Friday 20 July 2012

Attack of the clones?

A change from book reviews as something else has shown up on my radar. Over on RMweb, but strangely not on their own website Dapol's forthcoming O gauge program has been announced. For some time we've known of the 08 diesel shunter, now it appears that a terrier tank will follow on its heels, along with a few  wagons.  So what's new, there's been a growing quantity of modern rtr O gauge for some time now. For me it's the price; Lieverpool's favourite box shifter has the 08 to pre order at £169 (I believe the early birds did even better). Previously 7mm rtr had been either big, expensive or both, now we are to be offered models of size and cost compatible with the average home and budget. Surely a good thing? Well I'm not so sure; modellers, at least the significant section that get a bit exited at the prospect of having the latest toys, will I believe, be beating a path to the shops once these models make it from CAD files into the seductive reality of injection moulded plastic. I'm equally certain that it'll herald a surge of 7mm scale micro layouts, but I'd be willing to bet that almost all will lack the originality of this little beauty from the talented and innovative Marc Smith. Now while it's required some effort and commitment to tackle a similar project Marc's work has remained refreshingly original; once it becomes relatively cheap and easy I worry that the magazines, exhibitions and internet will be awash with pallid clones of the original. I've no doubt that the terrier will see a rash of Colonel Stephens light railway look-a-likes too. Our hobby just got a little duller.