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The designated "This hobby is so expensive" thread Locked

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Posted by ed_n on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 12:57 PM

I started building a small N-scale layout last year, my goal was to keep total cost under $500; due to the Atlas track shortage I had to buy all Peco track - due to that and other unforeseen expenses I have already passed the $500 mark.

I also fly RC micro electric helicopters (real helis, not quadcopters aka "drones").

Consider this FWIW - in 1966 a Kraft 4-channel 72 mhz crystal controlled transmitter, receiver, & 4 servos cost $400. I had a copy of the ad in a 1966 issue of Model Airplane News. That would be ~ $2900 today.

However, today you can get a 5-channel 2.4 ghz spread-spectrum transmitter & receiver for under $100.

 

 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 1:52 PM

trwroute
I'm just glad that I love to build things.  Otherwise, I would be out of luck.

God bless you because some really love trains, but don't have a passion for building kits.  Thats just a reality.  Does that make kit builders saints and those who only do it out of necessity sinners, or choose your favorite metaphore?

I've never seen the hobby strictly in terms of building kits vs. RTR and one being good while the other is bad.  My personal goal is to run trains, that look like real trains of my favorite RR on a car for car basis as much as possible.  In order to do that, I have to pick the best candidates from whatever is available, and that includes both kits and RTR models; and of course try to stay within my means.  That does mean I buy Tangent, Intermountain, BLMA, Exactrail, Genesis, Accurail, Athearn (bb and RTR), Walthers, Atlas etc. 1970-1990 rolling stock.  Since I can't afford much of the expensive stuff I only get a little hear and a little there.

Anyway, some others summed it up well.  There is expensive stuff, there is more variety, there is also lots of inexpensive stuff - everyone should be happy so what is the reason people complain about how expensive the hobby is?  - it's human nature I guess.  We want more than we can afford, so we complain when we can't have it.  It starts when we are little and continues until we are very old.  Problem solved!  Now where is my staples button?

My wife grew up in a very poor part of England and barely had enough clothes, sometimes couldn't afford to heat the house so she went to bed early to stay warm.  Her mother used to have a saying or two that seem to apply here: "your just going to have to want" and "you get what your given"

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Posted by NP2626 on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 1:52 PM

ed_n

Consider this FWIW - in 1966 a Kraft 4-channel 72 mhz crystal controlled transmitter, receiver, & 4 servos cost $400. I had a copy of the ad in a 1966 issue of Model Airplane News. That would be ~ $2900 today.

However, today you can get a 5-channel 2.4 ghz spread-spectrum transmitter & receiver for under $100.  

 

I had a Kraft Gold Medal Series 4 channel radio, it cost $450.00.  It must have been far easier for a kid 18 years old with his first job, to consider $450.00 an amount he could spend and not feel like I would today, needing to spend that anount!  I don't recall having the same sticker shock then, that I do for $3,035.00 now!!!!

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

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Posted by trwroute on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:10 PM

riogrande5761

 trwroute

I'm just glad that I love to build things.  Otherwise, I would be out of luck.

 

Nope...never said that.  Maybe I should have put a disclaimer that stated "These are my feelings only.  Others may vary".

All I know is, if there was nothing to buy other than RTR, I would either scratchbuild everything or change hobbies.  I've been in this stuff since '72.  Just glad I don't have to purchase everything at todays prices.

Chuck - Modeling in HO scale and anything narrow gauge

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Posted by NP2626 on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:16 PM

I never said anything being judgemental about building kits; or, from scratch!  Only that if I can't find kits to build, I will loose interest in the hobby!  So, from the RTR crowds point of view things are wonderful!  But, from a builder's perspective, not so much! 

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

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Posted by ACY Tom on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:33 PM

Kits are generally cheaper than equivalent R-T-R.

Depending on the materials you use, scratchbuilding can be even cheaper!

Tom 

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:53 PM

NP2626

 

 
ed_n

Consider this FWIW - in 1966 a Kraft 4-channel 72 mhz crystal controlled transmitter, receiver, & 4 servos cost $400. I had a copy of the ad in a 1966 issue of Model Airplane News. That would be ~ $2900 today.

However, today you can get a 5-channel 2.4 ghz spread-spectrum transmitter & receiver for under $100.  

