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And you think brass has dropped in price, FSM craftsman kits are now at bottom feeding prices

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And you think brass has dropped in price, FSM craftsman kits are now at bottom feeding prices
Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 10:20 AM

I have always collected Fine Scale Miniature kits when I could get them on the cheap. Got all I need but now the general market has gotten into bottom feeding prices. Even saw a buy it now for the John Allen Special for $330, $500 used to be a good buy. 

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 10:53 AM

I think there was a thread on this very topic, with FSM as the main subject, within the last year.  Compared to the original price, $330 is still a pretty hefty appreciated value it seems to me. 

I don't know as I'd draw any grand conclusions from either brass prices or FSM prices.  If it is the common cry of nobody builds things any more, then why the same downturn for RTR brass?   (Unless the common cry has changed to nobody builds or paints anything anymore).  Or if it is the shift to strict prototype modeling, then, again, why is brass down too?

Perhaps all who want, have?  Or perhaps other expensive things have soaked up the loose cash.  

If you think brass and FSM prices/values have dipped, talk to railroadiana collectors.  At the shows I go to the guys trying to sell their gleaming collections of dining car china or silverware look mighty glum, not to mention, pretty lonely. In fact I know one major railroadiana dealer who has shifted almost entirely to selling trainset quality HO rolling stock.  Maybe he did it just to have someone to talk to during shows.

Dave Nelson  

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 11:13 AM

There is not a single FSM kit that I want to build. I think there are a lot of people out there like me.

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We do not collect kits, we build kits for our layouts. For the builders out there, there are so many well designed laser-cut wooden kits that FSM kits just don't have much appeal. These good quality laser kits are a joy to build.

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Less people actually interested in these kits probably accounts for the fall in prices. That is my best guess.

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Brass prices are still tumbling. Both of these recent examples (I own 2 of the KCS transfer caboose and 10 of the GM&O caboose) sold for well below what I paid for any of mine:

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 11:25 AM

Don't collect FSM per se but have aquired a number to put on layout of which only one acculally made it to last layout (had two others that I bought used and fixed or finished. Two more were destined for layout but we moved. Lazer kits and FSM kits are two different worlds and most laser kits don't have the details included (which may be part of the reason for the decline as you can now buy the parts separate).

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 11:35 AM

The whole downturn in prices on a lot of things is due to abundance and the change in hobby direction. Used to be everyone was shooting for the empire, now smaller more detailed ones are in vogue. Proto is gaining steam and RTR is very in. Last there is just too much stuff to maintain prices and stuff keeps getting added. Two, our stuff dosn't deteriate for the most part on its own. I can still buy brand new Varney stuff online. You want metal kits, no problem, turntables (a little more patance here), you can get anything. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 11:35 AM

rrebell
which may be part of the reason for the decline as you can now buy the parts separate

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Maybe.

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I bought a couple hundred dollars worth of FSM castings from the company that makes them now. Good quality, and they completely eliminated my desire for any unbuilt FSM kits.

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rrebell
you can get anything

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Yes you can. I have been constantly amazed that I am able to find things that I thought would be impossible.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 1:42 PM

SeeYou190
There is not a single FSM kit that I want to build. I think there are a lot of people out there like me....

They've never been on my list of "must haves", but I recall a now-defunct hobby shop that specialised in acquiring  (and selling, piece-meal) estate lots.  I was there one day when the owner was cataloguing FSM kits from one such acquisition.  According to him, every FSM kit ever made was in that particular lot (some duplicates, too) and none had ever been opened....supposedly a factor commanding even higher prices.

No disrepect towards George Selios intended, but the structures always put me in mind of M.C. Escher's "Relativity"

Wayne

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 2:26 PM

SeeYou190
There is not a single FSM kit that I want to build. I think there are a lot of people out there like me.

Indeed.. That $350.00 plus dollar  wood kit could buy another brass steam engine or a DCC/Sound engine,that's something I can enjoy running.

Larry

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Posted by oldline1 on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 4:25 PM

I bought and assembled several FSM kits when they were new back in the 1970's. They weren't cheap then compared to other available kits but were well worth the money.

