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PRE ORDER VS NO PREORDER

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PRE ORDER VS NO PREORDER
Posted by thomas81z on Sunday, July 30, 2023 5:26 PM

IM sure its been beat to death but heres my latest wack at the subject

i never really bothered to preorder anything till i really dove into the BLI offerings .

i ended up preordering the PRR turbine & the 2-8-4 boston & maine steamer

& the Q2Stick out tongue

now im onto the rapido pre orders with the southern pacific 3/4 dome cars

& scale trains. union pacfic steam water cars .

i also snuck in a PA from rapido .wow

im done for now but does anyone else preorder ??

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Posted by crossthedog on Sunday, July 30, 2023 5:37 PM

I have preordered several locomotives from Bowser, an F7 and an RS3. I would say that I can't wait, but I am waiting. And I will wait.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, July 30, 2023 5:39 PM

Occasionally...but most of the time no.  My locomotive acquisitions over the past 5-7 years have been in used brass in very good condition.  I've found some real gems of NYC locomotives that will most likely never be released in plastic.

Tom

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Posted by PennCentral99 on Sunday, July 30, 2023 9:28 PM

I pre-order a few items from InterMountain with my dealer. It guarantees I'll get an item; however, once they advise the pre-order is available and if I decide I no longer want it, no biggie, they cancel the order and don't charge.

I have pre-ordered several rolling stock and locos from ScaleTrains, and I'm glad I did. Same deal, no charge until the item ships and I can cancel if I choose. I have, with ScaleTrains, sent an email to sales and stated I would be interested in some items if a person who pre-ordered changed their mind, and it has worked out for me.

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Posted by PM Railfan on Monday, July 31, 2023 1:30 AM

I'd be one in the "No" or "Not anymore" column. The Pere Marquette seems to be such an obscure line its hard for anyone to believe it was a class one railroad. So not many models of the PM are made (other 'non PM' offerings never really caught my eye).

Now and then a pre-order would come along. I tried a couple, after a year or two each, never heard of again. Not produced. No warning, no memos, no nothing! Crickets......

And the pre-orders that do come around, are just repainted knock-offs. The old make more $$$ for the same model by painting every railroad name on them whether the railroad had it or not game.

Another reason is I have heard some bad stories about pre-ordering. On this forum even.

Lastly, a reason for which Im not allowed to mention, but every one of you knows it. 

So pretty much, thats 3 strikes - Pre-ordering is out!

 

 

Riding the Yellows!

PMR

 

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Monday, July 31, 2023 3:32 AM

I was amused to see the orther day, a vendor had a type of car listed for preorder, with the various road names listed. BUT several of them already had "SOLD OUT" listed where the price would normally be

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 31, 2023 8:04 AM

I pre-paid for Walthers NW2's that came out llast year, results are I saved 25% off of list and 15% off of accual aprox. in price.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, July 31, 2023 9:07 AM

I routinely pre-order items now. I have to or I in many cases will not get the item or will pay an exhorbitant price on ebay to get it.

Real world example: Bowser adds typically about 10% to the preordered quantity to set actual production quantities. It could be more or less than that depending on various factors.  In the case of the HESR SD40-2 units (hot orange, yellow and black G&W scheme) a couple years ago, actual preorders were for about 48 of each model, one w dcc and sound, and one plain dc. They added 5 to each and made 53 or 54.  By the time those models arrived in the US, all had been sold. I literally got the very last one of each, only because the Bowser retail store had those two units remaining.  All the rest were immediately shipped out.

That is about the minimum they can possibly build, 50 units of any one item number.  If it is a hot item any small extra quantity may be sold before they arrive.

I do not know anybody else's actual numbers, much less any other Bowser numbers, but these expensive toys are no longer made in the large quantities some might think.  I know they are happy if in most cases they can sell 250 or 300 or more of a given loco item number.  That might be considered a successful product run.

If I think I will like the model I dont risk paying inflated prices on ebay to get one.

I cant stand Rapido's lack of quality control  but may preorder one CP RS18u low nose just because it looks so neat. 

