Inflation?

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NP2626

Well-Known Member
#1
How is it that an Rapido HO EMD SW1200 can cost $225.00 for DC operation, when 25 years ago an Athearn model of the same locomotive only cost around $20.00-$25.00? If I take my Inflation Calculator and use 1994 prices and a cost of $20.00, the inflated price for 2018 is only $32.95. If I use $25.00, the inflated price would be $41.19.

I understand that a Rapido loco and an Athearn Blue Box loco are not the same loco, so lets look at how many times $25.00 goes into $225.00 and that is 9 times. Is the Rapido Loco 9 times better than the Athearn Blue Box Loco? Yes, the Blue Box Loco had some minor assembly that the modeler had to perform, so should have been cheaper. Yes, Athearn had many years to amortize the cost of the tooling for their SW1200, so that should have made their price less, also. I have left the $110.00 extra, off the price for Rapido's Sound DCC Decoder because Sound and DCC where generally not available back in 1995.

Look, I'm not saying we should boycott today's manufacturer's products because they are charging excessive prices. I am saying we should be mindful of this fact and not be afraid to ask why the high prices! These higher prices are not all simply due to inflation!
 
#3
Inflation is also part of it but you can't even begin to compare an old Blue Box locomotive to the locomotives that are being made today.

Blue box locos had no extra detail parts and generally thicker tooling. The motors were not as good and electronics were non-existent. Lighting was usually pretty crude as well (remember the giant bulb in the cab for most old blue boxes) and the electrical system of steel bars that rub against each other is less reliable than actually having things wired and soldered.

Modern locos have finer body tooling, loads and loads of separately applied details - with more and more road-specific options, better motors and drive trains, even the non-DCC/sound versions have at least some circuitry in it for better lighting and motor control and plugs/connectors that make dropping in your favourite brand decoder a snap,
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
#4
Quality of the model is better. Fewer are produced now. New ones have a decoder. More support is required for service support to the customer.
Ken,

So you feel the quality of what's for sale now, is 9X better than what it was with the Athearn Blue Box kit? The price I used for comparison was for DC operation, so does not include a DCC decoder. Why would service costs be included in the price of a new locomotive? Wouldn't the cost of service be a stand alone price?
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
#6
If you think it’s too expensive, don’t buy it. Easy-Peasy. Plenty of old blue box available on the swap meet circuit. Me, I don’t miss the too thick GP-9 shell, the crude handrails, or having to spend 50 bucks or more on detail parts. To each his own.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
#10
I am only commenting on the fact that I think the manufacturers are charging prices that I don't think are worth it. Doesn't mean I won't pay the prices. If I'm going to play, I have to pay. You think the prices are fine, that is your prerogative! I'm not wrong and neither are you, we just have a difference of opinion
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
#11
Here is another comparison for a Ford F-150:

http://www.thedrive.com/news/9942/c...fographic-of-ford-f-150-prices-over-the-years

The price has doubled since the mid-90's.

One of the unfortunate aspects of inflation is that it must be factored into everything, including expectations for 'comfort', 'apparent value', 'what's my time really worth', and other similar non-measurables. In other words, it's not just that wages drive inflation, but they drive the price of materials, design, tooling, shipping, even conceptualization. People still want that pad of discretionary income left over after they've paid the 2018 prices for things. That is to say, EVEN MOTIVATION costs more, and so do loyalty, creativity, and reliability.

I expect that the new reality of pre-ordering is also a factor. Importers are no longer able to let 280 units (that cost them only $120 each) sit unsold on shelves for four years or more. I can't say I know this for a fact, but my ear to the ground says that most unit runs now number in the 200-500 range, and not the numbers that we know Bachmann was running just 15 years ago (3K and up). BLI probably only sold 300 of the hybrid 4-12-2 steamers in the first run of them in 2013. But, if I'm wrong and it was twice that, 600, it's still a far cry from the numbers produced in the early 2000's. But my main point is that, unlike when you could expect to recoup an average of $40/locomotive out of 2500 of them, even if it took about 3-5 years to sell 90% of them, now the same business-sustaining profit must come out of a ship-breaking weight of a mere 500-1000. IOW, you need twice the real profit, once all the numbers are tallied and the bank will let you write a cheque for the next tooling and shipment from China, and that order will also be small, maybe 800 units.

What it all boils down to is, in the end, sumbuddy gots ta pay.
 
#12
Is the Rapido Loco 9 times better than the Athearn Blue Box Loco?
My opinion yes, in every reguard: construction materials, mechanical and hence running quality, electronic quality (not even counting DCC), detail quality, and prototypical accuracy.

These higher prices are not all simply due to inflation!
Of course not, economics 101, and the principle of "price what the market will bear". If people won't pay that price the company either won't produce the product or will lower the price.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
#13
Why am I always considered wrong in these type of posts? Is it that only the opposing opinion feels it important enough to post their opinions? I think that is probably the case. You guys who always state that the glass is half full, even though you know full well that it is half empty, also!

