Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there currently a shortage of N Gauge locos ? Are prices even higher than normal ? Possibly as a result of the pandemic : more people getting into model railways, and/or not wanting to go abroad because of all the restrictions and travel problems (therefore saving loads of money to spend on other stuff) ?

For new stuff one goes on various websites and they don't seem to have much in, and what they do have is £100 plus

Secondhand prices on E Bay and also from dealers (e.g. Hattons and Rails) are astronomical. A few years ago I bought a second hand Farish Deltic (excellent condition) from a dealer at an exhibition for £55. Now I could probably sell it privately on E Bay for significantly more !

Where is the best place to buy new or secondhand (but decent) stuff ?
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
8,427 Posts
In short, yes. Probably a double whammy, increased demand over lock down, which certainly saw Peco's OO track products selling out. And only two manufacturers with N gauge ranges of any size, and both experiencing difficulties with getting product from China even before Covid. Dapol had announced several of their planned N products 'on hold', and Farish was affected by the general slow down of all Bachmann's output due to closure of a key factory by the government, both occurring well before Covid, which has created further limitations.

And systematic price rises in Chinese made product cover all scales, starting in earnest from about 2015, and the main dealers in s/h have promptly raised prices of even the older s/h to match. Frankly, you have to watch like a hawk for the moments when dealers 'get it wrong' or decide on price reductions to move some s/h stock that is clogging their shelves. What I look for in OO are offers on s/h models that have faults or problems that are known and readily repaired; the same is likely to apply in other scales, but I know nothing of N. (Annoyingly the best models which are robust and reliable rarely appear...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Frankly, you have to watch like a hawk for the moments when dealers 'get it wrong' or decide on price reductions to move some s/h stock that is clogging their shelves. What I look for in OO are offers on s/h models that have faults or problems that are known and readily repaired; the same is likely to apply in other scales, but I know nothing of N. (Annoyingly the best models which are robust and reliable rarely appear...)
Probably not pure coincidence.

I have find this with some wagons I buy off E Bay. With N gauge the couplers have to be at exactly the same height or the train can spontaneously uncouple if it goes over quite a minor track irregularity. The same problem can manifest itself if a coupler has been replaced, or strained in some way, it can hang down or to one side. One then wonders if the seller has sold that for that reason, but you don't know for sure, his track might just be perfect !
I also once bought two coaches off E Bay, Farish, and they derail far easier than my Lima ones from the 1970s ! The Lima coaches are actually the wrong scale, they are not tall enough in comparison to the Farsh Deltic I have. But I can put up with that as they look good otherwise and rarely derail.

Lima locomotives from the 70s and 80s tend to be cheap because, TBH, they just do not run well, with poor electrical pick up and poor traction.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
8,427 Posts
As an OO user, when I re-entered model railways getting on 25 years ago s/h was relatively cheap, and by an exploration of this s/h quickly established that the then newly introduced Bachmann 'Blue Riband' product was a country mile ahead of practically all the then existing RTR OO.

That made for an easy decision, focus on the good new product coming out of China - initially from Bachman - which was based on techniques developed for North American HO. I would rather a few good items, than rather more less refined older s/h. And contrary to the common opinion those 25 years ago, that this product would quickly wear out, it not only hasn't, but is likely to outlive most owners

N gauge likewise, I would suggest: models based on technique originating from Japan and now made in China will be best. A UK brand - CJM - got going well ahead of the OO move East, worth looking out for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As an OO user, when I re-entered model railways getting on 25 years ago s/h was relatively cheap, and by an exploration of this s/h quickly established that the then newly introduced Bachmann 'Blue Riband' product was a country mile ahead of practically all the then existing RTR OO.

That made for an easy decision, focus on the good new product coming out of China - initially from Bachman - which was based on techniques developed for North American HO. I would rather a few good items, than rather more less refined older s/h. And contrary to the common opinion those 25 years ago, that this product would quickly wear out, it not only hasn't, but is likely to outlive most owners

N gauge likewise, I would suggest: models based on technique originating from Japan and now made in China will be best. A UK brand - CJM - got going well ahead of the OO move East, worth looking out for.
Of my locos (only five though) the Farish made in China Deltic is, by a country mile, the best runner, for both pick up and traction. There was a Farish DMU I liked the look of on E Bay, and which went for a reasonable price, but, upon asking the seller he advised only one wheel bogie was powered (and possibly only one might have electrical p/u ?) so I didn't bother bidding. Even if I'd got it for a bargain what is the point if the stuff does not operate reliably ?
In my limited experience diesels seem to run better than steam, less likely to derail, better electrical pick up and greater traction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,698 Posts
I don't think this issue is limited to N gauge. I think it goes across 4mm and 7mm scales as well.

Just have a look at the websites of all the major retailers and see what limited range of products are currently available...or not as the case is.

