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Real trains - scale 1:1
Selection of train videos
- Travels - Exhibitions - Fairs
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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 2016. ( Bottom of this page )
Many of the observations I made at the 2014 Nürnberg Fair are still valid.
You can no doubt in various model-magazines read all about the new items,
so I'll focus on my own objective observations, feelings and remarks.
I've found some newspaper articles with focus on the Nuremberg Fair 2016,
on the future of the model railroad and on Märklin :
The toy market is still huge and very international. If possible the connections between TV, movies and toys are even tighter in 2016 than in previous years.
The overall trend is still based on the use of tablets and smart phones. However the basic hands-on products ( like toys made from wood ) still thrive.
The educational toy trend is still very much alive and it seems that are is an battle going on between the toys where children have to use their own imagination, and toys that comes with a pre-set imagination.
Many toys rely on an allready marketed and constructed fantasy - i.e. Disney Cars "Lightning McQueen" and friends - "Thomas the Tank Engine" and his friends.
Afterall - what are these products but a model car and a model train ?
IMHO Märklin still has to figure out what to do with "Tim Tender" and "Märklino".
Especially "Märklino" has some potential while "Tim Tender" - sadly - is a dead duck.
More about Märklino in the "That's how I see it" section.
It was my impression from the 2016 Fair was that there were fewer visitors than the previous years.
No doubt that selling and presenting your products over the internet has taken over much of the trade that took place at the Fair.
It seemed that many exihibitors were much less busy than the previous years. Perhaps the lack of real new items had something to do with it.
Several exhibitors told me that there was not much real selling at the fair, but that it was important to be seen and to be included in the reports / reviews in the several model-train magazines : MIBA - Eisenbahn-Journal etc., and the TV / internet-video coverage.
At Märklin's stand however I did notice that there were a lot of negotiations going on between Märklin's sales persons and the buyers from model-train-stores from all over the world.
I also noticed that all of Märklin's top people were present and taking part in the presentation / negotiations. Florian Sieber - Wolfrad Bächle - Karl-Heinz Grässle and others.
Märklin's top story seemed to be the new version of the Central Station - CS-3 - but you can read more about these new items in various model-railroad magazines.
Several of the people I talked too said that Märklin perhaps should remember that many of the model-railroaders that use the CS-3 are 50+ if not 60+.
Not that these people don't know how to work with a tablet / CS-3, but that elderly people tend to need reading glasses.
It also takes rather sharp finger-tips to hit the correct on-screen buttons - just like texting on a smart-phone.
The CS-3 screen is still relatively small and for sure is designed by a team of young men between 20 and 30 with perfect eye-sight - just like smart-phone designers.
On the other hand Märklin has, as a free download, a program that will turn your ordinary computer screen into a CS-3 - but then again you are back in front of a computer screen - and one of the nice things about model railroad is, at least as I see it, that you don't sit and watch a screen.
The AR - Augmented Reality app was another new thing that was quite nifty - but mostly usefull in the sales-fase. Once you own the item, you hardly want to use the AR.
Another thing I noticed is that some of the companies that produce accessories for the model railroad have moved their presence to another hall that 4A - typically hall 7 or 7A where the model-cars / model-airplanes were.
These companies, i.e. WIKING, that previously made model-cars for the model railroad, now target other customers with larger scale models.
It is a shame because this makes the model railroad scene appear even smaller than it really is.
There were at least as many, if nor more, visitors in hall 4A than in some of the other halls.
That companies, that used to make model cars for the model-railroad, now ( also ) make larger scale models that are very accurate and detailled, is a trend that is spreading.
It seems that they want to sell to collectors and/or buyers who like a very smooth and detailled model car in the office or at home purely as decoration.
I must admit that I really can't see the logic behind this. Yes - there are more ordinary people in the world than there are model-railroaders, but not all want a model car in the office or in their home as decoration - and if they want a car as decoration they only want one or two.
So I can't see that the potential market is big enough. Model-railroaders OTOH will buy a lot of cars for their layouts - if the price is right.
However if you compare a scale 1:87 WIKING model car from the 1970ties to a similar WIKING model car from 2016 it is amazing how much more details and coloring that is achieved in 2016.
Model cars today from WIKING - Brekina - Herpa are so detailled that they demand a price of 8 - 12 euro. In 1970 a typical WIKING model car in 1:87 sold for 1 DM. ( In 1978 a typical WIKING car was at 2,30 DM ).
Model-railroaders that would like to put many model cars on their layout would like - IMHO - cheaper and not so detailled models.
Model-railroaders would typically also like to have newer car models to represent a contemporary look, but new models means new molds and that is expensive, so you can't blame WIKING - Brekina - Herpa for making new color variations of older models.
MiniaturWunderLand ➚ in Hamburg replaces many model cars every year with the newer models so the layout do not look old.
All-in-all the companies should decide whether they want to make toys or model-railroad accessories or detailled decorative models.
Wanting to produce everything could end up in producing nothing.
I also noticed that more and more exhibitors had models of Swedish / Norwegian houses.
No doubt that the long and slow TV-transmissions from the Norwegian railroads : Bergen-Oslo and the Flåmsbana has had their impact.
With the new technologies - like laser-cutting - it is becoming easier / cheaper to make new models that don't have to sell in the thousands to pay for the mold.
However the basic "problem" with the toy industry is that every producer of toys wants to come up with the new "Lego" or another something BIG.
As in most cases in this modern age - NEW is the buzz-word.
Things most be NEW - INNOVATIVE to be good.
Something that has been around for years - and therefore is old - is not interesting.
Why is it so ?
I think that the MEDIA - the NEWS are the culprits.
