What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

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Rod Cameron
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Rod Cameron » Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:57 pm

Thanks for your detailed pricing assessment Justin, not that I needed it justifying!

I'm not sure if I need a fish van, but I'm minded to buy one now :)
Rod

Bulwell Hall
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Bulwell Hall » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:34 pm

Philip Hall wrote:I am very relieved to see such realistic responses supporting Justin's case. First up, he really doesn't have to make such a case because his products stack up against any criteria for fidelity, quality and any amount of other things. Next, it was refreshing that Justin had taken the trouble to respond in detail about his costs, whilst also summing up some of the frustrations of the kit manufacturer. He shouldn't have had to bother. I feel the cost of this kit is extremely reasonable for what you get, and did so before all this blew up on here.

Steve (Essdee) called by my demonstration late on Sunday and amongst the topics that came up was this very one of costs. The plain fact (well it's plain to me) is that we have become used in this country to trying to get everything, in every field of life, for as little as possible. I know because I'm as guilty of it as the next man, when I come to look as how much I will have to pay for a new car, or the new central heating boiler, or indeed my new railway workshop in the garden. But I also have to make a living, and sometimes I do wonder whether people really appreciate what value they put on their time. Actually my time, come to that. Just because it's a hobby there can be the perception that it shouldn't cost too much. One of the reasons that Hornby are in a bit of trouble is because many British modellers don't want to pay a realistic price for a superb model. They think it's better to have less detail or cheaper engineering and pay a bit less. Go to Europe and you'll see stuff from the same Chinese factories being sold at 'eye watering' prices compared to what we are used to. I saw this for myself in Norway a few years ago.

Here's a thought. Some years ago I was approached about the possibility of building a rake of seven Southwark Bridge Models LSWR ballast hoppers. They are not cheap, either, but (as with Justin's) you do get what you pay for. I wasn't sure how long each one would take, so I asked Mike Day (who had built one of the first ones), and it was a shade under forty hours. Ivan's kits were (and are) very good but very fiddly. So I went back to my friend and told him that we would be looking at something in excess of 250 hours. I am not going to discuss hourly rates on here, but you can see where this is going. And that was just for building the things, never mind the research and development etc. If you throw in the fact that Justin has built at least two of his kits to make sure it all goes together, that is a realistic cost as well, and the fact that he is happy to throw that in for pleasure is yet another bonus for us. In case you're wondering, I didn't have to build the hoppers in the end, and that wasn't because of the price either.

I think we are all really lucky that there are so many people out there who are willing to throw in so much of their time, often at some cost to themselves, to provide us with not just the essentials, but to push the boundaries and produce things of exceptional quality which are a pleasure to handle and build. Justin and so many others deserve all the support we can give them. They don't deserve all this griping.

Philip


"I should like to associate myself with the comments of the previous speaker"

Well said Philip - I couldn't agree more. It is a hobby - therefore of no significance in the greater scheme of things except of course that it does proved an income for quite a few people - so why should it be cheap? It is a hobby, the items are non-essentials - so why should such high quality products be done down to a price or why should discounts be expected? That people such as Justin are prepared to spend so much of their own time and energy producing such superb products is something we should celebrate and not insult by asking for discounts. Over the years the finescale movement has benefited by many such generous contributers and without them I suggest that the Scalefour Society - and the EMGS and the other scale societies - would not exist as they are and our hobby would be very much the poorer. If you want cheap you could have it - remember Jidenco and Falcon Brass? I know which I would prefer and I would much rather pay the price for a quality, well designed product.

It is much the same with commission building - I could work for the rest of my life building stuff for people who don't want to pay much! I know how much time and effort is involved in building fine scale models and fortunately for me - and Philip and others - there are people who do understand what is involved and are willing and able to pay for it. I'm very sorry but it is a case of 'if you can't afford it you can't have it'.

Sorry if this is a bit of a rant but this subject really does annoy me and maybe I shouldn't have responded until I had calmed down a bit! And other than thinking that he is a 'good bloke' I have no interest in Justins products as they are mostly far too modern for my own GWR interests! But please keep up the good work Justin - it is great to see what you are doing and we need poeple like you in the hobby.

