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TLG Train Sets - What Triggers 'Buy'?


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#26 domboy

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 07:18 PM

View Postroamingstudio, on 23 April 2012 - 01:43 PM, said:

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

What triggers "buy"? Interesting question...

To preface that, as a kid I always thought lego trains would be awesome, as I loved trains as a kid. Too costly for my family.

As an adult, when I started rediscovering Legos I thought about trains, but figured I'd better not as if I got the bug it would become expensive. Emerald Night was very tempting, but I resisted. For some reason the Maersk finally did it, and once I'd committed, I knew I had to get both it and the Emerald Night. See? Expensive. The regular train sets in the city range at the time (Yellow cargo and Red Passenger) didn't do it for me as they aren't as interesting from a building perspective, or as a train type. I think modern American diesels are what I find more appealing (that and Steam). I am somewhat tempted to find the money to buy the Red cargo train, though mostly to get my little boy his own train then for me. If Lego does another train exclusive I'll probably buy it. Oddly enough at a $100-120 price point it's easier to swallow than a complete train set with track and structures etc. I can buy track a little bit here, a little bit there to spread out the cost. Might be more expensive in the long run, but easier to fit into the budget.

Edited by domboy, 23 April 2012 - 07:37 PM.


#27 Gryphon Ink

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:29 PM

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

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.

First of all, I wasn't complaining.  I simply stated that my personal limit on Lego spending is around $100, and that I'd like to see an entry-level train at that price point.  That's what I can afford to pay for toys.  If you can afford more than that, good for you.  I guess you win the Internets.

Secondly, it's "a bit rich" to complain about what you "have to pay" for Lego.  You do realise you don't have to pay for Lego at all, right?  It's a hobby, not a necessity.  You make the choice to pay those prices.  If the price is too high, don't buy it.  But then you'd be in the same boat as me, and you wouldn't win the Internets.
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#28 Gryphon Ink

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:48 PM

View Postdomboy, on 23 April 2012 - 07:18 PM, said:

Oddly enough at a $100-120 price point it's easier to swallow than a complete train set with track and structures etc. I can buy track a little bit here, a little bit there to spread out the cost. Might be more expensive in the long run, but easier to fit into the budget.

Exactly!  I'd rather buy a semi-crippled $100 train and some individual track pieces one bit at a time than shell out $200 for the "complete" set - which, as we all know, really isn't complete because once you've done that you want to do a different layout, and add another car, and hey you need a couple of crossings to intersect with your City layout, and what about this and what about that...

But really, I do understand that a $100 set is never going to happen.  I think the current passenger train is about as inexpensive as Trains are ever going to get.  It just means that I'm probably not going to get into Trains any time soon.
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#29 MetroiD

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:17 PM

Gryphon Ink, you seem to have gotten a bit overly excited about something that never was about "winning the Internets" in the first place. Besides, I really don't get what the problem is, the Emerald Night and the Maersk Train are easily within the suggested range (100 - 120 USD) - so there's your "entry" train, and it even doesn't have to be semi-crippled. If you want something else / more, you just need to pay 9 USD more for the Passenger Train Set. If, however, there's still some reason due to which you don't want to buy said Train set, that's probably not directly related to LEGO's pricing policy, and has more to do with your self-imposed limit on buying sets that cost over 100 USD. At the end of the day though, with those sets you easily get substantially more value for your money than with any one of the smaller sets, so I don't see what's the problem in passing up a few small sets in order to just save up for something that costs 20 USD over your limit.

The point that Steinkopf was trying to make was that TLG would be hard-pressed to come up with any sort of viable motorized train set under the price point of 100 USD (or 100 EUR, for that matter). On the other hand, the point you made about TLG actually making money on train sets if they "lower the entry cost" would suggest either producing a substantially inferior product, or reintroducing a policy that TLG have officially abandoned - I'm talking about the "My Own Train" line which offered LEGO customers the option to buy different sorts of engines (well, one in different colours), and cars for those. It was, as you're probably aware, a financial disaster for LEGO. So back to the initial assumption - your only hope is for TLG to start producing Chinese-quality toys, since considering the current product manufacturing and development costs the company has, suggesting you'd gladly pay $100 USD for a LEGO set with "just an engine and one car, a basic track layout and PF setup", as you put it, really sounds rather humorous, shall we say - as you did notice yourself.

