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Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 4:46 pm
by IAN1955
Due to my disability I cannot spend a lot of time building my layout, not that time is an issue, when all said and done it is a hobby.

I have looked at buying bits as I go along, I am very shocked at the escalating prices of items even second hand ones, or as my friend would say previously enjoyed.

Then it got me thinking what chance does the new young hobbyist have when he has only got his pocket money, I know what my grand kids get and they would soon lose interest because today's youngsters want it now.

Even on E Bay, the dealers price us out, they see job lots and then they break it down and sell it on for a large profit, no I feel sorry for the up and coming enthusiast.
What is the answer - NO IDEA

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 6:03 pm
by Delboy
Ian this is an interesting thread you have started. I am new to railway modelling so I am still learning and finding out as I go along. With me coming from a background of modelling war game dioramas I found that prices are starting to hike up.
I will presume it will be the same for this hobby also, but if I can’t afford it at the time I will look for secondhand or save up for the items.
It is a worry at times for the younger generation coming through and the price wars.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 9:06 pm
by bruminbriz
Sadly I blame the perfectionists that have forgotten that model railways are a hobby so demand super detail on their models, some of the super detail on todays models cannot be done on a machine so are done by hand this costs money, thankfully Hornby have their Railroad Range which is reasonable value for money, Atlas and Walthers make a cheap range of equipment for American railway enthusiasts but sadly much of this is still way to expensive for youngsters to afford on pocket money, there has been much debate on what direction the hobby is heading but one thing is for sure the cost will continue to increase so who knows what will happen to the hobby in the future, talk about "biting your own nose off to spite your face".

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 10:28 pm
by Dad-1
Super Detail and I want it now !!

It is a hobby and one must accept it takes time to both make a layout and gather a collection of 'Stock'.
Compared to many other hobbies it can be quite affordable, but never cheap. If it costs nothing it has no value
and all becomes throw away.

If you want a perfect model and you want it now then you'll be paying for the quality someone has put into it and the availability.
Wagons, ordinary R-T-R vans and opens can be in the region of £10 to £30 each, so why not build a kit ? back to the lower cost
do it yourself times you may be hankering after. Dapol wagon kits can be bought new from reputable on-line dealers for around
£6 - £7. The trouble is you're going to have to learn how to make them, don't expect perfection first time or you will be disappointed.

When it comes to locomotives you need to buy to suit your pocket. A top quality sound fitted locomotive will cost you around £250
a time - Do you drive a Ferrari ? No ? Well don't expect the equivalent in model railway terms. It is possible to buy small locos for
around £50 - £80. I can remember when 3 rail Hornby Doublo was comparatively MUCH more expensive when related to average wages.

You can pick up secondhand control equipment, analogue being at the bottom end quite cheaply, but still a viable system. Track and
points need to be fixed onto a layout board to ease of use, reliability of running and protection from abuses of taking apart every time
you want to play trains. Again it won't be that cheap, but you can do a lot for a few hundred pounds. That expensive you say ? Then take
a look at how much it costs to fill the family car with fuel, probably £50 - £80 at time. Get realistic about modern costs, it is still a good
and affordable hobby, that locomotive can last you 10 - 30 years a tank of fuel little more than a week ??

Geoff T.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 11:04 pm
by Mountain
There are a couple of ways to model on a budget. I have chosen one which suits me. Some it may not suit, but many it will.

I model in 7mm narrow gauge. With a little thought, it is possible to model on a budget that is much less then one would model in if one was into 00 gauge.
It does need some basic scratchbuilding techniques to enable one to do so. It is a bit of a learning curve though is not too difficult to master. Maybe not ideal for IAN1955 who started this thread though. I can make waggons for £2 each or less each.

Another way which seems at first a little extreme but if one starts to look what one actually has for the money and with a little imagination, adapts the items... Take a look at some of the battery trainsets built for the toy market. Some of them are absolutely amazing. I don't think many modellers realize how good these can be.

Now the third way is to model in 00 gauge but keep it simple and use the budget little 0-4-0 shunters. I have seen some lovely layouts made in limited spaces using some of these products. And they look so good... Why does one need any more?

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 11:20 pm
by End2end
I agree with all points. Some don't or won't have the confidence to build kits to fill out their rolling stock.
I definatly don't have the confidence to build something that will roll properly. :?
Ebay has seen prices go up as observed. The answer? To me it seems to be toy and train fairs.
Although limiting your choice down to what the traders are selling on the day(s) of the fair, removing the "competition"of other bidders also limits the people who may want what you also want.
Also, if so inclined, model railway exhibitions have reduced priced items and usually a secondhand stall or 2.

One other thing to keep note of is the "BARGAINS" section here on the forum. Many members are very astute at bringing us news of bargain prices.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 3:56 am
by allan
Model railways are a reflection of life itself. There is a necessity to balance needs, ambitions, ability and resources.

Get the balance right, and life is bliss.

