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MÄRKLIN & RAILROADS : A personal view by Christian Vinaa

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Written by
Christian Vinaa - May 2014

"That's how I see it . . ."

Theme : Märklins special products

We all know that Märklin is known for the model railroad items. First with the tin-plate models and then plastic. Locomotives by large remain cast in zink.

But Märklin started as a toy producer making almost anything a child, boy or girl, could play with around 1900.

Lately Märklin has begun making such items again. And I wonder - why bother ? Why use human and machine capacity and financial ressources to make such items :

Marklin Märklin victoria ship schiff

The tin-plate ship Victoria from 2002.

Marklin Märklin Jolanda ship schiff

The tin-plate ship Jolanda from 2009.

Admitted these were before the almost bankruptcy, but I would think that these ships stand out as a clear example of what NOT to do.

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But Märklin has afterwards made special cars, tractors etc .

Marklin Märklin lanz tractor

Lanz tractors # 18029 and # 18030 are good examples, not to mention the fire-engines. ( The series were : # 18023 - # 18029 - # 18031 - # 18032 - # 18034 and the # 18038 )

Of course they were made using the old molds, which Märklin keep in a large storage room in "Werk 1". I've seen the room where the molds currently being used are stored and its impressive considering that there is a similar room where all the "gold" is hidden ready to be used.

So Märklin doesn't have the planning and construction to worry about, but Märklin still uses a lot of capacity in order to produce these items.

So Märklin - REALLY ??

Neither of these items are in a model railroad scale.

Nevertheless the items were by large offered to Insider members; apparently as a special treat.

If we presume that Insider members have trains in either scale Z, N, H0 or "1", why would such a person buy an item that couldn't be used with or placed on a model railroad layout ?

Making these items in itself is a debatable issue, but offering them to Insiders ? I just don't get it.

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Apparently Märklin think there are many collectors "out there" that will be interested and have the place on their shelves and show-cases.

And if Märklin made a profit with these items; - Good for Märklin and I stand corrected. But I doubt it very much.

However - if we can believe what Michael Sieber and Florian Sieber has said in several interviews; that Märklin should focus on entering new markets; Russia - Middle East, one thing springs to mind: "New money".

There are a lot of newly-rich in these countries; people who just might want to collect hand-crafted items. But I think that Märklin really would have to make better models; i.e. like the Millenium Crocodille. Just tinplate won't impress the newly-rich of the socalled Bling-dynasty.

But the real funny thing is that Märklin in March 2013 was bought by the Simba-Dickie group that makes "spielzeug" - toys.

Basic Märklin trains ( HOBBY series excluded ) are hardly what could be called "toys" for children - they are "model railroad" items.

Even though Märklin writes "not suited for children under 3 years" I would think that a label "not suited for children under 13 years" was more appropriate with Märklins detailled and somewhat fragile locomotives and cars.

From the 1930ties till present day Märklin has evolved from being a toy maker to being a model railroad maker, each decade refining the products in a way that Märklin has been forced to re-invent the "toy" aspect with the "My World" items.

So, with Simba-Dickie, Märklin in fact is going "back to the roots".

Will that mean more tin-plate items ??

I would think not. Tin-plate models can hardly compete with modern plastic producing tecniques and the whole children security problem cannot be ignored. Which parent would give their 3-4 year old toddler a toy with sharp metal edges ?

But I am sure that Märklin / Simba will launch a lot of plastic models that complement the "My World" trains; houses, cars, lorries; all the things that will create a "world". But the items will have to be in some kind of scale that suits the "My World" scale which presumably is H0-ish.

Both Michael Sieber and Florian Sieber has said in interviews, that they are impressed with the technical knowledge that Märklin has regarding plastic and printing.

So no doubt that the Simba/Dickie toys very soon will display more details and better printing.

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2014 -
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