Is our hobby getting more expensive or what?

Big Rich Soprano wrote:


Naw, it was a misstatement of the Pythagorean Theorem.
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu spake thus:

I thought that was "The squaw on the hippopotamus is equal to the sum of the other two squaws." Or something like that.
--
The only reason corrupt Republicans rule the roost in Washington
is because the corrupt Democrats can't muster any viable opposition.
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Ug...
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Yah i thought of that after i hit send...
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Pac Man wrote:

Relative to the shell, which can take a lot of abuse, and to the drive, which is pretty well protected, they are indeed fragile, however crude or fine they may be. The wire stanchions and handrails don't break easily, but they ARE fiddly to install if you are trying to make money.

I don't remember this - IIRC the F7s and GP38-2s that I bought came with a separate small manila envelope of detail parts that had to be installed. Perhaps your dealer assembled them before putting them on display?

I prefer to call it compromise. If it lets me have 3 decently detailed models for the price of 1 superdetailed one then I'm all for it. Of course I haven't bought any diesels for a while anyway, except when they come with other stuff at a train show.
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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This is the way I think it should be done.
I use the AIER cost of living calculator to give a number. It's fairly close. For example in 1962 I bought a PFM ATSF 4-8-4. The list was $69.95 and I paid that plus tax. The AIER calculator shows the 2005 cost as $452.45. I can actually buy that engine, on ebay, cheaper today. For those who want to check various numbers use;
http://www.aier.org/cgi-aier/colcalculator.cgi
What will really surprise you is the price of Varney kits from the '50s translated into today dollars.
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Stephanie Miller wrote: [...] I can actually buy that engine, on ebay, cheaper today. For those

[...]
If anything, the AIER's calculation of current prices gives you figures that are too low, because disposable income has increased considerably in the last 50 years. In the 1950s, the $1.25 (Can) cost of an Athearn kit represented about 2x minimum wage in Alberta, and was in the lower range of typical industrial hourly wages of the time (at the local petro-chemical plant in which I worked for a year, wages ranged from $1.33 to $2.78/hour, which was higher than in other industries.) Thus, as a proportion of income, model railroads are cheaper now than they were back then. If you go with median family incomes, the AEIR's figures IMO are 30-50% too low to provide a fair comparison of prices.
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Wolf, Its comforting to know that prices at not too out of whack and that folks are unable afford some things so much better than what they couldn't afford twenty years ago. Bruce

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Bruce Favinger wrote:

