We need to talk about costs

Discuss model railway topics and news that do not fit into other sections.
b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:55 am

Can you point me to comparable items which make you think Model railway items are overpriced, ngauger? You keep referring to computer goods such as mobile phones and now a tablet as comparable but as we all know they are items sold in the millions so economies of scale come into play which reduces costs and makes them useless to compare with model railways. How about something of equal complexity to a model railway loco (detailed injected moulded body, precision assembly of things like wheels and electrical complexity) that is sold in similar numbers to them, i.e. in the thousands, not in millions?

Whilst we are at it, have you ever looked into the costs of producing a model railway loco? I suspect not having read your posts. It's a complicated and expensive process, even with the cheapness of labour in the Far East. I stand by what i said, we are currently getting very good value for money bearing in mind the costs involved in what is a very small production run and will be interested to see you provide the evidence to change my mind!

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 12359
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Bufferstop » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:22 am

I think we have to accept that prices are realistic for what is being produced. But being well detailed models the days when you might buy one just to get the chassis are well and truly over. Bashers will have to look to the second hand market and try to pick up less worn older donors. Either that or try building from scratch, then you find out what a set of wheels and bearings cost!
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

ngauger
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 1:11 am

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby ngauger » Sat Feb 01, 2020 12:00 pm

Bufferstop wrote:I think we have to accept that prices are realistic for what is being produced. But being well detailed models the days when you might buy one just to get the chassis are well and truly over. Bashers will have to look to the second hand market and try to pick up less worn older donors. Either that or try building from scratch, then you find out what a set of wheels and bearings cost!


That isn't really my issue, I have enough Farish 0-6-0 chassis lying about to produce a mountain of these old 009 kits.

My problem is with the hobby new being targeted at older generation, who have a large disposable income and ignoring the younger modeler, without that sort of money.

The problem here, is non of you can put yourselves into the shoes of a parent outside the hobby. Who is going to look at the cost of rolling stock and locos and think, sod that, far too expensive.

I can't tell the likes of Hornby and Bachmann how to run their business but if they carry on like this, in 20 years time, they won't have a business.

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 4903
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby End2end » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:32 pm

ngauger wrote:
End2end wrote:I bet he didn't say the same when it came to buying a bleeding Ipad to keep his kids quiet.
Thanks
End2end


Why would he? You can easily pick up a tablet for under £100, for the cost of putting together a layout with a couple locos, contoller track and stock for a few trains. The father could get a top of the line tablet.

The tablet is far cheaper than a trainset.

These prices might seem reasonable to those in the hobby but the future of the hobby depends on new blood.

My point being that parents don't baulk at the price of a tablet yet when they are abused and fail/break the parents go and buy another...that's £200, then £300, then £400. Also what about the software for a tablet? That all costs money.
Forgive me if I'm not making my point clear.

On the other side of the discussion, I did baulk myself at the price of the Bachmann Midland Express trainset at over £900 when I first saw it. :shock:
And I think sound decoders are too expensive for what they are.
Thanks
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

Buelligan
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:18 pm

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Buelligan » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:54 pm

ngauger wrote:
My problem is with the hobby new being targeted at older generation, who have a large disposable income and ignoring the younger modeler, without that sort of money.


But that’s just modelling hobbies, they’re relatively small markets, so prices are high as they’re never going to sell massive amounts. You can’t compare it to phones and tablets. I bet there are very few households these days that DON’T have a mobile phone, tablet, TV, etc. And out of all houses, only a small number WILL have a railway.

You simply can’t compare something that’s sell in millions, to something, that even at its cheapest, would only sell thousands.

Eg. I spent a few years playing with model boats, I don’t anymore as it’s simply too expensive. My son wanted a boat, and even building it from scratch, it still cost in excess of £150. You can buy vacformed kits for around £30. But by the time you add in a transmitter, receiver, ESC, battery, motor, prop, prop shaft, rudder, servo, and paint, you’re easily over £100. And at the end of it, it’s a very simple looking craft.

