Its been a long time since I've posted, but I notice that the posts are still the same.
Lots of price sensitivity. Trust me, I understand that well.
Desire for ever more features (which clashes with the preceding).
Constant comparisons of apples and oranges.
Kudos from enthusiasts of the item, grousing from those who don't really care.
So, let me put in my oar:
The folks complaining about price have no idea of what it costs to build a commercial model. The amount of capital which is invested for the entire run. The amount of labor every single extra little detail part adds to price. The very high costs for painting complex schemes like those required for 19th Century railroading.
I understand. You have no direct point of comparison. I do. So let me make a couple of points:
1. Electronics. The reason a lot of 0-gauge electronics is so large is because of the power and amperage used. Sure an HO board is smaller, but then it would blow the very first time your engine derailed.
2. Sound. Putting sound in a follow-on car is unavoidable. Its the speaker, you see. We in 0-gauge demand large, high-output speakers or else complain the sound is tinny. If they used a speaker small enough to fit in the engine or tender, you same folks will be loudly complaining about the poor sound quality. Remember it is the speaker which mostly decides sound quality and size DOES matter here.
3. Paint. I'm sorry, but it costs just a few dollars to paint a loco black and add some transfer pinstripes or numbers. The complexity of paint schemes adds a vast amount of cost to a model. The most expensive single cost in my models was the paint, it cost hundreds of dollars per unit. I know they are getting it a lot cheaper, but I still expect is is very expensive. Way more expensive than black. So apples and oranges anyone?
4. Design. Design costs are rising constantly, the wages of skilled CAD or 3D designers is rising, not falling. Even in China. While it is true that the basic design of these locos are probably knock offs of the ones built by Precision Scale back in the '90s, a lot of the design work has to be made from scratch. I'm sure they are using different elements of running gear and die casting tooling has a high up-front cost which needs to be amortized. On a limited run model, this amortization is probably quite considerable.
So there are some things to consider in a nutshell. I applaud Lionel for taking the leap into the past, I was getting sick of seeing new versions of their horrible General model and of course their Lincoln set was another Precision Scale knock off and their Best Friend was based on the 1920s replica and not the real one. But the Stourbridge Lion was definitely cool.
In fact, if they are interested in some nearly completed CAD and 3D drawings of some great locos, they can contact me. They're for sale.