Model Kits and the evolving New Reality


Andy Carlson
 

Many of the members on this list probably remember a decade ago when the wholesale transfer of scale model train production went to China, allowing the some of the first offerings of Ready to Run freight cars, many from models previously only available as kits. Many lines dropped their kit offerings, focussing only on RTR. I decried the situation, and when manufactures such as Intermountain claimed nobody was buying kits, I was skeptical.

Turns out that kits do not sell well after all, and now they might be entering the next new reality, scarce and more expensive. I have been able to stock Intermountain kits for years as Intermountain did a fine job of keeping most undecorated kits available in stock, though painted and lettered kits were dropped. To Intermountain's credit, they also keep the old retail prices on the earlier kits unchanged which after a few years made some incredable bargains (such as the 1937 AAR box cars and 8 & 10 K tank cars). As new products hit the market, Intermountain priced these at $20.00 which was in line for the increasingly higher development costs.

Now we enter the the next "New reality", as kits remain out of stock, often for over a year. Now the former good price advantage IMRC's early kits has been eliminated, as all freight car kits are now priced at $20.00. So in addition to being hard to find, these classics are now more expensive. And since I now have come to recognize that the leaders were right--kits don't sell, and that we can expect difficulties in even purchasing them at the new, higher prices.


Not a rant, I just recognize that the business models we get accustomed to are subject to changes, as everything else seems to be.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


Dave Nelson
 

The new reality of high prices 10-12 years ago -- which I could afford but
chose not to pay -- is what led to my acceptance of using a PC simulator
instead of continuing the hobby of physical model railroading. I get to use
and enjoy everything I've learned from list members as the knowledge applies
no matter what "scale" one follows; I have no space issues whatsoever and my
inventory of several hundred simulator freight cars has cost me all of $30;
Dozens of very fine running locomotives... $40 total. Toss in $150 for
payware routes: SP's Donner Pass, SP / ATSF Tehachippi pass, WP 3rd Sub,
BNSF Stevens Pass, and the DRGW Green River Sub gets me 5 "layouts" and all
of the equipment I need for them and my out-of-pocket expense is $210. I
use the Open Source Game Engine called Open Rails -- $0.

I do appreciate that my cup of tea is not everybody's cup of tea, not now
and perhaps not ever. My point in commenting is this: Andy is right in that
business models can and do change and sometimes it results in people leaving
that hobby for some other hobby. Like me. I dunno how these manufacturers
are going to get around the market constraints they face... I wish them
luck... but for myself, I'm not lookin back.

Dave Nelson
FWIW, an example of the kind of "sim" scratch-building I do (not yet
weathered):
<<http://www.elvastower.com/forums/index.php?/topic/22112-cooper-nephews/>>

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Andy
Carlson

Many of the members on this list probably remember a decade ago when the
wholesale transfer of scale model train production went to China, allowing
the some of the first offerings of Ready to Run freight cars, many from
models previously only available as kits.

<snip>

Not a rant, I just recognize that the business models we get accustomed to
are subject to changes, as everything else seems to be.
-Andy Carlson


Armand Premo
 

Andy,I couldn't disagree with you more.If your premise were true ,how do you account for the success of resin kits?.The sad part is that the higher prices tend to keep many newcomers from entering the hobby.I am concerned about the lack of accurate decals.An other argument against your thesis is the availability of so many excellent after- market items.Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: Steam Era
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:24 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality



Many of the members on this list probably remember a decade ago when the wholesale transfer of scale model train production went to China, allowing the some of the first offerings of Ready to Run freight cars, many from models previously only available as kits. Many lines dropped their kit offerings, focussing only on RTR. I decried the situation, and when manufactures such as Intermountain claimed nobody was buying kits, I was skeptical.

