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Dogsbody
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There have been a few entries in this and other forums suggesting that the recession is going to harm the hobby. Also, there seems to be a general frustration with some suppliers meeting delivery dates. Added to this are some rather harsh words about effective quality control from the Chineese factories.

I wish the ready to run manufacturers would sell kits of bits for us to do our own assembly. For those of us not to gifted, maybe 'already painted' would be a bonus. After all, we do seem to need to know how to take the models apart so I'm sure we are capable of putting them together if they came in the (cheaper) kit form.

Perhaps this would also encourage the kit manufacturers to make their offerrings more suitable for the not so skilled consumer. Just think of it, no more pleas for Southern emu's every other week, maybe even Lord of the Isles could become available.

I for one would much rather put something of myself into my rolling stock rather than opening the box to marvel at how well the factory workers have made it.
 

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this idea has been tried in the past..Tri-ang [or was it a later incarnation?] sold CKD kits for this and that.

I don't know how commercially successful they were.....but do recall the cost saving wasn't a great deal.

I'm not sure issuing kits of parts instead of ready-to-run models really would address the supply issues....unless one has evidence that the delays occur, not on manufacture, but assembly?

On the 'self-assembly'' issue, I read countless complaints regarding the plethora of detail packs that accompany a new model.....and how difficult it is for purchasers to fit these details..and how many modellers simply leave a lot of them off.......Vitrain's #47 being the latest victim......so I'm not sure how this prospect would be recieved?
I think there would have to be a SIGNIFICANT cost saving over rtr prices for folk to try self-assembly..........and reading the threads about costs, etc of manufacture, I'm not so sure a significant saving can be made.

I think the real issue here is that, ever so slowly we as modellers have been 'converted'.......into consumers.

the modelling media are full of the excitement over ''the next new releases''.....of release dates, liveries, variations, etc......we have slowly become reliant on the manufacturers for our stock, to the extent we struggle if a glitch occurs.

we're hooked, like junkies.

The kitmakers are very aware of this......their sales levels are proof.
 

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I think the CKD concept was to try and drive through the then Purchase Tax regs.

I think if we took away the RTR manufacturers the hobby would shrink into insignificance. There are very few railway modellers who can and would spend the time to make or re-work everything they run. In many cases, early modellers were inspired by crude RTR into building locomotives purely because the loco or rolling stock they wanted was just not available.

The current crop of RTR does, as you rightly point out, turn us into consumers but that is no bad thing. I would actually take task with the word 'consumer'. we don't really consume, merely 'buy'. So we are 'buyers'. Committed, sensible, aware and knowledgeable buyers in a specialist market.

So what's new?
 

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QUOTE I think if we took away the RTR manufacturers the hobby would shrink into insignificance. There are very few railway modellers who can and would spend the time to make or re-work everything they run.

so, where HAS all this 'time' gone?

How come, 20 or 30...or more years ago, modellers still created model railways.......and apparently in greater numbers than today..if the concerns expressed in our media regarding recruitment to our hobby are anything to go by?

To my mind, the addiction to rtr [which I agree has reached high levels of excellence] matches the changes in our social behaviour, noted over the past 20 years or so...the rise of consumerism [and yes, I feel we do 'consume' rtr models......as we do with cars or houses or DVD players] and our credit-fuelled society has created a sort-of ...''I want it, and I want it NOW'...mentality.

Perhaps we have too many distractions today?

[this forum, for one......whilst busy reading and communicating with fellow muddlers, I, for one, ain't muddlin'...]

I cannot believe we actually have less time for ourselves these days........yet that seems to be the way of things?

But it is self feeding.

ie....we feel we have less 'self-time'..therefore we allow our wallets to compensate with rtr.....and because that feels so nice, we seek justification as to why we have less time..ie we actually MAKE less time for our hobby.

Everything about our busy lives revolves around doing things in less time.....that's how we are made to think?

yep, nowI come to think of it, CKD was a way around purchase tax...like Lotus Sevens, and minivans?

I am dismayed at the loss of hte US -style steam loco kits.....especially those of MDC/Roundhouse..that consol was a doozy, simple, yet well done....a nice combination of materials, all the hard work done...yet because of their 'kit' nature, easier to adapt and modify.....and darned cheap too......and pretty much self-coloured.........I loved that tender, I have thee or four, in various stages of disarray.
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 29 Mar 2009, 19:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>so, where HAS all this 'time' gone?

ie....we feel we have less 'self-time'..therefore we allow our wallets to compensate with rtr.....and because that feels so nice, we seek justification as to why we have less time..ie we actually MAKE less time for our hobby.

Agreed but you are working longer hours for a lot more money. So is your missus. Thus you are twice as wealthy and as a result, RTR prices go down as the market is bigger because you have more disposable income.

It IS a merrygoround but I don't believe the magazines that state that it was more prolific modelling earlier, it was just that more trains sets were sold. That is probably the reason that we are now modellers rather than train set operators.

Having said that though, it is the growth and quality of RTR plus DCC plus sound plus......that keeps us interested.
 

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QUOTE so, where HAS all this 'time' gone?

I am probably in the minority but after driving an hour to work each way and consequently being out of the house for about ten and a half hours, it's hard to work up the energy and enthusiasm to do any modelling during the week. Way back then, I watched a lot of telly; hardly watch any now....

David
 

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long commutes, and working hours , haven't changed significantly in 40 years.......from the 60's onwards, we all gained a disposable income. expectations were different though, back in the 70's...

QUOTE It IS a merrygoround but I don't believe the magazines that state that it was more prolific modelling earlier, it was just that more trains sets were sold. That is probably the reason that we are now modellers rather than train set operators

more train sets would have been sold in the 60's and 70's, because there was less in the way of competition from other leisure toys.
Now we have the whole gamut of electronic toys...trainsets have simply become, passee?

I beleive there were more 'craftsman' modellers in times past, than now.....witness the joy at posts from those who scratchbuild, or create from nothing, models, track etc....on this forum?

25 years ago, such activity was a lot more commonplace.

pressure to perform in our working lives is what we need to reduce...bring things back to a more 'human' level?

which may well happen now the world economy bubble has burst?
 

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Bob,

The cost of making the parts for a self assembly kit, is the same as making the parts for a factory assembled finished product. For so long as low cost factory assembly can be maintained I very much doubt that there would be any saving to customers in doing the assembly themselves. This is because the necessary parts still have to be 'kitted' for dispatch; and there would then have to be a large support organisation (probably based in a high wage cost country) to deal with all the 'please supply part XXXX which I have lost / had eaten by the dog / mangled when I tried to assemble it'.

I would turn this one on its' head, and commend to you the thought that all RTR product is a kit that happens to have been assembled. The present abundance of decent quality bodies and chassis for both locos and rolling stock, means that there are numerous opportunities for DIY kit bashing. Just this weekend at the Ally Pally show I picked up some Bachmann returns and Replica B1 bodies as feedstock for rework into types that are not available RTR. While my results may not be 'absolutely perfect' they generally look like the prototypes they are supposed to represent; and very definitely have the 'personal content' factor of being something different than what is available off the shelf.
 
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