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TLG Train Sets - What Triggers 'Buy'?


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#1 andythenorth

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:50 AM

Backstory - I'm posting this because it seems plausible TLG read these forums, and it's as good a way as any to provide feedback.  If they don't...[shrug].

I'm an 'AFOL with kids'.  I like Lego, but when I buy trains, it's to build and play with my kids.  I'm not crafting my own train layout, I don't care about realism or other things that interest some train AFOLs.  My main interest is having toys my kids will love.

So currently there are 3 full train sets, plus Maersk, Harry Potter and Toy Story which lack track etc.

The red cargo train is discounted in the UK right now, I thought about buying another, but I don't want two of them in the house.  Same thing happened with the yellow train - I thought I'd buy a couple for the kids, but one seemed to be enough.  I also bought one Maersk, and one Emerald Night (which is an AFOL dream, but rubbish for kids, my son likes the look of it but it breaks far too often, too easily).

I did buy 3 of the passenger train. It's a relatively boring set compared to the cargo trains, but it looks nice, it's cheaper, and a longer passenger train is better.

When I saw the red train discounted, I didn't think 'buy', I thought 'it would be nice to have a different, new train set to buy'.  

I know that trains are not a big seller for TLG, and that designing and carrying lots of train SKUs is unlikely.

Still, I would happily buy around 5 train sets per year at an average £100 price point, if they were new set designs.
- passenger trains I'd always buy at least 2, to get a longer train
- cargo trains, I'd probably buy one
- 'something else' would be interesting, maybe a set with a small train, but one awesome accessory.
- AFOLs would grumble, but I would buy a 'fire train', or a forest-themed 'train robbery' set, because my kids would like it.

Trains are expensive toys, but can justify buying 2 at Christmas, 1 for each kid's birthday, and 1 'just because'.

One final thing to say - buying behaviour:
- the cargo trains have 'better' accessories, but too much makes it a harder buy.  If I'm thinking "don't like the truck much", less likely to buy.  Too many cranes, forklifts, trucks, loaders etc pushes the price up too, price point needs to be around £100 for an easy buy.
- by contrast the passenger train is an easy buy because there are few accessories.  I don't really care if I don't like the platforms, they're just a small number of parts.
- I'd buy 2 of the same set to get a properly good alternative model.  I do this with Technic sets.  I guess the piece mix in trains makes it hard to achieve good alternatives (and TLG only seem to do alternatives with Technic).
- when buying for Christmas and birthdays, I want a complete set, in one box, delivered.  The box is likely to be opened away from home, with grandparents, and I want everything in it except batteries.  Despite that we have billions of curved tracks in cupboards at home, the set needs to be playable out of the box.  This would be wasteful for a set like Maersk, which is aimed at AFOLs, but is essential for sets aimed at kids.

Edited by andythenorth, 20 April 2012 - 08:08 AM.

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#2 roamingstop

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:00 AM

Lets hope TLG do take notice; but perhaps also alert one of our Ambassadors to the post as they do have paths to feedback views into TLG.

As an AFOL without kids, I have probably acquired far too many sets - but I had the luxury of being able to break them and sell the individual models, because I did not want too many forklift trucks, cranes, loaders etc. This allows me to develop the 'long models' kids love at shows (think 2 Octan Cargo trains plus lots of tanker wagons). Red train sets were bought for parts only (with good prices, and custom carriages were sold off).

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Still, I would happily buy around 5 train sets per year at an average £100 price point, if they were new set designs.
- passenger trains I'd always buy at least 2, to get a longer train
- cargo trains, I'd probably buy one
- 'something else' would be interesting, maybe a set with a small train, but one awesome accessory.
- AFOLs would grumble, but I would buy a 'fire train', or a forest-themed 'train robbery' set, because my kids would like it.
Similarly cross themes would be good:
- I too think a 'fire & rescue train' would sell well (actually I designed some, and even have it on Cuusoo) but it would need to have cross market appeal tested by Lego.
- hooklift city trucks and railroad wagons
- Forest Tractor and Log loader & wagons?