Turns out that kits do not sell well after all, and now they might be entering the next new reality, scarce and more expensive. I have been able to stock Intermountain kits for years as Intermountain did a fine job of keeping most undecorated kits available in stock, though painted and lettered kits were dropped. To Intermountain's credit, they also keep the old retail prices on the earlier kits unchanged which after a few years made some incredable bargains (such as the 1937 AAR box cars and 8 & 10 K tank cars). As new products hit the market, Intermountain priced these at $20.00 which was in line for the increasingly higher development costs.

Now we enter the the next "New reality", as kits remain out of stock, often for over a year. Now the former good price advantage IMRC's early kits has been eliminated, as all freight car kits are now priced at $20.00. So in addition to being hard to find, these classics are now more expensive. And since I now have come to recognize that the leaders were right--kits don't sell, and that we can expect difficulties in even purchasing them at the new, higher prices.

Not a rant, I just recognize that the business models we get accustomed to are subject to changes, as everything else seems to be.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


Andy Carlson
 

Armand, not a thesis, just an observation. "Kits don't sell" doesn't mean that none sell, that is preposterous.

Intermountain sold 10s of thousands of kits per year in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Now they sell 10s of hundreds. Red Caboose sold thousands, now down to hundreds. Branchline also sold thousands of kits, now none, and even now I believe Atlas is thinking of abandoning Yardmaster kits. Walthers and Athearn each sold more than the above combined, and now? NONE! The few hundred kits made in resin has never been a big player in the absolute percentages of freight car kit marketing.

I would wager that even in this rareified air of this STMFC group, more RTR freight cars are purchased than kits.

I am not passing judgement as if this is good, or bad; it simply is what is happening out there in this industry which supplies us with our fixes.

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

________________________________
From: Armand Premo <armprem2@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality



 
Andy,I couldn't disagree with you more.If your premise were true ,how do you account for the success of resin kits?.The sad part is that the higher prices tend to keep many newcomers from entering the hobby.I am concerned about the lack of accurate decals.An other argument against your thesis is the availability of so many excellent after- market items.Armand Premo
----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: Steam Era
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:24 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality

Many of the members on this list probably remember a decade ago when the wholesale transfer of scale model train production went to China, allowing the some of the first offerings of Ready to Run freight cars, many from models previously only available as kits. Many lines dropped their kit offerings, focussing only on RTR. I decried the situation, and when manufactures such as Intermountain claimed nobody was buying kits, I was skeptical.

Turns out that kits do not sell well after all, and now they might be entering the next new reality, scarce and more expensive. I have been able to stock Intermountain kits for years as Intermountain did a fine job of keeping most undecorated kits available in stock, though painted and lettered kits were dropped. To Intermountain's credit, they also keep the old retail prices on the earlier kits unchanged which after a few years made some incredable bargains (such as the 1937 AAR box cars and 8 & 10 K tank cars). As new products hit the market, Intermountain priced these at $20.00 which was in line for the increasingly higher development costs.

Now we enter the the next "New reality", as kits remain out of stock, often for over a year. Now the former good price advantage IMRC's early kits has been eliminated, as all freight car kits are now priced at $20.00. So in addition to being hard to find, these classics are now more expensive. And since I now have come to recognize that the leaders were right--kits don't sell, and that we can expect difficulties in even purchasing them at the new, higher prices.

Not a rant, I just recognize that the business models we get accustomed to are subject to changes, as everything else seems to be.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





Tim O'Connor
 

Armand

Resin kits were marginally successful among serious modelers, and
some plastic kits were very successful, but as the cost difference
between RTR items and kits made in China has narrowed, I think Andy
is making the point that the TREND is unmistakable -- fewer kits,
more RTR. Most of the younger members (35 or less) at the club I have
met have never built anything serious with their own hands. They want
to run trains, but not build them. Maybe that will change but I doubt
it -- When I was a teen, you could only buy kits, or unpainted brass.
It was go build, or stay home.

The latest HO scale Moloco box car kits are $45. RTR cars are $53.
And these are intricate kits with many fine details. Most people are
willing to trade off 8 hours of labor for $8.

