Looking back over October we have had one of the biggest surprises in the model world for some time.
Lyndon Davies, who founded Oxford Diecast, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer at Hornby Hobbies, makers of Hornby Railways, Airfix kits, Scalextric and Corgi. It is early days yet, and much too early to understand what it will mean for the future of collecting, but here at MAR Online we wish Lyndon and his new team good luck in the task of turning Hornby Hobbies back into a thriving concern, after many years of losses and product weakness. We can only hope that this will mean that Corgi will gain some new investment, and begin to give collectors something new to look forward to.
Lyndon and his family are still the major shareholders in Oxford Diecast, which will continue its well-established policy of expansion, with Eloise Davies, daughter of Lyndon, as managing director.
Recently a comment by our German Consultant Editor Hans-Georg set me thinking. A vast amount of effort is being put into the development of electric vehicles with autonomous control systems, and many non-traditional players like Dyson are now getting involved. If we end up with hordes of self-drive rent-by-the- hour vehicles, all owned by banks and leasing companies, what will be the incentive to make the vehicles attractive? Logically, they will all end up as very utilitarian devices, with large advertising areas to earn a secondary income for the owners. If that happens, will any child want a toy or any adult want a detailed collectors’ model of such a vehicle? Possibly the only group of people who will want models will be diorama builders – and they will only want them in smaller scales. At that point collectors’ models in larger scales will surely just be ‘models of yesteryear’ looking back with nostalgia to the more interesting and attractive designs of the internal combustion era. Things may develop differently, however, and people do still buy cars from Tesla and those other car manufacturers who are making electric cars that are attractive personal transport. In that case some models of new cars will still be collected, though there is the risk that in future they will be regarded more as domestic appliances, like fridge-freezers, rather than as aspirational objects.
It is clear that not every Atlas collector acquires the same number of vehicles in any given collection, so if Atlas run out of certain models they do not always remake them. The models also can be released in a different order to different buyers. So, if you signed up for the original Dinky Collection at this stage (part-way through), I suspect that you would not get the all of the 35 or so models that those should get who signed up from the start. One collector has contacted me to say that he thinks he will end up with more Jaguars than I had obtained at the point Atlas closed my collection. This is a matter of some frustration to collectors who prefer DeAgostini’s approach of numbering parts of a series, then issuing them in strict sequence. Even if they didn’t do this, then the conditions of supply of both DeAgostini and Atlas would allow them to avoid any penalty if they do not supply you with a particular model or cannot replace a faulty one. Given that the new Deluxe Dinky Collection includes all French Dinky Toy replicas, after the initial Aston Martin DB5 convertible, one wonders how many non-collectors will find the prospect appealing. Lots of true collectors will be happy to get replicas of French Dinky Toys from the 1960s and 1970s, as they were good models, and mainly to 1:43 scale, but Atlas also need a lot of general buyers to sell the volumes they need. Atlas deliberately sells ‘nostalgia’, but will non-model collectors (i.e. general buyers) be as nostalgic about toys which they never saw as children, or models of full-size vehicles they may never have seen?
We thank all our writers who contribute regularly, or occasionally, and I think you will agree that they have covered a lot of very interesting topics over the last few months. But now it is your turn to shine. We know that there are lots of you out their with a story to tell about what you collect, that others would like to read. It only needs a few photographs and some notes and we can turn it into an article. Do not worry if English is not your main language we are happy to use translators and edit your article for you. We also thank those who have contributed towards our website costs and would be very happy to receive more contributions to keep MAR Online live, and free for all.
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