OO manufacturers, past and present

Discussion in 'Modelling, Simulations & Games' started by GusB, 25 Aug 2018.

  1. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    I note that there was a "Hornby vs Bachmann" thread created recently. I felt unable to take part in the discussion because I've been away from the hobby for so long, and I've completely lost track of who makes what. Back in the day it was very much "Hornby vs Lima", with the latter generally turning out better products. I've got a few Mainline wagons, and Airfix Mk2D? BSO (with extra holes due to my teenage attempt at a DBSO conversion), but I understand that those names were already pretty much defunct as far as model railway stuff was concerned.

    I suppose what I'm getting at is - who still makes stuff, and of the companies still on the go, who took over which mouldings? I used to subscribe to Railway Modeller, but that stopped around the time when I left school (1992). My dad has a few copies of various magazines kicking around, but they're all from around 2009, which is hardly recent!

    Purchasing the latest edition of RM would help me with some of the answers, but I'm curious to find out from other forum members if they still have some of the older generation rolling stock, and what their views are as to how it compares with the latest models.

    When I last had any serious interest in model railways, Hornby and Lima were the Big Two. Bachmann had introduced their "Branchline" range to much acclaim, and I think Heljan were just beginning to dip their toes in the water.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Bachmann I think bought a lot of moulds etc from (or bought out maybe?) Replica Railways and Mainline sometime around the late 1980s or early 90s.
    From what I remember Mainline did a few decent looking models (for the time) including their Peak, a class 56 and various steam locomotives like a Jubilee, Manor etc.
    I had a few over the years and seem to recall that they didn’t run that well. A lot of people persevered with the Peak and the 56 though because there were no alternative models at the time...

    Until recently I had quite a few old models hanging around including a few Replica mk1s (which were pretty good actually) and a rake of Lima Intercity exec mk1s - I’d had the Lima ones for over twenty years and had detailed them bit by bit and flush glazed them too.
    They’re nothing like the quality of the more modern stuff though.
    I’ve still got a couple of Lima things kicking around thinking about it.
    The nice thing about the older stuff was that you could chop it around and repair it easily.

    We’re away at the moment but I’ll have a look when I get back.
     
  4. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    If you turn the clock back to the mid 1970s Palitoy introduced the Mainline Railways range while Airfix introduced the Airfix Railway System. The fundamental difference concerning the toolings was that Airfix owned theirs whilst Kader, who had been commissioned by Palitoy to make the Mainline Railways range, owned theirs.

    Following the 1980 collapse of Airfix its range, then known as Great Model Railways, was bought by Palitoy but already produced models in the Airfix warehouse were sold to Dapol. Palitoy thereafter introduced into the Mainline range some new locos that were not made by Kader, the Dean Goods, N2, 56 and 2P.

    General Mills, the owners of Palitoy, decided to pull out of Europe and the Mainline warehouse stock was sold to Dapol. Replica commissioned Kader to produce some models as well as new introduction - the B1 and Modified Hall. This was the subject of a legal challenge by Dapol who mistakenly thought they had rights to the toolings.

    The situation in the late 1980s therefore was that Dapol had access to the original Airfix toolings and non Kader owned Mainline toolings, while Kader were using their original Mainline toolings for Replica. Kader then acquired outright ownership of Bachmann and set up Bachmann Industries Europe in 1989. The UK range known as Bachmann Branchline was launched with the Kader owned toolings previously used for Palitoy (Mainline) and Replica.

    Dapol in the meanwhile, annoyed at not having access to the Mainline toolings owned by Kader, made copies and also had duplicate toolings of some the Airfix tools made up. In 1996 Dapol sold the Airfix/Mainline non-Kader and Mainline copy tools to Hornby. The outcome of this is that it is possible to find the same basic model of some wagons, such as the 12T tank wagon, in Mainline, Replica, Dapol, Bachmann and Hornby boxes. Bachmann today have largely retooled the range with only a few models still having Mainline origins.

    Lima ceased trading in 2004 and Hornby acquired its model train ranges, both UK and European leading to the Hornby International ranges. Vi-Trains made a few UK models briefly (a 37 and 47)
    The Danish manufacturer Heljan entered the UK market in 2002 while various changes of personal at Dapol saw DJM Models being set up. Another newcomer is Oxford Rail, by the firm responsible for Oxford Diecast vehicles

    A recent development has been models being commissioned by retailers (Rails, Hattons, Kernow notably) the National Railway Museum and Model Rail magazine using a variety of manufactures including direct commissions with the factory and the Canadian firm Rapido Trains as well as the likes of Bachmann etc.
     
