The rise of AUSCISION
In 1998 when Trainorama was renamed Austrains by John Eassie & Tom of Tom’s Hobbies, there was really only two companies in the Australian RTR outline producing game, the other of course being Powerline. Ironically, John Eassie was involved in the creation of Trax, which later became Powerline. Up until this point the only other RTR Australian outline items available were of course from Lima, who went belly-up a few years later.
For the next six years Austrains dominated Australian RTR, releasing a series of locomotives, some rollingstock and a set of coaches. In that time Powerline released just one new loco, a MK3 version of what was originally the Trax 48 class.
In 2004 the Austrains dominance came to an end. Trainorama was recreated by the new owners of Toms Hobbies and almost simultaneously Ron Cunningham entered the market with his own business, Eureka Models. Suddenly there was the ‘Big Four’. Trainorama upped the standards by dramatically improving the standard of detail of their models, a standard that everyone quickly aspired to and sometimes struggled to match.
Things changed again in December 2005. At the time, it was pretty small, and easy to miss. It was just a small ad towards the back of the Australian Model Railway Magazine, for soon to-be-released coal hoppers. Auscision. It did not even come close to forewarning us for what was to come. No other company had appeared before this promising rollingstock as their first model. Auscision took some time to get started on their initial program, meanwhile the other companies, particularly Trainorama and Austrains, continued to release models.
But since that small beginning Auscision has simply continued to grow and grow, with more and more models being released and announced. In most respects the other producers have begun to lag behind, and of course many of them have had their fair share of problems with factories in China. So far Auscision have released;
Seven locomotives plus one in conjunction with Austrains (the T class), including the Bendigo ‘Flat -top’ T class.
Twenty different types of freight wagons with variations amongst each
One coach set
Over ten types of accessories of various kinds plus spare parts
And they have announced;
Over a dozen types of freight wagons (with variations)
Four coach sets (Vic N & H cars, NSW RUB cars, Southern Aurora)
One railcar (Walkers)
Two train sets (XPT, Tangara)
Eight locomotive types (AN, 46,C44ACi, GT46C-ACe, 86, Vic L, 45, GL).
Some of these announcements are due to arrive within the next six months.
With the release of their NSW 422 and 73 class locomotives, Auscision have caught up to Trainorama who have also released 8 different locomotive classes. They are still well behind Austrains who have released about 15 different locomotive projects (it depends on how you count the variations as separate; you could also claim that they have released 20 different loco classes). Whilst it certainly took Auscision a long time to complete the 422 project, and none of their loco projects has arrived particularly quickly, with the exception of the T class (which of course were actually done for them by Austrains), the fact remains that they have released more new locomotive models than anyone else in the last six years. There’s little doubt that they’ll continue to maintain this lead; after all they have two projects (Walkers railcars & AN class) that will be released within the next six months, and three more which have already achieved pilot model stage. No other producer is even close to achieving this.
So who is the biggest? Austrains or Auscision?
The difference between Auscision and Austrains in terms of size, is what they have achieved since Auscision began. It seems a little unfair to compare the total if one considers Austrains had a big head start (7 years). It is on that front that Auscision have just taken the lead. In terms of future projects, no other company is even close. Over the last several months we have seen samples of three of their upcoming projects, the recently-ish announced GT46C-ACe’s, the C44ACi’s and the long foreshadowed NSWGR 46 class. If you were to count the different classes in the modern locos, then when these are released Auscision will have taken the lead in almost every department. A few weeks ago they announced the Victorian L class electric locos, and confirmed what had long been suspected to be an upcoming NSWGR 45 class loco.
Auscision have now made more announcements than anyone else, with the exception of Eureka, who have announced many more locomotive projects than Auscision. Of course, Eureka has delivered only two locomotive projects so far, whereas Auscision have released 7, not including the T class.
With their latest announcements, Auscision will now have no trouble dominating the modern image scene. They are also producing far more models for the 80’s market than most other companies. Austrains recently stated that they had produced more four-wheel wagons than anyone else. True. They have also released more locomotives than anyone else. However in every department Auscision is already ahead. The only thing now seriously lacking? The NSW steam era. Last year they announced the NSW fishbelly series of wagons, which are the only thing they have announced or produced that ran in NSW prior to 1969, other than the 45 class and the RUB coaches. So it seems a reasonable bet to expect this to change. The question is merely what exactly they will do, and how soon it will appear.
Another way of looking at it is this there are approximately 88 different classes of diesel and electric locomotive that have been introduced to service on Australian state government standard and broad gauge railways (although it does depend how you count certain classes, but we’re calling it 88 ). Auscision have produced or announced 25 of these types. Austrains have produced or announced 17.
