7 Tips To Save Money On Model Trains

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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I would think there are tradeoffs for lower prices. Shipping may cost more, or they sell your name to a advertiser. There's no free lunch.


Gomez Addams
Staff member
In my opinion, it is impossible to save on materials, even if we are talking about models and not about full-fledged railway tracks.
I'm not sure what your comment about saving on materials has to do with the shopping and purchase advice provided. Can you clarify your comment?


Well-Known Member
For pricing comparison they pretty much stayed at the top of the product offerings out there and completely ignored the affordable stuff. I guess they think big numbers impress folks. 🤔

I'd like to see a video showing folks how to do this on a budget. Remember our friend Running Bear (Jeff Wimberly)? He had a decent layout and very limited means, but I'd be hard pressed to name anyone who enjoyed their hobby more than he did. I like sports cars, but I'll never be able to afford a Ferrari or a Lambo. It doesn't stop me from having a blast with the lower cost options out there. I have lots of fun driving the one I own and didn't pay a ton for it. As for MAP pricing, I suppose you could say it's a price fixing scheme, but it isn't geared to ripping off the customer. it's geared to protecting small businesses and brick and mortar stores. When I sold airbrushes I had to compete with Amazon, Coast Airbrush, and companies who could by product by the container load. MAP pricing put us all on the same playing field. Profits were not exorbitant at MAP levels. Sure you could maybe pay a few bucks less buying on line, but you also lost personal attention and product support, as well as a local presence and someone to talk to if you needed help. MAP is probably going to be here to stay, and if it does go away, look for your choices of where to buy to shrink even more than they already are. I remember once at a Trainfest, a guy took up about 45 minutes of my time with instruction and explanations, letting him try several airbrushes, and so on. After all this he whipped out his phone with the same airbrush on Amazon and asked me if I could meet that price. I couldn't of course, I had a show booth and expenses to pay for, as well as the rest of the usual overhead. I was rather irritated and said so. I told him rather than take up so much of my time, why not just ask that first? I also had folks take up a ton of time with me, then go buy at Hobby Lobby, then bring it to me if they had trouble or wanted it repaired under warranty or exchanged. Brass balls! If you want to make everything about the absolutely cheapest price possible, well, be careful what you wish for. Competition for your business among many sellers is better for everyone than having your choices whittled down to just one or two. Support your LHS. You can buy stuff on line too, but its a good idea to give them some business! One last thing then I'll put the soap box away. The market is older guys with disposable income. The average demographic for modelers in mid fifties and up. The manufacturers will follow the money because they have to. Still, most are pretty good about lower tier alternatives along with their pricey stuff. Athearn has several tiers of stuff. So do others. Bachmann has a surprising selection of decent quality reasonably priced models. There's plenty of young people coming into the hobby. Rant off! 😁

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