Tim O'Connor

Andy, I couldn't disagree with you more. If your premise were true, how do you account for the success of resin kits?. The sad part is that the higher prices tend to keep many newcomers from entering the hobby.I am concerned about the lack of accurate decals. An other argument against your thesis is the availability of so many excellent after- market items. Armand Premo


Thomas Baker
 

Tim is right: The move from building to purchasing ready to run has been evolving for some years. In the larger scales, such as S or O, it is almost completely victorious. The one exception would be the Proto 48 group of modelers who are extremely skilled at their craft. What is even more interesting to me is the price differential between ready to run in HO and S.

Taking Tim's information as accurate, the difference between a RTR in HO and S is about six Dollars. I imply nothing about this but simply find the small difference in price between RTR in both scales an interesting observation. I still do assemble from a stash of kits in S. HO modelers would know find assembly of them easy because the kits are from the old Pacific Rail Shops company whose models are similar in construction to HO kits from INTERMOUNTAIIN.

Although my stash is modest, I doubt that I will ever assemble all the kits I have--about 30--and will have to thin the collection one of these days. My friend who models in HO believes-although he can't prove it--that HO modelers may have a similar stash or possibly more than modest number--of unassembled Sunshine kits. Again, just another interesting observation about human nature.

My reason for having so many kits is that I purchased the items when they were available, fearing that a given item might not later be available. That fear has been realized, given the fact that Pacific Rail Shops is defunct and that Des Plaines Hobbies offers RTR of many of the same cars. The price tags on many of my kits purchased now quite a few years ago are a tacit commentary on the decline of the Dollar.

Tom Baker
________________________________________
From: STMFC@... [STMFC@...] on behalf of Tim O'Connor [timboconnor@...]
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 4:27 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality

Armand

Resin kits were marginally successful among serious modelers, and
some plastic kits were very successful, but as the cost difference
between RTR items and kits made in China has narrowed, I think Andy
is making the point that the TREND is unmistakable -- fewer kits,
more RTR. Most of the younger members (35 or less) at the club I have
met have never built anything serious with their own hands. They want
to run trains, but not build them. Maybe that will change but I doubt
it -- When I was a teen, you could only buy kits, or unpainted brass.
It was go build, or stay home.

The latest HO scale Moloco box car kits are $45. RTR cars are $53.
And these are intricate kits with many fine details. Most people are
willing to trade off 8 hours of labor for $8.

Tim O'Connor



Andy, I couldn't disagree with you more. If your premise were true, how do you account for the success of resin kits?. The sad part is that the higher prices tend to keep many newcomers from entering the hobby.I am concerned about the lack of accurate decals. An other argument against your thesis is the availability of so many excellent after- market items. Armand Premo


------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links


Jack Burgess <jack@...>
 

<Tim is right: The move from building to purchasing ready to run has been
<evolving for some years. In the larger scales, such as S or O, it is
<almost completely victorious. The one exception would be the Proto 48
<group of modelers who are extremely skilled at their craft. What is
<even more interesting to me is the price differential between ready to
<run in HO and S.
<
<Taking Tim's information as accurate, the difference between a RTR in HO
<and S is about six Dollars. I imply nothing about this but simply find
<the small difference in price between RTR in both scales an interesting
<observation. I still do assemble from a stash of kits in S. HO
<modelers would know find assembly of them easy because the kits are from
<the old Pacific Rail Shops company whose models are similar in
<construction to HO kits from INTERMOUNTAIIN.
<
<Although my stash is modest, I doubt that I will ever assemble all the
<kits I have--about 30--and will have to thin the collection one of these
<days. My friend who models in HO believes-although he can't prove it--
<that HO modelers may have a similar stash or possibly more than modest
<number--of unassembled Sunshine kits. Again, just another interesting
<observation about human nature.
<
<My reason for having so many kits is that I purchased the items when
<they were available, fearing that a given item might not later be
<available. That fear has been realized, given the fact that Pacific
<Rail Shops is defunct and that Des Plaines Hobbies offers RTR of many of
<the same cars. The price tags on many of my kits purchased now quite a
<few years ago are a tacit commentary on the decline of the Dollar.
<
<Tom Baker

