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I got my start in this hobby as a youngster. For my seventh birthday, my father and now stepmother purchased a bunch of model kits for me. When I got started in the early eighties yes I realize that things we're very different then what they are today. Everywhere I look, I see and hear that our hobby is dying. Yet we continue to allow these manufacturers to charge exorbitant prices for model kits and everything else. I routinely see model kits on eBay that are well over $100 that shouldn't be over $50. I wonder if there's even a solution anymore. If this trend continues our hobby will most certainly die. Its incumbent upon us to do something about it. 

 

I will be posting this on other forums as well. Jim

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Prices reflect what the market will bear.  If they couldn't sell the kits for what they are asking then the price would fall.  Supply and demand.  Because you won't pay that price doesn't mean everyone else won't.  

 

Geoff M

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What exactly do you hope to accomplish? What makes you think the hobby is dying? There are more manufacturers offering more products than ever before. So many specialty tools, different lines of paint, supplies and accessories.  I would argue the hobby is stronger than ever.  

 

Yes I miss local hobby stores, and it was fun to have model kits in every store. But times are different, and there is a lot more out there than even 15 years ago.

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7 minutes ago, Kurt H. said:

What exactly do you hope to accomplish? What makes you think the hobby is dying? There are more manufacturers offering more products than ever before. So many specialty tools, different lines of paint, supplies and accessories.  I would argue the hobby is stronger than ever.  

 

Yes I miss local hobby stores, and it was fun to have model kits in every store. But times are different, and there is a lot more out there than even 15 years ago.

I'm not trying accomplish anything just venting about the exhboritant prices of kits. 

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1 hour ago, jimz66 said:

I got my start in this hobby as a youngster. For my seventh birthday, my father and now stepmother purchased a bunch of model kits for me. When I got started in the early eighties yes I realize that things we're very different then what they are today. Everywhere I look, I see and hear that our hobby is dying. Yet we continue to allow these manufacturers to charge exorbitant prices for model kits and everything else. I routinely see model kits on eBay that are well over $100 that shouldn't be over $50. I wonder if there's even a solution anymore. If this trend continues our hobby will most certainly die. Its incumbent upon us to do something about it. 

 

I will be posting this on other forums as well. Jim

 

What do you mean "We allow these manufacturers to charge exorbitant prices"? We don't "allow" them to do anything. They charge a price for their products that allows them to make a profit to remain in business.

 

"It's incumbent for us to do something about it"

 

Here is where you can start. Create a model company and invest thousands of dollars to get it off the ground. Hire a staff to design the kits, create the tooling, packaging, decals, instructions and so on. Make sure you either rent or purchase a building sufficient in size to do this. Don't forget about advertising, distribution, staff wages, utilities to keep the building operating and the list goes on.

 

When all of this is done and you retail your first kit for less than $50, come back and let us all know how you're doing.

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Jim, it all comes down to how much you can afford for your hobby.

 

For example, at this stage of my life I can't afford to pay $100plus for a kit, let's say like the 1/32 Mirage 2000, which by the way, it is a kit of high quality. I also don't feel any guilts for not being able to buy it right now because, it is not more important than other things, like paying my bills.

 

Each company, like Dave said, makes an investment. An investment that even though it requires a lot of time to be produced with todays market rules it should be out in the market sooner than their competition, in order to secure some sales and therefore generate a profit.

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1 hour ago, jimz66 said:

just venting about the exhboritant prices of kits. 

 

2 hours ago, jimz66 said:

I routinely see model kits on eBay that are well over $100 that shouldn't be over $50. I wonder if there's even a solution anymore.

 

Venting about how people behave on ebay is not going to have any documentable impact on innate human nature.

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Here's another way to look at it.  When we were younger, a $50 kit wasn't something we could NOT afford with our weekly allowance/ paper route money/ grass-cutting profits.   Now that we're older, a $50 kit now more easily attainable.  (Don't get me wrong, $50 is still $50 and ain't exactly pocket change.)   Instead of saving up to buy $50 kits, we're saving up a paper route/ weekly allowance/ grass-cutting profits to buy more expensive kits that we can't buy right away.   If we try to put ourselves into the mindset of "your inner child getting a reward" instead of "I gotta work how many hours for this?", MAYBE our wallets won't scream as loud and our inner child will scream in glee when we attain the kit we couldn't normally just buy?

 

(At least that's what I'm always trying to convince myself when I see the prices of new kits and the voice of my inner child is saying "Oooooooh.  I want it. I want it!)