 

 

I had a Kraft Gold Medal Series 4 channel radio, it cost $450.00.  It must have been far easier for a kid 18 years old with his first job, to consider $450.00 an amount he could spend and not feel like I would today, needing to spend that anount!  I don't recall having the same sticker shock then, that I do for $3,035.00 now!!!!

 

 I was in grade ten when I bought the Kraft sport series 5 channel for just under $400.00 IIRC. That was 1974. That year I also bought my six string guitar that was $650.00. I never ever remember wasting time whining about cost, that would cut into the time I could be out earning the money to buy these things. A lot of cart returning at Safeway everyday after school, not to mention the paper routes.

Every second spent dwelling on a problem is a second wasted not dealing with it.

 

 

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Posted by LOCO_GUY on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:57 PM

I read this thread with some amusement.  One of the things I find attractive about model railroading is how affordable it is. Now, I am not rich and have stated that in other threads - but I got a full DCC set with F7A plus four cars with nickel silver track and a DCC controller for $87 on ebay - brand new sealed in box.  I also buy a lot of track and accessories used on ebay.

The most expensive loco I have is an intermoutain heritage series ES44AC - that was $196 - but that is still a great value.

I run my layout for fun and really don't care if it has the most expensive locos or track - part of the fun is getting the cheaper track to perform like the expensive stuff.

 

Chris.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 3:34 PM

trwroute

Why are there so many on this thread that bad-mouth the ones that don't like the pricing?  Start your own thread and leave us alone!  A lot of us can afford pretty much whatever in the hobby, but we choose to not be sucked in to spending what I think are astronomical prices for a hobby. 

I'll keep modeling in my frugal ways and no one is going to tell me otherwise.  Or how wrong I am.

 

Chuck, there is nothing wrong with being frugal, or shopping wisely.

But endlessly complaining about prices with a clear attitude like you are being "ripped off" by the dealers and manufacturers is another thing entirely.

There are lots of things in this hobby that I will not pay the asking price for - because those things do not represent a value to me equal to the asking price.

But I don't whine and cry that the prices of those things should be cheaper. The guy that made them is likely selling them at as low a price as possible to still make a reasonable return on his time and investment.

But as constantly explained and illustrated in these threads by the few with some understanding of economics, adjusted for inflation and value added improvements, MOST items in this hobby are cheaper than ever before.

AND, other factors of personal purchasing power decline, and such that we are not allowed to discuss here, are not the "fault' of the model train manufacturers - quite the contrary, those things hurt them just as much as it hurts their customers.

I'm self employed, have been most of my life. I simply don't, won't deal with anyone who acts like I am trying to overcharge them. Guess what, my work schedule is full for all of the coming year. I don't negotiate my prices - they are what they are, you either want my skills and expert knowledge or you don't.

And when I go shopping, I'm either willing to pay what the shop keeper asks, or I'm not. And if someone does "take advantage" of me, I simply take my money elsewhere in the future.

Like I said before, what do you do for a living? How about you take a pay cut so I can have whatever it is you provide to the society at a lower price? No? I thought so.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by trwroute on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 3:47 PM

Sheldon, I guess it all boils down to the manufacturers have left some of us behind.  I have read all of the threads that talk about pricing and have seen and been told that "we" have asked for the higher prices by wanting more detailed stuff.  I never asked for that because I like to do that myself.  Do I like Athearn's extremely fragile handrails that break just by looking at them?  No!  Do I want bent grills on an F unit?  No!  I could go on and on.  Remember, you're paying for that.

I just can't help but think that a lot of folks are getting scared off by the pricing, and i'm not faulting the dealers...

Sure...I'll give you a part of my teachers salary, but you will need to explain it to my wife.  I'm not!

Finally, I don't do a lot of complaining, but this is the one subject that gets me going.

Chuck - Modeling in HO scale and anything narrow gauge

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Posted by davidmurray on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 4:01 PM

I agree thar kits are cheaper than RTR, but kits are getting harder to find.

Either they are not being made, or I.m looking in the wrong places, don't know which.

One of the reason for liking kits, is if I build it, I might be able to fix it.

Dave

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 4:28 PM

Are manufacturers leaving kit builders behind?  In general, manufacturers are going where the sales are, which makes sense because they are in business to make money, not lose it.  Here is Athearns statement from their wiki page:

October 16, 2009; Athearn announced the discontinuation of all Blue Box Kits, due to issues keeping the prices competitive caused by increased manufacturing and labor costs.