As to why this is the case, well, I think we can put this down to supply chain issues, Chinese Government crackdowns and the last two years of 'economic hibernation' in general. The result causing supply and demand and pricing thereof to play out.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
8,427 Posts
I don't think this issue is limited to N gauge. I think it goes across 4mm and 7mm scales as well...
Definitely.so.

The position in OO is easier because of the number of competing brands introducing models, combined with the very large volume of good products from the last 25 years, which is in fairly active circulation in the s/h market. The regrettable aspect affecting all the commercial scales, is that the principal retailers engaged in this 'circulation' of s/h have systematically raised prices. This is simple economics, and if 'we' want to see these businesses continuing, that's the price we pay for them to maintain their business turnover at present: hopefully until more stable supply of new product 'does the job' of depressing s/h pricing.

'Hopefully' the operative word there, present outright barbarity standing in the way, on top of all the other recent problems.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
8,427 Posts
...Even if I'd got it for a bargain what is the point if the stuff does not operate reliably ?...
This is where product knowledge pays off big time. My knowledge covers a subset of RTR OO models so won't help you that much, beyond general principles:
Search the net for other owner's experience.
Buy some product that interests you, and has been generally well received
Get to know the manufacturer's technique, both strengths and weaknesses; and find out how you can improve the weak aspects, and rectify problems on otherwise good items.

Major annoyance: manufacturer changes proven satisfactory technique for an inferior one. (May not even be cost down, the 'new way' probably more expensive!)

...In my limited experience diesels seem to run better than steam, less likely to derail, better electrical pick up and greater traction.
The mechanism technique that delivers this superiority from twin bogie traction is common to OO and N and is easily explained.
Structure: a robust casting ensures plentiful weight distributed uniformly on the bogies, and two relatively short wheelbase bogies provide a predictably stable and flexible running chassis with good track holding.
Drive train: a large motor can be accomodated in the centre of the model, with a shaft drive to both bogies, which have gear towers typically driving all wheels.
Current collection: typically available from all wheels, so all the model weight is effective for good rail contact, and the 'agitation' of those wheels by the drive is beneficial for pick up.

This system is so beneficial that I truly wonder why anyone even considers motor bogie drive.

(Sounds wonderful , but there can be problems, as an example in OO, drive couplers between motor and gear tower sometimes slip. Recognising typical symptoms: 'motor definitely running, loco cannot move or only jerks along slowly', 'runs OK in one direction, not in the other', enables purchase of a loco which can be fixed in minutes.)

Compare to steam models (and rigid chassis diesel or electric) there is often less space for motor and gear train, limitations in having sufficient weight well balanced in the centre of the coupled wheelbase; and then there's the drag from any carrying wheels and tenders if present. (It's often the case that a simple 0-6-0T will outperform a much larger steam model for traction, because the 0-6-0T is not having to drag any unpowered wheels around, and plenty of weight may be accomodated in the overall cuboid body form provided by the tanks.)

In HO, Roco power loco and tender using a single motor tender drive, with a shaft coupling to drive the locomotive driving wheels at matched tyre speed. This works well by general report, but not a technique that has made its way into UK product. The technique in Chinese manufacturing is largely derived from North American product. Huge steamers (with shaft drives to both chassis used on mallets) has few matches in UK prototype, it's LNER and BR(ER) alone that you should model to get the best out of it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OMG, the world has gone mad.

I was bidding on a second hand Deltic on E Bay and it went for about £100 (incl P&P). One hundred pounds for second hand N Gauge Deltic made in China !
A class 46 still has an hour to go and is already £122
Similarly a Class 45, one hour to go, £160.....

What is going on and when will it end ?
 

·
C55
Joined
·
2,646 Posts
I think you may have just worked out e-Bay and the mindset of those who wish to play. Fools and their money are soon parted, accelerated by that false sense of competition. They think that they have won some form of competition, but in reality have just pushed up the price of a commodity, way beyond it's value - then paid for it, themselves!! Every time someone chases an inflated purchase encourages others to do likewise, resulting in making themselves pay more, too. I let other people do that to themselves.

Personally, I have made quite a lot of purchases from e-Bay, but never supported a chase. I watch the bids and only bid at the last few seconds - assuming the price is still at a reasonable value.

There are lots of outlets for model rail and most will sell at reasonable prices. Sometimes a little patience is required to wait for a suitable model to appear, but given a little time, they normally do - if not - is a "model" worth spending far more than you are comfortable with, just to have it now? On the other hand, the vast majority of my purchases are through normal retail outlets, again with an eye on other competitive outlet prices.

Julian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Ultimately something is worth what someone will pay for it. The situation right now is that there isn't a huge choice of new n gauge locomotives available and when new models are released the initial stock often sells out quickly (as with some of the new Class 08 models). With many new modellers looking to build their stock, often with a specific region or era in mind, they are looking out for these models becoming available on Ebay. It's quite realistic to see a good condition loco that's up to 5 years old sell for an amount similar to it's most recent new price or perhaps even a little more. These items have become collectables and can command high prices for the most sought after items. A collectors market is very different from a second hand market.

