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What do we mean by "too expensive"?


Dakimbrell
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When I began building models, they ran from 50cents to 99cents. Today I regularly buy kits that go for $50 or more. I remember in the mid-80s when Tamiya was releasing kits that were pricing at around $35 and thinking they are pricing themselves out of business.

My point is, "too expensive" is a relative term and means different things to different people. One guy I knew was continually complaining about contest winners always having the "expensive" kits and that it wasn't fair. Yet, I saw him repeatedly spend $50 or more at flea markets buying bunches of crappy old kits like Frog. But buy a good Tamiya kit, no way they were too expensive.

Today, for me, $100 is about where I start calling things really expensive. And the prices WNW kits are going for on eBay are definitely "too expensive". So what is your limit?

Dak

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Personally, I have no "limit" except to determine what it is for my own purposes. I've built many very expensive resin kits over the last 20yrs. I've gotten bargains on many of them. However, I've also paid $200+ for some, which most people would balk at! There's a couple of "holy grail" kits I'm seeking that I'd pay more than that for.....BUT it's simply because I'd really like to build them and have them on the shelf. I'm sure others would shrug their shoulders and point out they could buy 10 model for the same price, and have 10 times the fun. To each their own!

As to "retail" prices....as you pointed out, everything is relative. The model prices of our childhood were cheaper, but then so was EVERYTHING else. Wages were also much lower back then, so the actual value to earnings then and now aren't as big as most people think they are.

That said, the target public for building models has shifted from kids and teens to adults. The kits are MUCH more sophisticated, detailed, and complex compared to the much simpler (and much less accurate) kits of our childhood. Thus, they cost more to produce and are priced accordingly. BUT, the buyer is now an adult with more money to spend than kids using their allowance money. The fact that since the 80's, and the first expensive Hasagawa F-4s (those high priced $20 Phantoms!), the prices have gone up AND the modelers have griped and kept on paying those higher prices! So, I think the true "price point" for our hobby is simply what WE are willing to pay.....and experience shows we ARE willing to pay more, so we will!

 

Gil :smiley16:

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I agree we definitely get more for our money these days. Do a side by side comparison with any of the kits from the 1950s or 1960s and you will see that. Except for a few sentimental kits, I don't have anything which is earlier than 1990. Most are less than 20 years old. I too shop around to find the best deal.

 

Dak

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You are spot on with the relative comment.  When it comes to modeling it is "the price someone else is willing to pay but you are not and it makes you grumpy!"😜 I have often heard people say, " I paid way to much for that kit", but never " I bought a kit that is way to expensive".  Frankly, buy many peoples standards, I have kits that are very pricy.  I am lucky in that I got a fair number from Tamiya for shall we say "services rendered". 

One other comment on relativity.  The current list price for an entry level Porsche 911 is about $100,000.  In 1974 I bought one for $12,000.  Back then it was about 5 times the cost of a nice house.  Today, that is about 5 time the cost of a nice house(depending on where you live of course)  so relative prices haven't changed that much.  By the way in the small town I grew up in in the 50's and 60's you could get a cup of coffee for 3 cents in a ceramic mug with free refills if you bought a piece of pie to go with it.😜  How much is a Starbucks and a pastry now days.

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LOL...try building resin figures. Used to be under $100 for a 1/6 scale figure. Now they have increased sizes all the way up to 1/4 or 1/3 scale and prices up to $800 each. And Kaiju kits (Godzilla) can go well over $1000- which I do not own but....never say never. In the end, its up to the individual. I know for me, if Tamiya ever came out with a 1/32 scale A-10, cost be damned, I am getting it

dave

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Was giving this a little more thought.  I suspect this concept of "It's to expensive" came from our parents.  When we were little kids, we would ask them if they would buy us something and often as not they didn't refuse us they just said "It's to expensive" and moved on.  They weren't saying is wasn't worth the asking price or they didn't have that much money.  They were saying that they had other things that were more important to spend their limited dollars on.  We all make these decisions but won't say I can't afford it.  Saying it is too expensive is less embarrassing than saying if I buy that, I may not get home because I need to buy gas.

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My neighbor has a big, very expensive bass boat that takes up two of the three bays of his garage. He gets it out maybe a dozen times a year. I have a similar garage with shelves full of models. Based on a simple count, they are worth about the same as his boat. I need more room.

Dak

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As folks have stated already, cost is a matter of personal perception.  We had a member of IPMS/Flight 19 many years ago who would not, under any circumstances, purchase a kit if it retailed for over $20.  It didn't matter if it was a kit of his favorite subject, $20 was his line in the sand, and that would usually include the paint he needed for the project, too.  Meanwhile, another member would routinely spend at least $100 on any model he built--by the time you totaled up the cost of the kit (and the kits be built were usually at that same $20 point), the aftermarket (and remember, this was the late 1980's--aftermarket was a small sliver of what it is today), the books, the paint, etc., etc., it was close to a C-Note.  

And the truth was that both modelers would routinely turn out gorgeous models.  The guy who limited himself to $20 would cobble up all sorts of detail from scrap he had lying around the house--and not necessarily plastic scrap.  Paper, wood, wire, thread, you name it, he used it--it was all fair game.  And the guy who pulled out all the stops was as adept at incorporating all the  disparate parts into one gorgeous model.  And they both enjoyed themselves while doing it. 