And that's about as philosophical as I get!

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 9:17 am
by Dad-1
Every aspect mentioned is a personal view, and railway modellers are all rather different !!

For my money the best starter offering at present is the Hatton's special of £130 for the
DCC Hornby train set R1125. They DO have cheaper sets available, some secondhand, but
for me this is a good deal. Many will say the Select DCC system is rather poor, but I have
several and run a large layout with 3 daisy chained together and it works well enough for me.
This control system opens up the world of digital at an extremely competitive price.
With this set you get track, loco, 2 wagons and a brake van.

This is an ideal basis for developing a larger and more complex layout over future years.
Again some will say a rubbish loco, but we are exploring the lowest starting costs for a half
decent layout. I can speak from personal experience as I have a S&DJR 3F and use Select
controllers !!

The loco by itself on my big layout :-


Geoff T.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 12:22 pm
by Mountain
That is a lovely picture Dad1.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 2:06 pm
by muggins
One thing that struck me when I returned to the fold three years ago was how folk on internet forums were still whinging about the cost of railway modelling, exactly like they were in the monthlies in the mid-1980s when I had my last layout.

Be that as it may, consider the current Bachmann 1F tank, which I admit to being one of my favourite locomotives. I'm not sure what the lowest price you can pay for one new is right now, but I could order another one now from Track Shack for £77.50, and in my book the level of detail on it's quite remarkable for a RTR locomotive. Of that £77.50 retail cost, nearly £13 is VAT. The retailer's got to make a profit, as have both Bachmann UK and the actual manufacturer. There's the cost of packaging to consider, the cost of shipping the thing halfway round the world, and design and development costs on top of the actual tooling cost.

To me, it's a wonder I can still pick up a model of that quality at a price I'm prepared to pay. If I wasn't prepared to pay that sort of price for my locomotives, I'd either be buying Hornby Railroad or, more likely, second-hand. And if I still didn't want to pay the price, there's plenty of other hobbies available - some of which might well need less disposable income than a worthwhile model railway does.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 3:30 pm
by Dad-1
E2E you surprise me that you don't have the confidence to make a half decent wagon kit.
We will de-skill if we don't even take a first step towards achieving some goal.
Is it the fear of being on ones own ? Don't be embarrassed, there is this reluctance to try something in case you fail.
That danm word 'Confidence', and it's negative variant have much to answer for.

Of course you CAN make a good wagon. There is a problem, a first one carries the cost of liquidpoly, perhaps a very
sharp knofe, some emery paper and finally some paint.

I'm prepared to make say another Dapol 16 ton mineral wagon kit, currently £6 from you know who with pictures and video
to go through a build proceedure that will be slightly different to the kit instructions. I really don't see how you can fail
to have a good running wagon that YOU made and didn't cost too much.

A form of group build following my step by step approach. As many 'takers' as we can get ?

Geoff T. (For over 10 years a Civilian Instructor with the ATC)

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 4:03 pm
by GeraldH
It is still possible to build a model railway on a very low budget, as long as you don't want the latest super detailed stuff. There's plenty of robust second hand locos that don't look too bad, e.g. some of locos by Airfix, Hornby, Lima etc.. Coaches/wagons are also available relatively cheaply from these manufacturers. For example: Hornby Jinty, J52, 2721 Pannier, Class 25, Lima Prairie, 08, 31, 37, 47, 50, Airfix 61XX, N2, Class 31, 4F, Scot, Castle etc.. Just be careful with Mainline locos which are often very cheap, but a very risky choice due to deteriorating mechanisms. Good condition second hand locos can be picked up at collectors fairs and even on Ebay occassionally for a £20-£30. The other benefit of the older models is that they are much less fragile and also easer to repair and service.

Reasonable second wagons can be found for £4-10 and coaches can often be picked up for £10-£15. The great advantage of collectors fairs is there's no postage, you can haggle and also see what you're buying. Hattons (& others) sometimes have great deals on new surplus stock on their bargain pages.

I use old tea-leaves for ballast mixed with wallpaper paste. Discarded polystyrene packaging makes great hills and waste clear plastic is useful for glazing. Coffee stirrers are good for wagon loads, platform benches and timber buildings. Cereal packets and the plastic surrounding sim cards and old credit cards provide free plastic card. I've even used a broken in-tray from the office as thick plastic card. Not only does this save me a fortune, it's also great fun creating something different :) . In case it's useful you can see some of this on my layout thread... :) .

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 4:48 pm
by Mountain
Examples of rolling stock in 7mm narrow gauge which didn't cost much to make.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 4:50 pm
by Delboy
Hi Gerald I like the model railway exhibition and fairs as you can speak to fellow modellers and you know most of the locos and wagons they have for sale are nicely run in a little used but not abused.

Re: Price of a Hobby

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 4:51 pm
by Delboy
Nice little wagons Mountain. Nicely made especially if you want the freelance look.