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  • Update - 5th May May 13, 2015

    Update - Tuesday 5 May We are now open again as normal, however there is yet more catching up to do in terms of emails, back orders and re-stocking. We also need to find time to update some of the stock totals which have again fallen behind...

  • Update 29th April May 13, 2015

    Update - Wednesday 29th April My apologies for the lack of updates recently. I have now been back at work for a while but have had to take quite a bit of time off in between whilst having treatment and have therefore been desperately trying to...

  • Updates 13th to 19th April Apr 29, 2015

    C&L not attending 'Scalefour North' due to a garden accident Update - Sunday 19th Deadline for advanced orders for delevery to the Epsom Show to be held next weekend - 9am Tuesday 21st April. Orders will be sent that morning to Phil Reid...

  • Update - 8th April Apr 11, 2015

    Latest News (8th April) Open again following Easter closure We are open as normal but are short staffed this week and next due to staff holidays. Please bear in mind that there will almost certainly be a delay in getting orders out. We...

Welcome to C & L Finescale Modelling Ltd

C&L - Latest News

'ABER EMLYN'

An 'O' Gauge layout set in South Wales

(more detailed photos to follow)

 

 

Constructed to O Gauge finescale standards, the track is in individual 44ft 6in lengths and employs C & L and Exactoscale track parts with GW 2 bolt chairs. Built by: Great Yarmouth Model Railway Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update - Wednesday 20th May

Advanced orders and opening times during Railex Show and Bank Holiday

The cut off for advanced order to take to Railex (Aylesbury) is 9am on Thursday 21st May. After that we will be loading the van and will not be able to get to products to pack them for orders.

The Shop will be open on Friday from 9am until 4pm as Luke is not attending this Show, but please note that we will only have limited items available for purchase as the majority of the stock will have been taken that morning to the show. Pete and Phil will be at Railex with an extended stand to help cater for the additions to the various ranges that we now stock. 

The Shop and Office will be closed over the weekend and additionally on Monday 25th due to the Bank Holiday.

Emails sent after 9am on Thursday 21st will not be read until the afternoon of Tuesday 26th at the earliest, as we will be busy unloading the van during that morning. There is likely to be a backloag which may mean a further delay in replying to messages.

The web site will operate as normal and allow orders to be place. However, orders received after 9am on Friday will not be prcessed until Tuesday 26th and if large numbers are received over the weekend, some may not be packed until Wednesday morning (assuming that we still have some stock left after the Railex show!).

We apologise if these arrangements cause any inconvenience. 

Update - Saturday 16th May

C&L now match (or better) Hattons on prices for all Peco products

It has always been our aim to be as competitive as possible when pricing products made by Peco. We have tried to match (or improve upon) the prices charged by the big online retailers such as Hattons. Peco put up the prices that they charge to theirs stockists last autumn. The large retailers are obviously able to hold vast quantities of stock and therefore it takes them many months before they are actually start selling products that they have purchased at the increased prices. C&L are unable to do this and whilst we try to hold a reasonable quantity of Peco stock, we have to buy in every week in order to immediately replace the items that we have sold, and so the price rises hit us straight away.

We had to increase prices for some Peco items last year, but made a decision to hold many at the old price in order to remain competitive. In some cases our competitors were selling Peco products for less than we could buy them! Obviously we could not compete on price for those products. As a result our prices were very 'up and down' compared to the recommended retail price (RRP), with a few being only just under the RRP whilst many others were very low, giving us hardly any profit margin, but allowing us to at least retain sales. 

Recently Hattons have put up nearly all of their Peco prices so that they now reflect the price rises that Peco introduced last year. This has given us the opportunity to consolidate our Peco prices and enabled us to match (or better) Hattons prices on all Peco made products that we stock. The result is that about one third of our Peco prices have gone up, one third have done down and one third have remained the same. 

We hope that that our customers will understand the reasons for the price changes. They will help with our aim to offer a wider choice of products, whilst still giving customers the cheapest possible Peco prices

Update - Wednesday 13th May

Bracknell Show - Phil Reid will be attending this weekend with our smaller stand, which will be extended from 8 to 12 feet for this show. It is now too late to pre order for delivery as we sent him his stock and pre-orders yesterday. Please appreciate that with a smaller stand he is not able to carry as wide a range as we can with our main 18' stand. This restriction is based on the size of his available transport not our desire to cut down on what we offer. 

Railex (Aylesbury) Show (23-24th May) - I will be attending along with Phil Reid with our 'extended' main stand at 24 feet. Luke is staying at home for once as he is due to become a father for the first time within the next few weeks. I did not want him stranded miles from home if the call came that his presence was required at the hospital!

OO Trackbase Tool - A procedure has been carried out on the two parts of this broken tool which is due to be tested for real later today. The results will determine whether this procedure has worked of whether a new tool is required, which is likely to cost many thousands of pounds, and so I am saying my prayers!