At the end of the day, what's crucial here is that AFOLs use LEGO as a means for building train layouts for a reason. If all we wanted was train models, we could easily have started an N-, H0, O- or some-other-gauge layout and bought our products from Roco, Hornby, Märklin, Lionel, etc. At subsantially higher prices, I might add. A huge percentage of AFOL Train enthusiasts though find pleasure in the unique element of MOCcing, and I believe that TLG have finally realised that with their train products, aiming towards adult train hobbyists and still having a "toy"-priced product (as opposed to e.g. Hornby, Märklin, Lionel, etc.) would be immensely difficult. So what they're doing is primarily focusing on kids, like they should, and making sure they still have about enough of an offering on the market for AFOLs to build what they really desire. Which, if you ask me, is a very smart business model, and one that is exactly conceived in order to make sure that the entry level price for LEGO Trains is substantially lower than it would be for similar products. Notwithstanding the above, TLG have separately also introduced the Exclusives line and offered AFOL Train fans (at least) two gorgeous train sets at very decent prices. We really just couldn't / shouldn't ask for much more - or at least that's how I feel.
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#30 Sokratesz

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:55 PM

View PostMetroiD, on 24 April 2012 - 04:17 PM, said:

I'm talking about the "My Own Train" line which offered LEGO customers the option to buy different sorts of engines (well, one in different colours), and cars for those. It was, as you're probably aware, a financial disaster for LEGO.

Can you substantiate this?

#31 MetroiD

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:15 PM

View PostSokratesz, on 24 April 2012 - 04:55 PM, said:

Can you substantiate this?
Well for starters, for an ambitious train line aimed towards train collectors, as this one was generally conceived, it had the 3-year lifespan of a LEGO set... The fact that the plug was pulled on it so quickly suggests that something was inherently wrong not just with the set designs, but also with the entire premise on which it was based as well. From what I've heard (conveniently enough, the My Own Train times coincided with my Dark Ages), the My Own Train sets were never particularly good sellers, even though there were umpteen of them available in all sorts of various combos. Considering how those were generally geared towards adult Train fans, their build was obviously way too basic and undetailed and had little improvements over the 'regular' 9V designs - which I'm sure must have contributed. Add to that the fact that pretty much each car had a different colour, not to mention the ludicrous idea of having the exact same engine available with just slight colouring alterations and marketed as different sets, which didn't make for a very 'adult' train experience either - yet contributed to substantially increasing production costs which were then never covered by ample sales.

I'm obviously not an employee of TLG so would have no way of substantiating my presumption regarding the financial downfall of the My Own Train line, but I guess the most obvious sign that something didn't go quite right there was the fact that after the line was cancelled, retailers still had plenty of those sets lying around and were in a huge hurry to get rid of them ASAP (same as the case with the Santa Fe cars) - which led to serious discounts on sets that would in time become pretty darn valuable... Don't get me wrong, personally I have no gripe with the MOT line whatsoever and would have been more than happy to buy quite a few of those sets - some I found well designed, but most would go just for MOCcing purposes. I do believe that if given some more time and deliberation, it could have been a bit more successful. I don't believe it could have been successful enough to warrant replacing the currently available Exclusives Train sets though.

...Aaaand we now seem to have successfully derailed the topic from its original intent. Sorry for that, Andy. I hope we can continue discussing the "Buy"-triggering factors now. :sweet:
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#32 andythenorth

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:34 PM

View Postdomboy, on 23 April 2012 - 07:18 PM, said:

I am somewhat tempted to find the money to buy the Red cargo train, though mostly to get my little boy his own train then for me.

And there, for me lies the heart of the question - and why I started the thread.

My guess is that without christmas and birthday sales - for kids, but the sale is to a parent - trains simply aren't viable for TLG.  No parents buying = no TLG trains.  I can't prove it with numbers but I think it's a reasonable guess.

No trains limits the sources of MOC parts to Bricklink, eBay and/or Enlighten trains (which look cheap and nasty).  This is bad for AFOLs and bad for kids who want to MOC.

So what would cause you to buy the red cargo train?  :classic:

(I can confirm that the red cargo train was a christmas hit for my boy, especially combined with the harbour set)

Edited by andythenorth, 24 April 2012 - 05:36 PM.

