We need to talk about costs

Discuss model railway topics and news that do not fit into other sections.
Richard Lee
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Richard Lee » Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:30 am

If this forum had a way to upvote comments then I would upvote the one that Michaelaface made. I have ordered a Bachmann 3F from Kernow for £63.99. Card kits for buildings are relatively cheap, fun to make, can look really good, and can easily be adapted, altered or bashed to blazes to suit. Once you have done a few you may well feel able to tackle scratch building of cardboard buildings. Track IS dear, but you won't replace it every year. At a pinch, you can buy and lay track for a layout in stages.

Sometimes second-hand stuff can be a reasonable bet. Although I tend to be cautious about locos that I can't actually see, the old Mainline early LMS panelled coaches aren't too bad, particularly if you swap the plastic wheels for Bachmann coach wheels. Until recently, Bachmann were still making coaches from the same tooling, but using metal wheels and slightly better corridor connections. Okay, they aren't up to the standards of Bachmann Birdcage Stock, but are easier on the pocket if you want 5 or 6 coach trains.

Although loco and rolling stock kits can work out dearer than ready to run, some of the plastic kits can same you money. Bachmann will sell you a nice parcels van for about £40-£50. Parkside will sell you something suitable for less than half. Adding the cost of paint, glue and transfers (which would leave you with plenty for future projects) still gives a total less than RTR. The Parkside kit that I bought on my last visit to the UK included really nice metal wheels and brass bearings, and runs a treat.

MickleoverTestTrack
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby MickleoverTestTrack » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:06 am

Bigmet wrote:Argent, you should show your wife the Hattons operation if she is not already aware of it. The complete antithesis to modern consumer goods marketing. We'll keep it in stock, even if it takes forty years to sell...


My local model shop will keep something in stock for even longer! You want a low detail wagon from the 80s, you've got to pay not far off the price of a new wagon for it. :lol:

MickleoverTestTrack
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby MickleoverTestTrack » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:15 am

I can see that the hobby is completely inaccessible for kids of lower income families whereas it probably wasn't a couple of decades back. 20 years ago you probably could pick up some playworn but useable stuff from the local free ads paper if you were lower income. If stuff was broken, quite a lot of the time it could be superglued well enough for a kid to play.

Nowadays, the second hand market is a minefield and often not significantly cheaper than a new model, often used models appear for MORE than their original retail price without being remotely near mint.

I think prices in the hobby are driven by the strength of boomer buying power.

The above is an observation, not a criticism.

The criticism I have of boomers in the hobby, is that some seem to prioritise buying trains over spending money on washing. Try going around an exhibition these days and avoiding standing near smelly old men - impossible!

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railsquid
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Location: Tokyo

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby railsquid » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:24 am

b308 wrote:
Mountain wrote:Since then, prices have gone up year by year at a steady growth which is slightly above what one would expect with inflation.


But as we've said, Mountain, it's nothing to do with inflation here in the UK. The goods are made in China and the labour costs have gone up way above any inflation figures for the UK. Those costs have been passed down to us, hence cost increases above UK inflation rates. Please remember that model railway manufacture is a global business and therefore manufacturing costs are not related to anything that happens in the UK.


There's also a bit of an elephant in the room in the case of the UK, which is that since mid-2016 the pound lost around 20% of its value against most other currencies and has stayed that way, which will impact prices of anything imported.

(Conversely, living abroad, it meant UK stuff became correspondingly cheaper, so I spent a happy couple of years hoovering stuff up).

b308
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:16 am

MickleoverTestTrack wrote:I can see that the hobby is completely inaccessible for kids of lower income families whereas it probably wasn't a couple of decades back. 20 years ago you probably could pick up some playworn but useable stuff from the local free ads paper if you were lower income. If stuff was broken, quite a lot of the time it could be superglued well enough for a kid to play.


Try Gumtree, stuff like that comes up quite often. I take it these lower income families you talk of are the ones we see with the latest mobile phone, one for each of the family?! It's still affordable for everyone, you can pick up Hornby's little 0-4-0T for a tenner for a start...

Bigmet
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Bigmet » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:35 am

b308 wrote:Try Gumtree, stuff like that comes up quite often. I take it these lower income families you talk of are the ones we see with the latest mobile phone, one for each of the family?! It's still affordable for everyone, you can pick up Hornby's little 0-4-0T for a tenner for a start...

And if you are willing to sport £40 you can have an excellent H-D 8F from Hattons - lacking original box - which they advertised as a slow and unreliable runner. It was just a little stiff, basically because it had never been run very much at all and there was no lubricant on it. It looked new from the factory inside!

There's plenty of cheap gear about, just not the youth market. Electronic entertainment, mobile phones, 1; constructive mechanical type hobbies 0.

Buelligan
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Buelligan » Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:56 am

MickleoverTestTrack wrote:I can see that the hobby is completely inaccessible for kids of lower income families whereas it probably wasn't a couple of decades back. 20 years ago you probably could pick up some playworn but useable stuff from the local free ads paper if you were lower income. If stuff was broken, quite a lot of the time it could be superglued well enough for a kid to play.

Nowadays, the second hand market is a minefield and often not significantly cheaper than a new model, often used models appear for MORE than their original retail price without being remotely near mint.


Not always true, I've got a fair few bargains off Facebook market place, eBay, etc. I bought a job lot of stuff for £60, sold the bits I didn't want separately for around £50, and still have a couple of card kits, some trucks, a small tank engine, and a load of track left. My sons Christmas present, cheapest I could find online was £130, I got off Facebook for £75 delivered. Same with a few other things. The bargains are there, but now with the internet, adverts are national, if not international, so more people see it and you have to be quicker.