Product Availability - I have finally found time to update this page as promised. Please follow this link to see what is new and where we stand with regard to products that are out of stock and on order.

Expansion of the C&L Business  

Why are items sometimes out of stock for so long?

I would like to explain that we maintain a list of products that are either getting low or that are out of stock and need replacing. This list ALWAYS runs to a cost that exceeds our forecasted Cash Flow and so I constantly have to make decisions on what to order first and what can wait. This is the case for most small businesses, especially those with a product range of over 3,000 items such as ours. I occasionally have complaints pointing out that I have not re-stocked a certain item for a number of weeks or months (or sometimes longer). The criteria that I use when deciding what to re-stock next is the number of sales that I will lose if I don't re-stock!

Customers will appreciate that there is no magic wand to wave that produces money to spend on re-stocking. The only way to generate fund is to sell items and use the profit margin that we make to firstly pay our fixed bills (such as staff and rent) and then allocate whatever is left to whichever products I deem to be the most important with regard to future sales and profitability. For example say I have £1,000 this week to spend on re-stocking. We are currently getting low on some of our Solders. These would cost around £1,000 to re-stock. They sell well and the margin is reasonable. On the other hand I have a number of Exactoscale rolling stock products that have been out of stock for a long time i.e. some couplings and axle sleeves. These items sell less than 5 a month and have less of a profit margin, due to the insistence on suppliers of requiring a minimum order level that is usually about ten times the number of items that I would actually like to buy! I then have a number of choices. I could spend the £1,000 that is available and could buy say two Exactoscale products (but then have enough in stock to last me about 20 years due to the high minimum requirement), or I could pay the much higher cost per unit for ordering a small quantity, but then I would have to raise the selling price considerably, probably resulting in a further drop in sales. On the other hand I could spend the available £1,000 re-stocking the solder, which would provide a reasonable return which is then available over time to use to restock something other than solder. The latter option would save me having lots of complaints from the large number of customers who use our solder, but is likely to lead to the odd complaint from the few customers who are still waiting for me to re-stock the Exactoscale couplings or axle sleeves! 

Why do you keep on expanding the range of Peco (and other suppliers) products?

The answer is simple - I simply can't fund the re-stocking of some of the slow moving Exactoscale products from the sale of just C&L & Carrs products.

C&L/Carrs sales pay for the rent, the staff and most of our other overheads. To make new C&L products costs thousands of pounds (£6,000+ for a straight forward injection mould tool for a new type of chair). I ask the question - even if I had that sort of money that was spare, would it generate more income for the business? The likely answer is no, as the sales of the new type of chair would likely mean that we sold less of one of the chairs that we currently sell. Even if all the sales for a new chair were additional sales, it would still take many years to recover the initial outlay of £6,000, bearing in mind that there is then the cost of actually then having the chairs made in the new tool to be taken into account.

My solution to this circle of going nowhere is to slowly build up a range of products made by other manufacturers. They then have all of the set up costs, the manufacturing costs and the time consuming packaging costs, as well as them running the risk of the item not selling. If I buy from others, then I have a reasonable profit margin but with none of the above costs. I cut that margin on Peco items in order to remain competitive with the big online traders, but the items sold still add a profit to the business which I would not otherwise have had if I had not bothered to take on being a Peco stockist. I aim use the profit that these products make to re-stock the slower moving items in the Exactoscale and C&L ranges. Obviously the amount of re-stocking that they can fund is limited whilst I build up the range of Peco or other manufacturers products, such as Gaugemaster. However, over time I will call a halt to the expansion and then all of the profits will be available for re-stocking slow selling items. It will take a couple of years at least but we are already 18 months into selling Peco items.

Another reason for the selling other manufacturers products are to get us better know by more railway modellers. I have no proof but my guess is that when I took over at C&L (four years ago next month) less than 20% of people with any kind of a model railway had ever heard of us. That mean there was a huge opportunity to find the 80% and tell them what we offered. The obvious place to start was with track and so Peco were the most sensible option as the first major outside supplier. A high percentage of that 80% were likely to be using Peco track and my thoughts were that if I could sell it at an attractive price, these new customers would come to our site to buy. Hopefully they would then be encouraged to try their hand at building a Turnout Kit, using our Ballast or Weathering Powders or some other C&L or Carrs product. This would result in a sale which we would not previously have achieved had we not stocked Peco. If this was repeated often enough it would add greatly to our sales (and profits) and even if the new customer did not then buy something of ours, the sale of the Peco item itself would still make us some money that we did not previously have, even if the margin was fairly small due to our competitive price.

The only downside that I could see was the difficulty of expanding the range sufficiently to cover the most important Peco items whilst not having a pile of 'spare' money to fund it. We achieved this by the gradual addition of their products to our website which spread the outlay to a manageable level. We have repeated the same with Gaugemaster and a number of other smaller suppliers and intend to do the same with Dapol. We will not be spending our money on rolling stock - there are too many competitors out there already, and in any case we are track specialist and want to continue to be known for that.

