Re: Model Kits and the evolving New Reality


Dan, I think it is the wants and needs of the purchaser. Taking the
stance that it's all "instant gratification" misses the point. Many people are
not interested in the building aspect of the hobby. They want trains to
run, not hours spent building kits. That is a perfectly valid and legitimate
point. Their satisfaction does not come from building of models, but
running them. That seems the way the hobby is trending. If the hobby was rife
with kit builders, the manufacturers would respond in kind, but that is not
the case.

Although the costs have definitely changed, note that many of the new
plastic steam locomotives are now equivalent in price to what the same
locomotive in brass was 25 years ago. We can't look at past prices and determine
that today's prices run people off. What older modelers think when they see
a model listed at $35-40 is different than what a younger modeler sees.
We long for gasoline at 25 cents a gallon, but a 30 something has never seen

When I look at the hobby magazines, I see a huge hobby with a multitude of
manufacturers, and models we could only dream about 25 years ago. Compare
the time it took Athearn to get an SD40 on the market (20+years?) compared
to the time it has taken to get an ES44AC on the market (less than five?),
and what about the detail and performance differences? Sorry for the modern
diesel references, but it makes the point. There is probably no doubt that
the number of model railroaders has shrunk, but what we can get now to
what was available in the past is astounding.

Jerry Michels

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