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"modelling no longer affordable?" Topic

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Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian10 Oct 2021 12:57 p.m. PST

Anyone notice that the price of models is going through the roof?

Armourfast 1/72 tanks over $20 USD now – $12 USD-$15 two years ago

Trumpeter 1/700 Battleships over $50 USD in a lot of cases now –
$35 USD two years ago

Combrig 1/700 WWI battleships over $100 USD now, $50 USD-70 two years ago. Newly released WWI cruisers start at $75 USD – would have been $35 USD two years ago.

If you can even find them.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 3:10 p.m. PST

I agree, mate. I think that a lack of production and lack of stock account for some of it, with increased demand because of lockdowns and other restrictions. COVID had at least a part to play in Wingnut Wings closing it's doors. If you can find their kits in an online store the prices are 30% to 200% of what they were at the start of last year. Prices on ebay are simply insane- the last time I saw a Gotha IV there it was $1,200 USD+. Though it does make my stash seem like a good investment, if I didn't intent to try to build them (eventually).

It's not just models, I suspect a lot of hobby costs have gone up for the same reason. And once they go up, how often do they come down?


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 3:36 p.m. PST

"And once they go up, how often do they come down?"

The Econ 102 answer is that wages certainly and to a lesser extent other prices tend to be inflexible downward, but if the price is too high it can't rise and inflation eats away at it. That said, spot prices on ebay will be quite flexible downward once production and distribution resume. Watch what happens to used book prices when a long out of print book gets a fresh printing.

If the problem is materials--a scarcity of plastic, say, due to a permanently reduced supply or a permanently greater demand--that would not have so quick a happy ending.

14Bore10 Oct 2021 4:26 p.m. PST

Lots of things make prices go up, printing debt like it's worth nothing is one of them.

khanscom10 Oct 2021 4:46 p.m. PST

Depends on your definitions-- if you need a specific item from a specific maker to fill a requirement, then you may just have to pay the price or give it up. If your approach is more flexible and your collections more eclectic, it may be worthwhile exploring some alternatives. Most scale model shows have a variety of vendors and private individuals with kits on offer-- maybe older or less desirable models, or less than common subjects-- typically at reasonable prices. One of the clubs I participate in has an occasional flea market for unwanted kits for swap or sale. Check out the local thrift stores-- did I really "need" a 1/72 MiG-31? (not really), but for $2 USD at the local Salvation Army Store I'll probably enjoy the build. Same for the partially assembled Airfix Repulse acquired for $3 USD at a swap meet. And any inexpensive kit can be trading material later.

Mister Tibbles10 Oct 2021 4:57 p.m. PST

It's just catching up with model railroading.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 5:10 p.m. PST

Are you talking retail store prices? I haven't noticed a jump in online prices (other than shipping) and a quick search of the lines you mentioned show prices in line with your quotes of 1-2 years ago. Not an attack, just genuinely curious.

Only thing I've really noticed is things being out of stock more often and restocks being snapped up quickly. I think the international freight shipping headaches of the last 18+ months have turned a lot of hobbyists into panic hoarders.

Garand10 Oct 2021 6:14 p.m. PST

I have been building models for a lo-ong time.

The price listed for a model is only a suggestion. A well-aware modeler will be able to sniff out the deals. I know I have done so many, many times.

Also some kit producers (*cough* Dragon *cough*) are resting on their laurels & feel they can get premium prices for their kits, some going into the $80 USDs or even $90 USDs. But if you are patient, Dragon Online has a sale frequently, & that $80 USD kit suddenly becomes $50 USD & more affordable. As stated above, if you have a variety of tastes, it can become affordable.

I also doubt the debt has anything to do with kit prices, since the market is international, & model building is orders of magnitude BIGGER in China & Japan than it is in the US, FREX, & they produce with those markets in hand primarily, the rest of the world secondarily. The US FREX is gravy for their bottom line.

Logistics may have an impact as well, & ultimately what sellers feel they can get away with. It used to be old Italeri kits were selling new for $45 USD or $50 USD; an Italeri 1/35 Panzer IV from the '70s certainly is not worth the same as a Hobby Boss kit, or something from Miniart, Border, or RFM. But the importer to the US felt they could charge premium prices (& maybe Italeri was a bit out of touch with things).

The current logistics issue probably has a big impact as well. I live in Ecuador, which is at the tail end of any logistics chain. In the US we enjoyed cheap shipping & logistics because we were at the head of the logistics chain, & I suspect much of Europe as well. But in Ecuador, kit prices are significantly higher (with $30 USD kits easily going for $45 USD or $50 USD), & this is IMHO largely due to logistics. I understand shipping in the US is a mess, with thousands of containers sitting offshore waiting to be unloaded, due to a lack of workers. All of that is going to push prices up.


Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian10 Oct 2021 6:14 p.m. PST

Yes, online.

Garand10 Oct 2021 6:35 p.m. PST

I looked at prices & I can still get Academy kits for around $35 USD to $50. USD Asuka Shermans (top of the line kits by the critics) for around $50 USD as well. BTW the Asuka kits are an example of downward pressure on kits; they used to be much more expensive.