Cargo trains tend to be interesting, but also need to bring an interest for the child. So gravel loading or railroad construction could be interesting, but limited appeal as adult wants to buy a 'complete set', just as you mentioned.

I think your summary of buying is probably valid for most parents...

Edited by roamingstudio, 20 April 2012 - 09:00 AM.


#3 Sokratesz

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

The only recent train set I own is the Emerald Night, and only because I could buy the set for 80 and sold the wagon for 60, so I essentially got a 20€ emerald night loc and tender. All other trains, rolling stock and track side structures I own are from the 12v/9v era.

What LEGO would have to do to get me to buy a new train set is release one that does away with the plastic dinky toy look of the recent sets. I really dislike the look of 7938, and the set has limited re-playability and is difficult to rebuild as something else due to many of the parts being very un-LEGO like: too large, pre-shaped, limited other uses besides their intended one. Same goes for the 7939 cargo train and most other older RC and PF sets.

- Sok.

Edited by Sokratesz, 20 April 2012 - 09:03 AM.


#4 peterab

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:07 AM

I'm pretty much the opposite of you :-) I've got no kids and buy LEGO primarily to expand my layout which I'd like one day to be completely custom (ie no official sets) modelled after real trains.

For me what triggers a buy is if the parts included give me new options to build a particular prototype. In the case of the red cargo train, the red windshield was a must have. The more straight track, and wheels and couplings included the better. Motors and IR receivers are OK, but I'd happily do without more remote controls. The yellow cargo train really didn't have any killer feature but was a good value set with a lot of extras.

Other than that I like to collect the sets, though I won't buy ones that don't appeal to me. When my LUG puts on a train display it's always useful to have the current sets built to show people, as many are unaware LEGO even sells train sets.

I'd buy a stack of any set if it included 4x3 green train windows, or a replacement for the 2x2 printed windows from the 70's.

#5 JasperL

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

I vote for the Train Robbery set!

#6 tedbeard

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:35 PM

View PostJasperL, on 20 April 2012 - 04:04 PM, said:

I vote for the Train Robbery set!
As in The Great Train Robbery? That would be a great set. It would provide adults an interesting train and kids would have a story to build around.

Of course, without getting into licensing a 30+ year old movie they could do something similar in an "Old West" theme. Possibly tying into something like the Modular Western Town project on Cuusoo. Train and horse-riding bandits, oh the possibilities!
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#7 andythenorth

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 05:24 PM

New horses + Western theme +  train robbery set = win  :sweet:

Could be a simple steam train, basically the Toy Story train, adapted for 'not Toy Story'   :wink:
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#8 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:54 PM

I'm a middle aged engineer and former professor with no kids of my own, so I'm a bit on the opposite end of the consumer spectrum than andythenorth.  When I buy a kit it's usually for the build experience, so I favor detailed models made from lots of small, generic parts, preferably with a clever dash of SNOT here or there.  

The Emerald Night was right up my alley.  I bought several of them.  I justified it by telling myself that one was for display, one was to motorize and one was for customization/parts, but in the end it might have been just to get extra passenger cars.  

I tend to favor steam engines over more modern designs as I think they inherently have more character to them but there's still something to be said for offerings like the 10020 Santa Fe Super Chief, the 10133 Burlington Northern and the 10219 Maersk engines.

Marketing-wise, I have to say that the "My Own Train" line really drew me in.  I hadn't done much with Lego trains in years but that line of sets got me to open my wallet and start laying down track again.  Again, I like the brick-built nature of the rolling stock and engines (the general lack of oversized, specialty parts found in many of the City trains), the level of detail (I've seen better, but for a kit, not bad) and the "pick and choose" nature of being able to buy engines and cars individually.  As an AFOL, there wasn't a lot to complain about (I wish they'd do the same with some of their recent bundled rolling stock).

