Diminishing hobby?


eabracher@...
 

A hundred years ago a good suit of clothes would cost an ounce of gold. You
can say the same today.

eric


J. Stephen Sandifer <jssand@...>
 

There is far more to it. Most of us who model did not grow up with the TV, computer, or video games. We are reliving our childhood with model railroads. I also built model cars and planes when I was young. Not the current generation.

*******************************************************
J. Stephen Sandifer
mailto:steve.sandifer@...
Home: 12027 Mulholland Dr., Meadows Place, TX, 77477, 281-568-9918
Office: Church of Christ, 4011 W. Bellfort, Houston, TX 77025, 713-667-9417
Personal home page: http://users2.ev1.net/~jssand/index.htm
Railroad home page: http://www.trainweb.org/jssand
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Webmaster: http://atsfrr.net

----- Original Message -----
From: Arkivatsf@...
To: HBrown5216@... ; railspot@... ; RAILROADmodeler@... ; STMFC@...
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 11:20 AM
Subject: RS: Diminishing hobby?



In a message dated 5/17/03 2:50:33 PM, hbrown5216@... writes:

<< This is the first time in almost 70 years that I've ever heard of a
reduction
in the number of model railroaders. What's the source of this information?
Someone pass the salt, please.
Bear
>>

Hey Bear --

you better believe it.

After 50 years plus in the hobby -- 38 with Hallmark Models -- and in my
retirement going to trains shows as well as maintaining relationships with
many modelers, hobby shop operators, importers, and manufacturers---it has
become apparent that the number of modelers is diminishing. Circulations of
most of the model railroad magazines is on the decline.


Why? You can attribute a lot to the influence of the computer and the
internet. Plus the fact that model railroading has become EXPENSIVE. Kits
that we enjoyed buying for $4.00 and building have become ready-to-run cars at
$20 and up. (Marklin sells an HO boxcar for almost $40!) Plastic
locomotives that not long ago sold for $15 now sell for $150 or more.

Need you ask more?

Dean Hale

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asychis@...
 

I hope this thread is still valid and won't get me thrown in jail again. As
of right now I haven't seen a e-mail where it has been banned.

This is a great hobby. Yes, it is expensive, and once we just suck that up
and go on we will be better off. Whining about costs is a non-starter. If
you absolutely have to, you can get a decent model railroad going with
Athearn for a reasonable amount of money, you can save even more and buy kits
and do the detail work yourself, or you could (horrors!) scratchbuild.
Remember all the excellent articles in Mainline prior to InterMountain/Red
Caboose/LifeLike?

This argument is no different in this hobby that in any other. Audio/video
can range from quite simple systems that will give acceptable performance and
quality in the $500 to $1000 range, or you can spend $25,000+ for a pair of
speakers! I also guarantee you that there are enough gadgets, bells and
whistles in that hobby to bankrupt anyone. The latest rage is to have an a/v
controller with a built in, small, high quality LCD screen so you can
calibrate the system without having to turn on the television set!

I hope the model railroading hobby continues to improve at the rate it has
over the last 15 years! I'm willing to pay for the superior accuracy and
quality. Heck, I've lived long enough to hear that someone is finally going
to to the Colorado Eagle in brass! To me that's wonderous!

Jerry Michels


asychis@...
 

In a message dated 5/19/2003 3:55:50 PM Central Standard Time,
muskoka@... writes:

it is
understandable those w/ limited means might feel cut out and their voices
for choices at lower prices seem to be falling on deaf ears.
But the lower-end Athearn diesels and cars are still available, correct? So,
yes, those with limited means cannot afford the higher-end items, but they
aren't being cut out of the market. There will never be a market where
prices are the same regardless of the quality, that just doesn't make sense.
If it was true, we'd all be running hand-crafted brass!

On a slightly different thread, do molds for plastic injection production
cost the same as they did 15 years ago, or has the price declined due to
computer-assisted techniques?

Jerry Michels


tcschc <tculotta@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., "J. Stephen Sandifer" <jssand@e...> posted the
following, written by Dean Hale:
Why? You can attribute a lot to the influence of the computer and the
internet. Plus the fact that model railroading has become EXPENSIVE. Kits
that we enjoyed buying for $4.00 and building have become ready-to-run cars at
$20 and up. (Marklin sells an HO boxcar for almost $40!) Plastic
locomotives that not long ago sold for $15 now sell for $150 or more.
I find the cost argument to be bogus. Old people always bemoan the fatc that houses
that used to cost $10,000 now cost $100,000, cars that were $3,000 are now
$30,000, etc., etc. I doubt that the costs are out of whack with the rate of inflation.
They just seem that way to people who remember them in absolute rather than
relative terms. Resin freight car kits were $15 twenty years ago and are now $30+.
That's life and the rate of inflation, not absolute cost increases.