"Effective immediately, we here at Athearn have made the difficult decision to discontinue the production of our Blue Box line of kits. There were several factors that contributed to this extremely challenging decision however, the primary issue revolved around affordability and ensuring that our Blue Box kit pricing remain aligned with what the market can bear. Unfortunately, due to increased manufacturing and labor costs it has been determined that we are no longer able to continue offering kits at competitive price points as compared to our already assembled products." ~~Excerpt from an email from Athearn.

Accurail is still selling kits.  As I recall, Atlas was offering some kits based on Branchline models which they acquired.   Intermountain sells undec kits from their line.  And of course there is alot of old stock out there on the secondary market still floating around.  So there should be fodder to hold the old school folks for a while.  When that runs out, there is always raw materials.

davidmurray

I agree thar kits are cheaper than RTR, but kits are getting harder to find.

Either they are not being made, or I.m looking in the wrong places, don't know which.

Dave

Where do you live?  I still attend train shows regularly.  I used to go them in central NY - there were lots of kits there, and since I moved to Virginia, I attend the Timonium train show, and I still see lots of kits there, and for very attractive prices.  Definitely they are out there - Athearn bb, MDC, Walthers, Accurail, Front Range, etc. etc.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 4:35 PM

trwroute

Sheldon, I guess it all boils down to the manufacturers have left some of us behind.  I have read all of the threads that talk about pricing and have seen and been told that "we" have asked for the higher prices by wanting more detailed stuff.  I never asked for that because I like to do that myself.  Do I like Athearn's extremely fragile handrails that break just by looking at them?  No!  Do I want bent grills on an F unit?  No!  I could go on and on.  Remember, you're paying for that.

I just can't help but think that a lot of folks are getting scared off by the pricing, and i'm not faulting the dealers...

Sure...I'll give you a part of my teachers salary, but you will need to explain it to my wife.  I'm not!

Finally, I don't do a lot of complaining, but this is the one subject that gets me going.

 

Chuck, first off you deserve a raise because I would hurt the little monsters.....

As to the nature of the products today, I feel that is almost a seperate conversation.

And on that note, I understand what you are saying - I may not agree completely, but I do understand - remember, years ago I was the guy behind the counter at the local hobby shop.

I have no standing in the kit vs RTR thing because I buy a lot of both. I'm an old school modeler, I was building Silver Streak kits at age 10 - but I'm building a big layout and I'm not going to build 800 freight cars from craftsman kits.

Fine detail - I like it, but I don't require it on every model on the layout. I still run lots of Athearn BB cars, old Varney metal cars, etc. And I have a large fleet of those fragile Proto diesels, Spectrum Steam locos, Genesis and Intermountain F units, etc. Fragile does not bother me - but I don't lug my equipment to clubs, of have dozens of relative strangers operating my layout. 

Prices I won't pay - $50 to $100 RTR passenger cars - and my main reason is that most of them fail my primary detail requirement - working diaphragms that touch. I'm not paying that kind of money to then have to rework them to my standards.

BUT, I do understand why they cost what they cost.

One big problem I see in the hobby to day relates to it becoming more diversified in how it is approached, while at the same time, the manufacturers are under tougher market conditions to try to understand and meet the needs of the customers - yes, it has left some modelers behind, no question about that.

Respectfully, some people should be scared off by the pricing. On any kind of "serious level", for any sustained part of ones life, this has never been an inexpensive hobby - some people need to know that going in.

One more thought about inflation and economics. It is just not as simple as pluging an old price in an inflation calculator.

Manufacturers by instinct do not raise prices unless THEIR costs go up. So often a product may stay at a given price level for a long time while the general economy around it inflates - making the product artifically low priced - UNTIL, something happens to cause the manufacturer to need to raise the price.

This happened repeatedly with Athearn over the many years. Irv was a good business man and apparently had little debt, so his costs were well controlled. But tooling breaks, or new tools are made for new products at higher costs, and eventually an "adjustement" is required.

OR, the economy in general goes through some sort of shock which effects labor or material costs - then prices have to go up - sometimes all at once rather than in "inflationary" increments.

So if I pick the year right before the adjustment, and plug that into the inflation calculator, I can make it look like the current price of Athearn RTR is outrageous, but if I pick the year right after the adjustment, suddenly the current price of Athearn RTR looks like an inflation adjusted bargin.

But averaged out over the long haul, an Athearn freight car now costs about the same in inflation adjusted federal reserve notes as it did in 1968, or 1985.