That said, I can appreciate where andythenorth is coming from, the lower-end, play-centric, complete train kits serve a very important purpose; not the least of which is giving parents the chance to bond with their kids while doing something creative and (speaking as an engineer and former teacher) educational.  Besides, the more kids we get interested in Lego Trains today, the more AFOLs ( demanding the high-end, complex-build, detailed kits that I love) there'll be tomorrow.


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#9 Hrw-Amen

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:55 PM

I have only got back into LEGO trains in the PF era after having 4.5V as a kid. I have the red passenger and yellow cargo trans but much prefer the Maersk and Emerald Night due to them looking more real. I also have another steam train I MOC'd from a photo. I prefer real looking engines and rolling stock although I don't mind them looking a little LEGOy as in bright colors as after all they are toys. Would love to own the red cargo train but cannot afford it right now as have lots of bills. I am disappointed it is being discontinued when it has not been around for long.

#10 Hechristensen

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:22 PM

View PostSokratesz, on 20 April 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

The only recent train set I own is the Emerald Night, and only because I could buy the set for 80 and sold the wagon for 60, so I essentially got a 20€ emerald night loc and tender. All other trains, rolling stock and track side structures I own are from the 12v/9v era.

What LEGO would have to do to get me to buy a new train set is release one that does away with the plastic dinky toy look of the recent sets. I really dislike the look of 7938, and the set has limited re-playability and is difficult to rebuild as something else due to many of the parts being very un-LEGO like: too large, pre-shaped, limited other uses besides their intended one. Same goes for the 7939 cargo train and most other older RC and PF sets.

- Sok.


I totally agree. The new PF sets look horrible compaired to the 12V and 9V trainsets. "PLASTIC DINKY TOY LOOK" -Couldn't have said it better! Posted Image

Just a thought: If they cant sell trains to the kids, maybe they should try to sell them to the adults.... They got the money, and they will probably pay a lot more for a good detailed set... I would!
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#11 stacker9000

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:40 PM

View Postandythenorth, on 20 April 2012 - 07:50 AM, said:

Still, I would happily buy around 5 train sets per year at an average £100 price point, if they were new set designs.
- passenger trains I'd always buy at least 2, to get a longer train
- cargo trains, I'd probably buy one
- 'something else' would be interesting, maybe a set with a small train, but one awesome accessory.
- AFOLs would grumble, but I would buy a 'fire train', or a forest-themed 'train robbery' set, because my kids would like it.

One final thing to say - buying behaviour:
- the cargo trains have 'better' accessories, but too much makes it a harder buy.  If I'm thinking "don't like the truck much", less likely to buy.  Too many cranes, forklifts, trucks, loaders etc pushes the price up too, price point needs to be around £100 for an easy buy.
- by contrast the passenger train is an easy buy because there are few accessories.  I don't really care if I don't like the platforms, they're just a small number of parts.




I have very similar feelings to andythenorth,

I think LEGO should package only the train-rolling stock-track pieces & motor equipment in a set(for a decent price), and separate the accessory buildings/vehicles to separate City packs.
As it really wouldn't change piece production, it would only add an additional City set to be purchased.(making it easier for collectors to purchase either type in larger amounts to amass parts)

But, hopefully also giving LEGO the oppurtunity to change designs for each type more often. For example the new "Gold Mine sets"..a meduim size set, priced at 39.99 or so could easily tie into a train set with a dump truck, conveyer system, and bulldozer or frontloader(dumptruck delivers ore, bulldozer/frontloader feeds conveyer to the train)...Where the set could exist on its own too(the bulldozer/frontloader uses the conveyer to load the dumptruck)

I only have bought one of each of the current train sets available(E.N.,yellow cargo,red cargo, Maersk)But, I would have bought doubles or maybe triples of a few of them if they were a little cheaper.(and I know, a person can sell off the extras(possibley at a profit)in the secondhand market, BUT, it is very difficult to convince my wife that if I spend it up front, that I can make it back.
Also it is a moderate hassle for me to picture, transfer, and post an ad.(I am more of a buyer than a seller.)

