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The designated "This hobby is so expensive" thread Locked

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, November 18, 2017 3:44 AM

Darth Santa Fe
The problem is a combination of inflation plus rising manufacturing costs in China.

Agreed.

I often see greatly reduced prices on recent-run cars and locomotives. Perhaps not in the road name you wanted or the options, etc. But you CAN save some money by being diligent, patient and willing to compromise a little.

The thread is locked but you can read all about how expensive the hobby is here:

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/245773.aspx

Personally, I believe today's model railroad products are some of the best ever offered and for all the "Bells and Whistles" a very good value, too.

Good Luck, Ed

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Model train prices out of sight?
Posted by the old train man on Saturday, November 18, 2017 3:44 AM

 First of all I model ho & n scale. I bought my engines with dcc & sound about 15 years ago. The cars are older. Is it just me or have quality model trains steadily climbed in price just beyond the reach of a model railroader on a fixed income? I know I can go to the shows and pick up used cars here and there but these often have problems that cant be fixed unless you spend more money say for kds or trucks or missing parts etc. Not too many years ago you could get dcc engines with sound for around $179.00 & the cars were about $15.00 with decent detail. Now I know all about added features like smoke,more rivet detail, anti stall electronics,more sounds etc. but over $300.00 for one engine is out of my reach. Cars for $25.00 up is also out of sight for me. Now I know somebody is going to say settle for the ones that are cheaper with less detail but they look cruddy next to the ones bought not too many years ago with more detail. The only answer I see is to buy a few engines instead of a fleet. Same goes with the cars. Im not even going to get into the price of good flex track & quality switches. If I have to replace my peco 3 way switch  I will have to eat pork and beans for supper for a couple of months. Just curious as to what others do about this problem.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, November 18, 2017 3:33 AM

I am a member of this forum for over 8 years now and I have given up on counting how many times this topic has popped up in those years. There is absolutely nothing to be gained in kvetching about how expensive the hobby has become.

The Ford Model T once sold for $370, which, according to Wikipedia, equates to $7,800 in today´s money. Show me a Ford you can buy these days brand-new for this kind of money!

If you can´t afford or are not willing to cash out the prices asked, well, then the only way to stay afloat in this hobby is to make things yourself. Thta´s what folks did when Al Kalmbach published the first copy of MR, which was certainly not a bad way at all!

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, November 18, 2017 3:08 AM

the old train man
The only answer I see is to buy a few engines instead of a fleet. Same goes with the cars.

Ummm, yeah. Not too difficult, you've got this figured out then, even if Dave didn't come along and restate the obvious....

Build stuff instead of buying. Buy less stuff. Or even no stuff.

Probably the least useful thing to do is start another thread here about it....Because such argument often turns contentious, despite its obviously deadend nature, we even had a thread specifically to allow those who felt the need to beat this very dead horse yet more time to flail away again...but comments had to be locked due to, ahem, excessive conflict. It's one of those topics that doesn't bring out the best in us.

That's probably because it's not much different than anything else, it's more expensive now than it was then. Nothing much to really do with model trains specifically if you think about it. Substitute gasoline, beer, cars, your house, cable TV, etc and it's all basically the same. Make your pocketbook choices and then come here to have fun, not drag in the petty annoyances of daily life.

 

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:15 AM

I just stopped buying stuff. I'll make do with what I have.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:06 AM

The problem is a combination of inflation plus rising manufacturing costs in China.  You can find a lot of these for way less than MSRP though if you check around places like eBay.

On the topic of inflation and prices of then vs. now, here's a quick list I made for the Tyco forum a few months back:

On the retail side, here are some prices from then converted to now.
Athearn F7 (gear drive): 1960 - $9.95, 2017 - $83.11
Bachmann U36B (original geared): 1975 - $22.00, 2017 - $103.34
Rivarossi Big Boy: 1972 - $59.98, 2017 - $357.16
Tyco C630: 1975 - $20.00, 2017 - $93.95
Hobbytown E7: 1951 - $24.95, 2017 - $240.40
Atlas FP7: 1975 - $25.00, 2017 - $117.43

Now here are some modern prices.
Athearn F7: $89.98
Bachmann GP38: $105.00
Bowser F3A: $105.00
Walthers SW-1: $99.98
Mantua 2-6-6-2T: $174.98
BLI 2-8-2 (DCC+sound): $349.99

With that in mind, prices are honestly about the same now as they've always been, except now you get way more detail, DCC, sound, and all sorts of good stuff.