Whatever the future of Australian outline models, one thing is abundantly clear; Auscision will be a major part of it. How much a part of it everyone else gets, is the remaining big question...
Alrighty then, so where are we? What happened in 2012? Did you miss something? Probably not.
BRM Vic T class (series 1)
Powerline NSW 48 class
Austrains Vic Y class (re-run)2013 Arrivals so far
Southern Rail U-boats (re-run)
Auscision 422 class
On Track 82 class
Auscision 73 classPredictions 2013June
Southern Rail Xplorer/Endeavour railcarsJuly
Auscision Vic Walkers 280HPAugust
Trainorama SA GM class
Eureka R class – well, maybe
Bendigo T class (re-run, new colour schemes) – and a guessSep
Auscision SA AN class –some risk of delay to early next year
Austrains Vic G class
Austrains SA BL classDec
Austrains 81 class
Eureka NSW 40 class – this feels optimistic2014Early
Trainorama 48 class
Trainorama 830 class
Southern Rail Vic V/Locity setsMid
Bendigo Rail Vic P class
Austrains NSW 442 class (re-run)
Eureka NSW 620/720 railcars (re-run)
Minimodels NSW U-boats
Southern Rail QLD 2300
Southern Rail WA DFZ class
Powerline NSW 81 class –re-run, new mechanism
Powerline Vic G class –re-run, new mechanism
Powerline BL class –re-run, new mechanism
Eureka Vic K class
Trainorama NSW 49 class (re-run)Late
Auscision NSW 46 class
Auscision NSW C43/C44ACi
Auscision NSW Tangara sets
TrainOrama NSW 47 class (re-run)
Southern Rail QLD 2000 class railmotors
Eureka NSW C38 class (re-run)
Powerline NSW 48 class (re-run, candy, other colours?)2015
Eureka NSW D50 class
Austrains NSW Z20 class
Railmotor Models SCT class
Auscision NSW XPT set
Auscision NSW 45 class
Auscision NSW 86 class
Eureka NSW DEB set
TrainOrama NSW 45 class –we probably won’t hear about these for some time yet until they are about to arrive
TrainOrama SA 600 class –so this is a guess
Minimodels NSW Tangara sets –will they even be done now??2016
Eureka NSW D59 class
Eureka NSW D53 class
TrainOrama WA L class –and no news
TrainOrama NSW 82 class –very doubtful that these will happen
Powerline NSW Explorer/Endeavour sets
Eureka NSW Silver City Comet2017 and BEYOND
Auscision CFCLA GL class –have not elicited a mention for a long time
Railmotor CSR/BK class
Eureka SMR 10 class
Eureka NSW D55 class
Eureka NSW 43 class
Eureka VR N class
Eureka SAR 750 class
Eureka NSW C30/C30T class
Eureka NSW D57 class
Eureka NSW D58 class
A little sanity has recently crept back into some of the producers announcements with Austrains confirming the Z20 will not arrive this year (they claimed it was their decision, but we think this was just their way of avoiding embarrassment). Southern Rail have also confirmed that their 2300/DFZ project won’t arrive this year as originally scheduled, and even Eureka’s most recent newsletter indicated that the VR K class would be next year as is the D50. Remember that this (the 50 class) when announced last year was also supposed to arrive last year, according to the advertisement!
In fact of all the producers it is Auscision who still persist with the notion that they will somehow be releasing 6 locomotives and a railcar in one year, when if you discount the Austrains and Bendigo T class they have actually taken 6 years to release 6 locomotives models, two of which shared the same chassis. Whilst they are certainly ahead of the others as stated above, the likelihood of achieving this goal seems extremely remote.
Anything that we’re currently predicting to arrive late in the year is of course highly likely to be delayed that critical month or two and slip to early next year. Given that Trainorama have been indicating that their 48/830 class project is due to arrive within this danger zone for some time, we’ve determined that the odds of it successfully turning up in 2013 is minimal at best, hence its removal to 2014. Austrains 81 class project is also highly vulnerable to this, of course.
Of course we also have a new race, between Trainorama and Auscision to produce the 45 class. Whilst Trainorama have not confirmed that the is being worked on, they also have not said that they’re not, which could be crucial. Once the 48’s arrive, we would not be surprised to see Trainorama making noise about their 45. Who could be leading this race, is impossible to know.
Nonetheless despite all the (usual) doom and gloom, 2013 is still (just) on track to be a record-breaking year. 2014 could still break that record immediately afterwards. Fingers crossed.
The Boys from THE RACE