I understand LEGO adds accessories for the playability factor, but yes,a person could quickly fill a loading yard with cranes and forklifts from the past few sets that have been available. And I eagerly await new designs and equipment!
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#12 peterab

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:50 AM

View PostHechristensen, on 20 April 2012 - 11:22 PM, said:

Just a thought: If they cant sell trains to the kids, maybe they should try to sell them to the adults.... They got the money, and they will probably pay a lot more for a good detailed set... I would!

There are about 50,000 AFOLs, not all of whom like trains. Compare this with the number of kids in the western world who are likely to buy a set or have one bought for them. The scale of TLG these days means they have to target the kids. In some ways we are lucky as AFOLs that they can also target us even though we are a much smaller market.

The reason Emerald Night and Maersk exist is they are targeting AFOLs.

#13 fred67

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:57 AM

View Postpeterab, on 21 April 2012 - 03:50 AM, said:

There are about 50,000 AFOLs, not all of whom like trains. Compare this with the number of kids in the western world who are likely to buy a set or have one bought for them. The scale of TLG these days means they have to target the kids. In some ways we are lucky as AFOLs that they can also target us even though we are a much smaller market.

The reason Emerald Night and Maersk exist is they are targeting AFOLs.
There are also thousands of adults railfans who "play" with toy trains.  Trains like the EN and Maersk should be advertised to them.  I know I came to LEGO from being a train hobbyist, and finally sold most of my old N-Scale trains to go just with LEGO.  Of course, I like a lot of other LEGO, too, but I suspect many other train fans (even if not some huge majority) might also be interested.  All my years as an N-Scale hobbyist, and I didn't even know anything about "real" LEGO trains... whatever was around when I was a kid wasn't even motorized, AFAIR.

I've discussed LEGO trains with model railroad enthusiasts; at first they think LEGO trains are a joke, but if you can show them the EN and talk about modeling the same things they do - track side structures, trees, etc., then it becomes more interesting.  The ones that want absolute realism wouldn't buy, but the ones who like running the trains and building and "playing" become interested.

EDIT: Oh... on topic, I've found the PF and R/C "sets" (since the demise of 9V) to be completely uninspiring, but I bought several ENs and Maersks... at first it didn't matter to me, but now I need some realism or some other hook.  For example, I have a couple of versions of the Harry Potter train (terrible, but I like HP), and I got the Toy Story train and motorized it (because I like the "toy" look of it... the characters are still in their bags).

Edited by fred67, 21 April 2012 - 04:00 AM.


#14 peterab

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:52 AM

View Postfred67, on 21 April 2012 - 03:57 AM, said:

The ones that want absolute realism wouldn't buy, but the ones who like running the trains and building and "playing" become interested.

That's the catch right there; you're talking about a subset of a smallish hobby. LEGO is now the third largest toy manufacturer in the world, behind only Hasbro and Matel IIRC, who both have large stables of toys. LEGO is the single most popular toy in the world. Orders of magnitude difference between what makes a successful model train and a successful LEGO set. I doubt many model railway products get a production run of 10,000, which I've heard is the target for a moderately successful LEGO set, the most popular set (LEGO mindstorms FWIW) has sold over a million.

I'm thankful AFOL interest makes the exclusive trains viable at all.

Just wanted to add the note that Railfans are parochial too, I'm not that interested in either the EN or Maersk as models (parts packs is different:-) because I like German trains, you'll quickly splinter your train market with realistic trains.

Edited by peterab, 21 April 2012 - 06:56 AM.


#15 roamingstop

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:25 PM

If going for cross over themes - a reissue of 7823 but for the intermodal series (like the Maersk Train) could be interesting. Watching this video shows how kids could become hooked..