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Michaelaface
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Michaelaface » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:36 pm

MickleoverTestTrack wrote:I can see that the hobby is completely inaccessible for kids of lower income families whereas it probably wasn't a couple of decades back. 20 years ago you probably could pick up some playworn but useable stuff from the local free ads paper if you were lower income. If stuff was broken, quite a lot of the time it could be superglued well enough for a kid to play.


I disagree, every christmas Asda has hornby trainsets for £25-40, my parents could barely afford the stuff they got me 20 years ago, which wasn't much

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Mountain
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Mountain » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:02 pm

Michaelaface wrote:
MickleoverTestTrack wrote:I can see that the hobby is completely inaccessible for kids of lower income families whereas it probably wasn't a couple of decades back. 20 years ago you probably could pick up some playworn but useable stuff from the local free ads paper if you were lower income. If stuff was broken, quite a lot of the time it could be superglued well enough for a kid to play.


I disagree, every christmas Asda has hornby trainsets for £25-40, my parents could barely afford the stuff they got me 20 years ago, which wasn't much


20 years ago is around the time when prices suddenly doubled which puzzled me as inflation rates were low. This was the first noticeable rize and happened before the recession.

If you had looked at the market before that it was very different. New prices were quite reasonable and secondhand was... Well. It was common to find secondhand prices of mint boxed items to be 50% higher then new prices. I even saw some rougher items going for not that far off new prices and there was a reason. First, places like Hattons used to offer lots of bargains which though they certainly still do that, somehow the bargains they used to offer were a lot more attractive? It was common to buy ex. trainset new unboxed items where the shop could not be making any more profit then if they had sold the complete set, but they offered this to the customers to entice them in. In those days one could have a free R620 if one ordered any Hornby product and a free circle of track (Hornby 1st radius) if one spent over £40. I have not seen enticements like these in recent years.
Other retailers did their own enticements and one I remember with fondness (Though I can't remember which retailer offered this and if they had any takers) was "Free toothpaste with Lima diesels. Toothpaste supplied loose in the bodies of locos. We do not recommend this treatment, but it is available to anyone who requires it". While at first I thought it was some sort of joke, Lima locos had quite some space free under their bodies and the advert by the retailer was to be seen for some time in the Railway Modeller during that time.
I was saying how secondhand in good condition sold for more then new. Well, this was due to the market at the time. The manufacturers only offered the rare few extra "New out" models per year, and so it was common practice to see these same models in a new livery each year. This created a wierd scinario where those who didn't have a chance to buy their chosen livery the first time around were willing to pay much over the value to obtain the right model in their intended livery, as sometimes one could be waiting 10 years for the livery to come back round. One retailer caught onto this and held back models for about three years before, and put them for sale at much higher prices. Sometimes I would see almost double the origional retail price, and people would still buy as these models were new.
When the internet came along and then Ebay, suddenly the availability of secondhand models were available to all, and rhe secondhand prices plummeted. Prior to these days, if someone like me was to order from Hattons, we would hang back and save, and then spend over £40 in one go to pick up the free circle of track and the free R620. We would often look for the odd bargain new loco we didn't actually need or want but included it in our order. We would keep it safe and in like new condition and wait about 6 months to a year until all those models in Hattons had run out (Hattons reduced the prices of disscontinued models). Once they were run out we would sell them on for a profit, where the profit would cover the postage costs of ones order.

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Michaelaface
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Michaelaface » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:56 pm

so I've dug out a copy of Railway Modeller from may 1996, which is around the time I got my first train set, the hornby flying scotsman one, and it's listed on Hattons at £79.50, and I remember my parents telling me it was a very expensive set

another issue, this time from October 2000, Hattons advertise the same set for £98

Hattons currently list their in stock version at £157, and a future version available for pre-order at £144, both I think are a bit much for what they are, but they do have quite a few improvements over the set I have, however I have seen these, and similar sets, on amazon, and other places, recently for ~£100 (I bought the DoG set because it was around £105ish)

according to an inflation calculator on google that £79 in 1996 would be £127 in today's money

also having had a quick search, I can't find any minimum wage figures from 1996, as apparently minimum wage didn't exist back then, but for 1999 it's listed as £3-3.60, as of april this year it will range from £6.45-8.72 depending on age

so the price of this trainset has roughly doubled in 24 years, however minimum wage has also roughly doubled

Obviously I'm ignoring a myriad of factors here and this isn't exactly a very detailed study, this is just 5 mins of looking at some numbers, but my point is they've always been a struggle to afford for low income families (in my lifetime)

also if I've got any points wrong here, feel free to to correct me, like I said this is just 5 mins of looking at some numbers

MickleoverTestTrack
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Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby MickleoverTestTrack » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:13 am

You used to be always going to pay more for something secondhand through a retailer than you were through a free ad though.

Mountain got it, pre-internet you'd get people selling things as unwanted toys or their late relatives collection through a free ads paper without any way to value it, they'd probably stick it on under value in preference to it going unsold and be beaten down on the doorstep by a buyer standing there with cash. So there were possibilities to pick things up cheaper.
Then along came ebay, at first some people used it to get rid of stuff they'd have never otherwise sold so that kind of flooded the market and prices were kept down. Nowadays it is much harder to find a bargain, sellers look to get more and demand even for old Hornby and Lima stuff is quite high.

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