Another example: A famous NKP modeler's usual train stores did not get very many NKP Bowser RS3 units. He ended up calling Bowser's retail store and they were able to provide him one of each road number only because they always have one or two of every item for walk in customers. They sold out so quickly everywhere else that even this well known guy had missed out.  So it is a good idea to preorder if you think it might be hot.

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Posted by wrench567 on Monday, July 31, 2023 10:14 AM

  I pre ordered once. Right after receiving the locomotive I saw it advertised at a discounted price with several in stock. I could have saved almost $100. No more pre order for me. I'm like Tom now. Buy inexpensive used brass and fix up myself. I got an H8s with a can motor. After the decoder and speaker, it was still cheaper than the plastic version.

   I'm not cheap. Just thrifty.

        Pete.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, July 31, 2023 12:05 PM

Well there is pre-ordering and then pre-ordering smart.

If you need a ScaleTrains item, pre-order directly through them. You get free shipping on all orders over $100 at time of shipment. Nobody else sells it below ScaleTrains direct to consumer prices. A couple places (Lombard Hobby, Spring Creek, and maybe Hiawatha Hobbies) can match ScaleTrains pricing, but you will still pay their shipping charge. So it is cheaper and faster to buy direct from ScaleTrains.

Everything else I get for the best price I can. My local dealer, The Station, in New Cumberland, PA, right across the river from Harrisburg, will give me the best price he possubly can.

If I have to have the item his customer service more than makes up for any price margin above the big discount places. He has exceedingly generous layaway policies and works hard to keep customers happy.  That is where he beats the big guys--on customer service.  When I have the occasional issue with a product, it gets taken care of.

Also I sometimes pre-order Bowser direct from them.  When it comes in I pickup in person and get to inspect it in person which sometimes can be helpful and is well worth the price.

For someone who buys from big discount places and has a problem they might be able to return defective model to manufacturer but will then miss out when the item they wanted is sold out.

I personally prefer to inspect models in person before acceptance, and you give that up as well as get nearly zero customer service from some large discount dealers.  At the end of the day you get what you pay for, but that is my opinion.  Ymmv.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Monday, July 31, 2023 3:15 PM

Count me in for the not worthwhile to pre-order crowd.  What stops a vendor from cancelling your order, going out of business, or making you wait needlessly?  You might even change your mind and want something else.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, July 31, 2023 4:25 PM

crossthedog
I have preordered several locomotives from Bowser, an F7 and an RS3. I would say that I can't wait, but I am waiting. And I will wait.  -Matt

I preordered the Bowser RS3 and waited and waited.  I finally canceled and it was still another year before they hit the shores. 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by JimL on Monday, July 31, 2023 4:38 PM

Yes ... I preorder most everything new. I only buy products from manufacturers, and from retailers, I know. At the preorder discount. I'm not concerned about "anything going wrong." It would be made right. Easy peasy.

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Posted by selector on Monday, July 31, 2023 6:01 PM

Since BLI and Rapido, for two, do demand pre-orders, that is how I have been acquiring locomotives since about 2012.  I do try to find what I want in BLI's refurbished section between runs, but have not done that for a few years because of so many problems with the P3 line.  Paragon 4 are a whole new ball 'o wax with their keep-alive, so I have ordered the Santa Fe Hudson and the new C&O 2-8-2, as examples.  They may not be all brass, but they're really darned good...particularly with that keep-alive gizmo.

My very first pre-order was when Rivarossi, still not in Hornby's clutches, offered a Tsunami-equipped variant to be released in the summer of 2007 if I recall correctly.  Next was my Sunset brass CPR Selkirk 2-10-4, and from there I began to order BLI steamers, Athearn, and am still awaiting the Atlas U30 and Rapido's CPR 'Empress' 2816 Hudson.  I don't mind the wait...or the anticipation.  So far, no disappointments, and it's not like I have nothing else to play with in the meanwhile...or improvements to make to my layout.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, July 31, 2023 9:54 PM

I have never pre-ordered.  Do you have to pay all or part, at the time of pre-ordering?

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, July 31, 2023 10:08 PM

kasskaboose

Count me in for the not worthwhile to pre-order crowd.  What stops a vendor from cancelling your order, going out of business, or making you wait needlessly?  You might even change your mind and want something else.