Like Tom, I purchased freight car resin kits that I could use back when
there were first released, generally directly from Martin when he came out
annually for the Winterail show. My stash is about 60 kits not counting the
40 Westerfield hopper cans I have around. I never purchased any RTR models
nor any plastic freight car kits except for half a dozen narrow gauge UTLX
cars which were converted to standard gauge. But, then I like building
things.

So, what happens to the hobby when wages go up in China and the cost of RTR
doubles? Maybe us old-timers can get jobs assembling them here in the US
rather than taking jobs as greeters at Wal-Mart! <g>

Jack Burgess


Armand Premo
 

Circle the wagons Tonto.Guess I am outnumbered Tim.I currently have five Intermountain and Red Caboose undecorated kits all built,but can't find appropriate decals,I have yet to determine the correct trucks and also need couplers.I have been building models for as long as I can remember.I also do a lot of scratch building.Current project on the bench is a scratch built wooden , prototype specific,baggage car from styrene.I have built kits for others too whether it is due to their lack of time or talent (skill)..I enjoy building models and personally feel this is the difference from hobby of model railroading or just playing with trains.Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim O'Connor
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 4:27 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality



Armand

Resin kits were marginally successful among serious modelers, and
some plastic kits were very successful, but as the cost difference
between RTR items and kits made in China has narrowed, I think Andy
is making the point that the TREND is unmistakable -- fewer kits,
more RTR. Most of the younger members (35 or less) at the club I have
met have never built anything serious with their own hands. They want
to run trains, but not build them. Maybe that will change but I doubt
it -- When I was a teen, you could only buy kits, or unpainted brass.
It was go build, or stay home.

The latest HO scale Moloco box car kits are $45. RTR cars are $53.
And these are intricate kits with many fine details. Most people are
willing to trade off 8 hours of labor for $8.

Tim O'Connor

>Andy, I couldn't disagree with you more. If your premise were true, how do you account for the success of resin kits?. The sad part is that the higher prices tend to keep many newcomers from entering the hobby.I am concerned about the lack of accurate decals. An other argument against your thesis is the availability of so many excellent after- market items. Armand Premo


Tim O'Connor
 

Jack Burgess wrote

> So, what happens to the hobby when wages go up in China and
> the cost of RTR doubles?

Quick calculation: If Chinese labor costs doubled tomorrow, it
would cost Apple about $10 more to build an iPhone they sell for
$500. I've heard it costs Bachmann about $25 to build a steam loco
they list at $399 .. Margins are good (and get better with higher
volumes), and labor is only a part of the cost. My guess is that
R&D is a large part of the cost of models now -- The better the
model, the lower the unit sales, and the higher the cost to
amortize.

I will offer this evidence of a slowdown -- Athearn has brought
out many Beautiful models in the last few years, and they used to
sell out very quickly. Snooze you lose. NOW if you go on the web
site for Athearn you can find stuff still in stock that arrived
a year or longer ago. I've bought less for sure, that probably
has something to do with it. :-)

Tim O'


Tim O'Connor
 

lol Armand! I think almost everyone here agrees with you that
building/creating stuff is fun and is the best part of the hobby.
Running trains is fun too, but it isn't why I'm here.

Tim O'



Circle the wagons Tonto.Guess I am outnumbered Tim.I currently have five Intermountain and Red Caboose undecorated kits all built,but can't find appropriate decals,I have yet to determine the correct trucks and also need couplers.I have been building models for as long as I can remember.I also do a lot of scratch building.Current project on the bench is a scratch built wooden , prototype specific,baggage car from styrene.I have built kits for others too whether it is due to their lack of time or talent (skill)..I enjoy building models and personally feel this is the difference from hobby of model railroading or just playing with trains.Armand Premo


Dan L. Merkel <danmerkel@...>
 

I'm concerned that our hobby will soon be more about purchasing than modeling. When you plunk down $50-$60 for some of today's hi-end HO kits, you have no satisfaction of actually building something but rather you simply get "instant gratification."