Regards,
Ted Culotta


benjaminfrank_hom <b.hom@...>
 

Ted Culotta wrote:
Resin freight car kits were $15 twenty years ago and are now $30+.
That's life and the rate of inflation, not absolute cost increases.

In addition, the $4 Athearn freight car kit is the exception rather
than the rule. The tooling for these kits has been paid for long
ago, so the manufacturer can keep offering these at low cost. You
also don't get as much for your $4 either.


Ben Hom


benjaminfrank_hom <b.hom@...>
 

Steve Sandifer wrote:
I also built model cars and planes when I was young. Not the current
generation.

Been to an IPMS meet lately? There are twentysomethings and
thirtysomethings that do some fantastic work!

http://www.ipmsusa.org/MemberGallery/gallery.htm


Ben Hom


ljack70117@...
 

My Granddad would get all over you if you told you wished for the "good old days". He would say "yes I could buy a loaf of bread for a nickel and you could buy a pound of hamburger for 10 cents" but He would say " I did not have that nickel or dime". "Today I have a job and I can afford to days prices. I could not afford yesterday prices"
Most people are not happy with today when ever today is. But think if time stopped for you 40 years ago, where would you be. Yes you would have a stone on your face.
We have more good models than we have ever had. even the before the 50s era. Model RRing is less expensive today than it was 50 years ago.
Thank you
Larry Jackman

On Monday, May 19, 2003, at 01:50 PM, tcschc wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., "J. Stephen Sandifer" <jssand@e...> posted the
following, written by Dean Hale:
Why? You can attribute a lot to the influence of the computer and the
internet. Plus the fact that model railroading has become EXPENSIVE. Kits
that we enjoyed buying for $4.00 and building have become ready-to-run cars at
$20 and up. (Marklin sells an HO boxcar for almost $40!) Plastic
locomotives that not long ago sold for $15 now sell for $150 or more.
I find the cost argument to be bogus. Old people always bemoan the fatc that houses
that used to cost $10,000 now cost $100,000, cars that were $3,000 are now
$30,000, etc., etc. I doubt that the costs are out of whack with the rate of inflation.
They just seem that way to people who remember them in absolute rather than
relative terms. Resin freight car kits were $15 twenty years ago and are now $30+.
That's life and the rate of inflation, not absolute cost increases.

Regards,
Ted Culotta


ljack70117@...
 

In the last 20 years of his life old Irv did not care if he made any money. He had his and it was more than he would spend in his life time. So if the company broke ever that is all he care about. So he sold his kits at a price no one else could match and stay in business. This hurt the other manufactures.
Thank you
Larry Jackman

On Monday, May 19, 2003, at 02:05 PM, benjaminfrank_hom wrote:

Ted Culotta wrote:
Resin freight car kits were $15 twenty years ago and are now $30+.
That's life and the rate of inflation, not absolute cost increases.

In addition, the $4 Athearn freight car kit is the exception rather
than the rule. The tooling for these kits has been paid for long
ago, so the manufacturer can keep offering these at low cost. You
also don't get as much for your $4 either.


Ben Hom


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Kevin Slark <MoffatRoad@...>
 

I, unfortunately, must agree that our hobby is
diminishing. I'm an about-to-graduate high school
senior and know perhaps ten other modellers across the
country via email, and only one within The South.
The cost issue is a very real one, especially to those
of us on a fixed (read small) budget. For example, I
love Red Caboose, Intermountain, Westerfield, and
Sunshine Kits (the last two I'll like even better
after I get those damn parts square) plus all the
rest. However I rarely purchase any unless I find
somewhere that has them on sale due to their costs.
In many ways, I believe manufactures may be shooting
themselves in the foot with assembled cars. I see the
market for them being very finite, and those of us who
build fleets scoff at $30 per car that you just put on
the rails and let run. Only time will tell.

Kevin W. Slark
(To keep a bit of true STMFC content....Does anyone
know of any D&SL GS gons in HO, brass or otherwise?)

__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.
http://search.yahoo.com


thompson@...
 

I love this thread every time it surfaces. But it's been covered in the
hobby magazines for decades (similar worries), so there aren't many new
whines.
One can always find indicators that seem negative; there are also plenty
that are positive. Take your choice.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


Jim Scott
 

I have no argument with the prices for rolling stock
and locomotives today because I also feel that the
quality has greatly improved and this you must pay
for. The fact that I bemoan is the RTR versus kits
and the reasoning that on one has the time to build
anything anymore. I feel that those that are into
this hobby now may be qualitfied to tackle the resin
kits because they have learned to build the "easy"
kits and then gradually moved to more difficult kits.
The modelers coming into the hobby now don't want to
take the time to learn how to, just give it to me done
so I can run it. That is a sorry state for this hobby
because without the knowledge of building the "easy"
kits you can't graduate to the harder ones that may
become unavailable due to lack of support because they
aren't "Ready-to-Run" but require work. I'll put my
soap box away now...

Jim Scott
Lompoc, CA.
--- ljack70117@... wrote:
My Granddad would get all over you if you told you
wished for the "good
old days". He would say "yes I could buy a loaf of
bread for a nickel
and you could buy a pound of hamburger for 10 cents"
but He would say "
I did not have that nickel or dime". "Today I have a
job and I can
afford to days prices. I could not afford yesterday
prices"
Most people are not happy with today when ever today
is. But think if
time stopped for you 40 years ago, where would you
be. Yes you would
have a stone on your face.
We have more good models than we have ever had. even
the before the 50s
era. Model RRing is less expensive today than it was
50 years ago.
Thank you
Larry Jackman
On Monday, May 19, 2003, at 01:50 PM, tcschc wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., "J. Stephen
Sandifer" <jssand@e...>
posted the
following, written by Dean Hale:
Why? You can attribute a lot to the influence
of the computer and
the
internet. Plus the fact that model railroading
has become
EXPENSIVE. Kits
that we enjoyed buying for $4.00 and building
have become
ready-to-run cars at
$20 and up. (Marklin sells an HO boxcar for
almost $40!) Plastic
locomotives that not long ago sold for $15 now
sell for $150 or
more.
I find the cost argument to be bogus. Old people
always bemoan the
fatc that houses
that used to cost $10,000 now cost $100,000, cars
that were $3,000 are
now
$30,000, etc., etc. I doubt that the costs are
out of whack with the
rate of inflation.
They just seem that way to people who remember
them in absolute rather
than
relative terms. Resin freight car kits were $15
twenty years ago and
are now $30+.
That's life and the rate of inflation, not
absolute cost increases.

Regards,
Ted Culotta

__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.
http://search.yahoo.com


Bill Schneider <branch@...>
 

I agree with Tony about this one being hashed to death, but there is one fun
point I'd like about costs to make before I duck for cover....

Some time ago some wag figure out the cost per hour of model railroading
versus other pursuits. Turns out its a heck ofd a lot cheaper than golf...
Anyway, carrying that one step further - Lets say a $6.00 Athearn kit takes
you 10 minutes to assemble. In that case you would then have to spend $36.00
to fill one hour of hobby time. On the other hand, if it takes you 10 hours
to build a $30.00 Westerfield kit that's only $3.00 an hour.

Man, things have gotten cheap lately, haven't they.....

Bill Schneider
Heading for the fallout shelter


Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

I, unfortunately, must agree that our hobby is
diminishing. I'm an about-to-graduate high school
senior and know perhaps ten other modellers across the
country via email, and only one within The South.
You might be surprised how many teenagers are expressing their interests via
Microsoft Train Simulator. Space required is no bigger than your hard disk,
lots of freeware with payware add-ons for under $30.


In many ways, I believe manufactures may be shooting
themselves in the foot with assembled cars.
Yeah but about the time the piper needs to be paid these companies will be
shutting their doors into retirement. So what do they care?

Dave Nelson


pieter_roos <pieter.roos@...>
 

A quick comment before this thread is declared OT. Part of the cost
perception is the great amount of new product that appears each
month. In the 1970s or '80s the major producers like Athearn
released one or two new products a year. Athearn used to run the
same ad in the magazines for months at a time, there wasn't anything
new to put in it! Most people today probably can't afford to buy all
the products they'd like, and there is more to miss now, but none of
that is new. If you read the really old magazines you find that loco
kits used to be offered in sections, so the builder could save up
for the superstructure while building the mechanism, then save for
the tender while detailing the cab and boiler.