Gerry

Paul Hutfield
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Paul Hutfield » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:39 pm

Having caught up on this thread I personally feel this discussion captures both what our hobby does incredibly well but also what we do badly. Our hobby is full of extremely talented people who are/have been more than happy to make their work available for very little remuneration. It is the efforts of these few who have really made our hobby what it is today. The true value of this is rarely recognised and never truly rewarded in my mind. Just look at what happened to the price of Martin Finney kits once supply dried up. Only then do people start to actually pay what they feel the kit is worth rather than what the original supplier asked to be rewarded for their time and expertise.

On the other foot, our hobby can be very frugal. Almost with the expectation that just because we're used to paying a set price for something then it is unfair should these prices change. This situation appears to exist no matter whether its kits, RTR models or the price of an exhibition entrance. At no point if this is the case is it the fault of the supplier/organiser, there are costs that need to be recouped so either pay the asking price or find an alternative.

With regards to the fish van retail price of £38, I consider this to be extremely reasonable for the work involved to produce said kit/work saved by the builder. As Crepello has already touched upon, If you compare the fish van kit to say a Brassmasters tender kit (for which I consider the volume of etched brass and additional components equivalent, albeit a resin roof as opposed to white metal castings in the former) then actually it could reasonably argued that the cost of the kit is already £10 too low! Those interested best get there orders in before this suggestion convinces Justin to put his prices up! :P

On the subject on savings for bulk purchases, this is very much at the discretion of the supplier. If they feel there is reasonable grounds to offer a discount then I'm sure they will do anything they can to reward customer loyalty. Equally traders can reserve the right to supply to supply you with goods if they so wish! I believe Ultrascale kept a black list of customers, fortunately I can't say I have had first hand experience of this! :P

Keep up the good work Justin! I for one could only dream of achieving my modelling aims without your range of wagon bits! They may remain a pipe dream without additional effort at my end, but they are certainly a lot closer to reality than if I had to resort to learning CAD and creating my own etches!


Best Wishes

Paul

essdee
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby essdee » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:51 pm

Philip - hear,hear. Inevitably, I was recalling our discussion of Sunday as I phrased my earlier response. You have neatly summarised an attitude to pricing that I believe is counter-productive in our cottage-industry culture. Cheapie Chinese imports must shoulder some of the blame, but there seems to be - to have long been - an endemic 'value blindness' within the hobby, whether it applies to a kit of parts, or the labour costs of assembling such kits. This was raised, in MRJ I think, many years back.

Further, it is a key reason behind my recent decision to withdraw from 'professional' modelmaking once I have completed outstanding projects, after 16 years 'in the game', the last seven of them full-time, both as part of a team and operating solo. I am simply no longer prepared, at 61, to spend the hours, giving my time for peanuts - especially when all too often (sadly) there has been - at best - grudging acknowledgment of the time & labour invested in what is vary rarely a simple matter of 'assembly of parts'. (Having said that latter, I would thrice raise my hat to Chris Gibbon and his superlative creations - top of the pile in my book. Every real modeller should build one at least.....and now I will have time to return to my own Black Hawthorn kit, being used as the basis for an SDJR 'Dazzler'. Can't ruddy well wait, I can tell you.) I am now seeing exactly the same attitude, with regard to this etched fish van kit; it leaves a nasty taste - and I have had enough.

Anyway, my departure from the scene will cause nary a ripple; but if Justin decided to depart, waving a vigorous 'Harvey Smith' over his shoulder, now that would be a serious loss for the devotees of the BR era. So, forget the whingeing - go out and BUY, while they are available.

Jim - absolutely agree; discounts are for the box-shifters. Just to be clear on another matter, though; even if the original poster had 'named the culprit', I personally would not have been one of those apparently to respond with a simple 'yes it is worth it'. I would have posted just as I have done earlier, for the very concerns enunciated by Philip - with which I agree strongly.

While we are back to the original post; this refers to laughing, non-customer modellers experienced in costs of commissioning etches etc, who can, apparently, approximately halve the retail price of a vehicle such as Justin's fish van. Since Justin has already spent some time on here, explaining his own development costs (I echo the earlier statements that he should not have had to...), I guess it's over now to the original poster, who has the opportunity to expound in more detail how these savings may be achieved, for all our benefit? That was the point of the original post, presumably?

