$676 Walthers car

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Mellow Mike

Laconic Icon
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I'm not saying that's the way your auctions are run, or that that's what you do
But you ARE implying that they can't be legit. When they most certainly are.

They are nice, but they aren't worth $650 of the excited bidding you describe.
Then perhaps you've just never done anything that others covet that highly.

One of the regulars has told me he spends about $1200 - $2000 a month on brass alone. What's a $600 freight car a few times a year to this person?

He also insures his purchases along with his wife's jewelry.

All of you seem so unconvinced. We're at an impasse. You have a counter to everything I say. How does one show proof?

I was paid the following day via PayPal.

If I were one of these scam artists who have numerous eBay ID's - how would each one of them have hundreds of feedback....? Hmmm...????? I could see a dozen maybe.

Listen to yourself, Willis.

And listen to me. There ARE collectors who pay those prices. It may not be worth near that to any of you folks.... but that doesn't mean it's faked.

Why don't others get those prices...? Why only me...? Ask the buyers. Obviously they can pick and choose from all that's out there. It's a matter of who meets their high standards. It's expensive eye candy. Why does a Ferrari cost more than a Corvette? Why does Starbucks cost more than a 7-11 coffee...? Is it the name....? Perhaps. Is it the reputation...? The quality...?

I don't think a new HO Atlas Centerbeam is worth over $40 retail. That doesn't stop others from paying that if it's what they want.

There is a market out there for realistic weathering jobs. I've found it. A lot of you don't believe it... or won't believe it. Some of you would give your eye teeth to be in my shoes doing this. The guys who bitch the loudest are always the ones who are the most envious.

If you can't look at my work versus other eBay custom or "pro" weatherers and see a big difference - then you aren't looking properly.

And like I say, it takes dangling one of these in front of people with huge train allowances to make a $200 car into double or triple that, when they outbid each other. This is what I've been doing. It's all above the table.

Now, there is at least one Seller who is rumored to be doing what you mentioned. Maybe two. I won't name names, but some of my peers know about one of them.
 

Mellow Mike

Laconic Icon
Look, I am not saying it's a $600 car in my opinion. But the bidders are.

That's the bottom line. Period. If they have that kind of money to spend on toys - who are we to say they are off kilter.

I'm in awe and disbelief as any of you must be.

All the buzz about THIS particular auction only has people judging what I'm capable of based on a nondescript old Walthers reefer with some graffiti on it. Look at something else. That reefer somehow eclipsed the OTHER car I sold at the same time. I don't understand why.

http://www.mellowmike.com/FR8_Cars/UP81633_A2.jpg

Why did they go nuts over a graffiti clad reefer versus a no-graffiti hopper with considerably more involved weathering...?

I don't know.

Why do some of them pass on my gondolas every time....?

I don't know.

I can think of different pieces I've done perhaps worthy of near a price that this reefer got. But they didn't have whatever this one had, according to these collectors. Someone told me that it was a combination of a seldom seen car on eBay, along with *interesting* graffiti. Had I known this before, I would've done the project a long time ago.
 

Mellow Mike

Laconic Icon
It is quite easy to manufacture
the illusion of covet-worthiness
by fabricating false demand.

How am I fabricating false demand if we have established that every bidder is a real bidder? Again, look at each of their feedback totals, Genius.

Thank you.

If anything, forcing buyers to pay throught the nose for an item, by enlisting shills, would only discourage them at some point. And they would go find something else without all the hassle next time. Seeing a lot of bids and IDs in an auction does not attract more bidders.

People don't go "My gawd, look at the bids in that auction!!! That must be an awesome item or something. I think I must have that now". There is no way to create false demand like this. People may be gawking at it like an accident on the freeway - but it doesn't make them want to take part.
 
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Mellow Mike

Laconic Icon
Let me save you the trouble...

Aside from the winner, a repeat satisfied customer, here are the feedback totals for every other bidder on that car:

107
176
584
232
1350
147
864

So, as Willis postulates, some of these bidders are secretly me. Um, okay. Sure. Gee, I've set up additional eBay IDs and done lots and lots of transactions with them. Over a hundred at the very least. In addition to the 900+ on my main ID.

R-i-i-i-i-g-h-t....

I could see your point if there were some single digit numbers in there. Like (2) or something. That would be a red flag.

The other thing that shills or friends do is dink and doink with teeny careful bids. When the Seller sees that someone might have placed a whopper of a bid, he has somebody he knows eat away at the high bid, but not go over it. In other words, testing the limit.

If you go over, you're screwed. Unless the guy who was outbid returns later.