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#33 1974

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:20 PM

I'd like to ad that it's not hard to find the 7938 for 100EUR, so there's your eh, 100 euro motorized train  :classic:

Instead of complaining, we should be happy that there IS/HAVE BEEN a bunch of trains avaliable in the last few years .. and buy loads of them to boot! If you don't like the designs, it's easy to dump the parts you deem unnecessary at BL. Or just buy the motor/wheel parts at BL. Both options will get you cheep trains

I've done both and I've bought about 15 of the newer trains (and none of the MYT on BL as I think those designs are not very good)

The only thing I'm a little saddened about is the lack of train related buildings as in the 80's and the silly packages TLF offer with spare tracks. I think I've read the curve and straight tracks are made from the same mould, but that makes no sense as there are more curved tracks in TLG's sets than straights  :hmpf_bad:

So, please give us 8/16 straights with nothing else  :tongue:

TLG seems to be on a license roll these days, but I'm sure trains will be back sometime. Yes, they may be expensive to produce but TLG have made a wise choise with PF and that development have probably paid it selv by now and we can only hope for more PF trains in the future (and perhaps without/with seperate rolling stock)

But if we DON'T buy the current trains, there will surely be a long time with no new stuff for us  :sing:

So, please BUY more trains! They seem to sell quite well here in Denmark btw
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#34 domboy

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

View Postandythenorth, on 24 April 2012 - 05:34 PM, said:

And there, for me lies the heart of the question - and why I started the thread.

My guess is that without christmas and birthday sales - for kids, but the sale is to a parent - trains simply aren't viable for TLG.  No parents buying = no TLG trains.  I can't prove it with numbers but I think it's a reasonable guess.

No trains limits the sources of MOC parts to Bricklink, eBay and/or Enlighten trains (which look cheap and nasty).  This is bad for AFOLs and bad for kids who want to MOC.

So what would cause you to buy the red cargo train?  :classic:

(I can confirm that the red cargo train was a christmas hit for my boy, especially combined with the harbour set)

Good question. I think right now it's probably just a lack of available funds (I only just bought the motor to power the Maersk, and I've had that since July). I love the red locomotive, which is why I've thought about using my little boy as justification... :classic: I'm sure he'd love to have his own train, especially a red locomotive! Of course, he's only 4, so does he really need his own Lego train just yet? :sweet: He's getting pretty good a building Legos with help on the instructions, and understands how to use the PF controller and change the switch tracks. I'm sure I will get him his own train at some point, but I don't know if it'll be the red cargo or whatever comes next.

#35 fred67

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:09 PM

There's definitely a split in the market for kids and adults; while many of us like both kinds of sets, some of us prefer one over the other.

I'd point out that many of us do have kids, and if I didn't have kids I'd never have gotten back into LEGO.  It's a long story, but not uncommon, I think.

I'd also point out that those complete sets - the cargo and passenger trains, sets like those routinely sell out at Christmas, so while a lot of LEGO train fans are AFOLs, I'm certain more sets are sold to or for kids.

I'd also suggest (as others have) that a $100 set is untenable based on the pieces alone.  A decent starter set in any other scale is going to cost well over $100... the fact that there are ones that are below $100 is besides the point - there's no such thing as a low-quality LEGO train set, whether the design is "childish" or not.

The passenger train set is about as simple as it gets... a single loop of track, with the only possible "extraneous" parts being flex track and a brick built platform that is probably not more than a couple bucks in parts.  What would you have them take out to reduce the price to $100?  MRSP at $130US is already quite low, all things considered.

#36 Nikola Bathory

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:49 AM

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

, 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.

I inderstand your desire for the set "to be playable out of the box", but imagine how much a Maersk or an Emerald night would cost, if it comes with track and PF stuff! These are more expensive models even without these parts. I think that the higher price would stop people from bying it.
Also, I don't think that the Maersk is aimed at children. It's a big and detailed train. Will they have the skills and patience to build it?

Edited by Nikola Bathory, 03 May 2012 - 11:17 AM.


#37 MarkV

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:09 PM

I'm coming into this discussion a little late and with little experience in Lego Trains, so maybe I'm a good guinea pig (or not) for an opinion from the masses.

Background - we have 3 kids - 8 and under.  We haven't Lego'd much until they started showing a recent interest and the bug from my childhood is back with a vengeance.

I see LEGO trains as an opportunity to build layouts with my kids, but with the added bonus of getting them interested in building the train stations, the train yard, a loading dock, terrain, etc.  This is either through sets or through imaginitive building.  