Seriously?

No reputable dealer will actually do that to you.  They cannot afford to get a bad local reputation, or they are finished.  It's the outstanding service reputation that keeps the few remaining train stores in service in this era when so many customers buy online.  My local dealer is well aware that some (thankfully only a few) customers will come into the store, open and test run items, say "I'll think about it" and then leave and go buy it elsewhere online for less money.  Thankfully that is a small minority of customers.

In my case, the local dealer is my friend and I don't have to worry about him going out of business, or if he wasn't doing well, believe me I would know about it. 

Changing my mind and wanting something else?  Yes, that has happened, and my local dealer has been so gracious and has simply put a few of those items out for sale, saying they add to the variety of stuff he has for sale.  Unfortunately I have changed my mind too much and am working to improve by not doing that to him again.  I've just walked in and bought several locos that were not ordered in for me, too.

So yes, I am very careful with what I pre-order now.  If I send my local dealer a text and ask him to get me a loco, he often has it in stock for me in 2 to 4 days flat.  There is no clowning around.

Ymmv.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, July 31, 2023 10:14 PM

NO reputable dealer will accept money up front until they actually have an item in stock (at which point some will accept a layaway).  The manufacturers generally DO NOT require any deposit, unless you are actually ordering a brass model, and those are very rare anymore.

Especially after Canadian Model Trains (Tom Tomblin) went out of business and stole pre-order money from many customers (who had reserved brass models and made deposits with Canadian Model Trains) most other dealers will not require a deposit.  In fact it is considered unethical to do so as most plastic or diecast manufacturers never request any deposit from the dealer.

For one--and I've been critical of ScaleTrains in the past--but their policy is that you can make a pre-order directly with them and you actually CAN cancel it.  They realize that circumstances change and sometimes people are unable to pick up a given item or two.  As long as you don't make a habit of doing that often--cancelling--there is no problem.  Their pre-orders are to help them figure out correct production quantities and are non-binding.  All this is clearly stated on their website.  The demand for ScaleTrains items is so strong that many of them are sold out within a couple weeks.  Few models linger. 

Some of the largest mail order dealers also clearly state on their websites that pre-orders are non-binding, but are used to help them plan order quantities.  Obviously they do not prefer that you cancel very much stuff, but places such as but not limited to Lombard Hobby in Chicago will cancel pre-orders for you, I think no questions asked.

The manufacturers run a line of credit with banks to cover the production costs up to the point of getting models into the country and through customs.  The interest payments are factored into the pricing already, so for those and many other reasons, cash deposits are NOT taken.

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Posted by tstage on Monday, July 31, 2023 11:59 PM

And then there is Tangent Models, who only announces their new product (generally monthly) when they actually have it in-hand - ready for sale on their website.  No pre-orders.  No forewarning what's coming down the pike.  Just an email to customers that such-'n-such model(s) are now for sale and that they are taking orders.

I like Tangent's business approach.  It makes me look forward in anticipation to what their next product will be.  When it is announced, Tangent gives a very nice history about each prototype and what years a particular model/paint scheme is appropriate for.  And they put out a GREAT product.

While not all Tangent releases fit my era or interest, I think they have done a very good job of including interesting (& needed) older prototypes along with modern rolling stock.  They also offer kits of undecorated models for those you enjoy that part of the hobby.

Tom

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Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 12:08 AM

I don't buy much anymore, but here are pre-orders that worked out well:

Rapido X-31 boxcars

Rapido Railcrew uncouplers

That is it, just two. There have been five that did not work out.

I am not a fan of pre-orders. If I could get what I order, I would be happier.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by PM Railfan on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 2:17 AM

tstage

And then there is Tangent Models, who only announces their new product (generally monthly) when they actually have it in-hand - ready for sale on their website.  No pre-orders.  No forewarning what's coming down the pike.  Just an email to customers that such-'n-such model(s) are now for sale and that they are taking orders.

I like Tangent's business approach.  It makes me look forward in anticipation to what their next product will be.  When it is announced, Tangent gives a very nice history about each prototype and what years a particular model/paint scheme is appropriate for.  And they put out a GREAT product.

