New :

MÄRKLIN & RAILROADS : A personal view by Christian Vinaa

New :

  • Scale and size
    • 5", 1, LGB, H0, TT, N, Z

  • Electricity - Electronics
    • Turnouts
    • Signals
    • Light barrier

  • Real trains ( scale 1:1 )
    • Real trains - scale 1:1
    • Selection of train videos

  • Items for sale
    • NEW
    • Second-hand

Exhibitions :
International Toy Fair
in Nuremberg

Spielwarenmesse Nurnberg logo
Logo : © Spielwarenmesse

Impressions 2014

POI - Points Of Interest - Please download my kmz-file ( Google Earth kmz-file ) for Nürnberg.
( Latest version: 2017-01 )

( Back to the main page about the International Toy Fair Nuremberg )

My photos from 2014 - bottom of this page.

Several things could describe the 2014 fair :

The market for toys is still very huge. The fact that the Nürnberg Fair can devote one large hall to only puppets and another large hall to customes for Halloween and the German "Fasching" speaks for itself.

There seems to be no limit to how much parents are willing to spend on toys; however, at least IMHO, it seems that the toys of today have a much shorter life-span; which suit the toy companies perfectly.

Many toys are cheap, ( but in fact NOT cheap at all ), merchandize products with themes from Hollywood movies and TV-series from the USA. These products are only popular for a few months; then the next product-line arrives.

There still are a few products with lasting quality; toys that you can see a child play with also next year, but they remain the exception, and even these product-lines have to introduce "new" things in order to compete in a toy world where novelty is EVERYTHING.

Everybody was selling small radio-controlled helicopters and flying saucers and drones. And I mean EVERYBODY.

Parents all over the world should be prepared for a regular air force of in-door UFO's flying around in houses and appartments, knocking down vases etc, and bouncing against windows and walls.

The market for radio-controlled R/C cars, trucks and lorries seem to grow and grow, while they get smaller and smaller and can do more and more things thanx to miniature motors.

The days where R/C cars were just speeding on a carpet are gone; now doors open, headlights are turned on/off, brake lights and signal lights work. Trucks have every kind of working function and comes in AWD mode to climb mountains in the sand-box.

China is still where 95 % of the toys are made, but it is no longer the European and USA based companies that produces toys in China. Now the Chinese have their own companies making, basically, cheap knock-offs. The Chinese don't seem to be innovative.

As more and more western companies, like Simba-Dickie, withdraw from having toys produced in China, there are many opportunities for the Chinese companies to launch their own products, so we haven't heard the last from Peking and Co.

What remains to be seen is whether Peking, toy-wise, will follow the example of the many Chinese copyright and interlectual right violations that i.e. the music and the computer-game world has experienced from Peking, or whether the psysical element of a real toy will prevent the Chinese from sending loads of pirate-copies to Europe.

Untill 3-D printing gets cheaper you can't really download a psysical toy !

Japan and especially the "Manga" - "Anime" style continues to be popular, but Japan has also found a niche for itself in the toy-world : Toys that are suited for small rooms and small appartments.

While most western companies don't really consider the size of the "home" or the "room" where toys are played with, the Japanese companies are forced to produce down-sized toys that will fit in a typical Japanese home and that can be assempled / taken apart for each play session. Especially Japanese toy trains and model trains are fine examples of this practice.

What about model trains ?

Well, sadly the hall where the model trains are located keeps getting smaller and smaller and even in 2014 the Toy Fair had to create some last-minute public space in order to "disguise" that not all stands in hall 4a were sold.

The Märklin group ( Märklin - Trix - LGB ) had the largest stand and presented quite a few new items, which you no doubt can read more about in the model railroad magazines and other places on the internet.

It is a shame that model railroaders have grown used to Märklin announcing a "new model" only to find out that it's "only" a new color-scheme. Because of that - when Märklin REALLY announces a new item it kinda disappears in the background noise or like the boy crying "WOLF".

Another thing in Nürnberg is that, because it is a trade fair, the displaying of the toys is a secondary thing; the important m2's are used for meeting-rooms, where deals are negotiated. This also means that not all new items are high-lighted.

You really have to look behind the curtains and read between the lines in order to get the full picture.

The trend regarding model trains is, in fact, actually the name "model train". It is time to really distinguish between "toy train" and "model train"; or in German : "Spielzeug" and "Modelleisenbahn".

Märklin, again, set the standard with the introduction of the "My World" series. Florian Sieber has stressed again and again that there will be the "My World", the "Start Up" and the "Märklin" and there are no signs that this will change.
( Funny thing though is that the Märklin website ( at least as of August 2014 ) still hasn't implemented this ! )

It is unclear whether the computerisation ( i.e. tablets / iPads ) will have an effect in all 3 product lines.