BTW I used as a reference.


Zephyr110 Oct 2021 9:00 p.m. PST

Yeah, you definitely need to shop around. I looked for RTV for mold making, so looked around and found some cheaper than other places (mainly, the shipping cost wasn't horrendous.) I figured I should buy it now before the price goes up, or it becomes unobtainable. Should last me years before I need to get more.
The moral of this story is: If you see something you want/need, buy it now while you can… ;-)

Thresher0110 Oct 2021 11:46 p.m. PST

I have noticed that, though that's been the case for 20 – 30+ years for some/many things too.

Even stock for scratch-building can be very expensive, e.g. styrene plastic stock.

Of course, in some cases I've bitten the bullet and bought anyway, though for things like 1/700th scale, plastic aircraft sets that I paid $24 USD or so 25 – 30 years ago, I can't even get anywhere near the price I paid for them to sell second-hand, three decades later, so…………

Buyer beware.

Scratch-building for some things is the way forward, if you have the skills, time, and access to the proper materials and tools.

Striker11 Oct 2021 2:11 a.m. PST

I've seen the prices go up but then I also have a stash of kits already bought & paid for so I don't buy anymore kits. Besides shipping some kits come with extras that used to be a separate sale (PE, individual tracks, etc).

Arcane Steve11 Oct 2021 4:07 a.m. PST

We are seeing some inflation across the hobby now but not yet anything too excessive. As for Armourfast , we still have them at £8.50 GBP. I'm not sure what that will be in dollars, once the conversion rates are applied but I cant see them coming in at $20 USD


Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 6:07 a.m. PST

You might try buying models at Hobby Lobby when they run their 40% off sale on models (which they seem to do about every three weeks or so).

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 7:55 a.m. PST

There's almost three hobbies within the plastic modeling hobby. First, there's just the "basic kit" hobby and as mentioned above, while prices have definitely gone up, if you're patient you can still get a $75 USD-80 kit for $40 USD every now and then. Next is the "top of the line" kits such as the Tamiya 1/32 series or some of the Trumpeter larger ships and/or aircraft. These have all the bells and whistles included, but are going to set you back $100 USD-150 each. Finally, there is the part of the hobby where you buy a basic kit, then get the resin cockpit kits, brass etched instruments, additional decals, weapons, etc., and that can easily push a $70 USD kit into the $150 USD range.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2021 9:43 a.m. PST

Yea…. I had a student in one of my classes about 10 years ago who worked for Squadron shop pulling orders here in DFW. We were talking about kit prices and he was telling me all the time he'd see someone buy a $70 USD bomber, $250 USD in aftermarket parts, $35 USD in paint, $200 USD in reference books and some glue.

And just for kicks… when I first started buying 1/700 ships (back when they were in bags) I paid $2.98 USD for a Chikuma. 2-3 years or so later Squadron shop started carrying them and a DD was $1.98 USD, Cruisers $3.98 USD and Battleships a whopping $5.5 USDo.

Garand11 Oct 2021 11:46 a.m. PST

Even 20 years ago I was able to drop $150 USD on a modeling project. So that sort of thing is not new, when you factor in Fruil metal tracks, a photo-etch set, turned brass or aluminum barrel(s), & if it is German, a resin cast or photo etch zimmerit set. The hobby can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.


Inch High Guy11 Oct 2021 2:33 p.m. PST

Think of modeling on a cost per hour basis and it's really one of the better values.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2021 3:51 p.m. PST

You might try buying models at Hobby Lobby when they run their 40% off sale on models (which they seem to do about every three weeks or so).

Aside from the fact that they are outrageously over priced here in my town, they've had 5 copies of the same 15 models on the shelf for the past 15 years. I asked them about it once. Guy told me "if a model sells, the buyer orders five more thinking they are popular. Can't convince him that one person buying a 1/35 Tiger doesn't mean there are a lot of people who want a 1/35 Tiger." At our Hobby Lobby 40% off is not a sale its a temporary market adjustment.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Oct 2021 7:40 a.m. PST

Even stock for scratch-building can be very expensive, e.g. styrene plastic stock.

Agree. Not only has the price of balsa gone way up, but the quality has gone way down.

DeRuyter12 Oct 2021 10:17 a.m. PST

One potential answer to these price increases is print your own models. The caveat of course is selection but more and more ranges are being sculpted. I just printed a dozen 15mm ACW limbers for $10 USD – $5 USD in resin and $5 USD for the file which of course I can use to print as many as I want. I have seen some brilliant age of sail models in 1/700 – or smaller scale if you like!

Striker12 Oct 2021 6:00 p.m. PST

Another option is see if there is a modelling group around or find some of those people. Reality is most modellers have A LOT more kits than they will ever build and they aren't getting any younger. You can probably find a modeller's widow who just wants the crap out of the house for a pretty decent price. The Wingnut stuff and "collector kits" will probably get snatched up but if you just want some models that is an option. I'm going to liquidate my kits before that day, just need to pull out the first to go.

Grimmnar13 Oct 2021 6:39 p.m. PST

Worry about new prices once everybody completes and depletes they're lead and plastic pile then they can worry about upscale in prices.


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