Journalists and the NEWS are only interested in NEWS. Yesterdays news are totally so last year and not worth anything. Just like yesterdays newspaper is only good for wrapping fish & chips.
I noticed, watching the German TV news coverage from the Fair, that there was absolutely nothing about the model railroad scene.
This is what the model railroad exhibitors has to fight against :
There just isn't any glamour or news worthy coverage with model railroads.
And lets face it : Even the REALLY new items from Märklin are hardly something you would watch in the evening news.
A new Barbie doll - or a new LEGO-Star Wars item gets more journalistic coverage than a new model locomotive, not to mention hover-boards or some other gadgets that will be forgotten next year.
As to the hover-board - that takes the name from the "Back to the Future" movies :
( But that is NOT a hovering board at all )
Perhaps Märklin should make the flying locomotive from "Back to the Future".
( But then again LEGO already did that. )
Although Märklin would get some news coverage if they did.
The Carrera example.
Even though the model car racing scene basically is the same than in the 1960ties, the digital age has meant certain technological changes.
But the changes are by no means more radical or breathtaking than how digital-running has changed the model railroad.
But model cars mimicks the real scale 1:1 cars and they have evolved a lot more over the years - especially design wise - than the scale 1:1 railroad.
A Ferrari and a locomotive from 1965 compared to a Ferrari and a locomotive from 2010 clearly shows how the Ferrari is more appealing to boys.
But basically cars just ARE more glamorous than trains, and that will always be Märklin's problem.
See also photos from "Carrera" below.
Märklin's force, on the other hand, is that running model cars around a track sets its own limitations.
A model railroad can be set in its own world - thats why Märklin's name "my world" is not bad at all.
Production in China or not.
Several exhibitors "admitted" that most of their production took place in China while the design and planning was done in Europe.
Other exhibitors have announced that they have been disappointed with the production in China and are bringing the production back to Europe.
China is simply too far away to maintain control.
The time it takes from the end of the design-fase till the final products arrives in Europe is also simply too long for many producers.
Quality has also been a big problem as has control over designs / molds etc. It apparently takes a company like Apple to retain control and secrecy.
I suspect that culture also is an explanation.
New items :
Click on an image to enlarge
I must admit that I've always had a soft-spot for AUHAGEN ➚
First they struggled out of the DDR-era. Then they faced Kibri-Faller-Vollmer.
And they made more northern style buildings - not the southern German style that Kibri-Faller-Vollmer excelled in.
Auhagen presented a new granary in H0.
"Auhagen News 2016" is 8 pages of new models in H0, TT and N.
Jakub Ščupák from Czech manufacturer BUBI-MODEL ➚ with a model of a Swiss train station.
Line of old-style beer-cars from various countries incl. Denmark. ( Albani Beer )
The Swiss train station and other buildings.
The DB-Museum ➚ in Nürnberg was at the Fair presenting the museum itself and a new game for children "Achtung, ein Zug fährt ein !" which is part of the "KIBALA" - KinderBahnLand section of the museum.
And yes - the museum is also for the young railroad-fans - in fact almost a whole floor is dedicated to children.
Personal comment :
As I see it, there is no doubt that Märklin should be much more involved in the DB-Museum.
When you watch children explore the museum and play with the toy trains in the KIBALA section there is no doubt that the model railroad "fire" is lit when children visit a museum like the DB-Museum in Nürnberg.
Märklin really should have a special offer for sale at the DB-Museum shop - and ONLY at the Museum shop - at a price that would be impossible for parents to ignore.
Of course this also applies to other railroad museums.
HACK ➚ produce wonderfull hand-made bridges mostly in metal.
New in 2016 is this wooden USA-style bridge
and this model of a German style automatic "high-way toll" sensor bridge.
Preiser ➚ is another company that goes way back and that I remember with fondness from my childhood.
The term "Preiserlein" is an actual name within the model railroad community
for the little people living on various layouts.
I've met the artist, Herr Bauer, at several fairs and am always very impressed with the way
he builds the plastic model and adds detail after detail.
Of course the models can be a treat too.
One of the new items in 2016 - a sleep walking lady.
( Will it be altered to a zombie by some model-railroader ? )
Here are some of my other photos from the Toy Fair in 2016
Click on an image to enlarge :
Two cheerful representatives from ACME ➚ based in Milano, Italy.
Smiling faces from BEMO ➚
Specializes in H0e - H0m and 0m - especially the RHB.
BRAWA ➚ had a very nice diorama -
- and a very nice small display layout.
These 7 photos are details from the Brawa layout.
Perhaps Brawa should market their own models better ?
Carrera ➚ model car-racing had their "pit-girl" and "Captain Carrera".
She is hot
- he just was warm inside the body-suit.
Fulgurex ➚ from Lausanne in Schweiz
One of the few companies,
that I remember from the 1970ties,
that still exist.
Herpa ➚ produces model cars and model airplanes
had some friendly faces behind the counter.
KATO ➚ from Japan focussed on the high-speed
Japanese Shinkansen and the Swiss Rhaetische Bahn (RHB).
Seuthe ➚ has been warming oil to produce the illusion - whether
of steam from a steam locomotive or smoke from a fire - for decades.
Located just south of Göppingen - ideally close to Märklin.
Of course Hagen von Ortloff,
from Eisenbahn-Romantik ➚,
was at the fair to discuss
model-roads with the exhibitors
and to say hello to his fans.
KM-1 Modellbau ➚ with focus on 1-scale.
PROSES ➚ is a rather new company based in Istanbul, Turkey.
They make a wide variety of pretty usefull items for the model railroad.
One of the Sexy Scenes
NMJ ( Norsk Modelljernbane A/S ) ➚ from Norway presented this nice Norwegian station building
... with a definite wink in the eye.