To each their own.  As I'm fond of saying during my Model Building 101 seminars, the joy of this hobby is that there is no one "right" way to pursue it.

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If it something I really want, I will probably find a way to buy it, even if I have to rent the grandkids out to pick melons in Mexico. There are some kits I think are over priced....Like Dragon, currently. That doesn't mean they are bad kits, just over priced for the market.

I am reluctant to buy any cottage industry resin because about as soon as I buy it, someone releases It in plastic.

Dak

 

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Hah!  Preposterous.  Nothing is too expensive...

As long as my wife doesn't find out.

Actually, I like the way Pete frames his answer around relativity.  Between a large stash, lots of reference material and aftermarket "stuff", I'm sure I've spent "too much".  But my hobbies before modeling were drag racing, muscle cars (primarily 67-68 Camaros) and building (and rebuilding) race engines, transmissions and rear ends...and all the associated tools and space.  When kids started to come along (4), I had to change hobbies.

So the expense of modeling in (mostly) 1/35th scale, relative to my former hobby, really seems like a drop in the bucket to me.

Plus, the time I spend modeling, takes away from my time to spend on other expensive hobbies.  Like golf...or gambling.

Hmmm.  Where's that next Nationals?

Tony.  

 

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There's  one other lesson I've learned over the years about buying model kits......

My very first Nats was in Atlanta in 1978. I didn't even know they had a vendors area and sold models! Talk about the gates of heaven opening up for me.....

Anyway, I found a 1/48 Aurora SBC Helldiver...at that time the ONLY game in town for that subject in 1/48, AND Aurora was "out of production". The guy wanted EIGHT DOLLARS for it!! Now remember, this is 1978....you could still occasionally find Aurora stuff on the shelves in old hardware stores and dime stores for their original prices of anywhere from $.75 to $2.00....so  NO WAY was I gonna fork over $8 for a kit I might find on the shelf for $2!

Long story short....2yrs later I paid $15 dollars for it! And THUS LEARNED THE LESSON: If you WANT a kit, buy it at the best price you can WHEN you find it! You may find a better bargain later, but maybe not. It may be re-released or a newer/better one may be put out, but maybe not. More importantly, most of those "holy grail" kits only get MORE expensive as you try to wait for the cheaper/newer alternative!

 

Gil :smiley16:

 

Edited by ghodges
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  • 2 weeks later...

OK. We have discussed the theories of relativity (not Einsteins!)  comparing the 'old days' fondly remembered by many of us when kits were pocket money prices or not much more to today's prices.

By and large our hobby is a lot less expensive than for example having a golf club membership with its relative green fees and frequent visits to the 19th hole. If any of us gets weeks of enjoyment out of building an 'expensive' kit it is cheaper in the long run than many other such activities.

My interpretation of too expensive is only if I do not have enough disposable income to be able to afford a kit that I would like and any accoutrements to go with it above domestic necessities.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My price point is about $65.  Somehow, I just can't get above that.

To be candid, however, what I can get for $60 today is a world of quality better than what I could get for $40 10-15 years ago.  I consider most "classic" kits, at $10-$20, to be too expensive.  Since their quality is very inferior.  I'll pay twice as much to have a kit that is enjoyable to build and which looks good.

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  • 1 month later...

I was, and maybe still am, that person buying stacks of cheap old kits at swap meets and shows. I particularly have a fancy for old Monogram multi engine kits. That said, I have been building much newer kits in the last couple of years and have embraced modern fit and assembly to the point that those old classics have lost a bit of their allure. Even though I have seen the light I still seem to have a relatively low threshold. For me 50 dollars is the point where I have to stop and think about how bad I really want something. If it's just going sit in the stash I'll likely pass, if it's going on the bench relatively soon and I want it bad enough(Tamiya F-4B anyone?) I'll pony up the cash.

Anyone in the market for some classics? LOL

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As I have mentioned before, what we can spend on kits, paints and after market depends on disposable income after all the necessary living bills are paid.

Ralph's post was really interesting about differing approaches to modelling. It is a fact of life that not all of us can afford to buy an expensive kit and throw shed loads of money at after market stuff for it. So it just goes to show that with a bit of ingenuity many everyday items can be pressed into service to detail a model. It just takes a bit longer to scratch build bits from those materials. To a certain extent many of us have become a bit blase about after market items being necessary to add extra detailing to a model. Nothing wrong with that approach it has to be said, as buying after market items is the same as buying time that would otherwise have to be used in the build process doing the detailing from raw materials.

Sometimes we have to wait a bit before that desirable kit becomes affordable, or as Dak said (and I just love his expression) ' Rent the grandkids out to pick melons in Mexico' to afford it!

 

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I'll put my house in hock for that Bugatti Chiron tomorrow!   LOL

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  • 1 month later...

For me what is too expensive is a model that is quick to put together.

I like building and find it Well spent.

If its cheap and quick to put together, it's TOO EXPENSIVE

Get what I'm saying? 

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Why not try scratch building then Lawrence?    It is certainly cheap, takes lots of time and is making a model rather than assembling a kit. Not as daunting as you might think once you get your head around it.

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