In a change to the proceedings from this year, there will be two sets of "Model of the Year" awards, with a new set coming from the red corner with Model Rail, and a separate set coming as per previous years from BRM / RMweb / MREmag.
This year I decided to check the categories for which one could vote as the choices would ultimately influence whether I voted or not.
I think we can all agree that Kernow Model Rail Centre is in fact a manufacturer. They commissioned the Beattie Well Tanks and the Adams O2 models through Dapol and later DJ Models but both locomotives have appeared under the Kernow branding to date.
The latter, the Adams O2, has been included in the OO steam locomotive of the year poll and is described as being the "Kernow Model Rail Centre Adams 0-4-4T O2".
Yet Kernow was not included in the OO Manufacturer of the Year and was also not included in the overall Manufacturer of the Year award.
DJ Models, we know, has close relationships with two of the large shops (Kernow and Hattons) and works on their behalf for their commissioned models.
Yet DJ Models has no model in any of the categories this year. No OO model of a steam locomotive, diesel/electric locomotive, wagon or coach, and nothing in the other scales. DJ Models was included in the OO Manufacturer of the Year and the Overall Manufacturer of the Year awards, however!
We know of course that no DJ Models branded products have actually appeared on shelves yet, borne out by their absence in the other categories.
This inconsistency frankly baffles me. It's such an obvious inconsistency that one might call it cynical.
I've since written to MREmag's editor, hoping for my email to be included in tomorrow's edition with a suitable answer:
In the interests of openness and honesty, I include my letter here unedited:
Noting that the awards are now in the voting stage, I took the liberty of looking through the categories to see if I would be voting this year. One thing stuck out which leads me to ask: under what criteria can someone be called a manufacturer?
The thing which stuck out was the inclusion of DJ Models in the "Manufacturer of the Year" category for OO, despite having no products in any of the categories that preceded it in the same section (no steam or diesel/electric locomotives, no wagons and no coaches).
No DJ Models branded products have been produced or sold to date, and those products for which Dave Jones has I understand had partial responsibility, are under their respective commissioned brands of Hattons and Kernow.
Yet DJ Models is also included in the overall manufacturer of the year category.
Kernow on the other hand was not included in the overall manufacturer of the year award and yet they have actually sold Beattie Well Tanks and Isle of Wight O2s under their branding.
In the interests of fairness and transparency, would the panel who picked the categories and the nominees explain their reasoning for including DJ Models under two manufacturer of the year awards and not Kernow in the overall manufacturer of the year award?
Simon A.C. Martin
My only interest - as an adjudicator who has to be impartial in his day job - is seeing some fairness and consistency applied across the board.
If Kernow have sold a product with their branding on it, then are they a manufacturer, and if so, should they not be included in the overall manufacturer of the year award?
In short, the above choice of nominees in those categories does not appear fair to me and I have written in only to get some fair and reasonable answers.
Until next time.