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Informative, but badly in need of updating and re-editing
on 13 February 2008
This is a useful summary of Meccano's Hornby Dublo (British OO gauge) range, with considerable supporting detail on variations in model production. The text outlines the genesis and development of Dublo and gives a reasonable overview of the lack of business acumen which led to the whole Meccano group's failure in 1964. In brief, superior models are no compensation for rampant over-production and failure to understand the marketplace.
The book is up to the usual standard of this former New Cavendish series in terms of illustrations and listings, but suffers badly from both obsolete text (last updated around 1980, it would appear) and an appallingly self-indulgent writing style. At least 10 pages - possibly more - could have been sub-edited from the book without losing anything of value. It is indicative that much of the most interesting text comes from contemporary magazine and newspaper articles which are liberally sprinkled through the book, rather than author's prose.
The author's approach may have been mildly amusing in the late-1970s: in 2008 it is simply tedious. At times, the text verges on presumably unintended self-parody. For example, the author makes a repeated point of praising the later 'super-detailed' Dublo coaches, yet then produces both a table to show how woefully undersized they were compared to the competition, the latter outselling the paragons of virtue by some margin!
Overall, useful primarily for the dedicated Hornby Dublo collector and worth a look for students of British business's decline in the pre-Thatcher era, but grit your teeth in the face of the writing style!