro to order it from them outside the auction
                                        environment. That's a huge price difference.
                                        So I would not blame Marklin Germany but Marklin USA.

                                        In addition:

                                        A few have commented that if Marklin dropped z scale that they wouldn't
                                        care. There are many members of this group, myself included that model
                                        European railways. I would definitely be very upset if Marklin dropped z
                                        scale. I certainly don't feel that way about AZL or MTL... They are
                                        creating beautiful models and expanding z, making it more of a viable scale
                                        so every body benefits.
                                        For 2005 many are "unimpressed" with the new offerings from Marklin. I for
                                        one found a very nice and long awaited Swiss steam locomotive. Pretty nice
                                        stuff!

                                        David


                                        On 2/28/05 3:56 PM, "overdosezd" <overdosezd@...> wrote:

                                        >
                                        > Michael,
                                        >
                                        > Wow! Must be due to all that high-priced Chinese labor Marklin has
                                        > started using. I just got the 2005 catalog and was pretty
                                        > unimpressed. It was full of mostly older sets that must still be
                                        > languishing in the stockrooms. Even the GG1 is a bizarre choice.
                                        > First off, it's wrong. That particular GG1 had a riveted body. I
                                        > don't object to another Z GG1 but I would have rather had a more
                                        > commonplace paint scheme. The up side to all of this is that Micro-
                                        > Trains is ramping up with the roadbed track and the new diesel.
                                        > Speaking of MTL... The March page is up today and features a Z
                                        > survey. Please go and fill it in. Maybe if we all fill it out
                                        > they'll get some more product under development? And MTL prices are
                                        > always nicer than Marklin prices! Don't know how they manage to do
                                        > it without that high-priced Chinese workforce!
                                        >
                                        > Disguszted with Marklin 2005,
                                        >
                                        > Mark Lieske
                                      • bscaro
                                        I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry today. If Märklin really closed it s doors and dropped z-scale, it would, first of all,
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                                          I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry
                                          today. If Märklin really closed it's doors and dropped z-scale, it
                                          would, first of all, hit the consumer confidence in the future of z-
                                          scale worldwide. People would start to leave the sinking ship in
                                          masses and turn their eyes to other scales, N most likely. If they
                                          see that not even the world's biggest model train manufacturer
                                          believes in z-scale anymore, it's a very stong discouraging signal.
                                          The accessories manufacturers would reach the same conclusion and
                                          eventually discontinue their z product lines and focus on other, more
                                          lucrative scales instead of a dying curiosity, a minority scale
                                          on a way to extinction. The commercial risk of staying in the z-scale
                                          market without the credibility and inertia given to it by Märklin,
                                          the biggest and oldest model train manufacturer backing the scale
                                          would become unbearable.

                                          ******

                                          I disagree with this. Take the example of Triang TT.

                                          British TT scale should have died by the early 70s after Triang
                                          dropped it. Nothing of the sort happened.

                                          People started making kits, mechanisms, etches, and British TT became
                                          a scale for high quality modelling, freed of the constraints of
                                          manufacturers compromises and their need for profit.

                                          Modellers became manufacturers, and instead of making high-cost items
                                          like RTR locomotives, instead produced generic components such as a
                                          range of wheels, chassis parts, motors, etc. Using these parts,
                                          modellers started building a wide range of locomotives and cars
                                          themselves.

                                          Most of the cottage manufacturers were in it for love, but given the
                                          right co-operative arrangements of an association set up to support
                                          the scale, TT did quite well.

                                          In essence, TT ceased to be a commercial scale and became a co-
                                          operative effort, a true modelling scale.

                                          In fact, when you look at British TT and other scales like 2mm, which
                                          is one of a number of examples which have *never* had the support of
                                          a major manufacturer -and the compromises in realism which go along
                                          with it ! - you see some of the best modelling today.

                                          Although it is not guaranteed, it is at least possible that a similar
                                          thing might happen in Z if Marklin exited the market.

                                          I hope they don't though.

                                          Ben
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