Anyone with basic modeling skills could assemble one and make a fine looking structure just by following George's excellent instructions and photos. They were and are a lot of fun to build.

My only issue is they are not suited for my current type railroad and more suited to logging type or much earlier railroads than my 1950's Western Maryland layout.

I still buy some when the price is right, assemble them and sell them to folks too afraid to try building one.

oldline1

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 4:42 PM

Most FSM kits I have seen assembled have been on modular displays or dioramas. I do not recall visiting a layout that used them.

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The kits assembled as diorama were always stunning. If done well, these were wonderful structures.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 4:46 PM

BRAKIE

 

 
SeeYou190
There is not a single FSM kit that I want to build. I think there are a lot of people out there like me.

 

Indeed.. That $350.00 plus dollar  wood kit could buy another brass steam engine or a DCC/Sound engine,that's something I can enjoy running.

 

Special kit with 5 buildings including the engine house.

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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 6:00 PM

I always thought craftsman kits were way overpriced for what you get in some of them. Over $100 for a few pieces of stripwood with colors on one end to help identify them (if you're lucky), and maybe a few poorly-cast details partsd (from the few I've seen)? No thanks!

Then again, mediocre quality plastic kits are approaching that price, so maybe it's not so bad anymore?

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Posted by wp8thsub on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 8:01 PM

I think at least part of this involves what people are modeling.  I model ~1980 in the interior western US, where few, if any, FSM structures would look appropriate.   As later eras become more popular, fewer of us will want FSM kits regardless of the part of the world we model. 

In addition, FSM kits tend to have a caricatured look that's compatible only with certain modeling styles.  The same can be said for some of the other high end craftsman structures.  They may have great value to those who enjoy them, but that market is limited.

I won't begrudge anyone their admiration for something like the John Allen engine facility, but the value of it for my layout is just about nil.

 

Rob Spangler

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 8:31 PM

wp8thsub

I think at least part of this involves what people are modeling.  I model ~1980 in the interior western US, where few, if any, FSM structures would look appropriate.   As later eras become more popular, fewer of us will want FSM kits regardless of the part of the world we model. 

In addition, FSM kits tend to have a caricatured look that's compatible only with certain modeling styles.  The same can be said for some of the other high end craftsman structures.  They may have great value to those who enjoy them, but that market is limited.

I won't begrudge anyone their admiration for something like the John Allen engine facility, but the value of it for my layout is just about nil.

 

 

Rob, I think you make an excellent point here.

Few people model the 20's, 30's or 40's any more, and while many people seem to "adore" the George Sellios style, it is as you say somewhat of a caricatured look.

As I have said before about his modeling - the depression was not THAT depressing......

Even as a transition era modeler, only some of those kinds of kits fit into the landscape of my layout theme.

And I would have to build them in a dramaticly different paint/weathering style to suit my taste and to portray my era.

Many of today's modelers who buy mainly RTR rolling stock seem to be big time scenery/structure builders, so I don't think there is a lack of "builders" out there.

Again, I think you have nailed it, these kits just don't fit the eras/locales being modeled these days.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by wp8thsub on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 10:57 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Many of today's modelers who buy mainly RTR rolling stock seem to be big time scenery/structure builders, so I don't think there is a lack of "builders" out there.

I think you're right on this too from what I see.  That certainly fits with what I'm doing - I use a lot of RTR rolling stock these days, but kitbash and scratchbuild extensively for appropriate structures.  Much of that is because the available kits are either overused, or don't look right on the layout.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 11:47 PM

The depresion was that depresing in some areas. Those who grew up in the diesel eras do not know how dirty steam could be and few ever saw the city areas were the trains were. I was born in early 50's and houses near the tracks were dirty and run down and I was there after diesel took over but I have seen areas that had steam and they were worse. In Baltimore I have seen whole blocks of boarded up houses and the way the lower class lives. I think a bunch of you have rose colored glasses.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, August 22, 2019 4:37 AM

rrebell

The depresion was that depresing in some areas. Those who grew up in the diesel eras do not know how dirty steam could be and few ever saw the city areas were the trains were. I was born in early 50's and houses near the tracks were dirty and run down and I was there after diesel took over but I have seen areas that had steam and they were worse. In Baltimore I have seen whole blocks of boarded up houses and the way the lower class lives. I think a bunch of you have rose colored glasses.