 

Edited by John B
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The bigger the scale the bigger the costs involved. Probably why from early on i chose to build 1:72 scale models. There are kits in all priceranges, something just right for all the Joes out there. More than kit prices, i am much more attuned to the currency convertion rates which in the long run helps me decide whether to buy or not. I don`t really buy anything retail anymore. I most often find these prices too high for my liking even though i could afford it. Ebay is a chapter of its own, don`t put too much emphasis on what sellers ask there. With all the seller fees there, i don`t really blame them for having to set a high pricepoint. 

 

Enjoy your weekend !

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The simple fact kit manufacturers are charging more is because more effort is going into creating them. Look at how much detail and clever engineering is going into them now compared to 30 plus years ago. And the fact manufacturers are willing to put that much effort in is because they want to stand out in a competitive market. So the fact such a market exists is evidence the hobby isn't dying. If anything its growing. We had no where near this much choice when we were kids. Also eBay is no indicator of this at all, when its actually more of a reflection on the seller. Just last week I had a look on eBay for a Hasegawa f-22 and couldn't find one for less than $120Au. I then went to the Hobbylink Japan website and ordered one for less than $90Au with postage. Also look at the average weekly income compared to back then. Heck the cost of living where I live has quadrupled since then! Im sorry but the whole notion of the hobby dying is pure myth.

Edited by joeltc
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Ebay is not a representative market for assessing what models are being sold for. Despite how it's changed over the years it is still fundamentally an auction site where the interest of the buyers sets the value of a product, not the manufacturer. If you don't like Ebay prices, shop elsewhere.

 

There are scores of reputable online retailers all over the world that sell kits at or below the manufacturers' recommended retail prices. Give them your business rather than relying on Ebay.

 

Dave Roof is correct. The level of investment required to produce a kit is immense and manufacturers have to take the risk that what they release will actually sell in large enough quantities to cover their investment, let alone make any profit. Understand how the industry operates before trying to critique it.

 

As a buyer you have the ultimate power. If you think a kit is too expensive, don't buy it. Chances are you'll find it cheaper elsewhere - or something similar from a different manufacturer at a much better price.

 

In the 21st Century we have seen more manufacturers, producing more kits, of higher quality, of a broader range of subjects, in more scales across the full spectrum of plastic modelling genres than ever before in the hobby. That's because there is a big enough market to support most of those manufacturers (some will always fail for different reasons). The hobby is not 'dying' anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

 



 

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18 hours ago, habu2 said:

It’s not just kits. Compare oh, say, new car prices now and when you were a kid. 

Amen! The price of paint alone is soon to catch up with printer ink! I spoke with a friend who happens to be in upper mid level management for one of the largest paint manufacturers in the world a couple years ago about the cost of paint these days. Showed him three or four bottles of paint I was using (still do use these brands). Mike said that for strait colors (say red, yellow, and black) there was less than ten cents worth of paint in the container, and there was probably more in the fancy bottles than the paint itself. Another issue is that we demand odd ball colors that have to be near perfect in color. That seriously adds to the costs. Remember your not mixing a hundred thousand gallons of the stuff, but maybe a hundred gallons at a time. Seriously increasing the cost per unit of sales. He spoke of mixing the red used in a certain sports car out of Italy. The mixture was copyrighted so so have to pay them a fee, and when it's all said and done, it sells for almost $300 a quart to the wholesaler. Sometimes we get what we ask for! 

     To get access to a certain airframe can often cost you money that you have to tack onto the retail price in the end. Then there's the cost of doing the measuring. Anybody here ever price a new Hewllet Packard Metrology Laser? Thirty years ago, you couldn't touch one for less than $85K, but you also got what you paid for. Yet that type of laser was perfect for what we think of. The best way would have been on a CMM machine, but there's only one in this country big enough to do a WWII single engine fighter. (also the most accurate) We tend to want more and more out of each new kit, and some folks have deeper pockets than others do.

      Never made a car part in my life, but have been inside all the big players buildings at one time or another. The cost is not so much in manufacturing, but in development. The Fed wants two more MPG per unit, and that's not a freebee. Thirty years ago it was a million dollars per gallon and yet still meet the Federal Emissions stats. Much closer to $15 million today. Some cars are actually under priced to meet the Federal CAFE mandate. While others are over priced to make up the difference. Electric cars and trucks are the future, yet the technology is really on located in two places if you want state of the art. They don't give it away.  I love to hear the guy crying about this guy being over paid and so on. Wages don't mean squat in the big picture, but it's what you did in that hour. Some are productive wages and some are a burden added to the overall cost involved. (think skilled groups, engineers, and even a clerk) Twenty five years ago, the going rate was $125 and hour plus airfare and the hotel for a guy servicing your CNC machine. He was paid eight hours no matter if he was done in an hour. Plus you paid him till he got back home. Really adds to the cost involved, and is why the big players have lots of electricians and machine repairmen at a small fraction of the cost to bring somebody in. Yet they don't produce a product. I did a study years ago on a guy that ran four gear cutting machines for a well known product line. The guy was a grump, but he also was a very hard worker. Even ran his machines right thru lunch while he sat there. Fast forward to ten or fifteen years later. He's retired, and the gears are now cut in a cell concept. The operator now cuts the gear blanks and runs three or four gear hobs plus other pieces of equipment. She cuts three gears every 180 second on four machines. The gears are really nice, but really no better than the old ones. Cost wise we had roughly one tenth cost per gear than before. Each machine in there was over a million dollars (probably closer to 1.5 million). Gears per hour was way up there compared to 1975. Yet the price was thru the roof. The operator made roughly double what the old guy did, but turned out fifteen  times the gears. If you do the match you see where I'm going. Taxes alone are well over double from what they were. The price of steel is higher, but they found that by using a certain high end brand the parts were way better and the tooling lasted three to four times longer. So you pay 50% more for the steel and save a ton of money in the end. I could go in much deeper, but I'm still bound by signing a letter regarding trade secrets. You simply want higher quality with more mpg and it's not free.