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Posted by Steven Otte on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 2:11 PM

All right, folks, that's quite enough of this thread.

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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 2:10 PM

ricktrains4824

Sorry guys (and gals), but I have to point this simple fact out...

I work retail. 

Everything we sell at the store I work at has a MSRP. From a 6.00 MSRP part up to the 8000.00 MSRP part.

9 out of 10 the MSRP is much, much higher than what the "sale" price is... Sometimes as much, or more, than double the sale price. Common "sale" price of the 8000.00 part is 3999.99.... Or just over half off of MSRP.

And, the store I work at does not carry Bachmann trains, nor any other trains....

So, the fact is, the whole inflated MSRP thing is not limited to just Bachmann Trains... Nor just model trains period.

I know, shame on me for pointing out facts in a discussion about model train prices being too high... Whistling

 
You really, really, really really ought to be ashamed of yourself. Bringing facts to an internet discussion? Don't you know that's even more gauche than wearing white after Labor Day and more pretentious having a matched pair of Tesla's in your garage?
 
You really do need a remedial social skills class.  Laugh
 
Oh wait a minute, so do I. Never mind.
 
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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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 1:34 PM

Milepost 266.2

 

 
IRONROOSTER
 

The bigger problem I see is that when someone outside the hobby goes to a toy store, they don't see any trains other than wooden push trains or battery operated plastic trains.

 

 

But these are specialized products.  They're simply not going to be stocked by general retailers.  Apart from some train sets, where would they even start?  I can't buy the photography equipment I want at Wal-Mart either.  All they sell are point and shoots and cheap lenses with plastic elements.  But I'm under no expectation that I should be able to buy the "good stuff" there.  

 

Ah but they used to be.  I remember toy stores carrying MRC power packs, train sets, locomotives, rolling stock, plastic structure kits.  Granted these weren't the high end craftsman kits, but they could get you started.

As for cameras, well I bought my DSLR (Canon T3i) at Walmart 4 years ago.  Costco has some nice cameras too.  Sure they don't have what a camera shop carries, but you can get started there.  Not so with electric trains.

My point is that the MSRP vs street price of train sets is not where the problem lies.  It's that when non-hobby people are buying stuff, they don't see any electric trains where they are shopping.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by trwroute on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 12:09 PM

I can't understand why some of you just cannot ignore this thread.  This thread is for those of us that feel the hobby is a tad on the expensive side, and not for those that treat us like we're idiots for thinking so.

It seems that it is always the same few that get bent out of shape.  If they would just read other threads, and ignore this one, this would be a lot more fun to read.

Chuck - Modeling in HO scale and anything narrow gauge

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 11:32 AM

Sorry guys (and gals), but I have to point this simple fact out...

I work retail. 

Everything we sell at the store I work at has a MSRP. From a 6.00 MSRP part up to the 8000.00 MSRP part.

9 out of 10 the MSRP is much, much higher than what the "sale" price is... Sometimes as much, or more, than double the sale price. Common "sale" price of the 8000.00 part is 3999.99.... Or just over half off of MSRP.

And, the store I work at does not carry Bachmann trains, nor any other trains....

So, the fact is, the whole inflated MSRP thing is not limited to just Bachmann Trains... Nor just model trains period.

I know, shame on me for pointing out facts in a discussion about model train prices being too high... Whistling

Ricky W.