 

I grew up in the 50s and started railfanning in '54 at the age of six. I remember those dirty houses and yard buildings as well as my dirty levis my Mother scold me about. My levis had coal/cinder dust on them from me sitting on the ground.

The majorty of  the steam layouts I had the pleasure of visting was way to clean.

The run down houses would come after PRR closed its steam shops and the former shop workers moved away.

Larry

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Posted by mobilman44 on Thursday, August 22, 2019 5:01 AM

While I am not a brass collector, I do check out offerings periodically.  Contrary to the examples given, it looks like prices of ATSF offerings of brass caboose and other rolling stock are pretty strong.  Locos are a mixed bag IMO.  Of course the popularity of the Santa Fe is likely a big factor.  

But if you all are looking for some aspect of the hobby where the bottom has fallen out, check out postwar Lionel and Flyer.........

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, August 22, 2019 5:09 AM

rrebell

The depresion was that depresing in some areas. Those who grew up in the diesel eras do not know how dirty steam could be and few ever saw the city areas were the trains were. I was born in early 50's and houses near the tracks were dirty and run down and I was there after diesel took over but I have seen areas that had steam and they were worse. In Baltimore I have seen whole blocks of boarded up houses and the way the lower class lives. I think a bunch of you have rose colored glasses.

 

In any era, there is blight in some places, "average" conditions in others, and new properous conditions in other places.

Things were booming in 1929, every new building did not suddenly turn into a dump over night because of the stock market crash or the dust bowl.

So the idea of the WHOLE layout looking like a slum is disingenuous.

Photos prove this to be so. 

You can find run down, neglected and abandoned buildings in every era, but not EVERY building.......

Sheldon

PS - one more thought, sure, if your WHOLE layout only models what is right next to the tracks (think ISL, or narrow shelf layout) then I guess it will mostly have that "industrial" look. Some of us have broader scenery interests, and deeper, more diverse scenery. But even along the tracks you find buildings of every age and condition.

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 22, 2019 5:41 AM

mobilman44
it looks like prices of ATSF offerings of brass caboose and other rolling stock are pretty strong.  Locos are a mixed bag IMO.  Of course the popularity of the Santa Fe is likely a big factor.  

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SANTA FE, and especially UNION PACIFIC brass prices are very solid. NYC and PRR are holding more or less steady, but there seems to be a lot more models for these roads available.

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N&W brass is way down, but I think that is because most models have now been done in good plastic with DCC/sound already installed. 

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Factory painted streamlined steam locomotives seem to have a collector base beyond model railroaders, so they are holding up well also.

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The generic USRA designs and one-off brass freight car models are what is is really falling, which is good for me.

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If Fine Scale Miniatures models fall far enough, I could pick upone or two just for the detail castings.

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ATLANTIC CENTRAL
if your WHOLE layout only models what is right next to the tracks (think ISL, or narrow shelf layout) then I guess it will mostly have that "industrial" look.

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I intend to model my entire layout as "right next to the track" with two exceptions.

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The broad curve at the enf of the room will be hills/mountains. The curve on the other end into hidden staging will have a city scene on top of it. I need to have a place for all those great City Classics, Design Preservation, and Magnuson kits I have collected for a few years.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:35 AM

A few toughts:

The FSM kits tend to have a style that I don't think mixes well with other buildings.  Era evolution alone doesn't explain the decline.  I think the migration towards more prototypical fidelity, maybe away from imaginative, has just as big of an impact.

If someone were to model 1930's Baltimore, they may want to build exact replicas of real buildings, selectively compressed.  They would not necessarily place an FSM kit in a scene, since as others have said, they are a bit of a charactcher style overall.  I think a person would have to have many FSM kits to give their layout a cohesive feel, then scratchbuild their own buildings in a compatible style.

Also, I agree with Sheldon and Rob as far as the scenery/structure vs RTR point. 