I hope that the above will give an insight into why we are expanding in the way that we are. It has nothing to do with us 'downgrading' from our Finescale principles (as has been alleged on some Forums). It is solely to help protect the business by making it more profitable and therefore still able to offer the finescale products that so many of our customers would be so sorry to lose. Although a number of model railway businesses have gone to the wall over the last few years, I am happy to report that we will not be joining them! In fact month on month (with one exception) our sales have grown every month compared with the previous 12 months, as they also did in the year prior to that. Businesses that do not change and develop go under.

I do understand the frustration of items being out of stock for a long period and I apologise if you are still waiting for a slow moving product to be re-stocked or are disappointed that we will no longer be buying parts to maintain the Exactoscale range of gearboxes and loco suspension. However we hope to gradually get round to re-stocking most parts as more funds become available over the next 12 months or so.

We appreciate the support that we get from our customers and hope to carry on giving a good all round service with a wide choice of products to satisfy all of your modelling needs.

Kind regards.

Pete Llewellyn (owner of C&L)

   

Update - Tuesday 5 May

We are now open again as normal, however there is yet more catching up to do in terms of emails, back orders and re-stocking. We also need to find time to update some of the stock totals which have again fallen behind their actual numbers due to the sales made at Thornbury last weekend, as well as sort the Product Availability page.

PLEASE NOTE - The shop and office will be closed on Friday 8th due to us travelling to Reading to set up that afternoon for the show on Saturday.

'Green Scene' - scenic modelling materials

We already stock the Ballast Spreader made by Green Scene but have now taken delivery of many of their other products. We hope to have them on the web site as soon as possible, but as this requiries quite a lot of work, unfortunately it will not be until well after after the Reading Show.

Advanced Orders for Shows - Deadlines

Reading Show - Sat 9th May

Orders to be taken to the show need to be with us by 9am on Thursday 7th (if turnout kits are required then 24 hours earlier please)

EXPO EM (Bracknell) - 16-17th May

Orders to be taken to the show need to be with us by 9am on Tuesday 12th (if turnout kits are required then 24 hours earlier please), as these items need to be sent to our agent Phil Reid in time for him to sort the stock that we send at the same time.

Regards. Pete Llewellyn (owner of C&L)

   


For the latest position regarding the re-stocking of products and the latest new arrivals please CLICK HERE   (UPDATED 13th May)


Previous Blog Updates - CLICK HERE 


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Who are we and what do we offer?

C&L Finescale aims to encourage modellers who are unhappy with how the trackwork on their layout looks, to rise to the challenge of building at least some of their own track or pointwork. Our simple method is to glue chairs to sleepers and timbers, rather than soldering rails to copper clad strips, to achieve prototypical looking trackwork that includes chairs and other detail. We want your track to compliment your layout and not to look out of place with highly detailed kit and ready to run locos and rolling stock. We are now able to supply both C&L and Exactoscale track components, along with the latest additions to our range in the form of wheels, gear boxes and wagon chassis and brake gear.

The Carr's range of products covers items for the preparations prior to soldering, solders & fluxes as well as post soldering treatments. The range also includes metal black treatments, scenic items, ballast, baseboard fittings and underlay which compliment the C&L range, and are joined by products from other manufacturers such as Antex (soldering irons, bits & accessories) and Roger Smith's modelling products.

We are also UK distributors for Tortoise 'slow action' Point Motors and accessories, and we still offer the 'Timber Tracks' range of laser cut plywood 'Track Bases', although we are no longer able to obtain further supplies.

We aim to give advice to assist new or inexperienced modellers. Visit the Knowledge Centre  on the main Menu, and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages. These pages will be added to and improved over the coming weeks. Further information is given at the start of many of the pages displaying the lists of our products, and these will be expanded with more information and tips as time allows.

We take our stand to around thirty Model Railway Exhibitions throughout the year (see Exhibition Diary), and sell many of our products through other Traders and Model Shops, both in the UK and abroad.

Go to our Contacts Page for details of our address, phone and email address.

Why not visit our Shop?

Aran Lodge, Severn Road, Hallen, Bristol, BS10 7RZ

Located half way between the M5 junctions for Cribs Causeway and Avonmouth on the edge of a rural village (no need to go into Bristol). Leave your partner at the Cribbs Shopping complex and pop along to see us nearby! 

Shop Opening Hours 

Callers are welcome between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Please note: We close on Friday's that precede a Model Railway Exhibition, to allow us to travel and set up.

Please check the Exhibition Diary for details. 

Also, please phone first to ensure that Pete will be available at the unit if you need to discuss technical issues or ask for advice on our product range.

 

C&L Finescale


VAT ID: 113 004976   Registered company number: 07613517