If commercial confidentiality is a stumbling block, fair enough, but some timely advice on advantageous etcher prices, for instance, via a PM if necessary? Hmmm?

Best wishes

Steve

Paul Hutfield
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Paul Hutfield » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:06 pm

Where are those 'Like' and 'Dislike' buttons!! They could've come in very useful throughout this thread! ;)

Pleased to see so much support aimed at the humble servants who support our hobby!

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45609
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby 45609 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:47 pm

essdee wrote:I guess it's over now to the original poster, who has the opportunity to expound in more detail how these savings may be achieved, for all our benefit? That was the point of the original post, presumably?


I wouldn't put money on that Steve. Seems more like a case of sour grapes to me. In complete agreement with the majority view expressed. £38 each is an entirely fair price whatever the quantity. Keep on trucking Justin. Looking forward to more new kits.

Morgan.

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Tim V
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Tim V » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:31 pm

Model railways is a cheap hobby. Take Golf - have you seen the member's annual fees?

I am also rather fed up with products being built to a price - not a quality. Somehow the ghost of Studiolith is recalled - by keeping production under a tight reign, quality could be assured.

I think the comment on Finney kits is extremely apt - I think there are other kits out there that go for prices vastly in excess of there original selling prices - and that isn't just because of inflation.

The best way to sell these products is very short periods of availability, so the customer who doesn't want to buy it today, wait a year - the price will have gone up.
Tim V

Crepello
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Crepello » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:11 pm

Anyone who laughed at the price, and now has second thoughts, will need patience. Justin's fish vans have ... erm... sold out. :)

essdee
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby essdee » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:35 pm

:twisted:

mickeym
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby mickeym » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:36 pm

Paul Hutfield wrote:Where are those 'Like' and 'Dislike' buttons!! They could've come in very useful throughout this thread! ;)

Pleased to see so much support aimed at the humble servants who support our hobby!



Indeed where are those buttons?
There seems to be a lot of mumping about the cost of model railway stuff of late, but I think that things tend to cost what they cost for a reason, (food on the table etc), no one in small train land is trying to rip anyone off, (if the cost is a lot to you then have a few less pints etc).
Don't look at the cost, look at the value says I :)

martin goodall
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby martin goodall » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:45 am

A couple of points:

First a kit is worth what you are prepared to pay for it. It's your choice.

Secondly, many people in our hobby seem to be cheapskates, and don't appreciate that quality has to be paid for. It is this factor which largely explains some of the poorer quality products on offer, because the punters aren't prepared to pay a proper price for a better quality product.

Following on from this, we are now seeing more realistic prices for RTR models and kits, which in real terms are still cheaper than, say, 30 years ago. Yet there are moans and groans at paying a proper price for such items.

Finally, I have always firmly believed that anyone who produces models, kits or components for sale in the hobby is entitled to make a decent profit out of it. (In actual fact, profit margins for the smaller manufacturers are all too often pitifully small.) If these people don't make some sort of profit, they won't go on producing the kits and bits we all want. So it behoves all of us to stop whingeing about prices, and to put our hand in our pocket and pay up.

(The same incidentally applies to books. In our hobby, these have been amazingly cheap for many years. But they will only be written and published if people are prepared to buy them in sufficient quantity at the stated cover price. Nobody is going to make their fortune out of writing and publishing specialist hobby books. They will only do it at all if people are prepared to pay a realistic price.)

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Horsetan
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Horsetan » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:53 pm

ClikC wrote:Well said Justin.

jjnewitt wrote:I haven't even mentioned the time taken to draw up the artwork.


To put some perspective on this. My Lecturer in Engineering Design and CAD, charges £50 per hour for freelance CAD work, although he informed me that depending on the length and scope of the project, that price may be negotiated down to somewhere in the region of £300 per day.

Factor that into the cost of an Etched wagon kit, the return on time invested, and I think £100 per wagon would be the norm.


This is what is already being charged for a good many Continental HO etched brass kits (if you can get them). A Weinert locomotive kit (whitemetal, etched brass and cast brass detailing) for something like a DB Br.01 Pacific generally retails for about £700 to £800. Have a think about that. Europe has long paid real-world prices for its model railways, whilst we still retain a mindset born of getting something for nothing that would make Fagin embarrassed.