gary

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Forcing manufacters to charge less will probably not help our hobby from dying. We want them to produce more. Some things are really expensive, but that can be mitigated by shopping around. I get kits at affordable prices when Spruebrothers has a sale, and once or twice a year I make a large order from Lucky Model which has great prices. Ebay is not an easy way to get good prices, it takes a lot of waiting and watching to get a good deal. 

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Cars are a bad example.  The lowest-priced Toyota of today would be considered almost a luxury car in the 70s and 80s.  So many amenities; not a squafe inch of sheet metal seen in the interior; options not even known thirty years ago; EPA-driven engine development that gives drivers 50% more power from the same displacement; at least one computer in every car, often more than that; and so on.  Pick something simpler to compare, like a loaf of Wonder bread.

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After all the blah blah blah you read here the prices you pay either in the shop or ebay (which ill come to later) are a result mostly of the costs in your country.

 

A model manufacturer sells for a base cost. That cost climbs depending on where its going to be sold.

 

Most people would be surprised to learn just how much of the £60.00 AMK gets for its F-14D kit, which is what I can get that model for here in the UK. And its nowhere near £60.00.

I know a retailer in the UK that charges about £20 for the Hasegawa Weapons set D. I know I can get it for £10 from a retailer in another country. I also know Hasegawa sell them for buttons.

If you ask the retailer you will get one of two stories. Either "I cant even buy it for that" or "If I sold it at that price I might as well not sell it at all because I will make so little money"

Every link in the overly bloated supply chain wants some money out of it, by the time it gets to you its really rather expensive. But thats not the fault of the manufacturer, because they only ever get the base price.

 

Then there are the scalpers on ebay.

Ive been there on both sides of ebay prices, and all I can say about that is caveat emptor in every sense of the term. Not only regarding its condition but also that the price you pay not not reflect its cost or value.

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2 hours ago, Slartibartfast said:

Cars are a bad example.  The lowest-priced Toyota of today would be considered almost a luxury car in the 70s and 80s.  So many amenities; not a squafe inch of sheet metal seen in the interior; options not even known thirty years ago; EPA-driven engine development that gives drivers 50% more power from the same displacement; at least one computer in every car, often more than that; and so on.  Pick something simpler to compare, like a loaf of Wonder bread.

 
I see your point but it only proves what others have said. Compare the 1979 Revell 1/32 F-16 to the 2005 Tamiya 1/32 F-16. 

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On 1/29/2021 at 8:07 PM, habu2 said:

It’s not just kits. Compare oh, say, new car prices now and when you were a kid. 

Meaningless comparison.

 

Cars now are loaded with electronic systems which did not exist when I was a kid & have a number of mechanical and electrical systems not included in consumer vehicles when I was a kid.

For instance, the 2017 minivan my parents gave me has 3 powered doors, also with radio frequency remote control, its own hard disk drive to which music and images can be uploaded, and an inverter which makes house current provided to outlets in the side sliding door posts.

 

And as for electronics, from a decade ago, increase it a bit for today, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/technology/05electronics.html

 

And then, as well as the cost of all those processors, there is the cost of installing them, their associated sensors, the communications bus wiring tying it all together, et cetera et, cetera,

 

Quote

 

“It would be easy to say the modern car is a computer on wheels, but it’s more like 30 or more computers on wheels,” said Bruce Emaus, the chairman of SAE International’s embedded software standards committee.

Even basic vehicles have at least 30 of these microprocessor-controlled devices, known as electronic control units, and some luxury cars have as many as 100.

These electronic brains control dozens of functions, including brake and cruise control and entertainment systems. Software in each unit is also made to work with others. So, for example, when a driver pushes a button on a key fob to unlock the doors, a module in the trunk might rouse separate computers to unlock all four doors.