And easily half of the current Athearn RTR line are just slightly improved versions of those same products.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by davidmurray on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 4:48 PM

To Riogrande

I live in southern Ontario, Canada, just east of Toronto.  There is a show in Lindsay this weekend, in a converted resevres armoury.  The venue is smaller than a higth school gym.

October and November will be in high school gyms (double and triple basketball size.

I would most like CN boxcars, and I understand that the big market is definitrly in the USA.

Dave

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 4:59 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Chuck, first off you deserve a raise because I would hurt the little monsters.....

Teachers and care givers are both underpaid these days.  My wife being a caregiver works for peanuts but is trying to improve her lot in life by getting basic certification, but it will be a minimal increase.

Fine detail - I like it, but I don't require it on every model on the layout. I still run lots of Athearn BB cars, old Varney metal cars, etc. And I have a large fleet of those fragile Proto diesels, Spectrum Steam locos, Genesis and Intermountain F units, etc. Fragile does not bother me - but I don't lug my equipment to clubs, of have dozens of relative strangers operating my layout. 

Respectfully, some people should be scared off by the pricing. On any kind of "serious level", for any sustained part of ones life, this has never been an inexpensive hobby - some people need to know that going in.

And easily half of the current Athearn RTR line are just slightly improved versions of those same products.

Sheldon

I'm like you, I like fine detail but everything on the layout doesn't have to have it - and I can't afford very much of it anyway.  Thats life, I accept it.

And I agree, the MR hobby has historically never been a cheap hobby.  Most good hobbies worth having can be quite expensive if you get into it, so thats just the way it is.  Now there was a period in the 90's and maybe up until 2006/7 or so that prices were a little more modest in comparison to salaries, and since then salaries have either stagnated or gone down for many while model train prices have sharply increased.  That does make it tougher on some, including me. 

Oh well, but the up side is the great variety and again, the hobby was never cheap if you were serious about it.  Good point Sheldon.  And again, there are cheap trains out there to be had at shows and bargain hunters who are persistant.

Oh, and the other half of Athearns RTR line includes some nicely upgrade cars, and some are downright nicely detailed.  The ex-MDC Thrall coal gons had some significant upgrades and make great unit trains at relatively modest prices.  When they were out on the market you could find them for street price of $60 for 5-packs - which works out to $12 each for RTR cars with metal wheels; Mchenry couplers need replacing still so...  and the ex-MDC 5-bay Ortner rapid discharge hoppers, same thing - they were nicely upgraded!  There or some other nicely done RTR cars in Athearns line which are somewhere between basic and Genesis in detail.

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 6:45 PM

riogrande5761
 ...

My wife grew up in a very poor part of England and barely had enough clothes, sometimes couldn't afford to heat the house so she went to bed early to stay warm.  Her mother used to have a saying or two that seem to apply here: "your just going to have to want" and "you get what your given"

 

My great grandmother summed that up thusly: "Use what you have and you'll want for nothing."

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Posted by b60bp on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 7:02 PM

davidmurray

I agree thar kits are cheaper than RTR, but kits are getting harder to find.

Either they are not being made, or I.m looking in the wrong places, don't know which.

One of the reason for liking kits, is if I build it, I might be able to fix it.

Dave

 

 

Dave, you're correct that kits aren't as available as they used to be. There are companies still turning them out. Aside from Accurail, Bowser makes some really nice kits that are easily built. More advanced kits of the highest quality are available from Tichy and Huff & Puff (who makes the old Main Line, Silver Streak and other lines) as well as others. Great pleasure working on these, great value for the money.

I got caught up in the so-called "freight car revolution" a few decades ago and fell in love with the kitbashing articles that used to be in every edition of  Rail Model Journal and Model Railroading. I love taking an old Train Miniature or Athearn car and bringing out their best. Cutting off door "claws" and replacing cast on grabs really helps, along with putting on a new running board and stirrups, new paint and decals and new door tracks. Presto, an old mundane car now looks pretty decent. (Dr. Wayne seems to be a master of this craft).

All of this kept me away from the expensive RTR cars of today, saving a small fortune. I have a few of the high end cars but only two came from retail sources, the rest from swap meets and ebay. If a guy keeps his eyes open sometimes he can catch a bargain on the old bay. One way to save more money.

