Pricing ourselves out of a hobby

SPsteam May 25, 2016

  1. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Beating a live horse can get you kicked in the chest ! :p
  2. bman

    bman TrainBoard Member

    Or shoeing a live one. It leaves a mark too. Trust me on this one.
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    These topics do serve a very good purpose. That is allowing people to vent frustrations, regardless of how they came to that point. The vast majority of folks well understand that having any actual influence is simply hope in vain. BTW- We have many other pastures available for those who want to watch what they believe to be "live" action- which to many others can seem to also just be other dead horses... :rolleyes:
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    And owning one is as constructive as flushing money down the toilet. :censored:
    JMaurer1 likes this.
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    You might want to watch this one. It's not a buy now or I'd of gotten my impulsive addiction working in high gear. This will likely sell for $10.00 or better.
    That be out of my buying range. Besides, I'm looking for Rio Grande, ATSF, UP and SP coal hoppers.

    Ok you've heard enough from me. That's odd the phone is ringing and someone is looking for a retired mortician to bury a dead horse. What?
  6. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    Not to mention a visit from the local SPCA + a cruelty to animals charge fromlocallawenforcement. Lots cheaper to beat one that is dead. There is no SPCDA so no one cares.
  7. ken G Price

    ken G Price TrainBoard Member

    I have to agree with this as it is my model railroading philosophy.
    It also helps that N-Scale is for me, by far, much less expensive then any of the other scales.
    Oh, and I never have rail cars that sit any where long enough just for looks.
    mtntrainman likes this.
  8. bumthum

    bumthum TrainBoard Member

    Umm... I guess I'm just wondering if that horse will be led to water just one last time before it's beat completely to death.

    Since I model the North-East 40 and 50 ft box cars are the main thing I move from one place to another, I like the old Minitrix cars for PS-1's and the older Bachmann 40ft boxcars are also good substitutes for the super-expensive current offerings. I'll admit, despite my bemoaning the increasing costs of all scales of model train products, I still buy the majority of B&M and MEC stuff that comes out... I just have to suffer with no whiskey until I pay off that rolling stock.
  9. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    No, that's not it. There is a reason it's called Model Railroading. You just want model trains? Then run your single train around the Xmas tree every year. Many of the rest of us would like to model actual railroads. That takes equipment. And in some cases multiple road names.

    I for one wish to some day model a Chicago hub. That means passenger equipment from NYC, PRR, ATSF, UP, SP, and the CZ. That also means plenty of freight. For me, primarily ATSF with lots of equipment from other roads mixed in, west coast and east coast.

    Rick says "Toy Trains" above. That may be the case for many here. But others take this a bit more enthusiastically. This is an important aspect of my pursuits and personality. It's hardly "Toy Trains" for me, just ask my wife. It's more than electrified pieces of metal and plastic. It's also the history of these railroads and the lives of those who dedicated careers to moving people and materials across the country.
    Maletrain likes this.
  10. PK

    PK TrainBoard Member

    That's always been an expensive proposition. If you wanted accurate steam years ago, that often meant brass at over $1000 per loco. For highly detailed steam, $300-$400 now is significantly cheaper even without considering inflation.. Plastic steam looked like plastic unless they had been superdetailed. Even plastic wasn't cheap, my Con Cor Big Boy was $300 20 years ago. There were better prices for plastic diesels, but the quality of those is frequently panned today. $100 for a more detailed diesel doesn't seem unreasonable to me. You can easily spend more, but that seems to include extra features (DCC, sound, prototype specific details, etc...) or models that weren't available before. I remember detailed name passenger trains were also brass. The alternative was generic plastic cars that needed kitbashed if you wanted an accurate model. I drooled over brass passenger trains in the LHS, but the prices were a non-starter. Kato's trains are good and much cheaper than those were. I'm not downplaying the cost, but for all the often cited examples of seemingly high increases, I think many things are better priced today.
  11. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    I should clarify…I meant primarily Transition Era Diesel. So passenger and freight service from about late 40's to mid-50's. F's, E's, PA/PB's, C-Liners, etc. No Steam though.
  12. silentargus

    silentargus TrainBoard Member

    Speaking as one of the younger guys- only just hitting 30 this year- I feel pretty safe in saying that the cost of this hobby isn't any higher than the other things my generation is into. I've known friends who'll spend upwards of $2k building a computer for gaming, then a few hundred each on the peripherals (a big, high-resolution monitor, controllers, surround-sound systems, even VR headsets now...) and that's not counting the $50-70 for each game. Then they replace the whole shebang every three or four years as the hardware becomes obsolete. If somebody's got a 20-year-old computer, all it's gonna run are 20-year-old games. I have locomotives that are older than I am and they pull cars made last year just fine. If they ever conk out once and for all, they're still good for static scenes; a dead computer or game console is just clutter.