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1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 10:14 AM

I have never read through this post, so there are probably several comments about this....but some things on a layout need to be considered as "you get what you pay for" situations.  And here I am talking about backgrounds.  I have never commented on this before, but I am convinced that it is disappointing to stint on background costs.  So many superb layouts suffer from disappointing backgrounds and hand painted jobs.  The most expensive single type of item on my current layout is the background for which I paid perhaps somewhere around $700 ten years ago.  The photographic banner kind printed on heavy rubbery backed paper two feet high and 12 feet long is worth it in my opinion.  I will not mention the best supplier because this not an advertisement.  But the 12 foot sections can be matched in sections of 3 to 4 giving a very long scene if need be.  And a wide variety of areas is possible.  Then the relief can be added with building fronts and greenery etc.

I know I am going to get critiqued on this view, but if you feel you are an artist, or your club members feel they have fellows who are good with a brush, you are not going to end up with an exceptional background.  And it will be noticeable.

I can see that many people are extremely skilled in scenery building and wonderful rockwork and water work etc....much better than I could ever attempt.  Yet they may place it in front of poorly executed sky, clouds and distant vistas.

That is my bad boy opinion of the high cost of the hobby causing poor displays. Wink

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Posted by Milepost 266.2 on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:11 AM

IRONROOSTER
 

The bigger problem I see is that when someone outside the hobby goes to a toy store, they don't see any trains other than wooden push trains or battery operated plastic trains.

But these are specialized products.  They're simply not going to be stocked by general retailers.  Apart from some train sets, where would they even start?  I can't buy the photography equipment I want at Wal-Mart either.  All they sell are point and shoots and cheap lenses with plastic elements.  But I'm under no expectation that I should be able to buy the "good stuff" there.  

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 8:36 AM

riogrande5761
BTW, means I am buying some of those "latest whiz-bang golly gee I got to have that" freight car from Tangent or ExactRail because they look like the real thing.

Golly gee whiz Jim,My Athearn BB and Roundhouse cars looks like the real thing.

Sorry my old friend I couldn't resist the temptation to have a little bit of fun..

As of this morning I am adding some dress up to my old BB SW7 like Detail Associates 3301 window set and pilot stripes and thinking about adding a white frame stripe.I added none working Detail Associates Dual Pyle sealed beam headlights years ago.

Larry

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:59 AM

Steven Otte
No, that's just the way the merge function works (and the word "works" should probably be in quotes there). Most of the new thread will be imported in order, but the OP usually ends up near the end of the new material. You'll find the OP at the bottom of the previous page.

 
Not any longer.  Anyway, what would be "intuitive" is if the posts were merged in by date, which would make the most sense, but it looks like the forum software isn't as is should be.  Maybe a future update to the software will fix that issue.
 

Catt

I will agree that this is a expencive hobby.I've never considered that a problem because I simply do not buy the latest whiz-bang golly  gee I got to have that item.

I'm not real sure ,but I think that is called "modeling"

Glad you have tons of time; I don't, but I still want to build a layout and run some trains that look like the real thing, which, oh BTW, means I am buying some of those "latest whiz-bang golly  gee I got to have that" freight car from Tangent or ExactRail because they look like the real thing.  But don't make it sound like a bad thing please, because it certainly is not.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, November 14, 2016 7:30 PM

passenger1955
I have noticed that many of the model train manufacturers put a very high MSRP on their products. I think this practice limits their ability to effectively market their products outside the hobby. For example, Bachmann trains has an MSRP that is often double the actual price of their products. Bachmann will only use the MSRP to advertise the price of the product - so a $150 train set is advertised at $300.

The only place I see Bachmann (or anyone else) advertising with MSRP prices is in the hobby press.  Maybe I have just missed it, but the retailers if they mention price, advertise the price they sell at (which can be msrp).  So I don't see where anyone outside the hobby gets confused thinking the set is higher than what the retailer is selling it for.

The bigger problem I see is that when someone outside the hobby goes to a toy store, they don't see any trains other than wooden push trains or battery operated plastic trains.

BTW, the amount of discount by your LHS will vary.  In my area which is high cost, a lot of train stuff is sold at msrp - some is even sold for more than msrp.

Paul

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, November 14, 2016 6:10 PM

Guys

I know model railroading may be difficult for some of you in today's world, but that doesn't mean you can still enjoy the hobby.

 

Here are some things that might help:

 

Decide what you can afford and then go for it.

 

Think about what time period you want your layout to represent, I run 50's/60's and some 90's.