I really don't like prices today either and have mostly resorted to the secondary market. Works for me. It doesn't matter to me how much money I have to spend, I just won't pay more than I think something is worth. And I'm not alone in that. My wife works for a very successful interventional radiologist who lives a few blocks away. He's a modeler too, and he also thinks prices are too high. And believe me, he can afford them. 

One other bit of support/advice if you don't mind. Sell off what you don't want or need. Pick up bargains are swap meets and resell them. I've been letting the hobby pay for itself for years. My stock of model goods is always declining in quantity but increasing in quality.

Good luck,

Benny P.

 

 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 9:05 PM

b60bp
I really don't like prices today either and have mostly resorted to the secondary market. Works for me.

One other bit of support/advice if you don't mind. Sell off what you don't want or need. Pick up bargains are swap meets and resell them. I've been letting the hobby pay for itself for years. My stock of model goods is always declining in quantity but increasing in quality.

Good luck,

Benny P.

Good advice.  I try to get the best prices possible.  Either I get a good discount price or  sometimes pick items up on sale or for bargain prices at train shows.

I've sold off lots of engines and rolling stock that I didn't need over the past 4-5 years to help me raise funds for newer items as I refine my fleet; I used to have a lot of 90's era stuff but back dated to 1990 so sold off all speed letter TTX, Golden West, wide cabs etc. 

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Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 9:50 PM

Being in Narrow gauge, HOn3, everything is costly, but the saving grace is that in spite of R-T-R cabooses being $75.00 and Drop bottom gons being $60.00 with engines at $400.00 each, a normal N.G freight might be no more than 10 cars.  So, I don't have to buy every new kerosene burner that EMD or GE makes.  Likewise, no issues of have to buy 7 to 10 matching passenger cars.  A giant yard is 4 tracks and 1 siding for sand, water and ashpit.  As long as you are not at a terminus, a 2 stall engine house is big time operation in that yard. A double track main is absolutely unheard of.  It all evens out for me and the outrageous pricing is a self limiting expense due to the limits of realistic operation on the narrow gauge. 

It also helps to operate in a real isolated backwater, not having to even try to model the giants like Durango or Alamosa.

 

Richard

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 11:14 PM

I found most of my bargains in trainshows.

As well...we had a run of them ending up in places like Goodwill, of all things.

But another thing, my roster is pretty uniform....H16-44's from Baldwin, S-2's from Arnold and RS's from Atlas's Trainmaster series...each one of them fitted with with detail parts....

Most rolling stock here are covered hoppers for grain, a few boxcars and maybe 4-6 flats....

 

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Posted by hornblower on Thursday, March 26, 2015 2:55 PM

I agree that model railroading can get awfully expensive.  I currently need to purchase about 50 more feet of flex track, at least three DCC auto reverse devices, eight power block circuit breakers, a couple more 4' by 8' sheets of 0.040" styrene, more scenery products, more paint, etc., and that's following a recent purchase of two DCC wireless throttles and a new power booster.  Whew!

Well, its still A LOT cheaper than another hobby I was involved in before my eyesight went south.  I don't know what they want for it now but racing gas was up to $7 per gallon back in 2002!  If nothing broke, a weekend of racing cost me at least $600. Unfortunately, even if nothing broke we'd still go through a few tires anyway.

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Thursday, March 26, 2015 3:21 PM

hornblower

I agree that model railroading can get awfully expensive.  I currently need to purchase about 50 more feet of flex track, at least three DCC auto reverse devices, eight power block circuit breakers, a couple more 4' by 8' sheets of 0.040" styrene, more scenery products, more paint, etc., and that's following a recent purchase of two DCC wireless throttles and a new power booster.  Whew!

Well, its still A LOT cheaper than another hobby I was involved in before my eyesight went south.  I don't know what they want for it now but racing gas was up to $7 per gallon back in 2002!  If nothing broke, a weekend of racing cost me at least $600. Unfortunately, even if nothing broke we'd still go through a few tires anyway.

 

And have fun replacing an entire engine if'n it blows up....there goes 8 grand+ right there...

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Posted by softail86mark on Thursday, March 26, 2015 4:15 PM

This hobby is so expensive, when it sits around the house, it SITS. AROUND. THE. HOUSE...

Wait...wrong joke.

Never mind.