Niche markets will always be more expensive. Maybe as 3D printing technology improves we’ll see them being able to produce items as and when they’re ordered. But at the moment they’re done in batches, and have to ensure they cover their overheads and development costs etc.

Another thing, with new prices high, secondhand items hold their value, so after a couple of years if you don’t want it anymore, you get a decent price back.

heda
Posts: 794
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:56 am
Location: Wimborne

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby heda » Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:31 pm

I wouldn't say it's that expensive for youngsters to get into the hobby, a quick search shows starter analogue sets at less than £100 and digital at less than £200
Asda were recently clearing out sets for £25 ! And I've just picked up a brand new 0-4-0 for just over £13 including postage.
Dave

https://www.newmodellersshop.co.uk/Mode ... 20Sets.htm

User avatar
sparkhill
Posts: 224
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:25 pm
Location: Birmingham lad living in Oz.

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby sparkhill » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:13 pm

The way I see things is like so many other things in life there are two ends to the story, some folks have the money to buy an Aston Martin others have to contend with a little hatch back sedan but realy they both serve the same purpose, so it is with our hobby some have £750 to buy an O Gauge Flying Scotsman while others like me are just as happy with Hornby 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 engines, I am sure we all buy what we can afford so why moan about the cost of the hobby, if people cant afford trains they can always go and fly a kite.
Regards
Nobby

User avatar
stuartp
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby stuartp » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:19 pm

ngauger wrote:These prices might seem reasonable to those in the hobby but the future of the hobby depends on new blood.

But kids aren't the new blood, adult collectors/modellers with disposable income are. Not just Railways either, kids aren't buying Aifix V bombers at 60 quid a throw, and even all those pocket money Oxford Diecasts aren't being brummed on the carpet.
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:10 am

ngauger wrote:My problem is with the hobby new being targeted at older generation,

The problem here, is non of you can put yourselves into the shoes of a parent outside the hobby.


As it's always been, and the Hobby has survived. Funnily enough way back in the 60s we had a two tier system, Triang for those with little money and Hornby Dublo for the well off, now we've got the Fully Detailed stuff for the well off and Railroad/Starter Sets for the not so well off...

That's rather a large assumption, whilst my kids are now grown up I have several friends who see to have the money to pay £100+ for Bachmann "Skarloey" 009 locos for their kids so perhaps money isn't the issue you like to think it is. There's an old saying "You cut your cloth according to your means" which is what most people do, there are cheap entry level sets to those for whom money is short so the Manufacturers obviously realise the issue and have provided suitable goods.

heda
Posts: 794
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:56 am
Location: Wimborne

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby heda » Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:10 am

Just for interest comparing the cost of model railways to other hobbies.
Sky sport subscription - £23 a month, £276 a year and nothing to show at the end.
Play station £250 plus games £25 - £50 each which are probably worth nothing when the next new game comes out.
I'm sure there are many more examples, the fact is trains are really no more expensive than lots of other things that we are happy to spend money on.
Dave

User avatar
glencairn
Posts: 4142
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:09 pm
Location: Both sides of the Border

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby glencairn » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:12 pm

I was not going to join in in this discussion, but I guess I shall throw my 'ten pence worth' in.

All the time I have been around model railways they have been expensive - if I hadn't the money. That would be from the time I had a clockwork engine and circle of track, Princess Elizabeth locomotive etal. I could never afford to build a layout bigger than the customary oval.

Many people complained about the crude looking locomotives etc., such as non-existent hand rails and poor finish.

Many people wanted Manufacturers to produce this loco, that loco. Nobody said how much it would cost to produce such locos.

Now, when Manufacturers produce the array of engines, the locomotives have to be in this livery, that livery and every other livery, just to satisfy customers. Each livery is adding to the price. Then there is the cost of DCC, Sound etc. One locomotive can be in six or seven variants.