For a really limited budget, learn to detail and improve the older
stuff (which is pretty common and cheap on the used market or as old
stock in larger hobby stores). Buy and Athearn diesel and learn to
hard wire the motor and detail the shell with wire and parts. Buy
some of the older magazines or the Evergreen book on building with
styrene, some styrene and parts; and learn to build your own cars.
Every Westerfield and Sunshine kit started out as somebody's
scratchbuilt master pattern. It's tough to see all the state-of-the-
art models in the magazines and be stuck with the older stuff, but
it gives you something to work with and improve your skills until
you can aford the other models. Those of us who have stocks of kits
and built up models that no longer meet our needs should consider a
way of getting them into the hands of younger modelers who are
interested. Maybe you can build yourself those D&SL gons and not
worry about who might have produced them in brass!

Pieter

--- In STMFC@..., Kevin Slark <MoffatRoad@y...> wrote:
I, unfortunately, must agree that our hobby is
diminishing. I'm an about-to-graduate high school
senior and know perhaps ten other modellers across the
country via email, and only one within The South.
The cost issue is a very real one, especially to those
of us on a fixed (read small) budget. For example, I
love Red Caboose, Intermountain, Westerfield, and
Sunshine Kits (the last two I'll like even better
after I get those damn parts square) plus all the
rest. However I rarely purchase any unless I find
somewhere that has them on sale due to their costs.
In many ways, I believe manufactures may be shooting
themselves in the foot with assembled cars. I see the
market for them being very finite, and those of us who
build fleets scoff at $30 per car that you just put on
the rails and let run. Only time will tell.

Kevin W. Slark
(To keep a bit of true STMFC content....Does anyone
know of any D&SL GS gons in HO, brass or otherwise?)

__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.
http://search.yahoo.com


Ron Hildebrand <SteamFreight@...>
 

I'd have to agree completely with Tony
.
Our society grows more sophisticated with every generation, and that includes our hobby. Yes, that F7A now retails for $125, but runs a heck of a lot better than the old drives, has detail that one would never have imagined possible for twice that price 30 years ago, and is probably a lot more accurate for any given prototype than the old Athearn (from ex-Globe circa 1957 or so molds) F7A ever was. Modelers have more sophisticated tastes, and want more accuracy and more detail now than ever before, and it's almost a miracle that it can be had for that $125 (and even less for the astute shopper!) Did anyone "back in the day" ever think they'd see actual plated WP Cal Zephyr or Santa Fe diesels? Silver paint was the best one could expect. You can get plastic steam now that rivals brass, but is much less costly than brass. As one gets more, one pays more.

On the other hand, today's price equivalent of yesterday's $4 Athearn box car might be the Branchline Yardmaster kits. The price is certainly comparable when adjusted for inflation, but still are light years ahead in terms of detail and accuracy. A real bargain, actually. I'll pay more for the separate details available in the $16 kits, but the bargain pricing is still there if one wants it.

All in all, I find it hard to criticize the industry for pricing when everything is considered.

Ron Hildebrand

At 12:21 PM 5/19/2003 -0700, you wrote:
I love this thread every time it surfaces. But it's been covered in the
hobby magazines for decades (similar worries), so there aren't many new
whines.
One can always find indicators that seem negative; there are also plenty
that are positive. Take your choice.

Tony Thompson


Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

-----Original Message-----
Our society grows more sophisticated with every generation, and that
includes our hobby. Yes, that F7A now retails for $125, but runs a heck of
a lot better than the old drives, has detail that one would never have
imagined possible for twice that price 30 years ago....
Per the CPI price deflator that F7A you priced at $125 would have cost
$28.73 in 1973. The $16 BLT Yardmaster kit, today at $16, would have cost
$3.67 in 1973. List price of a stock Athearn f7A w/ flywheel in Dec 1973
was $15 and their hopper kits were $2. So pricewise things today are about
double what they used to be. The question is whether one today gets double
value for the extra quality of modern tooling. IMO yes, but it is
understandable those w/ limited means might feel cut out and their voices
for choices at lower prices seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Dave Nelson


prrrob <robs@...>
 

But Bill, if you take it the other way, many items are starting to be
(unfortunately) ready to run only. It only takes me about a minute
to get a $30 Kadee PS-1 out of the box and on the track. That would
be $1800 to fill an hour of hobby time!

