Brass losing value

jonnyspeed posted:
rdunniii posted:

I do not have a layout and I never will.  I am only interested in a layout where I can run 100 car plus trains around prototypical radius curves and prototypical grades with prototypically sized terminals which means a minimum of 10K square feet just to start.  The artistry of scenery does not interest me so framework alone would be just fine.  But I am interested in the the art and craftsmanship resulting in very accurate miniatures of the real thing displayed by many brass models and, of late several plastic models.  The reason I offer my services to Scott Mann at no cost it to get the models he produces as close to real as his builder will do without going out of Scott's price comfort zone.

So, having said that, MTH offers no value to me at any price and Lionel is only slightly better.  My entire collection of MTH is two ES44s in demo colors and am thinking about the recent Lionel GE demonstrators because that is all that is available (I'm a sucker for demonstrators).  Should brass replacements ever become reality for those they will be replaced with the brass regardless.

And it is not just trains for me.  I am working on or collecting models of ships and planes and science fiction.  A highly believable miniature of a Millennium Falcon is just as interesting to me as a locomotive.  If I had the money to get a Fine Art Models CSS Alabama I'd get it too.

What is the value of any painting or a sculpture or other art?  There are many people who wouldn't pay $10 for the Mona Lisa just as a painting but the market for art says something very different.  The value to me is in the artistry and craftsmanship.

A valuable painting or a Ferrari or brass trains may just be a toys to you, but not to me.

Isn't that what is wonderful about this hobby? You and I couldn't be more opposite on most of the points you made, but here we are enjoying the same hobby I'm a nut that wants smoke and sound units in my 2 rail steam engines regardless of what materials they are constructed from. But I can appreciate your affection for fine scale models.

Actually, I've long contended that brass train collecting was really a different hobby from the people who build and operate layouts. Still trains, but very different priorities even if there is some overlap.

You probably know this, but if you like racing automobiles or scale models in general take a look at Exoto models http://www.exoto.com/ they are some of the most intricate and amazing miniatures that I've ever seen.

I've a decent "collection" of brass cars but I'm collecting them only for one reason - when I build my layout I want my cars to be accurate scale models for the era/locale that I am modeling, southwestern Pennsylvania coal and coke country in the early 1940's. 

If all plastic cars were as well detailed and as accurate as the Glacier Park Models GS gondola or the San Juan Car Company boxcars  (or the Grandt Line UTLX frameless tank car) I wouldn't own any brass. 

Unfortunately the only way to get an accurate and diverse freight car fleet is to buy brass or scratchbuild them.   

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

Actually, I've long contended that brass train collecting was really a different hobby from the people who build and operate layouts. Still trains, but very different priorities even if there is some overlap.

Any collecting is a different hobby than operating.  Many people do both.

C.W. Burfle

Over the long haul, most things loose value, like that new car that you just drove off the lot. Brass has been the traditional model building media in model railroading, and when you can connect with several brass pieces that are right for you at the right price, you're certainly a winner!...But, on the other hand, there are many new models that will simply not come to the brass market for practical reasons (mostly cost), but for the modern modeler there have been some real first class items: Lionel 66ft Mill Gondola, ACF 4 Bay Covered Hopper (aluminum), and Autoracks; Atlas O Trinity 5161cf Covered Hopper, Berwick Forge 60ft Auto Part Boxcar, 68ft flatcars and Bulkhead Flat Cars, Trinity 25,500 gal. Tank Car, Coil Cars, ACF Coalveyor Rotary Coal Hopper, Maxi-Stack lV racks and 53ft Cans, International Car Company Extended and Standard Vision Cabooses, and the GP60/60M/60B just to name a few. On the other hand, Overland's SP Bay Window Cabooses and their Ca-7, -8, -9,-10, and -11 cabooses  hit the spot! Wish I could find some of those brass cabooses! I have 8 Pecos River Brass PC&F 62ft Insulated Boxcars and am always looking for more. They're great!

Some times brass models don't really hit the spot even if they are popular. Take the OMI 62ft I-Beam Lumber Car with Oval or Diamond Cut Windows. They sell for wild prices, and yet close comparison to prototype photos show some distinct errors. Atlas is in a position to give us several more current prototype rail cars including the 73ft Center Partition Lumber Car, and as a Master Line production, I suspect that it will be very acceptable against a brass model, but I will still order some MMW cars, while giving all the encouragement I can to Atlas to build their version. 

If I were starting over, and in a way, since the fall of the Denver Society of Model Railroaders, I am, I would caution new adherents to O Scale to not hesitate to spend capital on premium locomotives of all types, partly because of the desired detail or drive system or both. Interests in freight cars may change, but good quality locomotives will pull those trains forever and look great!

Brass allows us to admire the detail and beauty of our hobby, but plastic, good plastic models, give us the flexibility to build up the fleet at a much more acceptable cost and rate. Still, brass is dazzling to see and own. There are many models that have yet to be built. Many of the freight cars will be plastic, but others might well be brass. I'd really like to see a diesel powered rail crane in the 200-250ton class. Only brass will do it justice, although someone might attempt it in diecast metal. It would be a short run, and pricey, but brass could bring it to life....or how about ATSF Ce-6,-8, and -11 Cabooses, or even a correct DRGW Wide Vision Caboose with the correct placement and style of windows.

In this economy, hobby dollars are precious. At the end of the day, wait for and buy what you really want, and don't worry about re-sale value. The happiness you obtain is the investment that counts and will last your lifetime......and maybe someone else's after you.        

Mike Caddell

 

FRRX....across the Front Range and the West!

Tom Tee posted:

Perspective:

About 7 or 8 years ago a custom engine builder and painter was showing me a Lionel boxcar he was painting.  At that time he said the brass market just has to keep going down because there is no way that brass builders can compete with the increasing level of plastic detail now available. 

That brought to  mind something I did quite a while ago.  I had a friend, long departed, who had a great collection of 0 scale brass.  Everything, engines, passenger cars, all manner of freight cars.  He just ran them round and round like a proud race horse owner bragging about his thoroughbreds.  Swore there was nothing like real brass.  One day I snuck two Intermountain PFE reefers into his string of brass PFE reefers and put two $20. bills on the track.  One for each "hunk of junk" plastic cars he could pick out.  Out of 25 PFE cars he guessed on a few brass cars but failed to identify the plastic ones. 

So I picked up the money and turned  on the power.  He listened to his string of rattling tin cans going by until the two silent ones rode by  and just shook his head. 

I guess the first question I would ask about those IM reefers is : If they were so wonderful why did IM stop making them and sell their stuff off to Atlas? The problem with those cars is the fine detail like the center step is so FLIMSY you can darn near break it off by looking at it. If you handle those cars ANY amount of time, sooner or later you will break that stuff, end of story. The LEAST little bump and those center steps are toast. That is why Atlas replaced all that fine detail with metal. Moving and at a distance is not a particularly good test for picking out fine detail. You just stacked the deck in your favor. If you are worried about a bit of noise from cars that are going by, I hope you don't install sound in your locos. Happy Holidays!

Simon

PS: How good was your friends vision?

 

Mike Caddell posted:

In this economy, hobby dollars are precious. At the end of the day, wait for and buy what you really want, and don't worry about re-sale value. The happiness you obtain is the investment that counts and will last your lifetime......and maybe someone else's after you.        

Above is the real answer. Buy what you like, and can afford.

Simon

The fact that the IM products were kits is probably the biggest reason they did not sell that well despite being a very well detailed model, on the web or at the shows there are all ways kits to be had. yes when you bring plastic down to fine scale detailing it is fragile. The very first Weaver tank car kit was a snap together plastic kit nice but fragile I still have one that I painted and decaled. I suspect this is the reason Atlas has had only 2 runs of their 25,5k Trinity car, very well done but a lot of fragile areas on this car. Realistically Atlas combination of plastic and metal is the way to go for the current market. Brass today because it is all hand built is the ideal medium but at todays prices not practical for most of the O gauge market resulting in small production runs and in some cases direct from importer sales only. JMO

hibar posted:

The fact that the IM products were kits is probably the biggest reason they did not sell that well despite being a very well detailed model, on the web or at the shows there are all ways kits to be had. yes when you bring plastic down to fine scale detailing it is fragile. <snip>

Kind of amused me when these are compared to, say, armor model kits.
Although, of course, no one expects an armor model to actually do anything.

I only started collecting O scale a few years ago, so if brass is devaluing then I'm coming off the better. I buy myself a brass loco once a year (twice this year!), and have been really surprised at what low prices can be found for great models, even when mail ordering from the other side of the planet - bit hard to buy O scale for a good price in Australia!

Now all I gotta do is build a railway....

M


Wow, I would never guess that caboose would draw that kind of bidding. 

I was going to say, "Some people have more Dollars than Sense" but we each enjoy our disposable income in our own ways, My Biggest Chainsaw has an MSRP in the same neighborhood as a Vision Line Locomotive, and chainsaws generally don't have anywhere near the discount many expect in their trains. I got a $311 discount which is very rare, but the powerhead, 36" bar and 2 chains still set me back almost $1750.00, but my saws heat my house and the Big one will be used for milling solid table tops for furniture, so those toys qualify as tools too 

But with the saw collection up to 4 now, plus my wife's, and at least 3 more that I "Need" , plus the milling equipment, Log Splitter, trailer, and etc, etc,etc. CAD (Chainsaw Addiction Disorder) can be as bad as the dreaded "O Gauge Virus" and other model railroad related disorders 

I read on some the saw forums about guys that have more saws, than some of the Guys here have locomotives , if those two hobbies aren't bad enough, I also enjoy Shooting, Boating, Fishing, Crabbing and Camping, and the fishing rod collection, also rivals some locomotive collections, I am definitely trying to win, the He who dies with the most Toys Wins, contest 

Doug

Yes, It IS a Choice, and one that no one else should be able to take away from you.

 

The Second Amendment protects your right to enjoy all the others

challenger3980 posted:

I read on some the saw forums about guys that have more saws, than some of the Guys here have locomotives , if those two hobbies aren't bad enough, I also enjoy Shooting, Boating, Fishing, Crabbing and Camping, and the fishing rod collection, also rivals some locomotive collections, I am definitely trying to win, the He who dies with the most Toys Wins, contest 

Doug

So Doug,

Tell us about your trains! I for one, can hardly wait!

Simon

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