For example, I model the gwr region and anything that comes up for sale from that region always sells high due to huge demand. Last year I particularly was looking for a n gauge Farish First Great Western livery Class 150 dmu, or two of them to be precise. I ended up paying £190 for a dcc chipped version and £170 for an unchipped model which I know was way over what they should be worth but if I hadn't snapped them up I'd still be looking for them now so I am happy enough with that. There's a loco on Ebay right now that I'm watching that ends in a couple of days. If I have to, I'll pay over what the new price was, because I want it and I can afford it. Is that wrong? On the other hand, I bought a rake of four GF coaches in good condition over the weekend for £75 which I was quite pleased with as others that have sold singularly recently have gone for £23/£24 each.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
8,427 Posts
...What is going on and when will it end ?
You have had good explanations of what is happening, which matches my experience. Individual choice determines where you decide 'too much'. (Mine kicks in when s/h goes over 60% of actual or estimated current new price.)

And also: this isn't infallible, but prices often drop appreciably August/September. I suspect this is because so many have spent money they haven't got while on holiday in the peak summer months, and between being away and necessarily tightening the belt on return in order to pay essential bills, there's less money being thrown at model railway product - for a month or two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ultimately something is worth what someone will pay for it. The situation right now is that there isn't a huge choice of new n gauge locomotives available and when new models are released the initial stock often sells out quickly (as with some of the new Class 08 models). With many new modellers looking to build their stock, often with a specific region or era in mind, they are looking out for these models becoming available on Ebay. It's quite realistic to see a good condition loco that's up to 5 years old sell for an amount similar to it's most recent new price or perhaps even a little more. These items have become collectables and can command high prices for the most sought after items. A collectors market is very different from a second hand market.

For example, I model the gwr region and anything that comes up for sale from that region always sells high due to huge demand. Last year I particularly was looking for a n gauge Farish First Great Western livery Class 150 dmu, or two of them to be precise. I ended up paying £190 for a dcc chipped version and £170 for an unchipped model which I know was way over what they should be worth but if I hadn't snapped them up I'd still be looking for them now so I am happy enough with that. There's a loco on Ebay right now that I'm watching that ends in a couple of days. If I have to, I'll pay over what the new price was, because I want it and I can afford it. Is that wrong? On the other hand, I bought a rake of four GF coaches in good condition over the weekend for £75 which I was quite pleased with as others that have sold singularly recently have gone for £23/£24 each.
Obviously everything you say is true. The basic problem here is shortage of supply over demand.
We are in a "false" situation at the moment because the world's productivity has been greatly disrupted (to a greater or lesser extent) for about two years whilst at the same time the governments have been pumping many many Billions into people's pockets, so we have loads of money chasing few goods = inflation. And I suspect the model railway market (and particularly N gauge as there's less of it about as 34C mentioned) is particularly badly hit.
So this is a bad time to finally bite the bullet and renovate my 1970s layout for my Lad !
I am confident the current imbalance will rectify itself (assuming they don't start messing about with society anymore) but I do not know how long that will be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Well, I'm pleased to report that it is still possible to pick up N gauge bargains on Ebay. Today I have just won an auction for:
Graham Farish 372-030 GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 Earl of Dunraven
2017 Tooling version in perfect condition
with Next18 DCC chip fitted
for the princely sum of £77.00

I reckon I've got a bargain there. In fact I'd have paid significantly more for it if I had to.

I guess the fact that it was a weekday daytime ending auction, rather than a weekend helped. Also the main photo was just the end label on the GF box rather than a pic of the loco so might have been easily missed by some. Anyway, whatever the reason I'm one happy N gauge modeller right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I'm pleased to report that it is still possible to pick up N gauge bargains on Ebay. Today I have just won an auction for:
Graham Farish 372-030 GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 Earl of Dunraven
2017 Tooling version in perfect condition
with Next18 DCC chip fitted
for the princely sum of £77.00

I reckon I've got a bargain there. In fact I'd have paid significantly more for it if I had to.

I guess the fact that it was a weekday daytime ending auction, rather than a weekend helped. Also the main photo was just the end label on the GF box rather than a pic of the loco so might have been easily missed by some. Anyway, whatever the reason I'm one happy N gauge modeller right now.
Well done.
I got a good deal, in the end, on a Grafar Hall. It looked a bit scabby which musty have put most people off, in fact after bidding for it I was unsure I should have done !
But when I got it I realised it doesn't look too bad on the layout and, once I'd repaired the tender pick up wire it runs very well for a steam type.

On the OTT prices on E bay, do diesels hold their value better (especially BR Blue ? ), possibly because they run better ?
I noticed one seller had a few N Gauge locos on, the diesels were going for stupid money, but he had Duchess of Abercorn on and that went for a reasonable (i.e. not excessive) amount.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top