I don't have any bad opinions about the Athearn Blue Box; or, MDC Roundhouse Locomotives at all! For an additional couple bucks and a few hours of my time I can make them look and run every bit as good as your $225.00 locomotives. That some dimensions might not exactly copy the prototype, meant very little to me! My guess is those of you with huge collections of locomotives have many Blue Box/MDC Roundhouse Locomotives among your collections!
 
#14
Why am I always considered wrong in these type of posts? Is it that only the opposing opinion feels it important enough to post their opinions? I think that is probably the case. You guys who always state that the glass is half full, even though you know full well that it is half empty, also!

I don't have any bad opinions about the Athearn Blue Box; or, MDC Roundhouse Locomotives at all! For an additional couple bucks and a few hours of my time I can make them look and run every bit as good as your $225.00 locomotives. That some dimensions might not exactly copy the prototype, meant very little to me! My guess is those of you with huge collections of locomotives have many Blue Box/MDC Roundhouse Locomotives among your collections!
And there's not anything "wrong" with this approach, but you have to admit that if you take one of those older engines and compare it to one of the newer ones in terms of the amount of extra parts and details they're not really on the same playing field.

If the detail and accuracy doesn't matter to you, then yeah, you're not going to find any value in that personally.
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
#15
Why am I always considered wrong in these type of posts? Is it that only the opposing opinion feels it important enough to post their opinions? I think that is probably the case. You guys who always state that the glass is half full, even though you know full well that it is half empty, also!

I don't have any bad opinions about the Athearn Blue Box; or, MDC Roundhouse Locomotives at all! For an additional couple bucks and a few hours of my time I can make them look and run every bit as good as your $225.00 locomotives. That some dimensions might not exactly copy the prototype, meant very little to me! My guess is those of you with huge collections of locomotives have many Blue Box/MDC Roundhouse Locomotives among your collections!
I have tried to stay out of the fray, however, I am in your camp. Granted, the newest generation of models are mouthwatering to me, but I cannot justify the expense for I feel that they have far exceeded inflation. Take the newest "brass" steamers: Some of them are approaching the $2000.00 level which is 8-10 times what I paid for most of the ones I have. Is this normal inflation? Maybe so! I bought a new P/U in 1969 - wasn't a whole lot of extra hoodoo on it for 2,700. Today a p/u, sort of the same, would be 30,000? So that's 10 times as much too, so maybe all I have done is shoot myself in the foot!

Maybe my thinking is flawed as well? MARK, my suggestion, quit this kind of posting? I'm laughing! :p:p:)
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
#16
Mark, you are not wrong, it's your opinion and you are entitled to your opinion.

Our hobby is evolving. Most people want instant gratification, I'm one of them. It's nearly impossible to compare prices of yesterdays stuff to the highly detailed, electronic stuff we have today.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Neither is right or wrong.
 
#17
I see inflation/greed quite pervasively in the hobby. Makes me glad that I acquired most of my equipment prior to 2010. I will still spring for an occasional engine or car, but it hurts me to think what I paid in the 90's for the same thing.
It seems to have started after Horizon took over Athearn and decided for all of us that everyone wanted RTR instead of kits. I refuse to even consider Tangent or Exact Rail, as they're really not that much more detailed than Atlas or Wather's. Some Athearn RTR are still a good deal when you consider that they have Kadde-compatible couplers, metal wheels, etched metal end walks and some even have detailed underbodies. But they are really just re-tooled Roundhouse or Blue Box cars that someone else has assembled. While I purchased four new engines in 2018, I haven't purchased any other new rolling stock since 2014. I have picked up some used stuff at train shows.
 
#18
I still have my original, all metal steam locomotive that I traded a coin for in the I believe the late 1950's. The coin was a Two Cent coin that I found in change from a drugstore. Today that coin is worth in the neighborhood of several hundred dollars and the locomotive is WORTH NOTHING!

This hobby is what you want to spend on the hobby and no one is right and no one is wrong.

Greg
 
#19
There is no right and wrong, I thought we were just musing.

I was originally outraged when Walther's came out with their new line of passenger cars at $30-$42, because I was used to paying $8-$10 for AHM type. Then I took a step back. Calculated all the money I was dumping into AHM cars to make them run and look good. New trucks, new bolsters, new couplers, fix the windows, add the interiors, add grab irons, add weight, add electrical pickup and lighting, add diaphragms. The cost was just a little more for the Walther's, for a car that looked almost as good as the Walthers. Then when I factored in the 20-40 hours I would have spend doing all that stuff and the prototypical accuracy of the Walther's and I decided the Walther's were a bargain.

Now the Walther's generic cars are right at $80 and climbing each release, the special and deluxe are $100 and climbing. They are looking for the highest price they can charge and still have people buy them.
 
#20
For us old guys, just remember what you were making per hour in our youth compared to today's wages and salaries. I remember asking for a raise and I got the dime an hour which put me at $1.00/hour, no overtime after 40 hours, no health insurance or sick time. I stayed at that hourly wage for several years.

A earlier job paid 70 cents an hour.

Greg


Laughting chipmunk.gif

"You said you wanted a what???"
 



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