Why are prices seeming to rise exponentially lately?

txronharris Jun 16, 2020

  1. greenwizard88

    greenwizard88 TrainBoard Member

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    My Atlas engines on order are both under $100, and IIRC there's one with ditch lights coming for $106. I'll install decoders at my leisure. Rolling stock is still around $20/car at my local hobby store, for generic boxcars and the like.

    Then there's the higher end higher detail companies, who turn out $350 diesels and $50 boxcars, but they're not a requirement for the hobby.

    I agree though, between inflation from the covid checks and the tariff issue, prices are going to skyrocket in the near future. Unless the world economy crashes, and labor/raw material prices crash too.
     
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  2. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    We are at a crossroads. Several hobbies having issues getting new members and cost is only one issue. Less interest in 'building' something and more interest in quick self gratification. Model railroading continue to battle against other interactive interests which have lower entry costs and don't take up any apartment or home 'real estate' too. New modelers want ready built items with all the bells and whistles installed and are easy to use. The pool of model railroaders might actually be shrinking instead of expanding. Expected lower sales causes manufacterers to scale back production and raise prices to cover costs of materials, labor and recapture of tooling costs. A scenario of a worldwide crash would hasten the demise of many hobbies. I would not want to see that... it falls under the realm of "Be careful what you wish for, because you may regret it".

    Sent from my SM-J737T using Tapatalk
     
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  3. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    If you build your own models as much as possible it's a cheap hobby.

    I am plotting a small layout. Walking through my neighborhood yesterday I spotted a piece of 2x4 ply in a trash can. Tonight I drove back and grabbed it. It is all the wood I will need as track base for a roughly 3 x 5 layout in 55n3.

    Tonight I was cutting boards for a structure. The wood was all old coffee stirrers.

    I just model railroaded ( is this a verb?) for zero cost.

    It really doesn't matter what scale you are in. What matters is adding up the pennies before you spend them. Start looking at the world around you as model materials and you can build a lot of your layout for free.

    Benchwork - find wood, maybe even tear up some pallets
    wiring - I have scrounged a lot of wire over the years. Old phone wire is great and comes in lots of colors
    track - buy it used online
    Scenery - get creative, check out your dollar store. Mix cheap stuff and hobby store products
    Structures - build them out of found materials

    Ok, now you've saved some cash and can get your dream loco at high dollar prices.
     
  4. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Right now, the biggest issue with cost is shipping. I am waiting for the cost of shipping from Japan to get back to normal before I order the 4 Tomix chassis that I need to finish my interurban and streetcar fleet
     
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  5. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    That’s my problem too. Looking for decals or other parts is impossible because they are never all in one place. I’m ordering paint from somewhere, decals and detail parts at another store, and then paying multiple shipping charges to buy a few parts for a project. I feel like you have to spend a ton of money at a time to justify shipping from retailers as well as eBay. A lot of money goes to waste when half of your budget seems like packaging costs.


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  6. Mo-Pac

    Mo-Pac TrainBoard Member

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    As @rray and @acptulsa stated, the economy is in shambles and a new record high 26.5 trillion debt and a new record high 2.7 trillion deficit. The future looks so bright I gotta wear shades. Got to love inflation.....:rolleyes:
     
  7. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm doing the same thing. The chassis that I want are currently out of stock anyhow so it's not a huge deal.
     
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  8. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

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    when I started buying 10/15 years ago I couldn't afford new locos, then I started earning and having "disposable income" so managed to buy some high end locos new. now my "disposable income" is heavily reduced but for all I picked up a lot of stock etc there are still things i'm on the look out for and new is not an option so i'm back to second hand. ironically the second hand locos are more than I was paying for the new ones...

    Being selective is the way forward for me. I never scrimp on baseboards, laser cut modules in this instance. Again track and turnouts I only buy new or never used, so many bought for projects that never materialised get on the second hand market. Where possible I avoid scenery materials aimed for model railroads as it money for old rope in my opinion, normally it a product mass produced for a different section re-branded and 500% mark up. anything RTR on read built is just labour primarily so use your own labour and build a kit or structure.

    Shop around, do research be on the look out for a deal at a show or secondhand stall. Ebay prices have gone stupid and normally the pictures and description don't show that Stevie Wonder has buggered with it. At a show you have the opportunity inspect thoroughly before parting with money.

    I find pound for pound (dollar for dollar) you are better off with high end cars. An Athearn RTR car is £20, normally is basically a crude former blue box kit that has been assembled and some metal wheels fitted. on the other hand a Genesis car may be £30, better shell, plenty of detail, more accurate etc etc, both still cost £5 to ship. But then compare that to a decent loco at £100, it has motor, electronics, lights etc etc... locos are better value in my opinion. Buy your stock second hand.

    Just my two cents
     
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  9. dti406

    dti406 TrainBoard Member

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    This is in regards to the new Rapido X72/72A Penn Central Boxcar just announced at about $50.00

    One modeler came up with how much it cost to bring the old Life-Like Version to almost the same as the Rapido Car as cost of parts was $59.00 and nothing for the labor to complete the car. The Life-Like car needs a new Details West Underframe, Moloco Coupler Pockets, Trucks, new ladders all around, the walk-over platforms, sill steps, and couplers to somewhat match what Rapido is doing, I did not include all the piping for the air lines and brakerodding that would have to be done to match the Rapido car.