The evolution of automotive control electronics has been rapid. IEEE Spectrum, an American technical publication, reported that electronics, as a percentage of vehicle costs, climbed to 15 percent in 2005 from 5 percent in the late 1970s and would be higher today.

The 1977 Oldsmobile Toronado had a very simple computer unit that was used for spark-plug timing, and the next year the Cadillac Seville offered an optional trip computer that used a Motorola chip.

 

 

Electronics Account for 40 Percent of the Cost of a New Car

No technology has so consistently and dramatically rebooted the car as the computer chip.

By Eric Tingwall

May 2, 2020

 

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a32034437/computer-chips-in-cars/

 

Quote

The microprocessors and chips that power modern vehicles are now so prevalent that they're practically a commodity in the same vein as steel and aluminum. Computers are used in everything from the mundane (such as basic trip computers) to the near magical (think road-scanning active suspensions). They've made cars quicker, safer, cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable—better in every way. And while individual chips may be cheap these days, the computer's significance is evident in just how many there are in a single car. Electronics are responsible for 40 percent of a new car's total cost, according to a Deloitte analysis. That's up from 18 percent in 2000.

 

Edited by southwestforests
fixing tyopos, my hands are stiff and hurting tonihgt
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Just out of curiosity, I pulled the February 1981 issue of Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine off the shelf, and took a look at the Hannants ad...

....as a direct comparison of 'then & now' prices, the 1/48 Airfix Spitfire V was listed for the princely sum of £1.80, or $4.26 using the exchange rate of the day:

414053-12155-74-pristine.jpg

Today's equivalent - a 2020 rebox of the kit released in 2014 - is listed on the Hannants website at £22.99, or $30.15 at the current GBP to USD rate:

1260843-12741-55-720.jpg

Here in the UK, that makes the current version's price 1,275% higher than the old one - whereas at current exchange rates, in USD it's less so, at a 710% increase. The benefits of a stronger Dollar - by sheer coincidence, at the 1981 rates the USD price would also be almost exactly 1,275% higher!

 

As for eBay prices, they can't ever be judged to be representative of actual prices, only of what people are willing to pay - I've personally had items sell for what I considered crazy money. On one occasion some years ago, someone bid a couple of quid more for a decal sheet than they could have paid for it new from Hannants - and more recently, somebody paid more than 70 Pounds for an OOP 1/72 decal sheet! And they got to those prices because, of course, other people were willing to pay similar...

 

On 1/29/2021 at 5:40 PM, jimz66 said:

I got my start in this hobby as a youngster. For my seventh birthday, my father and now stepmother purchased a bunch of model kits for me.

One of my uncles bought me an Airfix EE Lightning for my sixth birthday - not sure if my mother ever forgave him! 🤣

Edited by andyf117
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2 hours ago, andyf117 said:

Just out of curiosity, I pulled the February 1981 issue of Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine off the shelf, and took a look at the Hannants ad...

....as a direct comparison of 'then & now' prices, the 1/48 Airfix Spitfire V was listed for the princely sum of £1.80, or $4.26 using the exchange rate of the day:

 

Today's equivalent - a 2020 rebox of the kit released in 2014 - is listed on the Hannants website at £22.99, or $30.15 at the current GBP to USD rate:

 

Here in the UK, that makes the current version's price 1,275% higher than the old one - whereas at current exchange rates, in USD it's less so, at a 710% increase. The benefits of a stronger Dollar - by sheer coincidence, at the 1981 rates the USD price would also be almost exactly 1,275% higher!

 

As a point of comparison and to put this in context...

 

In 1981, the average weekly wage in the UK was £115, so the Spitfire would have cost roughly 1.5% of the average weekly wage.

in 2019, the average was £585, so the Spitfire would cost roughly 4% of the average weekly wage.

 

On that basis, the 'cost' has gone up by about 2.5% overall as a proportion of the average weekly wage in 40 years.

Edited by John Tapsell
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All of which is to say what I said earlier. As prices have risen, wages have not kept up. This is not a problem of our hobby, its a problem of everything. Vehicles, houses, food, fuel, its all more expensive when put into the context of what we can afford vs average earnings. 

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On 1/29/2021 at 2:20 PM, Dave Roof said:

Here is where you can start. Create a model company and invest thousands of dollars to get it off the ground. Hire a staff to design the kits, create the tooling, packaging, decals, instructions and so on. Make sure you either rent or purchase a building sufficient in size to do this. Don't forget about advertising, distribution, staff wages, utilities to keep the building operating and the list goes on.

 

When all of this is done and you retail your first kit for less than $50, come back and let us all know how you're doing.

 

And then, some called "expert" on a forum picks apart the kit and claims its unbuildable...

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