    Last edited: 26 Aug 2018
  5. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Most succinctly put and interesting.
    The Hornby Railroad range uses the Lima body toolings that they bought for some of their diesels, but with a more modern power bogie and higher quality paint/numbering etc.
    Quite a canny purchase by Hornby really.
     
  6. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    @SCH117X Thanks for an interesting bit of history there. I certainly remember seeing the old Airfix aircon mk2 range in Dapol boxes, but I hadn't realised the saga with Airfix/Mainline/Dapol was so complicated!
    I had initially thought that Hornby had stuck the Railroad brand on their older models, and hadn't realised that they were using the old Lima tooling. An acknowledgement that some of the Lima models were slightly superior to their original range, perhaps? :)

    I've still got a few Mainline items kicking about somewhere, I think. A few plank wagons and some 16T? mineral wagons, all filled with real coal. I should really have a rummage under the stairs some day. I never did finish that DBSO, nor the buffered HST conversion...
     
  7. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I had a few things like that Gus. In the end I ebayed everything except the really good stuff. It’s amazing what people will buy.
    Re the Railroad ex Lima models - Some of them were really quite well proportioned and detailed.
     
  8. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    The Hornby Railroad range does include some of Hornbys own toolings including some recent additions like Duke of Gloucester where they do two versions, a railroad and more detailed main range model, as well as some of the models acquired from Dapol in 1996. For clarity that acquisition included models that Dapol had tooled up new including the County 4-6-0, L&Y Pug & J94.

    Two firms I did not mention in my previous posting were Wrenn and Trix.

    Wrenn made most of the former Hornby Dublo models and did make a few additions themselves. It was sold in 1992 to Dapol but many of toolings thereafter were destroyed or damaged in a fire. Dapol sell a number of the wagon, the HD/Wrenn bodies fitted to their own chassis. A firm called Mordvale acquired the rights largely to the locos and coaches in 2001 but nothing seems to have happened.

    The Trix UK range was acquired in the 1970s by the Austrian firm Liliput and parts made for assembly in Wales. Dapol who acquired some parts and tools in 1992 - they did produce the Class 124 Trans-Pennine DMU using their own motor bogie.
    Kader bought Liliput in 1993 and the A4 reappeared as a Bachmann Branchline model; albeit with over 100 changes to the body tooling and new chassis.
     
  9. Royston Vasey

    Royston Vasey Established Member

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    Lima were always proportioned and detailed far better than Hornby before they were acquired, and ran as smooth as silk. I remember the Lima Mk IIIs were very faithful external reproductions at a time when IIRC Hornby were shoddily using the Mk II chassis/dimensions for their Mk III (late 80s) and generally had a far more plasticky tacky feel to them.
     
  10. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Lima locos were a bit mixed IME - some ran very well and would crawl along, others not so and stuttered at low speeds to a stop - suspect issues with the gears, get one with the gears all spot on dimensionally and they are okay, get one with some gears at the outer limits of their tolerances and its is different matter. Sold all but a 101 DMU which was a good runner away is now fitted with a replacement CD motor and runs brilliantly. Hornby have remotored them
     
  11. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    The one thing that Hornby Mk3s were superior for was the glazing, which if I recall correctly was a completely separate strip of clear plastic that snapped in to the body. It's such a pity that they weren't scale length. On the subject of Mk3s, I managed to acquire a set made by Jouef (for the abovementioned push-pull project). The blue was more of a greeny shade and the wheelsets were a bit dodgy, but I thought they were slightly better than the Lima equivalent. I understand Jouef has also been hoovered up by Hornby.
     
  12. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Jouef, there’s a name from the past. They did a class 40 as well but I don’t know what other UK stuff they did. Perhaps SCH117X might know?
    You’re right about the glazing on the Hornby mk3s, I’d forgotten about that. Although as Royston Vasey said much of the Hornby range was pretty poor.
    The 25 was quite good though with a bit of added detail.
     
  13. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Think Jouef only did the mk3s and the somewhat overwide 40. My 2002 copy of British Model Trains by Pat Hammond oddly does not list Jouef at all, presumably may be covered in a more recent version. Jouef were bought by Lima and hence acquired by Hornby when they bought Lima.
     
  14. InterCity:125

    InterCity:125 Member

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    Hornby bought Lima around 2004.
     