Here again, I have witnessed this in auctions ranging from weathered cars to shops selling trains.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
I'm guessing it's just hard for some to imagine spending that kind of dough on a $15.00 plastic car, even with a great paint job. But to be honest I'm still blown away by a BCR log car you did some time ago, bark strips and all. (in fact it's still part of my screen saver)
I have a customer who thinks nothing of spending a couple thousand at a time for brass locos when he even admits that the Atlas ones run better and are similar in detail.
He's happy and to each his own.
You do have to admit tho that there are transactions on the bay that make you go hmmmm...
There's an ebay dealer in MN that consistently sells Walthers building kits for hundreds of dollars, while they were originally a fraction of that and can be easily replicated using pre fab materials.
Guess this was just one of them.
Not picking "sides", just saying is all.
 

enjineerbill

Avid People Watcher
Petty indeed...

First of all, let me say that I have never met, emailed or spoke with the artist Mellow Mike. I will say that I am familiar with his work through the huge weathering forum and his website containing images of his work.

I believe he fully captured the way ebay works. People will pay what they think the item is worth to them. I know I do. A few months ago, I built 2 American Freedom Train showcase cars for a gentleman in L.A.. The cars were customized with scratchbuilt vehicles and airbrushed. The starting point; a $3.00 plastic baggage car(x2). His price was $450.00 to which he responded with an order for the rest of the train, 23 more cars. I have also sold circus and carnival equipment on ebay for nearly 3 years now with unbelievable final bids, most bringing in almost embarassing amounts. But, the starting price is low and I take my chances. Why would anyone who has the potential for such a successful outlet for his or her work, take a huge risk to fake an auction and run the risk of losing said outlet? The answer is, they wouldn't. Im qiute sure that if any of this took place, someone would have come forward to scream about it.

Discontinued Walthers items that are still in great supply, sell like they are the last items on earth. On any given day, why not research some of this before the accusations start to fly? If I see someone willing to bid $60.00 for a plastic set of loading ramps still in kit form and originally sold for $4.99, you can bet I'm looking through my stock to see if I have an extra or 2 to put up.

There are some others who have tried to replicate the success of those who can command a price for workmanship, but have failed because they cannot match the results in craftsmanship of the finished product.

As for MM not wanting to share his techniques, I have this to add; When I built the first Freedom Train, many asked me for help to which I tried to be kind and responded. Then came those who demanded information, wanted my access to blueprints and artwork, all of which I spent countless hours trying to acquire for my own personal use. It got to be too much. I can only imagine the demands for this artwork by MM to have been tenfold.

In the end, if you think it's too much, turn the page. But to open up on the guy for an auction that he conducted sucessfully? I'm not so sure that's the right thing to do. Typical of the backstabbing that keeps most of the proficient modelers from getting invloved on these forums. There are a ton of modelers on this and the other forums who can do some incredible work, some of which would see some serious $$ for their efforts. But there are those here who desire the effect but cannot create it on their own. It is that demographic that I aim for. Some do it for love, others for profit. And I love to make a profit.

Petty Indeed....

Johnny
 

julienjj

Noodle is good
I understand willis position, hes saying that is very unlikely that exprienced modelers would buy a 600$ cars when they could do it themselves.

I Suggest we end this thread, its going nowhere


PS- Please try to avoid double posting, it spam up people email boxes
 
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Irongrave

Member
There are guys better then him out there and nicer to deal with. He's trashed people on eBay before. though at least he weathered the underside of that car (few years ago he did a hopper talked it all up then left the under side plain no weathering) $600 for a car is just crazy though I do have more then my fair share of $100ish cars from other painters.
 
IMO, lets get a bunch of guys together to start practicing and honing thier skills to get good enough to flood out the market on weathered cars on ebay to drive the price down. Thats a good way to stop this. This guy thinks he is the best, well there is always someone out there that is better.
 

julienjj

Noodle is good
imo, lets get a bunch of guys together to start practicing and honing thier skills to get good enough to flood out the market on weathered cars on ebay to drive the price down. Thats a good way to stop this. This guy thinks he is the best, well there is always someone out there that is better.
im in ! :)
 

hamltnblue

Active Member
It's a shame that people cant handle that others want to spend their money on what they want and it's no one's business. It's also no one's business how much money is made by the seller. Considerable work is put into the piece which includes years of experience. You can make a one shot item that may or may not be good but it takes repeated good jobs to get recognized. Just looking at the hopper shown by MM earlier. It wasn't just the model but also the quality scene used to photo it. I'm curious what that particular item was worth because it appealed to me.
If anyone wants to get angry at what something costs try looking at your paycheck and how much money is taken out. Then look at the millions that are living, not on the government, but on you and others like you. I see no value received on my 25k+ paid in taxes last year going to welfare recipients that sit on their butts and cry how everyone holds them back. This is just for comparison. At least the person buying the expensive box car got something for his money.
 

tomustang

I'm Blunt..
I don't see why you guys bother to argue about it, it's the BUYER that's willing to pay the ridiculous price whether it's rigged or not (not saying anyone rigs the bids)
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
A few months ago, I built 2 American Freedom Train showcase cars for a gentleman in L.A.. The cars were customized with scratchbuilt vehicles and airbrushed. The starting point; a $3.00 plastic baggage car(x2). His price was $450.00 to which he responded with an order for the rest of the train, 23 more cars.
Johnny IMHO there is no comparison to the work you do and Mikes creations.
Your Freedom train which you displayed here (and it was appreciated by all). It was a lot of work, a lot of custom built pieces and models of an actual train therefore on the scale of $$$ MM receives you got very little, $225 per car and they were certainly worth every penny and more.