 

If you're new to the hobby, build your locomotive and rolling stock fleet a little bit at a time, before long you will have a good sized collection.

 

If you don't have the room for a layout, then join a club! I'm a member of Orange County Module Railroaders.

 

Mix in at least two railroads, I run   ATSF with a little bit of MKT on the side. Most modelers set themselves on one roadname, but it looks good to have two ATHG F3 A-B-B-A sets side by side.

 

Try to include at least one type of passenger train and one type of freight train you remember seeing in your childhood days, photos on the Internet will help

 

Use the Internet (eBay) for the older releases and your LHS for the new stuff currently being release. (I like eBay, it's a good site and stuff tends to show up without warning).

 

Explanation Done

 

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Posted by andrechapelon on Monday, November 14, 2016 5:11 PM

richhotrain
 
andrechapelon

You're ignoring the point. If MSRP's are inflated, people get to delude themselves they're getting a screaming bargain. I saved $100 on an Athearn MT-4, DCC and sound equipped. BFD. When I ran the inflation numbers vs. a brass engine (no DCC/Sound) of the same type 50 years ago and adjusted for the added features, the MSRP came out pretty close. The non-DCC version is significantly less than its 50 year old counterpart and has the advantage of coming painted and decorated.

Andre

 

 

 

Wait a second! 

 

Andre, before this thread was merged, didn't you twice object to the OP staring his thread and/or anyone replying to it???   Confused

Rich

 

 

Yes, but since nobody pays any attention and these things take on a life of their own, I have no guilt about about tossing actual information into an otherwise toxic stew of misinformation, the biggest chunks of which are that the hobby is way too expensive and that there was, in the past, a Golden Age, when everything was perfect (see below for a partial illustration)

The catalog pages for Varney locomotives in 1950 can be found here: http://www.hoseeker.net/varneyinformation/varneycatalog1950pg14.jpg Prices don't look too bad, do they? There's only one problem. The 1950 dollar equals ten 2016 dollars according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Then there's the little item that the steam locomotives were sold less tender (except for the Casey Jones). Oh, yeah, there wasn't a lot of discounted selling going on back then and there wasn't a lot of variety in items available unlike today.

Oh yeah. The idea that low prices will draw in people otherwise uninterested into the hobby is a figment of a fevered imagination. Anybody want to bet that skydiving would grow faster as a hobby if the price of parachutes were to drop significantly or that everyone would become a gardener if the price of garden tools fell?

Andre

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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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, November 14, 2016 1:23 PM

richhotrain
 
BRAKIE
 
 
richhotrain
But, Larry, your very argument treats the MSRP as irrelevant. 

Actually without the MSRP I would not have a base sticker price to compare and choose the better option.

 

 

 

Larry, if you look at your own example, $49.90 versus $45.85 before taking taxes and shipping into account, where is the MSRP relevant?

 

Rich

 

Rich,First the $49.90 before taxes was at the shop while the $45.85 was the on line prices including shipping. There wasn't enough difference betwteen on line and the shop to justify not buying at the shop.

If there wasn't a MSRP then how could I compare prices or whats to keep the dishonest dealers from jacking the price of the cars from $24.95 to $34.95 since nobody would know the real price? MSRP does keep some dealers honest and above board.

Larry

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, November 14, 2016 1:04 PM

More Walthers passenger cars are now in the $60-90 dollar range, especially the proto stuff.  It seems demand for certain roads is going up.

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Posted by Catt on Monday, November 14, 2016 12:15 PM

I will agree that this is a expencive hobby.I've never considered that a problem because I simply do not buy the latest whiz-bang golly  gee I got to have that item.I'll take my blue box Dash 9's and spend a few more bucks on them and the loco(s) mine.

I'm not real sure ,but I think that is called "modeling"

Johnathan(Catt) Edwards 100 % Michigan Made
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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 14, 2016 12:14 PM

andrechapelon

You're ignoring the point. If MSRP's are inflated, people get to delude themselves they're getting a screaming bargain. I saved $100 on an Athearn MT-4, DCC and sound equipped. BFD. When I ran the inflation numbers vs. a brass engine (no DCC/Sound) of the same type 50 years ago and adjusted for the added features, the MSRP came out pretty close. The non-DCC version is significantly less than its 50 year old counterpart and has the advantage of coming painted and decorated.