    Rick Jesionowski
     
  10. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Doing cost comparisons is interesting. The price of track and switches is one area where it makes a lot of sense to build your own track. if I build 10 number 10 switches my cost per switch is about $6.00. You can save on the switch machines if you wish as well.
    Maybe the money saved can be spent on expensive rolling stock?
     
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  11. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bring back the "Blue Box". With my decal stock and the air brush, I can have a great looking car for about $20.
     
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  12. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I feel your pain.

    Just got this 'official model railroad approved' wood stain.

    Boy was I pissed too!

    *using old man voice* It was 1$ at the dollar store. In my day, this would have been $.25!!!

    THIEVES I TELL YOU!!! :p

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. dti406

    dti406 TrainBoard Member

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    Not for me, 90% of those cars did not have a prototype, I have been studying cars now for the last 20 years, and want to have at least mostly correct cars on the layout, my Athearn Blue Box cars have either been sold or donated off and replaced with more accurate cars. Can't apply enough lipstick to a sows face to make it look good.

    Rick Jesionowski
     
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  14. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

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    Lot of truth in that Rick. Blue Box right out of the box is, as you say, hardly prototypical and I agree. However, some of the models (not all) certainly have potential. I use the coal cars to build a fleet because I don't have to time to wait for production run cars to match the fleet I want. Out of the box, I agree on your view of their lack of fidelity to the prototype. However, with minimal time, some parts, air-brush, and decals they can be transformed. I actually enjoy building craftsman kits for one-off models, etc mixed into the trains along w/ unit equipment. Most of that unit equipment are modified "shake the box" stuff.

    No amount of lipstick will change them, I agree. But a few Westerfield parts, or other details, may do the trick. Here's some w/ Westerfield ends put into Blue Box stuff that puts me close to some C&O cars I couldn't otherwise have:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
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  15. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    On the other side of the coin today you can get a standalone train room computer (Raspberry Pi) running JMRI and a DCC command station (DCC++ on an Arduino) for a little over $100 or about $30 in 1980 dollars. What could you buy in 1980 for $30 that would come close? If you don't mind hard wiring a decoder in you can do that for about $5 in 1980 dollars.

    I think I'll take what we have now and the way things are now not sure I'd want to be the age I was in 1980 now ;),

    Sumner
     
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  16. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    If it weren't for Irv Athearn and his Blue Box (BB) kits. I, and countless others, would not have been able to get into the hobby. As a teenager, I worked at a home taking care of WWII and Korean vets, saved my pennies, and bought these, MDC and other kits. I also have learned a lot from them as far as modeling goes. These Blue box kits spawned countless detail oriented manufacturers that made these cheap kits better. I also learned a little about why, and what went where. If it weren't for those old BB kits the hobby, may have never evolved. The thing that interests me is, I wonder, how many folks would be in the hobby now, if they actually had to build a model kit, and seeing why the retainer valve was where it was and why a brake cylinder was placed, in relation to the brake wheel. The undec kits were a reason I bought an air brush, and learned about painting, decaling, weathering and so on.
    Now, some 45 years later, it is amazing how many craftsman kits are on the bay. I am appreciative of the newer, more detailed models, got a few myself. But, I cant help but think they would not have evolved, without those old BB kits, we used to look at photos, build, detail, paint and decaled.
     
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  17. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    Yep, I agree. Take a few more minutes adding some details like coupler cut bars air brake piping and that model,is just fine.
     
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  18. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Why did you choose 55n3?
    Were you modeling this prior to the On30 boom?
    Did you just want to keep the gauge at 36" and adjusted scale to match?

    Isn't that a niche scale, ie; $$$?
     
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  19. mrhedley

    mrhedley TrainBoard Member

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    I figure that when this pandemic ends there will be a lot of things for sale that were in high demand because of the changes in lifestyles brought on spending so much time at home or socially distanced from others. And a lot of this stuff may be at bargain prices because some people may not have jobs to return to when this is over and will need the cash. It appears model railroad supplies were among some of those non traditional purchases. But I also expect a buyers market for exercise equipment, bicycles, boats, and RV's, among others. If you're in the market for any of these, it might be worthwhile to wait.
     
  20. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    A lot of things. I discovered Woodie's layout on free rails. His is HO scale mechs with 1/35 2' narrow gauge.

    I have always wanted to do narrow gauge but it is expensive. Then Harold Hminky started posting links to his 55n3. I had a tyco GI Joe set sitting around and decided to try my hand at a loco, then ?I did some cars... Just kept building more things.

    I was unsure what to do 31/35 or 1/55, but the HO wheels measure out to 20" in 1/55 and a bit smaller in 1/35. The 1/35 crowd uses On30 wheels that are larger. I wanted to stay cheap.

    I have a lot of other trains, but space and time limited me to playing with my dining table model builds. Since the model building was based on the premise of using less expensive materials and no expensive detail parts it was very free lance which made it really fun. I call it Crap Building.

    Also, lowering my standards to doing what was fun and not being OCD anymore and suddenly I was a model railroader again. My budget was zero as well. Most people show off expensive models and everything I do costs near nothing. Just bought a Tyco caboose for less than 4 bucks shipping included and it will keep me busy scratch building something else for a while.

    Model railroading has a new motto: Shopping for expensive trains is fun. Screw that, just figure out what is fun for you and do that instead.

    There is just something about building it yourself that is very pleasing.

    A discussion about my new log car that cost oh so little to build:
    https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/log-car.133040/
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2020

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