#16 Steinkopf

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:04 AM

From my view point what I want from TLG when it comes to train sets is a good number of usable parts that can be used to make a wide variety of models, making sets that have a specific theme of play such as a fire or forest robbery train may have some good playability initially but that will wear off over time and leave you with a bunch of parts that have limited usability. When it comes down too it Lego is a highly flexible creative medium where we as the user can make a multitude of models too the designs that we desire, I feel at times people seem to be neglecting this point and make comments such as Lego should do this or why doesn't Lego do that. Lego gives us that flexibility where if they don't make what we want we can make it ourselves, I have built a substantial collection of locomotives and rolling stock for my Legodtenstein Bundes Bahn by doing this, the only wagons I have left from official sets are the hoppers from 4512 and 7898 I also built extras of them as I think they are a simple yet nice design, the rest I have scrapped and used the parts to make my own designs. Given the flexibility that we have wouldn't it be more fun for parents to sit down with their kids and work together designing and creating the type of trains they want, rather than tipping the contents of a box onto the floor and following an instruction book, I know which one would develop more interaction and creativity as well as enhancing the concept of playtime.

Edited by Steinkopf, 22 April 2012 - 04:16 AM.


#17 pinioncorp

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:21 AM

I have to agree with Steinkopf and Peterab here: us as adult collectors would be better off with useful (often basic) parts in useful colours being released as opposed to specific designs. The release of the red windscreen was more exciting than the set could ever hope to be. While I like to have one set made up of those I have, I am not afraid to modify them where the designers could not, using all the available parts. It truly is a balancing act, the designers themselves want more detail and to release new parts that fans ask for, the management team needs to keep things as simple as possible, both in the build and the parts used (to keep the current catalogue small i.e. profitable) and it still needs to be affordable in stores to sell enough to make a profit, both for the retailer and TLG. We're lucky to have trains at all.

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#18 andythenorth

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:10 PM

@Steinkopf totally agree on sitting down and playing with the kids.  I'm an AFOL-with-kids, but also an AFOL-with-bricklink-account, so I've sat down and built plenty of MOC trains with the kids...several of them directly inspired by yours on Flickr  :wink:

(Some of mine are here http://www.flickr.co...s/andythenorth/ )

But I like sets too, especially at Christmas / birthdays.  For a child, the 'big box' moment is exciting.  And I'm not ashamed to say, I enjoy buying things, even if it's consumerist.  

Also, some days, especially with kids, it's just nice to have instructions to follow, it's more like knitting from a pattern than original creativity, but some days that's just easier :blush:

For what it's worth, I can see why AFOLs hope to be served by Lego, but ultimately train AFOLs are a small and demanding bunch, and many of them might be better served by a bricklink account and building their own MOCs.  There are no shortage of awesome, highly-detailed MOCS for inspiration.

Edited by andythenorth, 22 April 2012 - 06:11 PM.

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#19 StephanSz

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:42 PM

As a Lego train addict, I buy any set with trainwheels in it, or related to trains :) even Duplo!
When Lego doesn't produce new sets, I just buy more of the sets I allready have.
But it would be nice if they'd make at least two new sets a year. One with track for kids and one without track for AFOLs.
My kids ofcourse like to play with the trains. I sometimes use this excuse to buy more :)
But they'd never choose a train in the toystore by themselves... I wish more kids bought trains, so Lego would make more sets.
For kids the price is too high. A 40% to 50% store margin is OK on smaller sets, but it drives up the price too much on expensive sets. Webshops usually offer them much cheaper, but that doesn't help kids in toystores.

#20 Gryphon Ink

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:25 PM

I wanted to throw in my two cents and share what may be an unpopular opinion, because I've thought about buying at least one train to share with my kids.  But it hasn't happened yet, because the existing train sets are too expensive.  I generally don't buy any sets over $100, and I've only bought three at that price point.  I just think it's a little crazy, at least at our income level, to spend more than that on a Lego set when there are infinite toys and activities available that cost far less.

