What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

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GWR_fan
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What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:41 pm

I have long admired the Southern Railway parcel vans in both fixed and bogie configurations. A well known box shifter's eBay website has a listing with three new Parkside Dundas kits in different versions of the 36 ft fixed wheelbase parcel van. A quick check shows the listing represents a decent saving on retail pricing ( a 50% discount). With a finger poised to hit the "Buy it Now" button I did a second take and decided to do a few sums.

Even at 50% discount when one factors in the cost of paint, glue, decals and couplings, the end cost is getting close to the retail pricing of the same or similar model from one of the major RTR manufacturers. When paying retail the completed cost of the kit would actually exceed the RTR model cost. Bachmann have released several versions of the Southern Railway parcels van and only a true modeller could approach the detail level and finish of the RTR model. Why then would some one consider the kits as value? Is the value more than just the financial outlay?

Yes, there is a moral and aesthetic satisfaction from building your own but is not the time spent building these kits better served on other aspects of the railway?

A generation ago I used to purchase kits, as to model my state government railways, kits were the only alternative. These days there are RTR models of the kits that I used to build and in most cases the model quality and finish are better or on par with the models that I made back then. There will always be those who prefer the satisfaction of building their own but I feel that most would find the financial outlay overrides the pleasure gained from building a kit. I would rather these days spend my time more 'productively' and open a RTR box rather than a kit box.
Last edited by GWR_fan on Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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luckymucklebackit
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby luckymucklebackit » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:52 pm

The Parkside Dundas kit has been around a lot longer than the Bachman offering, probably the 50% discount reflects the fall in demand for the kit now that others are coming to the same conclusion as your good self.

Jim
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Dad-1
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby Dad-1 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:53 pm

If you're only interested in financial value then best forget it.
There is no doubt that an as new boxed RTR wagon will probably get you a better price on auction sites.

Kit made rolling stock depends very much on the skill and patience of the builder. With Parkside Dundas
you also need to source decals, in some cases like Southern Railways period CCT's there are none and you
have to improvise.
I'm moving more towards kits, one reason is I enjoy making them, I can also vary liveries and in particular
wagon numbers. I'm probably getting a grumpy old man, but it annoys me to see a rake of wagons on a good
layout all bearing the same number. Every wagon is an individual, has it's own unique number and 'life' that
usually means no two wagons look exactly the same.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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skyblue
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby skyblue » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:54 pm

For me, the true enjoyment of building a model railway comes from building the rolling stock to populate the layout. While I still look out for good value in a kit or potential project, I am prepared to pay as much for a kit as I might for an RTR product (I build coaches and wagons; I have never built a loco). Your comment about the price of paints/transfers/couplings is interesting - remember that these things will generally enable one to build several wagons, so while the price of one wagon may appear to be greater than the price of an RTR equivalent, it may actually be cheaper in the long run.

I also like the challenge of creating a model of a prototype not available in RTR form (see my attempt at an AA7 Toad and Lysander's much better one too). I know that my model of the AA7 Toad, while not unique, is (I believe) fairly rare in OO gauge (this is certainly supported by a quick Google search).

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stuartp
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby stuartp » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:12 pm

is not the time spent building these kits better served on other aspects of the railway?


I certainly use RTR to save time on those bits which RTR does very well - locos and occasionally wagons. I struggle with loco chassis and I can't do outside valvegear at all so I buy my Black 5s, Crabs and Jubilees etc RTR and spend the time saved swearing at kits of inside cylindered pre-grouping 0-6-0s and the like.

The problem with wagons and even more so coaches is that RTR only scratches the surface of all the variations available. Just taking BR Std 12 ton vans as an example, there were four main variants, and within those dozens of combinations of different axleboxes, buffers, corrugated ends, diagonal strapping, roof rainstrips, wheels, couplings.... all this is much easier to represent with a pile of Parkside bits than by starting with a new Bachmann one. Coaches are similar - there were many more styles of LMS coach than are currently available RTR, sometimes within the length of a 4 coach train !

It also means my rolling stock doesn't look like everybody else's :-) That might or might not be a good thing of course...
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

GWR_fan
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:13 pm

It seems like half a lifetime ago that I used to build most of my rolling stock. I would spend many enjoyable hours detailing the kitbased or scratchbuilt models. There is much pleasure to be derived from building one's own, but in these days of high quality RTR models the pleasure gained from building a kit is surely not as productive as it once was. Manufacturers these days offer reruns with alternate running numbers, although in the case of most common waggons, duplicate running numbers are a necessary evil.

From both personal experience and knowledge gleaned from others, even in the days when kits were the only way to build up one's roster, many of us acquired so many surplus kits that even a dozen lifetimes would not allow enough spare time to get though them. This collecting habit did pay dividends from me though when about fifteen years ago I disposed of my surplus unmade kits. Many were long out of production and the demand was financially rewarding for me. It enabled the purchase of three laptop computers for the family plus enough for me to indulge in my then passion for outdoor railways plus send the wife and one daughter on a well earned holiday.

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Lysander
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby Lysander » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:37 pm

To be honest, I'm moving away from r-t-r in favour of kits. That doesn't mean that I'll never buy r-t-r again, of course I will; I get absolutely no satisfaction at all from opening a box however and whilst the contents will be pretty I just cannot escape from the view that it's no-effort cheque-book modelling.