Highly detailed kits may be OK for contest quality models but for "fleet cars," they take a back seat to the simple types of kits that we used to see from Athearn, Roundhouse, etc. We still have some from Accurail but even those aren't the easiest to find on the shelves of your LHS. If one operates a larger layout, where will they find the time to crank out the numerous cars needed to fill it? But, in 15-20 minutes and for about half of the price, they can knock out a simple "shake the box" kit and be done with it.

My fear is that fewer and fewer people will take up the hobby. It used to be that one could get a few good, simple Blue Box kits, a decent locomotive and some track for well under the price of some of today's higher end RTR offerings. Where does a younger person get that kind of money? If I had to start out today, I'd probably not be able to afford the hobby either. As modelers leave the hobby, the numbers get fewer & fewer and demand will drop. That leads to higher unit costs and begins a vicious cycle that does not bode well for any of us. I'm glad I have a huge stash of kits that I'll probably never completely use.

dlm
---------------------------------
Dan L. Merkel
http://thecourier.typepad.com/alongtherightofway/


Armand Premo
 

Tim,Just look what happened to the prices of the P-2K line.It is not just increased labor cost but the loss of purchasing power of the US dollar..Basically the same models,tooling cost should have been recovered by now.......go figure. Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim O'Connor
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:10 PM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality



Jack Burgess wrote

> So, what happens to the hobby when wages go up in China and
> the cost of RTR doubles?

Quick calculation: If Chinese labor costs doubled tomorrow, it
would cost Apple about $10 more to build an iPhone they sell for
$500. I've heard it costs Bachmann about $25 to build a steam loco
they list at $399 .. Margins are good (and get better with higher
volumes), and labor is only a part of the cost. My guess is that
R&D is a large part of the cost of models now -- The better the
model, the lower the unit sales, and the higher the cost to
amortize.

I will offer this evidence of a slowdown -- Athearn has brought
out many Beautiful models in the last few years, and they used to
sell out very quickly. Snooze you lose. NOW if you go on the web
site for Athearn you can find stuff still in stock that arrived
a year or longer ago. I've bought less for sure, that probably
has something to do with it. :-)

Tim O'


Armand Premo
 

Andy,not to belabor the point,but there is also the issue of era.A larger segment of the modeling fraternity model modern Many of the offerings by intermountain,Red Caboose even Atlas nee Branchline. were / are transition era models.We veteran modelers have over the years accumulated substantial rosters and our needs are not as great as they once were.Manufactures are very aware of this trend-.Yet when a company releases a much needed prototype- they fly off the shelves.I have called all over the country trying to fill a few voids in my roster without any results.There must be others having the same experience.Accurails' new hoppers and gons are very popular,but try finding some roads..Recently Bowser announced that they were discontinuing their line of steam locomotives.That is just another indication of the trend toward greater emphasis on modern era modeling.Let's face it Andy many of us are dinasoars.......soon to become extinct.Armand Premo--- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carlson
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 4:15 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Model Kits and the evolving New Reality



Armand, not a thesis, just an observation. "Kits don't sell" doesn't mean that none sell, that is preposterous.

Intermountain sold 10s of thousands of kits per year in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Now they sell 10s of hundreds. Red Caboose sold thousands, now down to hundreds. Branchline also sold thousands of kits, now none, and even now I believe Atlas is thinking of abandoning Yardmaster kits. Walthers and Athearn each sold more than the above combined, and now? NONE! The few hundred kits made in resin has never been a big player in the absolute percentages of freight car kit marketing.