Rob


--- In STMFC@..., "Bill Schneider" <branch@n...> wrote:
I agree with Tony about this one being hashed to death, but there
is one fun
point I'd like about costs to make before I duck for cover....

Some time ago some wag figure out the cost per hour of model
railroading
versus other pursuits. Turns out its a heck ofd a lot cheaper than
golf...
Anyway, carrying that one step further - Lets say a $6.00 Athearn
kit takes
you 10 minutes to assemble. In that case you would then have to
spend $36.00
to fill one hour of hobby time. On the other hand, if it takes you
10 hours
to build a $30.00 Westerfield kit that's only $3.00 an hour.

Man, things have gotten cheap lately, haven't they.....

Bill Schneider
Heading for the fallout shelter


Brian J Carlson <brian@...>
 

Have recently turned 30, I cringe every time the younger generation gets called out as being video game playing, TV watching, lazy etc. Generalizations like this do not help.

I have been involved with model railroading since I was 5 witha Tyco set. I was detailing freight cars since my mid-teen years in the early 1990's, while reading articles from guys named Hedrickson, Nehrich and Culotta guy in MM, MR, and MRing. This list has been a great help to my modeling pursuits. I have built more freight cars over the past 5 months than the past two years. (ok part of that is due to putting a workbench in the living room) I hope to share some pictures of them when I get a module built.

I understand where Kevin is comming from since High School doesn't seem that long ago for me. I remember going to my local hobby shop once a month and buying 1-2 Athearn or Walthers kits and a pack of Kadee 5's since that was all I could afford. I would detail and weather those cars. I still have many. I ruined the first Tichy and IMWX kits I bought since the heavy handed approached that worked with Athearn and Walthers didn't work with those kits.

Now that I have a job as a Civil engineer I can afford to buy 4-packs of Branchline kits. (Bill are you reading this <grin.>) and spend $20 on PBL Nippers ,but you know what regardless of what I spend I have always gotten satisfaction and enjoyment from this hobby and isn't that what is important.


Brian Carlson
Cheektowaga NY


Thomas Olsen <tmolsen@...>
 

Larry,

You are absolutely right! The brass I bought for between $50 and $80
back in the sixties was expensive to me then as I was not making a lot
of money fresh into the job market with other responsibilities to take
care of. A lot of what I bought in the brass market was on layaway at
my hobby dealer (the same place I deal with today, almost 40 years
later). Today is no more different than it was then, the prices and
salaries have gone up together and I still do layaway for high ticket
items. The big difference is the high quality of detail and fidelity to
the prototype in a good amount of what is offered. Also there is a
tremendous amount of models that are available today that we only
dreamed of then. The Pennsy modelers today (as an example) have almost
everything that they could ask for. Today, these are the good old days!

Tom Olsen
Newark, Delaware

ljack70117@... wrote:


My Granddad would get all over you if you told you wished for the "good
old days". He would say "yes I could buy a loaf of bread for a nickel
and you could buy a pound of hamburger for 10 cents" but He would say "
I did not have that nickel or dime". "Today I have a job and I can
afford to days prices. I could not afford yesterday prices"
Most people are not happy with today when ever today is. But think if
time stopped for you 40 years ago, where would you be. Yes you would
have a stone on your face.
We have more good models than we have ever had. even the before the 50s
era. Model RRing is less expensive today than it was 50 years ago.
Thank you
Larry Jackman
On Monday, May 19, 2003, at 01:50 PM, tcschc wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., "J. Stephen Sandifer" <jssand@e...>
posted the
following, written by Dean Hale:
Why? You can attribute a lot to the influence of the computer and
the
internet. Plus the fact that model railroading has become
EXPENSIVE. Kits
that we enjoyed buying for $4.00 and building have become
ready-to-run cars at
$20 and up. (Marklin sells an HO boxcar for almost $40!) Plastic
locomotives that not long ago sold for $15 now sell for $150 or
more.
I find the cost argument to be bogus. Old people always bemoan the
fatc that houses
that used to cost $10,000 now cost $100,000, cars that were $3,000 are
now
$30,000, etc., etc. I doubt that the costs are out of whack with the
rate of inflation.
They just seem that way to people who remember them in absolute rather
than
relative terms. Resin freight car kits were $15 twenty years ago and
are now $30+.
That's life and the rate of inflation, not absolute cost increases.

Regards,
Ted Culotta

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