I for one am more interested in spending time getting the details of buildings to look correct more so than railroad equipment, hence, I tend to go with new RTR stock.  I kitbash and scratchbuild structures to fit the layout, hardly ever build a kit exactly has instructed, and I'm concerned about the overall design of the building being functional to replicate the prototype, along with the proper little details that would accompany such function. Also, I simply enjoy spending time building those models more so than building models of railroad equipment.

For railroad equipment, I've never been concerned about the proper details being in the proper place for the given car, roadname, and road number.  Just as long as the equipment was era correct and then looks right, and has finer wire details, its all good. 

 

- Douglas

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Posted by hminky on Thursday, August 22, 2019 7:18 AM

Remember buying some FSM kits back in the mid-eighties for $30 bucks at a train show because no one wanted them.

Sold them for $250 back in the mid-2000's when they became the "in" thing.

Always thought FSM was caricature modeling including Sellios' layout. Never thought his work was very real.

Harold

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Thursday, August 22, 2019 7:29 AM

You folks are way overthinking this. The architecture doesn't matter. You're not actually supposed to BUILD FSM kits. They're collectibles. Just like the limited edition Hot Wheels cars or Beanie Babies. You just put them in a closet to proudly show everyone "Look what I have."  You never, ever, open the package or touch it so that you can sell it and make a fortune twenty years from now. Or...maybe not. Confused

Jim

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:30 AM

hminky
Always thought FSM was caricature modeling including Sellios' layout. Never thought his work was very real. Harold

Maybe it depended on the area but,my Grandfather bought a brand new '30 Ford Sedan He was working 6 days a week as a PRR fireman.He  also stated the Great Depession wasn't all that bad unless you was among the rich that lost everything or a farmer in the Dust Bowl..He said railroads as still moving freight,buying new engines and new freight cars, the Broadway was still hauling passengers,buildings being built, cars and trucks was being built, factory workers still working and Hollywood still making movies..

Larry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:39 AM

I have about a dizen City Classics buildings, still mint in original packaging, waiting to be built for my next layout.

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Are you saying these should not be built?

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Wink

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I am looking forward to putting them together!

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, August 22, 2019 11:23 AM

my mom grew up in the great depresion, no one had jobs in some towns, cities were devastated, farmers could not get enough for their crops to make a profit (at least they had food). Industrial center grond to a halt as did ports. Only bright areas were cities where there were goverment institutions.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, August 22, 2019 11:38 AM

rrebell

my mom grew up in the great depresion, no one had jobs in some towns, cities were devastated, farmers could not get enough for their crops to make a profit (at least they had food). Industrial center grond to a halt as did ports. Only bright areas were cities where there were goverment institutions.

 

So did my parents, but the fact is the worst unemployment rate was 25% in 1933, so 3 out 4 people did have jobs. The depression hit the midwest harder than many other places, so experiences differ.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, August 22, 2019 12:07 PM

ctyclsscs

You folks are way overthinking this. The architecture doesn't matter. You're not actually supposed to BUILD FSM kits. They're collectibles. Just like the limited edition Hot Wheels cars or Beanie Babies. You just put them in a closet to proudly show everyone "Look what I have."  You never, ever, open the package or touch it so that you can sell it and make a fortune twenty years from now. Or...maybe not. Confused

Jim

 

Everyone?  LOL.

The number of model railroading friends that I would invite to look at the contents of my closet amount to the total of.....0...

That's a lot of money spent to impress nobody.

 

Maybe I'll meet Kevin at the Atlanta Train Show this Saturday, but I'm still not inviting him over to look at my closet.

- Douglas

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Thursday, August 22, 2019 1:36 PM

Okay, let me rephrase that. You can take them to a train show and put them out with ridiculously high prices like guys do with old Lionel trains. Then sit there with your arms folded waiting for people to be impressed. Of course, you never sell anything because that would take all the fun out of it.

As far as City Classics kits. Yes, I would save them in mint condition and buy another dozen to build. The ones you have stashed away will never be worth a fortune, but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you're helping to keep the model railroad industry alive for a day or two. Big Smile

Jim

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, August 22, 2019 2:28 PM

Doughless
The number of model railroading friends that I would invite to look at the contents of my closet amount to the total of.....0...

I don't even want to look at the contents of my own closet  If the stuff in there starts to come out, each item will probably include a pair of kinky boots.

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