I would wager that even in this rareified air of this STMFC group, more RTR freight cars are purchased than kits.

I am not passing judgement as if this is good, or bad; it simply is what is happening out there in this industry which supplies us with our fixes.

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

>________________________________
> From: Armand Premo <armprem2@...>
>To: STMFC@...
>Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:51 PM
>Subject: Re: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality
>
>
>
>
>Andy,I couldn't disagree with you more.If your premise were true ,how do you account for the success of resin kits?.The sad part is that the higher prices tend to keep many newcomers from entering the hobby.I am concerned about the lack of accurate decals.An other argument against your thesis is the availability of so many excellent after- market items.Armand Premo
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Andy Carlson
>To: Steam Era
>Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:24 PM
>Subject: [STMFC] Model Kits and the evolving New Reality
>
>Many of the members on this list probably remember a decade ago when the wholesale transfer of scale model train production went to China, allowing the some of the first offerings of Ready to Run freight cars, many from models previously only available as kits. Many lines dropped their kit offerings, focussing only on RTR. I decried the situation, and when manufactures such as Intermountain claimed nobody was buying kits, I was skeptical.
>
>Turns out that kits do not sell well after all, and now they might be entering the next new reality, scarce and more expensive. I have been able to stock Intermountain kits for years as Intermountain did a fine job of keeping most undecorated kits available in stock, though painted and lettered kits were dropped. To Intermountain's credit, they also keep the old retail prices on the earlier kits unchanged which after a few years made some incredable bargains (such as the 1937 AAR box cars and 8 & 10 K tank cars). As new products hit the market, Intermountain priced these at $20.00 which was in line for the increasingly higher development costs.
>
>Now we enter the the next "New reality", as kits remain out of stock, often for over a year. Now the former good price advantage IMRC's early kits has been eliminated, as all freight car kits are now priced at $20.00. So in addition to being hard to find, these classics are now more expensive. And since I now have come to recognize that the leaders were right--kits don't sell, and that we can expect difficulties in even purchasing them at the new, higher prices.
>
>Not a rant, I just recognize that the business models we get accustomed to are subject to changes, as everything else seems to be.
>-Andy Carlson
>Ojai CA
>
>-Andy Carlson
>Ojai CA
>
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
>
>

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Tim O'Connor
 

Armand, you are indeed belaboring Andy's point. Bowser has decided
to quit making steam locos because they are too expensive and far too
difficult to build from kits for most modelers -- and because of the
great abundance of fine running steam loco models from China! Many of
the younger men at the train club buy RTR steam. I don't think steam
is less popular -- By unit sales it's probably far greater now than
it was 20 or 30 years ago. Your prediction of extinction is premature.

Tim O'Connor

Andy, not to belabor the point, but there is also the issue of era.
A larger segment of the modeling fraternity model modern. Many of the
offerings by Intermountain, Red Caboose even Atlas nee Branchline were/are
transition era models. We veteran modelers have over the years accumulated
substantial rosters and our needs are not as great as they once were.
Manufactures are very aware of this trend. Yet when a company releases a
much needed prototype - they fly off the shelves. I have called all over
the country trying to fill a few voids in my roster without any results.
There must be others having the same experience. Accurails' new hoppers and
gons are very popular, but try finding some roads.. Recently Bowser announced
that they were discontinuing their line of steam locomotives. That is just another
indication of the trend toward greater emphasis on modern era modeling. Let's
face it Andy many of us are dinasoars.......soon to become extinct.
Armand Premo


asychis@...
 

Hi Andy,

I agree completely. The Amarillo Railroad Museum used to routinely stock
kits and RTR models of the production runs we did, but after we discovered
that RTR sold about four to one over kits, and we had kits coming out our
ears compared to RTR, we stopped kits completely. It does reflect a New
Reality based on many factors. If nothing else, I suppose it may give the
resin kit manufacturers a larger market for their smaller runs.

Jerry Michels


asychis@...
 