[...]
Zinnngggg! (I needed that.:-))
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instead
Well, not only am I building a home layout, I'm also a member of a club. The club has gone to using handlaid switches to keep costs down and because of possible DCC issues with short frogs. And on my home layout, I purchased (for $20) an old handlaid freight yard when we cut up our old club layout. However, I had to make some modifications to make it fit, and this required me to build a couple switches to match the yard to my layout. No, it's not one of my favorite parts of this hobby. But so what? A lot of people hate wiring (which I actually enjoy), and others hate benchwork, etc. But I'm willing to put up with the stuff I don't like in order to get the results I want.
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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Larry stated:
People running with timetables and waybills often seem to have only minimal scenery and structures, and wouldn't buy a rolling stock or locomotive kit because assembling them would take time away from emulating the prototype (I'm trying to avoid the phrase "playing with trains" <grin>). *********************
You mean "model railroading" as opposed to "railroad modeling" ? ( I know I have argueded this point before but I insist that while many people are railroad modelers and run trains through dioramas, some people are actually model railroaders-modeling the operations of railroads. Then there are those of us who do both. **********************************
"The "modeling" is rapidly leaving the hobby." **************************************************
I wouldn't say that. at "Walts Place" just outside of Spanish Fort, they feature "modeling" and l"ap dances."........
We had to close the place down and move it to somewhere besides a "crew change' point on the layout. Without those little red lanterns to hang on the outside of the place, we had a hard time finding the crews........
( ok, "I" thought it was funny )
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To me model railroading is about more than the issue of scratch building, building kits, or buying RTR. However the layout is operated is up to the individual as well, as layouts get bigger they can progress beyond the individuals ability to run them except with perhaps a single train or 2.
Mine & I guess many others enjoyment in the hobby is with the building & the running of trains, I think I have mentioned in this group before about my abilities in the scatch building area, I have too many thumbs, my soldering is not nice, so I choose to make up kits, or purchase RTR models, especially when the kits are often the same price or dearer than the kits. I cannot justify the extra cost no matter the item.
As I reflect the cost here in OZ I have been going over some old model mags over the past week or so, some many years old, I saw a steam loco kit advertised for $235.00 in a mag dated 1992,, today the same kit is $245.00. In an earlier ag, of 1983, we had some wagon kits for $4.95, today they are between $12.95 - $18.95.
The difference is that in the early kits, they had no wheel sets, no couplers, & pretty poor parts & fitted together poorely. The kit that retails at $18.95, is one I will not buy as the only difference with it & the 1983 kit is that it now has wheels, but still assembles poorely. On the other hand I can buy a RTR model of the same kit for $12.50, or 10 for $100.00, these have wheel sets, & couplers, good wieght & run much better than the kit.
Later RTR models sell for $55.00 in packs of 4, but are of a different variant, & have wonderful detail, such as side chains etc. Another set of RTR models sell for $85.00 today, but when previously released sold for $27.00, a kit of the same model sells for $18.00.
IS there really choice?
In the September 1968 Model Railroader Mag Walthers advertised a Kemtron Switch machine at $2.65, what was the wage in 1968 compared to today, when I see switches advertised in kit form for $6.95 in lots of 12.
Gem models of a HO PRR Mountain $64.95, with long distance tender an extra $24.95, yeas they are brass, but, how do they really compare with what is available today, with dcc & sound. & then there is a U.P 4-10-2 for $99.50.
In saying this, there is little doubt that the hobby has changed, but I think it is mainly in the way in which we source things, & I would agree that we have lost the art of scratch building, but is this something that is peculiar to just this hobby?
When I was in High school in the late 50's early 60's we had subjects that would enable us to go into a trade courses such as woodwork & metalwork. High schools had exceptional large class rooms fully equipped with lathes & all manner of machines, as a teenager we learnt the basic skills, by building basic items in metal & wood.
In fact I still have a kidney shaped coffer table I made in 1961. Sadly these subjects are no longer taught as this country moved away from being a manufacturing country, & trade skills were lost. We can look back at a couple of generations that has not been introduced to the art of manual work, or as an old saying goes
"many youg people think that Manual Labour is a Mexican Tennis player" lost art is in also in the field of learning to construct, & plan.
I have turned my hands to scratch building generic types of buildings for my layout, such as a Harman Coal hoist, rurals stations & houses, as for the rolling stock. It will be & is mainly going to RTR & kits.
I honestly think that when I purchased my first locomotive a brass c38 pacific loco at $50.00 & my wage was $12.00 a week as a trainee enginman, an engine that sort of looked the part "close enough, near enough" & compare it with the forthcoming RTR model with DCC & sound for $600.00, with my pension being $400.00 per week, I wonder at the question of how much has things incresed in price?
I also agree that we are in a hobby that never really has been what we could cheap. In some areas it is probably more expesive, in others cheaper, but overall maybe it remains fairly stable
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Your point is well made, but in my post, I was talking about the SAME items, not new & improved ones. Many of the rolling stock kits that are on the market today as RTR models are the same kits that we bought back in the 1970's (or maybe even earlier). Many of the old AHM kits from that era are still with us in different boxes and with drastically different prices. Yes, my BLI 2-6-6-4 Class A with sound is probably a much better model than what was available "back then," so that's kind of an apples & oranges comparison.
I remember buying a Mantua/Tyco 4-6-2 for around $30 when I first got interested in model trains back in the mid 1970's. Just before Mantua went out of the model railroad business, virtually that same engine was selling for about 5 - 6 times that amount. That's what I was talking about.
dlm
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...but wouldn't it be fair to say that it wasn't trains, structures, locomotives or even skies, hills & trees that was being modeled at "Walt's Place??!?" : )
dlm
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Dan Merkel wrote:

True, but we are modeling railroad employees..................
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the OTHER Mike spake thus:

... who aren't exactly model railroad employees ...
--
The only reason corrupt Republicans rule the roost in Washington
is because the corrupt Democrats can't muster any viable opposition.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

10 points !
Ok, now I have to back to the club....I'm almost finished with Tri State's tile and brick yard, I would have finished sooner but while sitting at the workbench I spilled a bottle of paint thinner in my lap.........................
YEEE HAAAAAA, does THAT burn.
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I feel pretty much the same way, but it seems to me that we are going to pretty much have to buy RTR as the supply of kits gets smaller and smaller. I spoke to an industry contact, and he tells me that with all of the interest in (and demand for) RTR, that it makes no sense to put things out in kit form. Personally, I'd rather turn a few screws, snap on a few parts and hang a few couplers myself to save about half the cost of the RTR model. But they (kits) must sit on the LHS shelves a lot longer than the RTR stuff because more and more, it's RTR that seems to be capturing a larger & larger share of the market.
dlm
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Dan Merkel wrote:

That's what swap meets, eBay and estate sales are for. Back when I got active again in the hobby after a long hiatus and found out that the Central Valley kits that I used to love were no longer being made I hit every club swap meet and other sale that I could find and stocked up on those and many other good old craftsman kits.
--

Rick Jones
Remove the Extra Dot to e-mail me
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Not when Athearn, Accurail, Boswer, et al, are all still in business. And there are tons of small laser kits around, etc., etc., etc.

same
When were Athearn kits $2.50? They were $3.50 in 1991. And remember these prices were kept low by old Irv himself to prevent any competition from muscling in, and he died in the early 1990's.

keep
Well, the bottom line is money (no surprise). Why should a manufacturer make something that doesn't sell? For example, I know the guy who owns the rights to Ambroid kits. He has zero plans to make any because his laser cut business is far superior to anything an Ambroid kit would bring in. In fact, he's said that someone would have to buy the entire production run before he'd even consider it.

to
I'm
It's as "rich" as you want it to be. Nothing's stopping anyone from making boxcars out of wood parts and glueing paper sides to them like they did pre-WWII.
Paul A. Cutler III ************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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