Press Releases

  • This year NOCH celebrates a small anniversary: The miniature model figures of NOCH will be 20 years old! In 1997 the first figure-set was launched on the market and this happened only on the grounds of need. In the meantime model figures are one of the most important pillars of the South German company that has developed to a leading manufacturer of model figures.
    For many years NOCH model figures have been available in H0, TT and N scale, and, since February of this year, also for Z scale enthusiasts. Today the NOCH figures range comprises over 250 figure sets. Additionally, there are large XL packs, economy packs, a favourable hobby line and, since last year, NOCH has been offering over 500 single figures in H0 on the website www.modellfiguren.de. Thus NOCH is prepared for possible competition on the field of 3D printed model figures.

    How this story started
    In the last decades one of the bestsellers was the range of NOCH decoration scenes. They included figures and different accessories to create a complete small scene. For example there were sunshades, chairs and pedestrians in one set to design a street café on a model railway layout. At that time NOCH had to buy the figures for these sets. Unfortunately the supplier sold his company in the mid 1990s and also the figure making tools. So an important product group threatened to disappear from the NOCH range. By chance someone at NOCH heard of a Chinese manufacturer that produced model figures for a US customer of NOCH. So NOCH contacted this customer and secured the rights to distribute the figures in Europe. As these figures have not been available in Europe up to that time, NOCH decided to introduce them in 6-pieces-sets. Today the NOCH model figures are available in the hobby shops in the same packaging like 20 years ago.

    Drawing, Modelling, Scanning – The Production of NOCH Figures
    To be able to produce the figure tools in China it was the first step to explain how the figures should look like. So at the beginning a German graphic designer made drawings of railway related subjects. Modellers in the Far East took these drawings and made the master models. Afterwards a tool had been made by a pantographic technique then the figures had been produced with injection die moulding. Finally the figures had been painted by hand and packed in small plastic boxes. This production method was the reason why at the beginning the NOCH figures looked some "chubby". The graphic designer made the drawings similar to cartoons so that the figures had a "comical" appearance. In the meantime almost all of the first figures disappeared from the NOCH range and had been replaced by more realistic looking figures. One of the last remaining figure sets is the "Railroad Staff" (ref. 15280). In the following years the production method had been continuously developed. In the meantime the master models are made by different modellers in Germany. In close consultation with them at personal meetings very nice and realistic looking figures can be produced. The master models are much bigger than the future model figures. Thus even smallest details, finest features and lovely decorations can be worked into the master models. To prevent every detail from being lost, the master models are scanned and the generated data are implemented in a tool. Therefore the quality of the NOCH figures could be significantly improved over the last years.

    Moving forward: From China to Vietnam
    After a tool has been made for a figure set, it starts to get exciting: The figures must be demoulded, deburred, partially assembled and finally handpainted with up to 10 colours. Painting a set of 6 figures can take up to 45 minutes. Unfortunately it is also clear that such a labour-intensive production cannot be implemented in Germany or in Europe where the hourly wages are much higher then in Asia. Additionally, owing to their art-historical imprint, the Asian workers are excellent at miniature artworks! Just think of chinaware – Chinese porcelain – and other art treasures from Asia. Also it would be difficult to find workers featuring such a craft skill in Germany or Europe. Therefore NOCH purchased different tools and ready painted model figures from several Chinese manufacturers. The Chinese economy was booming and due to the disappearance of trade restrictions and travel facilitations the cooperation between NOCH and the Chinese suppliers become easier. However in line with the economical development of the country also the Chinese wages increased. Furthermore there were frequently problems with the quality of the figures, as Chinese migrant workers often did not return in their factories and so every year new workers had to be trained. Thus each time a part of know how, skills and quality awareness were lost. Owing to these developments NOCH decided to found an own factory in Vietnam in 2009. Originally it started as a small workshop with 5 workers but in the meantime it has been grown to a considerable manufacture with more than 120 employees. As NOCH Asia is a hundred-percent subsidiary of NOCH, the German company has direct access to quality, production scheduling and working conditions. The general manager of NOCH Asia is a German-Vietnamese lady educated in Wangen keeping contact with the German staff every day. Several times a year the head of management and of the purchasing department visit the factory in Vietnam maintaining close contact with each other. Thanks to the foundation of the own factory in Vietnam NOCH could improve the quality of the figures, especially the painting. Also the cost pressure from China could be moderated. Additionally, NOCH can control the working conditions fulfilling its social responsibility towards the staff in Vietnam.

    What's next? Looking in the crystal ball
    The rapid development of technologies and the internet affect also the NOCH figures involving opportunities and risks. While it has been possible to scan master models three-dimensionally for a long time, the costs have become affordable also for medium-sized companies. Thus they can save costs in scanning the master models at home and sending the data instead of sending the models to Vietnam to make the figure tools. And you can go even further if you scan a real person without the intermediate step of making a master model. The first project of this kind was the production of the pianist in the Laser-Cut Kit Piano Concert with micro-sound Piano Performance (ref. 66827) in 2017.
    For this purpose a member of the NOCH staff scanned his wife wearing an evening dress at home and then processed the data digitally. So for the first time it was not necessary to make a master model and to generate the construction data.
    The 3D printing process is a further development that will strongly influent the production of model figures in future. This technology makes it possible to print a figure directly on the basis of a computer file. Similar to the laser-cut technology that changed the production of model buildings, the 3D printing will find its way into the production of model railway accessories more and more. In order to keep their strong market position on this field, NOCH has been working on 3D printing for some years. NOCH was the first manufacturer to launch 3D printed figures in series production in 2013: three girls dancing on the pole included in the limited Laser-Cut kit Table Dance Bar Eden (ref. 66506). In 2015 the "3D minis" were introduced: perfectly detailed, handpainted and weathered models. So today fine scale models are available for every modeller. Also the mentioned pianist and the piano are 3D printed models, painted in the own factory in Vietnam. For the future it is to be expected that small start-ups of 3D printed models will be released in direct marketing. Therefore, to be in the forefront right from the start NOCH opened an online shop for single figures in 2016. On www.modellfiguren.de modellers may choose from over 500 lovely detailed, handpainted models. As trade channels will change owing to new technologies but NOCH is known as the leading retail partner, the company passes a part of the online sales volume on to the specialized dealers to support them for their future business. This fact was one of the reasons why NOCH was elected retail partner No. 1 as published in the independent market magazin "markt intern" in 2016.
  • The PDF shows you the novelties in English.

    Colours, combinations and forms are subject to change without prior notice.

    We would appreciate a report in your magazine very much.

    Colours, combinations and forms are subject to change without prior notice.

  • In April the following new items will be available:
    • Tall PROFI Trees for 0 and H0: Birch, Oak, Lime, Chestnut Tree
    • Fine Application Laser-Cut Adhesive
    • Latex Adhesive for Cork & More
    • Basic Set “Modelling” for 0, H0, TT, N, Z
    • Basic Set “Decoration” for H0, TT, N

    The PDF shows you the novelties in English.


    Colours, combinations and forms are subject to change without prior notice.

  • For enthusiastic modellers: PROFI Tree Structures for H0 / TT / N
    The high quality NOCH PROFI tree range now contains large trees without leaves. These tree structures can be used in various ways: Create individual, beautiful trees using NOCH Grass Glue and different NOCH leaves and flocks. Or make impressive winter trees with NOCH Snow Paste applied on the bare tree structures. Available as Tree Structure “Beech Tree”, 13 cm (5.12 in.) high, ref. 22010
    and Tree Structure “Lime Tree”, 18.5 cm (7.28 in.) high, ref. 22020.

    All-round scenery decoration for every scale: Grass Tufts Mini Sets
    Using the popular ready-to-plant NOCH Grass Tufts you can perfectly decorate field paths, lake or river shores, embankments and slopes as well as the edges of roads and forests. However, they are also ideal to create flowerbeds or to brighten meadows. The eight new Grass Tufts Mini Sets are perfect for decorating smaller areas or if you wish to use different types of grass tufts. Each set includes 42 grass tufts with either 6 mm fibre length or extra large tufts with 12 mm fibre length. Retailed in the colours “green”, “field plants”, “blooming red” and “blooming yellow”.

    For a Mediterranean flair: Almonds and Pines for H0 / TT / N
    You can create a holiday atmosphere on your layout using the two new high quality NOCH PROFI line trees:
    - Almonds, 2 pieces pack, 8 and 9 cm (3.15 and 3.54 in.) high, ref. 21996
    - Pine, 11.5 cm (4.53 in.) high, ref. 21997

    Colours, combinations and forms are subject to change without prior notice.


  • The NOCH PROFI Series includes high quality, elaborately hand-made model trees manufactured in the NOCH owned factory »NOCH Asia« in Vietnam.


    Colours, combinations and forms are subject to change without prior notice.


  • Colours, combinations and forms are subject to change without prior notice.

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