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Posted by cedarwoodron on Thursday, March 26, 2015 7:51 PM

My first HO purchase was a 2.98 Athearn BB kit- in 1966- but I find many BB kits at swap meets under 10.00 these days. They suit me fine- and I enjoy upgrading them as a core part of my model railroading. Maybe I have low standards- the 3 foot rule- but it allows me to maintain constant participation in the hobby. I leave the higher costs to those who can afford them.

Cedarwoodron

 

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Posted by PM Railfan on Friday, March 27, 2015 1:11 PM

Folks, we can chew this fat apparently all we want. The fact remains prices are way too high. Sure, by now, most have fixed this problem their own way and are passing on the info..... they dont buy new (paying over prices) and they now use swap meets, EBay, etc to buy Blue Box, Yellow Box, or other 'older' comparable model versions (paying what they are actually worth!). Ok, no problem there, but that's a stop gap fix. That solves the problem of buying.... for now.

BUT! What about the soon approaching day when no more "new in the box" BB, YB, or other types run out or get too sparse or become unavailable all together. For example, there is a finite number of 'New, Blue Box GP35's' left in the world. We have focussed on how to get around this problem but we arent focussing on how it can be fixed. Now that we are buying through secondary channels, models are still being made/sold at outrageous prices.

I think this is where we need to focus our attention. What can we do to convince the manufacturers were arent like the sheep in other hobbies, and refuse to take part in this any longer. To wit: as some have said including myself - "I dont patronize" these manufacturers anymore.

I have personally seen folks walk away from this hobby because of the expense, and I have seen newbies choose other hobbies because of the pricing. Folks, that is detrimental to our hobby. If more and more take this attitude, eventually, like the LHS, modellers are going to buy less and less new stuff if at all. Then where are the manufacturers going to be? Out of business! LHS style.

So you would think this would be an important problem for the manufacturers to look at. And us, the modeller, too. So instead of repeating what one does to circumvent the over the top pricing, what can be done about the manufacturers? What can be done to show them we wont tolerate this any longer? What can be done to restore our hobby to the way it was?

If this keeps up, the hobby wont be around save for swap shops, EBay, and what we already have on our model rails. I would much rather work with the manufacturers than against them. Though the only recourse right now is.... just dont buy from them. That hurts us, and them. This cant go on.

Ideas please? And not ways around it either. We need a fix!

 

PM Railfan

 

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 12,164 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, March 27, 2015 1:29 PM

PM Railfan,

Respectfully I ask you to submit some proof of these excessive profits you claim the model railroad manufacturers are making?

Do you have the inside line on the account books at Athearn? Do you know the "off the boat" price of an AB set of Genesis F units?

Have you ever run a manufacturing business? Have you ever run a model train store?

Do you know what the standard industry discounts and markups are?

And what do you think is a "fair" profit?

Nothing you have ever said on this topic gives me any indication that you know the answers to any of these questions.

Well I have ran a hobby shop, and I have met and known a number of people at all levels of this business in my 40 plus years of modeling and working in this business. And I don't see it, nobody is getting rich at the expense of model train consumers. Just the reverse, many a dollar has been lost because being in the hobby business was more of a hobby, and less of a business.

All products are worth the cost of production plus a reasonable return - or they need not be made.

Show me some proof.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 27, 2015 2:08 PM

I feel the need to repeat myself - this hobby is as expensive as you allow it to be. For the past years, I am forced to do my model railroading at less than a shoestring budget. I can´t afford all those nice locos you see advertised, but so what! You don´t need a basement filling model railroad empire, stacked with 50+ premium locos and populated by 500 cars to enjoy the hobby. A small shelf switcher, a couple of locos and cars, a few lengths of flex track and some turnouts and your are in business. No money to buy RTR buildings? Scratchbuild them, using materials you find in your household! There is a nice thread on modeling on the cheap, just take a look at those many hints and tips and, please, stop whining about the cost of the hobby! Better get going and do some modeling!

  • Member since
    January 2013
  • 894 posts
Posted by PM Railfan on Friday, March 27, 2015 2:16 PM

Sheldon,

No more proof needs be exhibited. This thread alone is proof something isnt right. Or it wouldnt be here.

I never stated "excessive profits". Yet "over the top pricing". Its the pricing that is in question, not the business model used.

Dont worry about what i know. Instead offer a solution. A fix. An idea on how to stop this and reverse it before the hobby prices itself out of existance.

As stated, ive seen folks walk away from this hobby because of the pricing alone. They didnt run hobby shops or manufacturing businesses. But they knew!