    If I run into a financial wall and can't afford more trains, it's not as though the ones I've got have an expiration date on 'em... it just means that I get a little sad when I see a new product that I want but can't have, and then I go home and enjoy what I've got. Higher pricing means buying less stuff less often- it doesn't mean jumping ship. If I wound up in such dire straits that I had to sell off my collection, then there are a few favorite pieces I'd keep... and they'd become the core of a new collection in the other side of the crisis.

    Other posters have already pointed out that there are affordable, quality products for new folks breaking into the hobby for the first time. They're a lot better than what I started with! '90s train set junk was exactly that. Today I could have a Kato set, with better track, a better power pack, and way better equipment for about the same price, accounting for inflation. With that in mind, I'd say that if there's a problem with new folks not being able to afford trains, they probably can't afford most of the other hobbies they could take up either. The problem there is with the whole economy, not just with rising model prices... but that's a whole other forum's worth of discussion.

    If interest in trains is waning... well, I hope it's not. The answer to that is to get the word out! There's no advertising whatsoever for it that isn't targeted at people who are already involved- when was the last time you saw an ad for anything related to model trains anywhere but in a publication for train people? The only way it keeps going is if we bring in new blood ourselves. Hook 'em young if at all possible. My sister's oldest seems to have more than a passing interest, so now she's got a big pile of the wooden Brio trains we used to play with as kids, and I've been trying to talk the powers that be around to the idea of a Lionel set for her next birthday. I figure that I managed to stay interested even though my folks weren't train people, so the kiddo's got a pretty good chance with a crazy train-obsessed uncle in her corner.

    Just my $0.02. But I know that's not worth the metal it's minted with anymore, so...
    skipgear and RBrodzinsky like this.
  13. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

    Ya know what kinda is killing pricing and our purchase power in the Hobby; is GREED on Ebay. Folks hoard items and re-sell them on Ebay for almost twice the MSRP. I personally refuse to participate in such.
    mtntrainman and BoxcabE50 like this.
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I've commented on this previously. Again, I can only wonder how many potential participants see such prices and think 'no way I can afford such a hobby'. Yes; they could search around and find out those prices are misleading, at best. But we all know that too many folks don't, or just won't expend precious effort to educate themselves............ :(
    subwayaz and mtntrainman like this.
  15. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    We all see these listings and roll our eyes and shake our heads. There are regulars who's offerings are ALWAYS twice or three times what they are actually selling for on eBay. These are also the same items that get relisted over and over for weeks / months on end.

    What I want to know is, particularly when their are listings for the very same items at much more reasonable prices appearing side-by-side with these ridiculous listings, why do these sellers bother? Is anyone actually buying these albatrosses? These sellers may get a rare bite from an occasional uninitiated buyer, but how can anyone make any money this way? You are really shooting yourself in the foot by doing this. #1, no one who is even in the slightests of "know" is going to pay such prices, and #2, you quickly get a reputation on eBay and the wider modeling community as a loony tune.

    I don't get it. It's so bizarre that who can take them seriously and, how can such fringe loony birds have any real effect on the hobby even if it was greed that propelled them?

    Aside from that, I don't really feel greed is a significant factor on eBay. Oh sure, everyone wants to get the most for every item they list, but ultimately it's the buying public that determines whether your greed is fulfilled or not. As the above examples illustrate real greed just ends up hurting your own business and reputation. Despite the occasional bidding war, market forces keep eBay prices in check. If you charge too much, no one's going to bite.
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

  17. SPsteam

    SPsteam TrainBoard Member

    I do recall when ebay was a great place to find deals on hard to find or long forgotten stuff. It was fun to find deals and bid in an auction. Seems as though those auctions are long passed and most everything is buy it now with a hefty price tag. I've managed to get 3 Key cab forwards off the bay for a steal over the last 10 years, but everything else seems to go for near market value these days.
  18. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

    Very true; I too can recall those days. And selling on Ebay is even worse. Scammers galore. But that can go into a rant real quick...LOL
  19. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

  20. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Agreed. Considering how the dollar has been devalued, the fact that most brass models have not gone up means they have actually gone down in price. The dollar these days isn't worth a nickel, yet prices in the hobby have actually been static in terms of the numbers on the price tag, and that's a big price cut.

    I believe model railroading is more affordable than ever. Couple that with the ever-expanding variety of products available, and it's a really great time to be in the hobby. So many things in this world get worse and worse, but model railroading just gets better and better!

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