While not all Tangent releases fit my era or interest, I think they have done a very good job of including interesting (& needed) older prototypes along with modern rolling stock.  They also offer kits of undecorated models for those you enjoy that part of the hobby.

Tom

That's the way it should be done. 

PMR

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Posted by AEP528 on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 7:33 AM

So I'm assuming everyone here who dislikes pre-order has never signed a contract for a service or product to be delivered later?

Clearly there's a belief that signing a binding contract for a $50,000 home renovation is okay, but a non-binding pre-order for a $50 piece of model railroad equipment is the worst offense imaginable.

Backorder, waitlisting, and layaway have existing for longer than ever the majority of users of this forum have been alive. Remember when it cost money to make long distance phone calls, and mail order with no idea of inventory quantities was all anyone had? Local shops couldn't then (and can't even now) guarantee manufacturers or whoesalers would have products in stock when an order was placed.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 7:47 AM

AEP528

So I'm assuming everyone here who dislikes pre-order has never signed a contract for a service or product to be delivered later?

Clearly there's a belief that signing a binding contract for a $50,000 home renovation is okay, but a non-binding pre-order for a $50 piece of model railroad equipment is the worst offense imaginable.

Backorder, waitlisting, and layaway have existing for longer than ever the majority of users of this forum have been alive. Remember when it cost money to make long distance phone calls, and mail order with no idea of inventory quantities was all anyone had? Local shops couldn't then (and can't even now) guarantee manufacturers or whoesalers would have products in stock when an order was placed.

 

All true.

But having worked in this industry back in the day (late 70's/early 80's) there was a time when manufacturers, distributors and retailers saw inventory as money in the bank and held as much as they could afford to buffer the effects of batch production.

Not so today for lot of obvious and some valid reasons,

I pre-order now and then. But I am way past needing to build my roster, it is nearly full.

I do miss the days of well stocked model train stores.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by PRR8259 on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 8:49 AM

There is one big problem with Tangent's system:  locomotives whether steam or diesel cost a lot more than their admittedly gorgeous freight cars. They can have some freight cars in the warehouse for future sales, but if they tried to do that with locos it would destroy their liquidity.

The real purpose of preorders is to get rough build quantities. ANY extra inventory of locos sitting in a warehouse 3 weeks after delivery is basically dead inventory that becomes difficult for most to eventually sell. What sells and what doesnt is not science. Nobody really knows how well every single item will sell.  They can predict some...

Bowser literally builds as few as 50 of some locomotive stock numbers, yet there can be other locos in the very same product run that they make 500 of.

Without any guage of preliminary sales interest, what do you think would happen to a Bowser or a Tangent if they guess wrong on a loco and end up with 450 extra of some locomotive item numbers sitting in a warehouse???

Those locos cost a lot more than a few extra 86' boxcars which will eventually sell.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 8:59 AM

I have pre-ordered just as a precaution to be sure I get what I want. 

My personal experience has been that pre-orders have not really been needed, as the items I wanted seem to be in stock store inventory for several months after my order is delivered.

I am not aware of pre-order discounts, but may use this in the future.

- Douglas

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 11:25 AM

PRR8259
There is one big problem with Tangent's system: locomotives whether steam or diesel cost a lot more than their admittedly gorgeous freight cars. They can have some freight cars in the warehouse for future sales, but if they tried to do that with locos it would destroy their liquidity.

We'll see, John.  IIRC, Tangent has hinted in previous emails about the possibility of releasing a locomotive at some point in time.  No one but Tangent knows when that will be though.  Needless to say - should that come to fruition, both the prototype and the product marketing will be well-researched before bringing it to market.

But, you are correct that it's no guarantee if or how well a product will sell for the manufacturer.  Even a pre-order could go south if the product doesn't live up to expectation.

Tom

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 11:29 AM

The big problem with my failed pre-orders is the complete lack of communication.

When Rapido cancelled the undecorated PA diesels, they contacted me directly and gave me options. That was wonderful.

All the others... it has been over a year at least on the pre-orders, and I do not know if they will eventually be made, cancelled, or anything else.

I will only be ordering pre-order from Rapido in the future. I don't care to deal with the rest of the options.