As for MM not wanting to share his techniques, I have this to add; When I built the first Freedom Train, many asked me for help to which I tried to be kind and responded. Then came those who demanded information, wanted my access to blueprints and artwork, all of which I spent countless hours trying to acquire for my own personal use. It got to be too much. I can only imagine the demands for this artwork by MM to have been tenfold.
Johnny, ever since you joined this forum you have been helpful to others with tips on how to improve their work and I hope you might have gained some useful information here, You have taken part in many discussions, therefore an asset to this forum and its members. Your contributions are appreciated. I was not aware of demands for access to your blueprints and artwork, I trust that did not happen here. I and others here were quite pleased with the information that you did post, it told us how you did do the models and as I recall everyone here seemed to be happy. Maybe it's because we didn't have plans to imitate your work and were happy with the basic knowledge you posted.
Where you and Mike differ is that here you participate, Mike just came here to receive his accolades and as I said before his contribution was only his august self.

In the end, if you think it's too much, turn the page. But to open up on the guy for an auction that he conducted sucessfully? I'm not so sure that's the right thing to do. Typical of the backstabbing that keeps most of the proficient modelers from getting invloved on these forums.
I turned the page on MM back in Dec 2005, in any case Mike was never truly involved in these forums
IMHO all the threads amounted to was advertising for his auctions and I have no intention of playing referee to threads like that again


There are a ton of modelers on this and the other forums who can do some incredible work, some of which would see some serious $$ for their efforts. But there are those here who desire the effect but cannot create it on their own. It is that demographic that I aim for. Some do it for love, others for profit. And I love to make a profit.

Petty Indeed....

Johnny
Again in my opinion, there are models that sell for high prices (like ship Models of actual ships with a history or your Freedom train for example) I have no problem with that. Now for a comparison in the ridiculous, take the Picasso paintings that sell in the millions, IMHO they are butt ugly and should have been put in the trash but instead they are in great demand because Picasso is no more. picasso/picasso_selfport1907.jpg
In any case PT Barnum was quite correct, only thing is I never realized there were so many.
 

macjet

Member
That's it. This forum has turned into just another collection of childish armchair know-it-all's.

And people wonder why model railroading has such a bad image.

Don't worry about "go somewhere else" replies. I've already put in my request to cancel my access here.
 

Brakie

Member
I have no doubts Mike's cars go for ridiculous prices because they look realistic however,I would not want a yard full of Mike's rust buckets simply because its not that way on the prototype.

I know what my limited is for preweathered cars by anybody-around $35.00-50.00 depending on the car.

Now,While Mike is good there are others that's just as good but,I don't think they sell 'em.
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Concerning auctions in general.


Now,A auction can be bump up by several means-I seen it done in estate auctions-and I have no doubts that can and possibly has happen on e-bay.

Its not that far fetch once the bidding begins and the "I gotta have it" mentality sets in.All one needs is a group of friends locally or on line..This is called the "buddy" system..Everybody helps everybody bump each others auctions which causes a dreaded bidding war.

The poor slob that is caught in this cross fire has the auction dump on him when he makes the next highest bid..:(
---------------------------------------

As far as Mike's auctions I fully believe the "I gotta have it" mentality kicks in which causes the rich kids to have a go at it trying to come out the winner.

Now,(scratching my head) is owning a Mellow Mike weathered car a status symbol? :confused:
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
That's it. This forum has turned into just another collection of childish armchair know-it-all's.

And people wonder why model railroading has such a bad image.

Don't worry about "go somewhere else" replies. I've already put in my request to cancel my access here.
First of all, we don't ban members because they don't like the content here. If you don't want to participate any longer, it's simple, don't come back.

That said, let me ask you this? Why not just ignore the threads you don't like? Do you watch every show on your TV? Do you like them all? Do you call the cable company and say "I hate that show, cancel my account!". Most folks just change the channel. You can do the same here, just move on to a different discussion.

However, I do agree that this thread has run it's course. I deleted a couple of political comments, and will lock this thread.

I don't think MM's auctions are a scam, he's been doing them far too long for that. He promos his cars on every forum and website that will let him, and builds up the hype. These aren't weathered freight cars, they're "limited edition works of art". Don't think you can legitimately get $600 for a cheap plastic toy train? I suggest you Google "Beanie Baby" and read up on what a little hype and percieved scarcity will do to prices...

Somebody had a great suggestion. Instead of grumbling about him, or saying he's a scam, beat him at his own game! Make your own weathered cars, put them on ebay and hype them to the max. Maybe you'll grab some of his market, and make some money too.
 
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