2020 has hardly turned out to be the year any of us expected. And while model trains are hardly at, or even near, the top of any world leader’s list of priorities, the impact has been felt by this industry as it has by most others.
Revolution Trains is no exception. While we have been able to deliver our KUA and IPA wagons since the lockdown in March, and in association with C-rail launched a new 40′ ‘reefer’ container model, development and production of other models has been impacted.
The individual reasons are many, but are all a result of Covid-19, and to a lesser extent the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.
The spread of the virus in China coincided with Chinese New Year, when workers traditionally leave their factory dormitories and make the long journey home to see loved ones.
Many, fearing for their safety, were then reluctant to return. Recruitment has been an ongoing problem for many of those we work with and the requirements of social distancing mean fewer CAD designers, fewer tampo printers, fewer painters and – perhaps most crucially – fewer on the production lines to painstakingly assemble the dozens, sometimes hundreds, of small parts that go into every product.
Such delays are as frustrating for us as for our customers, but there is little we can do. They are also problematic for our suppliers: the incentive for them to get the models finished is that the final stage payment is always made once the models are with us.
But like us they know that while a reputation takes a long time to build, it can be lost in an instant. If we badger the factories to rush the work then mistakes will be made; a digit transposed, a painting stage missed, a QC check not completed thoroughly.
Like us, and like, we believe, our customers, they want the models to be right. We have reassured them that we understand their difficulties and would prefer them to take the extra time needed to ensure this than to rush them.
With all our ongoing projects we will be as open as we can about progress and give updates on developments and production as quickly as we can – we regularly update this news section, our social media and the overview on our Projects page. There is no need for us to keep anything quiet so if, when we do give updates, the model you’re interested in isn’t mentioned it is because there really isn’t anything to say!
The other ongoing uncertainty is Brexit. At this time we cannot say to our EU customers what the VAT rules will be after 1 January 2021, and whether tax will have to be paid locally before the model is delivered, rather than at the time of ordering. Once we know more we will make the position clear as we understand it. The two most likely scenarios are perhaps that deal is struck at the last minute and the UK can continue to trade with our friends across the EU as normal, or that no deal is reached before the end of 2020. If no deal is reached then the likely scenario is that for any models delivered after 31 December 2020, we would refund any UK VAT paid to the EU customer and import VAT would be collected in the relevant EU country (as is already the case say for an EU customer importing from the USA or Japan), no duties should be due as the tariffs on model trains are zero.
We’d like to thank you all for your patience and understanding, and reassure everyone that we at Revolution Trains are doing all we can to minimise the delays, and the impact of the virus, and looking forward to a better 2021!