-Kevin

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 5:09 PM

My pre-orders over the years have been with ModelTrainStuff,Tony's, Factory Direct, and Rapido.  None of them required money up front, all were cancellable at any time. All delivered in time.  Longest wait was for the Sunset 2-10-4, but close behind time-wise was BLI's amazing UP 9000 4-12-2. They don't communicate much except to let you know, via an emailed invoice, that the product is ready for shipping when they have the payment.  Next comes the shipping notice with tracking.  And that's it.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 7:00 PM

For those that want transparency and communication from the manufacturer/importer, I have to point you to ScaleTrains.

I place a pre-order.  They have my credit card on file--but it is secure and they can't even see the info.  They tell you about when--what month--your preordered item(s) will arrive.  When it changes, they update the website.  They have been pretty good at hitting their dates, too.  I can go into their website, enter my login and password, and every single order I've ever made as well as all my pre-orders are there and searchable.  Even the actual shipping dates are there.  I do not have to worry about "did they forget about me?" or "did they somehow lose my pre-order?"  In fact recently they announced a new pledge:  IF they screw up your pre-order they will give you $1000 in other merchandise to make it up to you.  But don't take my word for it--go check out their website and see for yourself.

I understand many are uncomfortable with pre-orders, and I myself do not like committing to some product a year or more in advance, based upon sometimes only a drawing, and there have been times I've changed my mind, so that most certainly becomes an issue.

Yes, in many or most instances you can avoid pre-ordering and still find the item in stock somewhere after the fact, but I have actually missed out on items on some occasions, and could not/did not obtain them later, so it does happen.

Normally if I find out about an item I can send a text or make a phone call and still get it in a couple days, because my local store is very responsive, but not everyone has that kind of store or relationship with the store owner.

John

 

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Posted by DrW on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 7:40 PM

As a Santa Fe aficionado, we had in recent years some additions to our steam and diesel rosters that would not have been possible without pre-ordering. The manufacturer has to know how much interest will be attracted by a model of an engine that was specific to a certain railroad. Of course, the manufacturer will always produce a few more copies than they have on pre-order. If you are lucky, you can get those without pre-ordering, but you have to be aware that without pre-ordering these items would not exist.

In recent years, Santa Fe's best friend has been BLI. They looked for input from the Santa Fe Historical and Modeling Society and produced the EMD E1 (the Santa Fe was the only railroad owning an E1), the 4000 class Mikado, and the Blue Goose 3460 class Hudson. Rapido gave us the Santa Fe RDC Budd railcar rebuilt after a 1954 accident, and they will produce the unique PA-1/2 remotored with a 567C prime mover (if they get enough pre-orders). Athearn Genesis has produced some Santa Fe rarities as the freight F3s (the Santa Fe had only two sets) or GP7s with a steam generator.

Obviously, in brass pre-ordering is the only way to go. In some cases, production numbers are available. In 2004, Division Point imported 100 models of the Santa Fe 885 class Mikado, evenly distributed over four versions. Only one of them was oil-fired; thus, there are only 25 models of Santa Fe #898 in existence. Production numbers for the 2004 DP Santa fe class 900/1600 2-10-2s were a bit higher (less than 50 per version).

Finally, a comment regarding the running performance of brass. There had been a comment earlier in this thread that brass engines need some attention/tuning-up before running satisfactorily. However, that does not apply to brass that was produce in the last 20 years or so. I own a number of copies of the DP Santa Fe class 885/900/1600 2-8-2s and 2-10-2s, a Glacier Park class 3460 Hudson, and two DP Alco RSC-5s, and they all run like a charm.        

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 10:22 PM

DrW
Finally, a comment regarding the running performance of brass. There had been a comment earlier in this thread that brass engines need some attention/tuning-up before running satisfactorily. However, that does not apply to brass that was produce in the last 20 years or so.

It doesn't necessarily apply to all older brass either.  A few years ago I picked up three used brass steamers from the late 70s (a 0-6-0, a 0-10-0, and a 2-6-6-2) and they ran terrific - even before I cleaned and re-lubed them.  They rival my new locomotives as far as smoothness at low speeds.  It really depends on model.

Tom

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