Paul Hutfield wrote:.... Equally traders can reserve the right to supply to supply you with goods if they so wish! I believe Ultrascale kept a black list of customers....


In the bad old days, Peter Elsee notoriously wouldn't supply to anyone who wasn't a member of Protofour. And woe betide you if you were associated with the, er, Scalefour Society. :mrgreen:

Alan Gibson refused to sell to only one person. He must have been really special!
That would be an ecumenical matter.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Guy Rixon » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:43 pm

I agree wholeheartedly that vendors of decent kits should charge a proper price and that we should not expect high quality at a discount. I'd be delighted to pay £40 for an etched wagon kit where everything was fit for purpose and I didn't have to replace half the parts. However, I wouldn't be able to buy many of those at once...

...which leads my to my main worry concerning high-end kits. If they are sold only as "limited editions", then a lot of potential purchasers won't be able to buy a train's worth. I might pay £50 to get one wagon I particularly want, or £100 for a coach I specifically need, but I can't buy multiples of these in the same month, or even quarter-year, to fit in with a single production-run. It seems to me that there is sales potential in re-issuing kits at intervals.

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jon price
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby jon price » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:34 pm

Fascinating. I was away at Scalefour North on Saturday, then visiting (more) aged relative till today so missed this little debate. If you want cheap, buy Hornby (but then buy all the replacement bits as well so not so cheap). If you want to buy a kit, then you pay what the kit maker asks. They did the work, so they can set the price. If you want particular, or materials-cheap then make it yourself. I've done all three, and there are reasons for each. As I model pre WW1 there isn't a lot in the first two categories if you want to be operationally accurate rather than having a rag bag of mismatched bits, but I don't expect anyone would produce the wagons I need, and if they did they would cost a lot more than I could afford for an operational layout. I think this is a non argument. I wanted to model a three carriage GWR set running into Birkenhead in 1910. Two concertina composites and a clerestory brake. The brake could be Hornby and so not very accurate. Or I could have bought (no longer available) Bettabits sides to make it more accurate. The concertinas are currently available from David Geen at £90. If you actually look at the bits you need to model these ridiculous vehicles this is extremely cheap. Or you could make them yourself. Probable take up a very long time. But whatever you do you (and I) don't have a divine or constitutional right to have these models.

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Tor Giffard
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Tor Giffard » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:51 pm

Guy Rixon wrote:I agree wholeheartedly that vendors of decent kits should charge a proper price and that we should not expect high quality at a discount. I'd be delighted to pay £40 for an etched wagon kit where everything was fit for purpose and I didn't have to replace half the parts. However, I wouldn't be able to buy many of those at once...

...which leads my to my main worry concerning high-end kits. If they are sold only as "limited editions", then a lot of potential purchasers won't be able to buy a train's worth. I might pay £50 to get one wagon I particularly want, or £100 for a coach I specifically need, but I can't buy multiples of these in the same month, or even quarter-year, to fit in with a single production-run. It seems to me that there is sales potential in re-issuing kits at intervals.


....taking the fish van as an example Guy I note that the description/image on the Rumney site only shows/mentions the etched brasswork and the resin roof (wheels are shown in the picture). I don't see drawhooks, couplings, buffers, axleboxes, leaf springs/J hangers (are wheels/bearings included in the price?) brakegear (vac cyl, vac pipes if applicable etc) or transfers/decals. I note your comment above re replacing half the parts but if the components etc listed here aren't included then you're going to have to provide them in the first instance and this will clearly add significantly to the cost of the wagon.

Dave
Last edited by Tor Giffard on Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:55 am, edited 7 times in total.

mickeym
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby mickeym » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:01 pm

This thread made me buy* a couple more Lionheart 7mm wagons! They must be the bargain of the century.

*I'm not a proper modeller, never claim to be either ;)

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jim s-w
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby jim s-w » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:36 am

It's all somewhat irrelevant now Dave. remember saying this?

Tor Giffard wrote:No reply necessary Jim....the model speaks very loudly for itself...the ends justify the means.

Of course you're free to launch your own brand of RTR models...we'll be watching with interest as to how you go about it.

Dave


The price is what is it, you don't have to buy and perhaps more importantly Justin doesn't have to sell to you either.

Can't you just for once in your life accept you are wrong?