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
that.

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


albyrno
 

I don't think cost is that much of a concern/more a priority for younger people/kids.I have a 6th grader and its amazing how all his friends get 1 or 3 video games a month ($20-$45 ea.)plus the $80 - $600 system that is obsolete at least once a year.Reno is by no means a high paying area.
 They have more money than I do to spend on a hobby.
 Alan
                


________________________________
From: Dan L. Merkel <danmerkel@...>
To: STMFC@...
My fear is that fewer and fewer people will take up the hobby. It used to be that one could get a few good, simple Blue Box kits, a decent locomotive and some track for well under the price of some of today's higher end RTR offerings. Where does a younger person get that kind of money? If I had to start out today, I'd probably not be able to afford the hobby either.  
---------------------------------
Dan L. Merkel
http://thecourier.typepad.com/alongtherightofway/

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Gene <bierglaeser@...>
 

We can ride out hobby horse in many directions, I believe.

Go to eBay. There are kits galore. My personal favorites are those composed of wood, cardboard, pot metal and so on but other stuff is listed as well. I buy them to build them for the fun of it although many will never be run.

My main interest is switching problems. I cut my teeth on John Allen's Timesavers in the mid-1970s. (I literally had the two that survived the fire and took them to PCR conventions and ran the switching contest.) I'm pretty sure I could be happy with blocks of wood that have trucks and couplers attached to the bottom and reporting marks on top written with a felt tip pen as long as I could do some switching - with a light blue Thomas locomotive.

I buy both kits (to the extent they are available) and RTR without regard to whether or not they are kits. What I am buying is a representation a prototype I feel fits my layout.

I catch myself deploring the amount of time and resources some manufacturers "waste" on post-1950 models. Then I remind myself that the purchasers of the modern stuff are most likely also buying track and scenery items which helps keep the price of these items down for me or, if not that, at least more readily available for me.

How many manufacturers were producing injection molded plastic models in 1954 when I entered the hobby? How many now?

When I entered the hobby it took me more than 3 hours to earn the price of an Athearn or Varney rattle-the-box kit. It now takes me an hour to earn the price of a nice RTR freight car kit. Continuing the cost analogy, look at the prices of the electronic apparatus teens have and carry around today. They could afford trains if they wanted to.

All the foregoing is merely my opinion. YMMV. But I'm having fun!

Gene Green


Charlie Vlk
 

If you account for inflation the cost of Model Railroading has remained
steady if not fallen.

For example, in 1961 Athearn sold their 40 Ft Box Car assembled for $1.98.
In today's money that is $14.40. The regular Ready to Roll cars have much
improved and accurate graphics instead of the old rubber stamped technology
of the 60's and come with Kadee-compatible couplers..and you can get them at
full retail for around that and at discount (something that didn't exist in
the 60's) for less.

Of course, if you compare the Athearn Kit of 1961 at $1.49, your equivalent
$11.64 isn't going to buy you a built-up Kadee car or pay for a resin kit
and supplies necessary to finish it. But if you compare apples with
apples the Hobby gives more bang for the buck in 2013 than it did in prior
years.

Charlie Vlk



Dave Nelson posted The new reality of high prices 10-12 years ago -- which I
could afford but
chose not to pay -- is what led to my acceptance of using a PC simulator
instead of continuing the hobby of physical model railroading.


Tim O'Connor
 

Charlie I agree I think I made that calculation before for Athearn's
"GP9" that originally retailed for around $19 which would be $150 now.
The Genesis GP9 is no bargain, but it's a far better model for the
money.

Tim O'Connor

----------------------------------

Of course, if you compare the Athearn Kit of 1961 at $1.49, your equivalent
$11.64 isn't going to buy you a built-up Kadee car or pay for a resin kit
and supplies necessary to finish it. But if you compare apples with
apples the Hobby gives more bang for the buck in 2013 than it did in prior
years.
Charlie Vlk