  15. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Already mentioned in post #3.
     
  16. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    Well to be more precise, Hornby bought the Lima moulds from the receivers. Lima had gone bust - Hornby just bought the bits they wanted - in fact I believe the 37 and 47 moulds weren't bought, which is how ViTrains came into being - though has subsequently disappeared....
     
  17. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Hornby certainly have used the Lima 37 toolings (Regional Railways R2775 for example compared to DRS R2574 which is old Triang Hornby tooling) and I believe they were going to use the 47 toolings but found they were damaged. Pretty certain the Vi Trains models were from new toolings.
     
  18. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Out of curiosity I did a bit of research a while ago about the Vi Trains 37 and 47.
    I think they were new mouldings, but they did come out around that time which is why it’s often said that they were from the same toolings. There are some quite big detail differences between them though.
    I’ve also heard a rumour that they were to form the first part of an improved range for Lima but the company was going down the pan and they weren’t completed in time. Unlikely, but it’s an interesting thought...
    I think it’s fair to say that the Lima factory was in disarray by the end and it’s no wonder that there’s uncertainty around these models.
     
  19. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    A quick google shows Hornby have also made use of the Lima 47 tooling
     
  20. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Not mentioned above is that, until about the late 1950s or early 1960s, all 00 guage (electric powered) models used a 3rd rail system, with a central "powered" rail between the running rails. I think 2 rail electric models started only when material technology advances provided sufficiently reliable insulating materials to be used in model railway equipment.

    Of course it did not look "realistic", but was adequate for people who just wanted "to run trains".
     
  21. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Indeed, and although it was a bit before my time some of the models were very good considering the technology that was available. The Standard 4 tank was a lovely model and caught the character of the prototype particularly well.
     
  22. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Also not mentioned, and more expensive than the rest, are Sutton Locomotive Works who make a 24 and FIA trains who made a LMS 10000 diesel (to IIRC true scale dimensions so no way would go round typical OO curves).
     
  23. martian boy

    martian boy Member

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    This might be slightly off-topic. Back in the 1970s, the Airfix railway kit range proved to be a cheap alternative to the r-t-r range. The problem being the coupling. They were not supplied with the most common tension lock coupler. It was possible to "botch" a coupler on a kit. These kits, still manufactured by Dapol, were originally manufactured by Rosebud Kit Master.
     
  24. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Just noticed in my 2002 copy of Ramsays British Model Trains a comment that Dapol tried to acquire the Airfix toolings at the time they passed to Palitoy (Mainline). Dapol as a result had some copies made and it does list Dapol and Mainline making the same wagons at the same time period. That duplication of toolings is borne out today by Dapol selling some wagons which are to all intents the same wagon that Hornby sell.
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2018
  25. Jagdpanther

    Jagdpanther Member

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    Jouef also did a class 21 diesel. However Jouef stuff was marketed in the UK under the Playcraft name and most stuff appeared in Playcraft branded boxes - they did a large range of wagons most of which were 're-labelled continental wagons. I think only the mk3s and class 40 were sold in actual Jouef boxes. UK Jouef and all the Playcraft range appears in Pat Hammonds books under Playcraft
     
  26. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Thanks for the pointer re Jouef stuff in what I presume is a later edition of that book as mine does not list the 40 and Mk3s. Mine lists the Playcraft loco as a 29 not a 21 but then its accuracy was not really a strong pointy
     
  27. MarlowDonkey

    MarlowDonkey Member

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    As those who were children in the 1950s may recall, the two main brands were Triang, plastic and two rail and Hornby Dublo, metal and three rail. Later in the late 1950s/early 1960s, Hornby also launched a two rail system. Being more expensive than Triang, it failed to sell in the required quantities and Hornby went bust. The brand name was bought by the parent company of Triang. In the early 1970s, corporate reconstructions forced the model train operation to drop the Triang name, retaining the Hornby name.
     
  28. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    ViTrains are alive and kicking, they just don't produce UK models anymore
     
  29. Journeyman

    Journeyman Member

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    Was Jouef OO or HO? Lima obviously did both in UK outline (and some models which were an odd combination of the two!)
     
  30. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    The mk3s were definitely 00 because I had some. Pretty sure that the 40 was too because I remember seeing them, but I didn’t end up buying one because the superior Lima model came out.
     
  31. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    The Playcraft items were HO, the mk3 was the only true scale model they made as the 40 was too wide.
     

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