Jim

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Tor Giffard
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Tor Giffard » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:53 am

....once I've established the price to complete one of these models, I'll move on....but not before.

Dave

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jjnewitt
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby jjnewitt » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:30 am

Tor Giffard wrote:....once I've established the price to complete one of these models, I'll move on....but not before.


The price to complete one of these things is a red herring. I gave you a breakdown of costs for the kit and I'm still waiting for a response to my question as to what I should actually sell it at?

I'd like to make it clear that at no point has Dave Millward approached me personally for an answer to the questions that seem to be vexing him so much. Generally if a person has a question about a product and have the opportunity then they ask the manufacturer directly. Dave's had plenty of opportunity either via email or indeed in person on Saturday at Scalefour North and hasn't done so which just about says it all doesn't it.

I'd like to take the oppertunity to thank eveyone for their recent messages of personal support and their support of Rumney Models. It means a lot.

Justin

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Horsetan
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Horsetan » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:48 am

jim s-w wrote:It's all somewhat irrelevant now Dave. remember saying this?

Tor Giffard wrote:No reply necessary Jim....the model speaks very loudly for itself...the ends justify the means.

Of course you're free to launch your own brand of RTR models...we'll be watching with interest as to how you go about it.


The price is what is it, you don't have to buy and perhaps more importantly Justin doesn't have to sell to you either.

Can't you just for once in your life accept you are wrong?


Hell will probably freeze over first.

But, y'know, this whole throwing your weight about isn't new. It kind of explains how he is.
That would be an ecumenical matter.

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iak
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby iak » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:58 am

I despair, I really do?
This topic has all the appeal of a wet suit laced with itching powder.
If its tae much to pay then fine, that is your choice.
However, please stop beating everybody over the head with it :?

Bored bored bored bored bored bored now.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it....

Perfection is impossible.
But I may choose to serve perfection....
Robert Fripp


https://www.facebook.com/groups/PadgateWorks/

Tim Horn
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Tim Horn » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:16 am

Dave,

I can't type much without swearing, what is the point you are trying to make please?

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Craig Warton
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Craig Warton » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:51 am

Tor Giffard wrote:....once I've established the price to complete one of these models, I'll move on....but not before.

Dave


So you want to know the price to complete a kit that you have no intention of buying?

I am sure I am not alone in having difficulties following your logic.

The bottom line is that if you do not like the price or the model then do not buy it.

Craig W

Crepello
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Crepello » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:59 am

I used to be mightily impressed by the Tavy Viaduct, but I'm afraid it now just reminds me of Trolls.

Paul Hutfield
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Re: What is a reasonable price for a 2 axle etched wagon kit?

Postby Paul Hutfield » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:07 am

Tor Giffard wrote:....once I've established the price to complete one of these models, I'll move on....but not before. To

Dave


Ignoring the bloodymindedness that's being expressed in this thread, the market price of a kit (or any other commodity) is the price at which the market demands. The kit in question sold out within 30hrs of being made available to the public with a waiting order already filling up which will help dictate the size of the next order. I'd say that this is hard evidence that the price of the kit is acceptable to the majority and that Justin could raise the price without much affect on sales! It is clear that Justin is not trying to make a huge profit! The price has been set with a lot of careful thought so that it covers the cost of production whilst remaining as affordable as possible to the customer base. Ultimately there is a little bit of profit in there to cover Justin's costs as he's gone to great lengths to explain, with no acknowledgement from the opening poster! I for one would want to have to depend on the profit to cover even a small mortgage!!

With the reasonable price of a kit established, please don't move on quite yet! I'd very much like to see a response to confirm you understand how business and pricing strategy works!?

If however you have now changed the perameters to establishing the price to "complete" one of these models, then £20 and your own personal time should be sufficient to purchase wheels, buffers, axleboxes, couplings, vac cylinder, solder, flux and lead weighting, assuming you have the tools and skills required to assemble an etched kit. Alternatively you could consider paying a professional builder £400-500 to assemble one for you!? I suggest not asking for a discount as you may find the waiting list before your order is processed, disproportionately long!

As I insinuated before, we need to support our small traders, otherwise the products simply won't exist.............and then we have to resort to paying inflated prices on EBay for what little becomes available on a much more adhoc basis!!

Paul

Edited to include quote and then correct grammar


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