I do think trains are interesting "educational toys", and TLG could make money on them if they lowered the entry cost.  I'd love to see a $100 intro train set, just an engine and one car, a basic track layout and PF setup, with additional structures and cars available to buy separately.  I don't think it would have to be aimed at AFOLs specifically, because they already have the AFOLs covered with the more expensive train sets.
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#21 MetroiD

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:27 PM

I wanted to hear what other EB members would have to say on this matter before sharing my two cents and, generally, peterab and Steinkopf did sum up what I wanted to say just about perfectly.

On the general subject of LEGO Trains and AFOLs (since that's the direction where this topic seems to be heading) - first off,

View PostSteinkopf, on 22 April 2012 - 04:04 AM, said:

Lego gives us that flexibility where if they don't make what we want we can make it ourselves...
And then most definitely,

View Postpeterab, on 21 April 2012 - 06:52 AM, said:

I'm thankful AFOL interest makes the exclusive trains viable at all.
... oh and of course,

View Postpeterab, on 20 April 2012 - 09:07 AM, said:

I'd buy a stack of any set if it included 4x3 green train windows, or a replacement for the 2x2 printed windows from the 70's.
:wink:

As to the particular question which started this discussion...

In my case, Trains were a dream of mine while I was growing up as a kid seeing as motorized train toys were incredibly hard to come by during that time - in any kind or form, let alone as LEGO sets. Once I came out of my dark ages, just seeing the ATSF Super Chief and the BNSF GP-38 did trigger "buy" instantly, and I couldn't be happier about the fact that I now own these two. I was on the lookout for pretty much any old 9V train set (seeing as that was the era of my childhood), but after some deliberation I did narrow down my wishlist and ended up buying a decent amount of 9V rails and those two engines. The reason for that was the fact that I decided I wanted to focus on MOCcing my own trains, instead of building up a collection of old train sets, the appearance of which I wasn't too thrilled about anyway (too childish). The only exception is the Metroliner, which I might buy someday for sheer old times' sake and due to the fact that it's definitely become a legend. Other than that though, I tend to buy train 'parts' much more than train sets.

That said, I still regret not having managed to get a hold of a Hobby Trains set while prices were still low. I would never pay the absurd second-hand-market prices it commands now though, so I guess I might as well forget about it. Same goes for the Holiday Train - although whereas I like the Hobby Trains set for its immense value as a source of inspiration and guidance for newbie train MOCcers such as myself, the Holiday Train was just a set I considered 'cute'.

The Emerald Night and the Maersk Train are obviously a must-have for me; I'm planning on motorizing the former and finally buying the latter soon. Other than that though, I'm not considering getting any one of the 'regular' train sets currently on the market - most of all because I'm not happy with the variety of motorizing parts they offer (rechargeable battery please!), which to me greatly diminishes their value. Even though from a price per piece perspective, the yellow cargo train for example is a very good buy, I still don't find it tempting enough, especially considering the kind of train MOCs I have planned.

So, in a nutshell, in my case, "Buy" can be triggered by one of two things:
a) Sheer awesomeness, as displayed by the Emerald Night, Maersk Train, Santa Fe and BNSF. Obviously, that always comes with the "exclusivity" tag which in my books reads as "aimed at AFOLs".
b) Usefulness of set contents. Hobby Trains is a prime example for this, even though it could also easily have been included in the former category. The TTX intermodal set also fits in well under this category.

Unfortunately, b) is not really a factor on the market right now. If LEGO were to reintroduce the "My Own Train" line though, I imagine I'd spend quite some money on such sets.
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#22 Steinkopf

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:09 AM

View PostGryphon Ink, on 22 April 2012 - 08:25 PM, said:

I wanted to throw in my two cents and share what may be an unpopular opinion, because I've thought about buying at least one train to share with my kids.  But it hasn't happened yet, because the existing train sets are too expensive.  I generally don't buy any sets over $100, and I've only bought three at that price point.  I just think it's a little crazy, at least at our income level, to spend more than that on a Lego set when there are infinite toys and activities available that cost far less.