Digitalisation is of course important in the high-end "Märklin" brand, but IMHO we've soon reached the limit to what is wanted ny the Märklin custors

Another trend with model trains is the use of iPad / tablet and the computerization of the running of trains. Roco started this trend but Märklin was quick to follow. You actually sit in the drivers seat and have to control all the things that makes a locomotive run; forgot to fill water or coal or sand in the steam-lok; tough luck - your lok will be stranded somewhere on the layout.

Roco continues down the track (pun intended) with this trend and has just introduced a tablet controlled "game".

No doubt that this trend will continue and we'll see loks with small cameras in the front transmitting to the iPad the actual view of the tracks in front of the lok; but is this practical - is it fun to play with - or is it just a gimmick ?

One of my model train friends said, very accurately : "All these sounds effects that the new loks have are ok, but if i'm running more than 2 trains on my layout I cannot stand all the different noises. It's ok when it's only one lok and you can enjoy the individual sounds".

I think he made a good point. In fact it seems to me that he has touched the core of model railroading :

What's it all about ? Ask 10 model railroaders this question and you'll get 10 different answers, but i'm pretty sure that none of the answers will be : Its about sitting behind a computer screen.

Model railroading is about the "hands-on" experience. The feeling of creating your own little world. The way you turn a knob or flip a contact and something happens.

Its exactly why modern auto-makers have re-introduced the "feel" and the "inertia" in how you drive a car. I.e the way a turn-signal worked in the old days was with a mechanical relay going click-clack. Even though modern cars don't have such a relay; the timing mechanism is built into a computer chip; some auto-makers have incorporated a sound-file with the click-clack sound; simply because drivers have been used to that sound for about 100 years.

I think that the model-train makers, like Märklin, should think twice about going too far in the "app" world; - at least when the customer is the high end "Märklin" model railroader. Not because I don't value the results and the gadgets, but because I believe that there are other things that matter more to the model railroaders; i.e. more different tracks.

But - the tablets and the games and the gizmo's are perfect for the "My World" and the "Start Up" series, where the gaol is to attract the young generation; and to be honest; with the young generations it is obvious that if there isn't an "APP", then it's obsolete like the beta-max video-tape.

Indeed it seems like there really will be an "iron curtain" between the "toy train" and the "model-railroad".

Here are some of my photos from the Toy Fair in 2014

Click on an image to enlarge :

Czech model af Danish bier car
Czech manufacturer "BUBI-MODEL"
with a Danish Albani-bier car.
Wiking with real aston martin
WIKING model-car maker with a scale 1:1.
WIKING went to the movies this year with
"Herbie" ,"James Bond"
and "The Fast & The Furious".
Bemo with 2 new cars
BEMO had a small diorama layout
with at least 2 new cars :
"CARGO" and "COOP".
Busch diorama
BUSCH had some peculiar
problems on one of their dioramas.
Fulgurex BLS 460
FULGUREX - the swiss manufacturer
from Lausanne in Vaud presented
the BLS 465 in scale 1.
Hagen von Ortloff
Hagen von Ortloff
and one of his faithfull fans :-)
Good friends at the fair
3 model-train afficionados from
Paris, Kentucky and New York.
It's a small world indeed.
Nice layout.
Not a bad presentation diorama.
Scrap-metal yard
"Any old iron ?"
Very nice color mix and match.
Live steam in scale 1
You don't see live-steam
coq-wheel everyday. Not cheap.
Diorama How to transport an old steam lok
This is one of those pictures
that is worth more than 100 words.
Marklin Lint LED video
Märklins new LINT with a video screen
instead of doors. The screen plays short
videos of the doors opening, people going
in and out, and doors closing.
Märklin still have to work on the brightness.
Wonderfull old Märklin shop in Nürnberg
Wonderfull old shop-sign at what must be
the tinyest model-railroad shop ever.
In fact it is in Nürnberg city.
Hardly any place inside to turnaround.
You back-out the way you came in; literally.
HEKI architure house
Spetacular architec-designed
house from HEKI.
Roco at the fair
ROCO and their big stand.
ROCO really uses tablets / iPad's to
get the younger generations
to play with model-trains.

Copyright © Christian Vinaa
2014 -
"Märklin" and other brand names and product names and logo's
are ©, TM or registered trademarks of their respective owners,
and are used on this website for purely informational purposes.

"Let's Lok'n Roll"