Gone are the days (imho) when one model would suffice. Those wanting that model to be a little different would alter it themselves (Railway Modelling),

As for the younger generation? Parents (and grandparents) can buy a Thomas the Tank battery operated layout running on plastic track for around £20. It doesn't have to be Hornby or Bachmann. If the child becomes more interested, then they advance to the likes of the two Companies mentioned. That does not mean the child has to have a layout as big as King's Cross. It doesn't mean the layout has to have sound and lights etc. If the child is really interested, the train set will grow with them.

Is railway modelling expensive? Yes -- if you cannot afford the item/s.
It is funny how that money is available when necessary.

Railway Modelling -- Have Fun!

Glencairn
To the world you are someone. To someone you are their world.
I Cannot Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:59 pm

Wish we had a "Like" button...

User avatar
Mountain
Posts: 4305
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Mountain » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:44 pm

Have I noticed the prices rizing. Yes. Too much. It seems to rize at about twice inflation yearly in this hobby at times.
But it is simple. Put the prices up and less people buy. Less people buy and the prices have to go up to stay in business.

I was priced out of the market in this hobby about 15 years ago when prices doubled and almost doubled again... But they had little effect on my spending because I lost my income anyway in those days... So I could not spend a lot. And when I did have available money, it was invested in tools, because in order to enjoy the hobby, I turned to 7mm narrow gauge which I find easier to scratchbuild in. It has solved the issue for me as I can use cheaply obtained wheels and chassis from the secondhand market ans I am having fun!

So yes. For whatever reason as there are many factors, prices of factory made models have gone up a lot in recent years... But as in 7mm narrow gauge I find myself somewhat sheltered from the effects of this, I just carry on modelling in my own little world (When I actually decide to put the work in) and I just carry on without the need to try to budget to get the next new model out. For me, if I want it, I start looking at ways to make it. Somehow it seems more fun and it stops me wanting everything available... As making things... Well. Since I've made my own models (Even if I've used a kit) the addiction to collecting I had when I used to be into 00 gauge has left.
If I want a rake of waggons, I slowly build them, so if I already have too many I just stop building. Very different from buying ready made where if I see a new model I buy it regardless that I have too many in the first place. For me buying RTR models was adictive. Somehow, it is not the same when one makes things.
And if I do end up with too much, I have a little sort out keeping my favourites... The surplus can go for sale, and I am happy. Problem solved!

So yes. I think we've all noticed the prices! And I can fully sympathize if one is asking oneself "Is it really worth me buying any more?" And yes. So many people find their incomes no longer stretch to including a hobby like ours. But I also write what I wrote to show there are still ways to model without needing to be blessed with a large income.

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby b308 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:48 am

Are the prices really rising by too much? I've noticed some new locos have higher prices, but that is reflected in the fact that the mechanisms are much better than the ones they replace and they have more detail so a rise is to be expected. A while ago I was reading a thread on the subject of comparing prices now and back in the days when i was a kid (60s/70s) which came to the conclusion that there was little difference in "true" costs, adjusted for inflation, but that current models are far better detailed and better value...

Maybe costs have risen a little quicker in the past decade but I suspect that has more to do with the fact that in China where most stuff is made wages and living standards have risen as well, pushing up manufacturing costs. It's easy to forget that the assembly of a railway loco is not something that can easily done with a robot, it is a very labour intensive job, therefore any wage rises will end up with higher costs at the retail end... Perhaps they'll move production to India and prices will stabilise again until their costs go up, then Africa, until... Maybe at the end it'll be cheaper to make them in the UK and as we won't be able to afford them by then we'll export them!

Byegad
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: We need to talk about costs

Postby Byegad » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:32 am

I think @Mountain has got it right. While a quad track with branch line layout with one end being in the next time zone is what many people would like, including DCC control with sound on all locos being a 'must'. Most of us cannot afford the room or money go realise this.
You can have lot of fun with a simple Terminus on a branch line with only one loco. Making your own stuff is not for everyone, but it can be done, and enjoyed by most.


Return to “General Model Railway Discussion / News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests