Cost of our trains - an observation

I recently got a message from the C&O Historical Society about an N gauge E8.  Very nice, as seen in the insert below.  Looking at the cost, It seems as if there's not much of an advantage any more in smaller trains.  It looks like whatever cost difference between scales is, and has been disappearing.  Granted the N gauge locomotive has upgraded electronics, but for the size, I'd rather stick to S.  Looking at the American Models site and the cost of their E8s (which list around $280) it confirms my staying with the trains I like most.  Now, don't get me wrong, I like ALL sizes of trains from Z to 1:1.  I, like many other guys, dabbled in other gauges, including N, but I'm now forever in S land, for all its differences in flanges, track height, couplers and details. 

S may not have the extensive offerings of other scales, but that's not just its shortcoming, but its draw.  What isn't offered can be either done without, scratch built, or kitbashed.  I guess that's what separates "model railroader" from "toy train operator".  Even that is subject to one's own views.  I know an importer of high end brass locomotives and rolling stock who sometimes refers to his trains as toys.  That's a topic for another time, but it's been done before.  I guess the bottom line is whatever hobby you have, including trains, is subject to a cost.  That's why it's a hobby, not a necessity. 

To illustrate my point on availability, a friend of mine wanted an E8 set in C&O colors.  American Models doesn't offer theirs in C&O paint, so I custom painted them for him.  Here's the result:

I recently came back from York, and thoroughly enjoyed myself looking at all the trains there, and even buying some small items.  It's a great hobby, and like most, you can spend as much or as little as you wish, or can afford.  Just enjoy what you want for as long as you can.

 

 

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poniaj posted:

 

S may not have the extensive offerings of other scales, but that's not just its shortcoming, but its draw.  What isn't offered can be either done without, scratch built, or kitbashed. 

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the "it's a draw" comment, Jerry.

There's a small faction on the scale side of S that feel scratchbuilding or kitbashing to get what you want should be emphasized to attract more folks to S.  I've always thought this is a dead-end proposition.

Unfortunately, many talented individuals are already scratchbuilding and/or kitbashing in G, O, HO and even N already, so doing it in yet another scale is of no real attraction or advantage.  I'm constantly amazed at how many of the 3-rail O crowd scratchbuild and kitbash and do an excellent job of it.  Add in the availability of "raw material" in O and it's easy to see why.

I've mentioned this before: As far as S is concerned, if it wasn't for the American Models FP7, I wouldn't be in S.  Pure and simple.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have changed from HO in 1985.

Now, I've done some scratchbuilding, kitbashing and redetailing in my time in various scales.  I've also done a lot of painting, required if one is a freelance model railroad empire builder.  But those aren't the reasons I'm in the hobby.  I happen to have a life long fascination and interest with railroads and that's what sustains my interest in the model railroading hobby. 

Much as I hate to admit it, but I think Lionel's FlyerChief locomotives will probably do more to interest folks in S than anything else today.  We've already seen a falloff in S interest after SHS went away and MTH delays.

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:
poniaj posted:

 

S may not have the extensive offerings of other scales, but that's not just its shortcoming, but its draw.  What isn't offered can be either done without, scratch built, or kitbashed. 

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the "it's a draw" comment, Jerry.

There's a small faction on the scale side of S that feel scratchbuilding or kitbashing to get what you want should be emphasized to attract more folks to S.  I've always thought this is a dead-end proposition.

Unfortunately, many talented individuals are already scratchbuilding and/or kitbashing in G, O, HO and even N already, so doing it in yet another scale is of no real attraction or advantage.  I'm constantly amazed at how many of the 3-rail O crowd scratchbuild and kitbash and do an excellent job of it.  Add in the availability of "raw material" in O and it's easy to see why.

I've mentioned this before: As far as S is concerned, if it wasn't for the American Models FP7, I wouldn't be in S.  Pure and simple.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have changed from HO in 1985.

Now, I've done some scratchbuilding, kitbashing and redetailing in my time in various scales.  I've also done a lot of painting, required if one is a freelance model railroad empire builder.  But those aren't the reasons I'm in the hobby.  I happen to have a life long fascination and interest with railroads and that's what sustains my interest in the model railroading hobby. 

Much as I hate to admit it, but I think Lionel's FlyerChief locomotives will probably do more to interest folks in S than anything else today.  We've already seen a falloff in S interest after SHS went away and MTH delays.

Rusty

I guess I didn't express myself well.  My "its draw" comment was sort of personal.  It was to pit the lack of availablity vs too much to chose from.  In my case, what got me back into S after a foray into N was American Models' GG1.  I bought one of their first ones years ago, and it's still running great on my layout.  If S had the amount of things that HO does, I'd go broke!  So it's the LACK of things that keeps ME in S and from spending way too much money .  Agreed that many folks would rather have RTR things, and so would I for the most part.  Scratch building and kit bashing isn't going to attract new folks, but RTR will, especially newer, more up to date rolling stock and locomotives.  

My original post was to observe that S isn't all that more expensive than the other, more popular scales.  Have you seen what HO items are going for?  I, along with many other S guys have heard "If I didn't have so much invested in XX scale, I'd be in S".  A few years ago at an all gauge show, a fellow called S the "scratch builder's scale".  I politely informed him, and SHOWED him what is out there.  He changed his mind, and gave the usual "If I didn't..." comment.  Even though we both admitted to the small amount out there, what IS out there is a good start for an empire.  He also liked the size.  Go figure!

I also feel that FC may attract more folks into S.  At least my 6 year old grandson loves it!

 

 

When I first entered the hobby my intention was to model S. The sales people there talked me out of it citing small offerings compared to HO, N, O and even G. I was also told that turning radii and prices for S compared to O were relatively similar. I bit, and went with O. 

I have trains in all scales and gauges including G,O, S, On3, OO, HO, HON30, TT, N, Z, and T. My favorite to look at is the OO (American) It is between S and HO. It is too rare and hard for me to model. HO and below are too small for my eyes to fix, play with, and enjoy. G is too expensive and I lack indoor space. Given the space I would swallow the expense.

I will pick up some standard gauge. Fun to look at but again limited by space like G. 

My layout is O and I have not been disappointed.

 

 

 

TCA - 10 - 64769

Active Ferroequinologist

Collector of 40' scale boxcars

Collector of NYC steam in all gauges

Random comments:

In the end, the cost of model trains isn't relevant once once chooses which scale to be in.  It may be a factor initially, but as Michael states availability also weighs in.  However, once a person jumps in with both feet, it's more a question of value and perception.

I'm happy being in S.  After 30+ years it's amazing how much of "nuthin's available in S" I have.  I periodically think of going back to HO, but there's nothing really compelling me to do so, no matter what Rapido Trains announces .

S is a tough scale to get into nowadays.  It was easier 18-20 years ago (egads!) when SHS was in full gear producing a relatively steady stream of product indicating stability and growth in the scale.  While Lionel has taken the lead lately, in spite of FlyerChief and Legacy electronics, I'm not sure how much longer they can continue to successfully churn out recycled or redesigned traditional Flyer.  The Berkshires are a good move, but once the market saturates, what then?  I suspect the announcement of the Legacy version has taken a toll on orders for the FlyerChief version.

MTH, well what can I say...  5 years since the last catalog, 2 years since the last "new" product (the piggy back flat cars.)  They had a product with a built-in good reputation and have squandered it.

American Models isn't a ball of fire for new products, but has been consistent.  What appears to hold them back is the pure "conventionality" of the product line: no command control, (although I understand they will add a DCC plug for a cost) and a ho-hum AC sound system.  In their favor is a bullet-proof product line with parts availability if needed.

Well, I guess I've rambled on enough this morning.  Time for my second first cup of coffee...

Rusty

Bill Nielsen posted:

Talk about sticker shock, an S Helper Box car just sold on eBay for $400, and the other number of the same roadname (NdeM), went for around $80! These cars were not even in mint condition, they had some figures and castings glued in the doorway, with a few extra glue spots on the floor.

See: <https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mexic..._cvip=true&rt=nc>

I know a private individual had a run of SHS NdeM boxcars made some years ago.  I wonder if this was originally one of his that some "added detail" to.  Interesting, but not worth $400.

Rusty

Bill Nielsen posted:

Talk about sticker shock, an S Helper Box car just sold on eBay for $400, and the other number of the same roadname (NdeM), went for around $80! 

I saw that auction also. The winners bid changed from a high bid of $41.00 to over $400.00. It could be that the bidder had some bad attention span during the second bid and hit one too many number keys. Those cars have been offered in the past and sold for way less.

The amazing thing is that there were actually two large $$ bidders for an unremarkable car.

Mark

Sticker Shock Update: It looks like the original sale must not have gone through, because the SHS NdeM Boxcar has shown up again on eBay, this time listed as a “buy it now” from the same seller, with a price of $299. I guess the winning bidder must have backed out (perhaps a typo), and the runner up bidder must have had second thoughts as well. Unfortunately, it looks like the seller was convinced that it really was a rare & valuable collectors item, judging by the new “buy it now price” being asked on the second time around. I wonder how much the selling price on the other road number (it sold for about $71, which itself is pretty high) was affected by the first winning bid of $400, since they ran concurrently in the earlier auction.

<https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mexic...3:g:3JoAAOSwPwla5k2d>

Bill in FtL

 

PONIAJ:

Back over 10 years ago my S acquisition experience was entirely different. Secondary market S models that came available went for big bucks. Brass was out of the question.

Upon leaving S for HO ( two years ago now?) I was amazed (still am) at the value and performance that is currently available in HO. I have brand new, smooth running DCC sound equipped diesel engines in my stable that I paid as low as around $100 bucks. (From a DEALER as I recall and not an individual.) Purchased many new engines from dealers in the $125 - $175 range, all DCC/Sound equipped. I purchased USED engines in excellent shape (non-DCC) for songs and dances. (How about $35 for Kato Alco's?)

So, as you can see, my experience was totally different.

Andre

I was reading the article on Lionel GG1s in Classic Toy Trains, 1992 today.  What was once expensive is now very reasonable.  I purchased a Lionel #6-18308 red stripe GG1, new in the box for $140.00 recently.  In 1992, it was going for over $400.00 !

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Bill Nielsen posted:

Sticker Shock Update: It looks like the original sale must not have gone through, because the SHS NdeM Boxcar has shown up again on eBay, this time listed as a “buy it now” from the same seller, with a price of $299. I guess the winning bidder must have backed out (perhaps a typo), and the runner up bidder must have had second thoughts as well.

 

I agree. I thought the initial bidder had entered an incorrect bid and was going to get stuck. Perhaps the seller let them out of the deal. In any event the cars should sell for about $60.00-$70.00  tops as that was near the original retail. The other car sold for $71.00.

At $299.00 the seller has high hopes lightning will strike twice. I have my doubts.

Mark

I remember getting back into the hobby. HO was more expensive than O at the time, around 2015 I think, for similar features. then it dropped for a bit and spiked back up again. Upon noticing the excessive wear on my hardly run HO coaches metal trucks I only have interest in low end HO, that is hardly made anymore. O has gone up in price at the same time, but is no where near as erratic as HO has been, which was lower cost, then soared, then fell again. The DCC seems to be what makes the smaller scales cost more since they require far more expensive electronics, than S scale and up.

There is always something new to learn and greater understanding in the quest for wisdom.

Michael Hokkanen posted:

When I first entered the hobby my intention was to model S. The sales people there talked me out of it citing small offerings compared to HO, N, O and even G. I was also told that turning radii and prices for S compared to O were relatively similar. I bit, and went with O. 

I have trains in all scales and gauges including G,O, S, On3, OO, HO, HON30, TT, N, Z, and T. My favorite to look at is the OO (American) It is between S and HO. It is too rare and hard for me to model. HO and below are too small for my eyes to fix, play with, and enjoy. G is too expensive and I lack indoor space. Given the space I would swallow the expense.

I will pick up some standard gauge. Fun to look at but again limited by space like G. 

My layout is O and I have not been disappointed.

 

 

 

"I will pick up some Standard Gauge". These days, you can pick up standard gauge stuff for about the same cost as O or HO!

Jim

Jim Waterman

 

I one only looks at the cost, it's almost enough to discourage anyone from entering the hobby in any scale. 

I've bought stuff in S from anywhere from full MSRP to super-duper bargain prices.  I've also bought a couple of "caviar" pieces because they were "must haves." 

Generally, I put 20 bucks a week aside so I can afford such things.  Been doing this for years.  That's where the long lead time to market can work to my advantage.  I had my MTH F3's "paid for" long before they shipped by doing this.  The Flyer Legacy Berk I have on order will also be paid for out of this fund.  Only AM has caught me off guard, mainly because they usually announce when they either have new items in stock or they are already in transit.

Rusty

RE{: Sticker Shock Update & NdeM Boxcar trivia

This car looks like one of Gil Hulin's "custom's". Gil is/was from the Eugene, Oregon area.  I think he may have had SHS make them up for him then he added the "Hombre" riding in the car. What is now possibly several years ago Gil downsized and moved into assisted living. There may be a stash of these cars in a friends garage. I recall a post on one of the forums where he was offering them for sale but the NdeM livery was Gil's "thing" and of limited interest to others. Gil's had several of these if not a case or three. I may do a search later and see if I can support my memory. I haven't seen a post from Gil in some time now. I hope he's doing well.  I believe the eBay seller in this case listed as being located in Vancouver, WA.

Regardless, I've seen but not in some time, bids on eBay go to ridiculous levels. Always wondered if someone(s) had stolen or set up a fake ID to have their jollies with a seller with no intent of paying for what the "won".  If legitimate, they obviously have more money than I do to spend on a boxcar.

Bill

Kelso, WA

Bill Gill posted:

RE{: Sticker Shock Update & NdeM Boxcar trivia

This car looks like one of Gil Hulin's "custom's". Gil is/was from the Eugene, Oregon area.  I think he may have had SHS make them up for him then he added the "Hombre" riding in the car. What is now possibly several years ago Gil downsized and moved into assisted living. There may be a stash of these cars in a friends garage. I recall a post on one of the forums where he was offering them for sale but the NdeM livery was Gil's "thing" and of limited interest to others. Gil's had several of these if not a case or three.

You are correct. The post was found here on this forum back in 2015. You coulda' had one of those cars for $40.00.

Mark

You can still have one or 10 SHS NdeM boxcars for $40 (each).  I have two or three cartons (12 cars each) remaining that never sold. In recent years I tried to promote their sale as cars that could be repainted and relettered, but not many S scalers are into that. I also promoted the S scale 40-foot boxcars as perfect for conversion to On30.  And many many modelers don't realize that the NdeM became a "fallen flag" longer ago than Southern Pacific. 

I am not in assisted living, but simply a senior apartment building where I am one of the more active residents, currently coaching youth soccer for the 39th year. After the Northwest S Scalers club gave away its portable layout several years ago to a fellow in Wyoming, I've had no place to operate my S trains.  So, I've been gradually selling them at O/S Scale West, NASG national conventions, and Fall S Fest.  I already have two tables reserved at this year's S Fest, November 2-3, in Orland Park, IL.  I have only one piece of brass remaining (a South Wind UP 2-8-0 at less than $500), but plenty of plastic and parts.

As my investment in S dwindles, I am increasingly active in On30. Not Colorado prototypes, but the 18-foot fantasy rolling stock. With companies like Mount Blue, Wiseman, Frenchman River, Rusty Rails, Railway Recollections and others producing On30, I don't have to rely on the high-priced Bachmann products. 

I can now be reached at gmheugene@gmail.com after being without email the past four years.  I am having difficulty updating my log-in on this forum.

Gil Hulin

Eugene, Oregon 

 

 

 

I recently came back from York, and thoroughly enjoyed myself looking at all the trains there, and even buying some small items.  It's a great hobby, and like most, you can spend as much or as little as you wish, or can afford.  Just enjoy what you want for as long as you can.

Sweet paint job, Jerry!

Pete F.

Mahwah, NJ

TCA# 18-73568

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