I have no problem whatsoever with r-t-r but I have gained immeasurable satisfaction from either building new or restoring old and seemingly helpless kits. It also allows me to do what we should all be doing: building whole trains as opposed to odd single items. The Keyser white metal coaches that I have finished or are still working on have been huge fun and no-one else in the Club [over 85 members now] has them: they are quite unique. They also generated additional problems in terms of what would pull them and what additional stock would run with them. Finding solutions there was rewarding too and tested my skills further. You can't buy that sort of pleasure really.

It's one man's meat and all that I know. It's just where I'm going though and it won't suit everybody - fair enough. The stuff I've built or kit-bashed recently can't be bought either however so, if you want it, it's the only route !

Tony
Men with false teeth may yet speak the truth.......

GWR_fan
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:35 am

Tony,
at one point building kits was the only way to get what we wanted. At the time RTR was both basic and generic and what the manufacturer decided that we should have. The cottage industries were spurred into existence by the demands for other than what the mainstream manufacturers built.

If one looks to the RTR models available today, a great bulk of the freight rolling stock can trace its lineage back to the old Trix, Wrenn and Hornby-Dublo heritage. Tooling has been exchanged and resurfaced to meet future generations. Bachmann and to a lesser extent, Hornby have tooled up new product in recent times allowing (hopefully) the heritage tooling to be pensioned off.

I regularly see expensive kitbuilt locomotives offered on one box shifter's eBay website and wonder why anyone would pay basically a 50% price increase on a usually poorly constructed kitbuilt locomotive than on a recent RTR model from one of the major manufacturers. A well built model is a thing to be admired, but a poorly built model is both a waste of time and money. Thirty years ago I enjoyed building kitbuilt and scratchbuilt locomotives but with advancing years time spent building kits could be better utilised elsewhere.

Richard Lee
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby Richard Lee » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:57 am

If I can get something ready to run that I want, I will do so. On the other hand, some rolling stock is very unlikely to ever be produced ready to run. I don't think that many companies will produce much that didn't make it to nationalisation, except locomotives.

Have to admit that I am not the best kit maker in the world. For me, the aggravation and time tends to, at least, balance the sense of satisfaction when the item is finished. What I do manage to make is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a very long way from current r-t-r standard, even allowing that compromises are frequently made in r-t-r. My main layout (SR branch line in 1933) is pretty much r-t-r. On the other hand, my 1900ish LBSC Railway branch line terminus to fiddle yard has Hornby Terriers with resin kit coaches and wagons. At present, I am bungling a white metal coal wagon with dumb buffers.

Bigmet
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby Bigmet » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:25 am

Lysander wrote:To be honest, I'm moving away from r-t-r in favour of kits...

In my case it's force majeure: there's dozen of items which the layout could use, for which the probablity of a RTR item is vanishingly small. The only way is kits and scratchbuilding. I have filled my boots with all the suitable cheap RTR of the past 15 years, and will still buy what suitable items emerge, but it's going to increasingly need DIY; which is a bit like 'back to the future' for me (and do you know what, I have now actually built all my ancient kit stash!).

The tricky bit is trying to guess what will come out in RTR, so as not to put in a lot of work building soemthing, which effort could have gone elsewhere.I haven't built an LNER streamlined set as a result: there's gonna be RTR sometime...

b308
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby b308 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:59 am

If there is an RTR model of what i want to model I'd buy it, otherwise I'd build a kit or scratchbuild. However my current modelling is either kit or scratch, the only available RTR is way beyond my reach at over £500 per loco!

b308
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby b308 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:09 pm

GWR_fan wrote: I would rather these days spend my time more 'productively' and open a RTR box rather than a kit box.


Not my definition of "productive", but everyone has different priorities! ;)

Bigmet
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby Bigmet » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:17 pm

And that's right where it is at: personal priorities. I like timetable operation above all else, that's the whole reason I have a model railway, so I can watch the trains run on the services. Had I chosen employment on the railway as a career, it would have been the operational management that appealed, not building, maintaining or driving the equipment. So RTR is really productive for me too: just a little testing, and then we can get on with timetabled operation. I build new items very slowly, twenty minutes building, then a few hours operating. Keeps me off the streets and out of mischief...

ParkeNd
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby ParkeNd » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:26 pm

Kit building of rolling stock is just starting to appeal to me as an idea.

Depending on time available and inclination everyone seems to have a part of the hobby they gravitate to - you just keep finding yourself doing it. With me it's building things whereas many want to complete items in the shortest possible time towards a goal of running trains all the time. For me I don't see the point of tackling any task in just the shortest possible way - what do you do when you are finished ?

The normal path for folk on finishing (or getting fed up part way through) with a layout is, on the basis of forum submissions, to rip it up or stand it on edge in the garage, and start a new one - in other words more building. For me this has meant building anew four of the scratch built buildings I built first - but now to include etched windows and doors and more detail than initially I could manage. But this will only fill a few months - what then?

Kit built rolling stock appeals as a filler of time. I would like some vans with open side doors to sit behind my new goods shed - like an N gauge version of Geoff T's Parkside Dundas Palvan. So if this could be achieved, even at more cost than RTR, then it would be worth it. I'm not sure that there is any justification in building something identical to an RTR item - but something unique - yes.

Fife
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Re: What is the value in buying rolling stock kits?

Postby Fife » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:32 pm

I'm already a wargamer so am well stocked with paint and buying what I don't have isn't an imposition. Do you think that would shift the CBA in my favour? RTR seems to be very expensive, there must be an economy of scale with kit building, surely; I've got practically all of my collection to build up and RTR wagons cost north of 20 AUD with the 3 packs hovering in the 50s. What are the most budget kit manufacturers, Dapol and Ratio?


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