I do think trains are interesting "educational toys", and TLG could make money on them if they lowered the entry cost.  I'd love to see a $100 intro train set, just an engine and one car, a basic track layout and PF setup, with additional structures and cars available to buy separately.  I don't think it would have to be aimed at AFOLs specifically, because they already have the AFOLs covered with the more expensive train sets.
  
The expectation for Lego to produce PF equipped train sets for less than $100 US in many respects is unrealistic, Lego has taken a number of steps to make the sets more affordable, such as the new battery box that fits 6 x AAA batteries instead of the PF Li Po battery and charger. The current passenger train set 7938 for example retails for $129.99 US in the United States, when you compare the price of Lego train sets to those of traditional model railway train sets you will find Lego trains are reasonably priced. Another issue you have to look at is the GP (gross profit) margin of these sets to the retailers, in general the profit margin of the larger sets is only half that of small sets, I know this as I have been to quite a number of previews of the next years range over the years, the products on display have two prices one being the supply price and the other being the reccommended retail. Lego has to price these sets to a level that is attractive enough to make the retailers want to carry that product especially when you look at the shelf space that is taken up by them compared to the smaller sets, smaller sets move faster and are more profitable so it is always a hard sell for Lego to put products such as train sets on the shelves. To be frank though complaining about paying $100.00 US for a train set is a bit rich when you compare that with what the rest of us have to pay, in my country 7938 retails for $229.99 AUD this is despite the fact that the Australian dollar has been trading above parity for quite a while now, basically I am having to pay 90% more than someone living in the US.

Many of us would like to see the return of the glory days when you could buy extra wagons and lineside structure sets unfortunately I don't think this will happen, in the 1980s and early 1990s Trains could as a standalone theme hold their ground. These days they are seen more as a supplement to the City theme thats probably why they are offered as a more complete set, I can still see the basics such as a train station being provided but that is as far as it will go. The changing nature of play these days coupled to the increase in competition from other products has had it's effect, especially games consoles which in many respects were in their infancy back then has made it more difficult for traditional toy companies to provide a large and diverse range of products compared to the good old days.

Edited by Steinkopf, 23 April 2012 - 11:19 AM.


#23 Mr Benn

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:27 PM

Unfortunately trains are a very low priority for TLG - there isn't quite the interest in them overall as us train enthusiasts would hope!

Check out this thread over at brickset, the posts by Lego_Nabii (who works for TLG) are very enlightening in this respect.

http://www.bricksetf...ore-monorail/p1

#24 roamingstop

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:43 PM

View PostMr Benn, on 23 April 2012 - 01:27 PM, said:

Check out this thread over at brickset, the posts by Lego_Nabii (who works for TLG) are very enlightening in this respect.
Thanks for the link - a very interesting read - ignoring the flames, the embers make a lot of sense. As a product manager - I too know the problem of listening to a select few people in order to make revolutionary products. A good quote this morning from a friend... have a look at the second book in this list

#25 andythenorth

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 04:21 PM

View PostSteinkopf, on 23 April 2012 - 11:09 AM, said:

The expectation for Lego to produce PF equipped train sets for less than $100 US in many respects is unrealistic

+1

$100 is unworkable, it would be a crippled set that wouldn't appeal to kids or parents.  £100 sterling converts out as $160 US or $156 AUD (I appreciate everything in Oz has inflated prices, so you'd be paying more like $220 AUD at a guess).  £100 was my suggested average price point across a range of 3-4 sets available at any one time.  This gives room for small / middling / big sets.  £100 seems a fair price to me - as a parent.

@MrBenn - I've seen that thread, it's interesting.  

General comment: almost everyone posting in this thread - unsurprisingly - appears to be an AFOL without kids, I guess that's a general theme on Eurobricks, but it does represent a very skewed view.  My guess is that most AFOLs are also active in online Lego communities; non-AFOL parents will rarely if ever participate in these communities.

I started the thread because I'd like to see TLG keep designing and retailing a strong line of child-oriented train sets, as toys.  I think there's something worthwhile in that.  :sweet:
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