Andre

 

Wait a second! 

Andre, before this thread was merged, didn't you twice object to the OP staring his thread and/or anyone replying to it???   Confused

Rich

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, November 14, 2016 12:09 PM

Paul3

It's the same reason that $99.99 is used instead of $100.00.  We all know it's only a penny difference, but one looks much more appealing than the other.  The $99.99 item will always outsell the identical $100.00 item.

My favorite complaint along these lines is the 0.9 cent they still add to gasoline prices. Back in the old days 31.9 cents kinda seems like less than 32 cents, but I don't think $2.58.9 really fools anyone.

Robert 

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, November 14, 2016 11:38 AM

But with possible exception of Bachmann, the MSRP is not "inflated".  The manufacturer has to set a price point for the discounts to other folks in the supply chain to work from.  That is just the way the model train industry works. Whether the end buyer "sees" MSRP or not does not matter one iota; everyone in the supply chain sees "their" percentage of the MSRP as their "cost" and there has to be a number to work from.

 

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Posted by Steven Otte on Monday, November 14, 2016 11:34 AM

riogrande5761

I'm guessing the starter of the latest round is new and forgot to read the briefing.  I scrolled back up and the earliest of the recent round was by somone responding to the OP; looks like the starter post has poofed away  *poof*

No, that's just the way the merge function works (and the word "works" should probably be in quotes there). Most of the new thread will be imported in order, but the OP usually ends up near the end of the new material. You'll find the OP at the bottom of the previous page.

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Posted by andrechapelon on Monday, November 14, 2016 11:31 AM

CentralGulf
 
cuyama

It seems odd to suggest that folks who deal comfortably with the difference between MSRP and street price every day on myriad products (automobiles, computers, cell phones, home appliances, etc., etc.) can't be expected to do the same with model train items.

 

 

 
Right, sure, all the $35,000 vehicles have a sticker prices of $70,000. Stick out tongue
 
CG
 
 
 
 

You're ignoring the point. If MSRP's are inflated, people get to delude themselves they're getting a screaming bargain. I saved $100 on an Athearn MT-4, DCC and sound equipped. BFD. When I ran the inflation numbers vs. a brass engine (no DCC/Sound) of the same type 50 years ago and adjusted for the added features, the MSRP came out pretty close. The non-DCC version is significantly less than its 50 year old counterpart and has the advantage of coming painted and decorated.

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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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, November 14, 2016 11:30 AM

andrechapelon
 
Steven Otte

Threads have been merged.

You know, guys, it really HAS all been said before... 

Yeah, you're right, but there's always someone who either didn't get the memo or didn't read it.

Andre

I definitely has been said before and beat to road kill.  

I'm guessing the starter of the latest round is new and forgot to read the briefing.  I scrolled back up and the earliest of the recent round was by somone responding to the OP; looks like the starter post has poofed away  *poof*

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Posted by selector on Monday, November 14, 2016 11:23 AM

CentralGulf

 

 

To knowledgeable buyers, yes. But someone considering entering the hobby may not understand this. That is the OP's entire point.

CG

 

 

It's a specious point.  It is no more important to newcomers to this hobby as it would be to those who purchase their first car unwittingly; if they don't do their 'due diligence', they're gonna bleed through their noses.  If they don't do some learning, they'll get hosed.  Happened to me.  I purchased my first locomotive at an LHS on a walk-in.  Had an hour to kill, the guy demonstrated the first sound/DCC steamer I'd ever seen, and I paid the price...literally and figuratively.

Caveat emptor.  That aphorism is as true today as when it was first penned over 2000 years ago.

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Posted by andrechapelon on Monday, November 14, 2016 11:21 AM

Steven Otte

Threads have been merged.

You know, guys, it really HAS all been said before...

 

 

Yeah, you're right, but there's always someone who either didn't get the memo or didn't read it.

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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