Are you telling me what I saw with my own eyes?

 

 

PM Railfan

 

  • Member since
    January 2013
  • 894 posts
Posted by PM Railfan on Friday, March 27, 2015 2:32 PM

Sir Madog

 No money to buy RTR buildings? Scratchbuild them, using materials you find in your household!

 

This in a way makes the point things are too expensive. Because if we move over to scratchbuilding things (bldgs, cars, locos, scenery etc) ourselves..... then whats the use in manufacturers? Theyd go out of business anyways.

I agree, you can model on the cheap. Alot are moving this way, myself included. This only takes away from the income of the manufacturers. Less income means eventually, out of business.

And thats what i would like to stop. True, no one needs a million dollar empire in their basement to enjoy the hobby. But some out here want it. I personally have waited and collected my entire life for that one day called "retirement". And im not settling for a shelf layout after all these years.

Do i need more stuff? No, it isnt required, but it would be nice. Can i model on the cheap.... gonna have to now. This still doesnt answer the problem of new folks entering the hobby who have no clue or experience on how to kitbash or scratchbuild anything.

And this is why i have seen them walk away. Is this the legacy we want in model railroading?

 

PM Railfan

 

(PS: Glad your back amonst us Ulrich. Hope the new focals are doing right by you. Willkommen zurück mein Freund!)

 

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: California & Maine
  • 3,848 posts
Posted by andrechapelon on Friday, March 27, 2015 2:48 PM

Folks, we can chew this fat apparently all we want. The fact remains prices are way too high.

To quote Colonel Sherman T. Potter from MASH, "Horse Hockey!!!!"

The upcoming DCC and sound equipped Athearn modernized SP MT-4 has a list price that, on an inflation adjusted basis, has a lower price than its undecorated brass equivalent did in 1965 ($420 today = $56.36 in 1965). The DC version is $100 cheaper ( $320 today = $42.94 in 1965). Street prices will be at least 15% cheaper. There were no "street prices" on brass in 1965.

A Varney "economy" 2-8-2 kit in 1950 was $41.75. No tender was included. The cheapest appropriate tender was $7 ( http://hoseeker.net/varneyinformation/varneycatalog1950pg14.jpg ). In order to have an operable locomotive, you'd have to pay $48.75. The equivalent price today would be $474.80. BTW, that "Brute Diesel" powered A or B unit at $20.95 in the catalog would be $204 today. You can get an ABA set of Athearn F7's for only about $11 more (both A's powered). http://www.athearn.com/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=F7A+RTR&CatID=THLD

 

In 1958, Penn Line asked $44.50 for a Pennsy K4 kit. That's more than $360 in today's currency.

I bought an Athearn Santa Fe caboose kit in 1957. It cost me $1.89 ( http://hoseeker.net/AthearnBrochuresAds/Brochure%201957%20pg2.jpg ). That's the equivalent of $15.79 now. The latest Athearn RTR release of the same caboose is $24.98 (street price will be around $20). You get paint and graphics an order of magnitude better, metal wheels, plastic window inserts and knuckle couples. Incidentally, $24.98 is the equivalent of $3.35 in 1965 and that's just about what Silver Streak caboose kit cost back then and it's also about what you'd pay for a set of Central Valley Bettendorf or Archbar trucks.

The $184.98 MSRP for Athearn's latest RTR SD45 is the equivalent of $25.53 in 1966, when Athearn first released the model. However, now you get prototype appropriate details, superb details on the trucks (the originals were lumps of metal by comparison), an excellent mechanism and SCALE WIDTH hoods. The Athearn SD45 went for just under $15, but that for was a bare bones model with a mediocre mechanism (and overwidth hoods) and X2F couplers. By the time you got it reasonably detailed and running well, you could very well be bumping up against $25.

Athearn RTR passenger cars had an MSRP of $3.50 in 1962 ( http://hoseeker.net/AthearnBrochuresAds/Brochure%201962%20pg6.jpg ). That's $27.20 today. The current equivalent is $29.98. Better paint and graphics, metal wheels and knuckle couplers. http://www.athearn.com/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=Streamline+Diner+RTR&CatId=THRP  Street price will be less.

Y'all can go ahead and stick with the meme that you're victims of a great price gouge even though the truth is otherwise. Me, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. Being retired, I've only got a dime to spend, but, oh what a variety there is from which to make a selection.

Andre

 

 

 

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.

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