My current tact is to get them geared up so we're ready for a holiday building spree at the end of the year - trains around the tree, buildings, shops, etc.  I'd much rather spend money on Lego than have my wife waste it on holiday decorations. :)

I don't care if a set comes with PF and tracks.  I'm willing to invest in PF and tracks separately - I do want trains that the electronics can be swapped in and out of (PF is nice for this).  I do want variety and realistic looking trains and cars.  I can't see us building a holiday setting around a big Toy Story train, although there may be some themes where it would work out.  Buildings are a nice to have, but not critical, although they do have a certain draw...

#38 LiamM32

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 06:35 AM

I buy trains much differently from you. As a TFOL that buys trains for myself, I like good looking working trains with a good building experience, few specialized pieces, and good reviews.

I got the Emerald Night because it was considered a classic by many, it looked great to me, and it was a system set that also used Technic heavily; with working pistons and gears. I like to get the well-reviewed sets that look interesting to me. If they sold extra cars for the EN separately, then I would buy them. But I liked it that it gave me and other builders an opportunity to design our own cars. I've made some progress on my Kitchen car since my first post on Eurobricks. Because they're exclusive and therefore expensive to buy used, it would still be good to be able to buy the windows (6556 tan, 4034 trans-clear, 4035 tan, 4036 trans-clear, 60032 tan, 60601 trans-clear), and possibly the other pieces for the EN cars on Pick-a-Brick.

Although the EN and Maersk are at the top of my list because of the build, I might get 7938 because electrics are my favourite in real-life, and I like the colour scheme. Although some say they don't like the look of the bricky front, I actually like it. I really don't like the big specialized front on the older 7897.

I wanted some My-Own-Train as a child. I still like the idea. But they look a bit under-detailed to me, and I would rather have a series where 1 or 2 cars are released each month than just one wave. I do understand that they're very slow selling though.

I only have one train, which is PF, but in theory, I slightly prefer PF over 9v. Because of the electrified rails, 9v restricts exactly what I want to do with switch tracks. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that 9v has individual train control. From what I've seen, I like it that 12v uses many pieces, and more flexibility, using separate pick-up bricks and motors. One thing that I like about 9v (in theory) is the lack of space needed, making it better for self-propelled multiple unit. A train charging station track would be good for PF.

Tell me if you think that this would sell well, but I had the idea of putting train tracks and cars in sets where trains aren't the main purpose of the set; such as a harbour with 8 straights and a well car. This might have the effect of getting children into train who would of otherwise been not too enthusiastic. But maybe the trains would dominate the set, and make them lose interest.

In my introductory post, I talked more about what I wanted as a child.

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

- AFOLs would grumble, but I would buy a 'fire train', or a forest-themed 'train robbery' set, because my kids would like it.
I did like the fire train that someone made, and the full scale version. Not that I would buy it. I imagined a 'police train' set differently; a DMU prison transfer train, with a rear car for the prisoners, a powered car at the front for the driver and officers, and maybe even a smaller central car to transport food and water. If they wanted to make the price jump significantly, they could combine it with a small max security prison.
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#39 Mark Bellis

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 05:36 PM

Apart from my first blue-rail train set 171, I have always looked at the parts in a train set before deciding to buy.
The parts trigger has increased as my LEGO collection has grown.  I think the decision to buy has varied for each set and has varied depending on whether I wanted 1 or many of each set.

From age 9 to a TFOL I found the 12V range very desirable, but due to lack of funds at the time I bought bare motors rather than the train sets.  In 1996, just as I was buying up the last 12V spares, my trains went wider than 6 and have stayed there ever since.  I ran 10 12V motors in my own 8mm:1ft scale trains till 1 failed.

Then in 2001, with 12V motors being unavailable, I had to convert to 9V, replacing motors 2 for 1 in most locos.  I still bought mostly bare motors.
Of the 9V sets, here's why I bought the ones I did (note personal opinions, not pejorative, each person has their own motives):
4525 rail repair digger had finger hinges, a rail worker and suspension wheels (when I didn't buy those from City sets).  Bought 5
4537 tankers made a handy rake of wagons.  Bought 6
4544 car transporter was a good basic 4-wheel wagon chassis and a last chance to get the uniquely-thin signal gantry pieces used in the 12V range.  Bought 6
4547 club car was a good carriage but not a "buy many" set as I didn't have the Metroliner train set to go with it.  That is the problem with a derivative extra carriage - you have to have the base set in order to buy many.. This may have crossed TLG's mind when refusing to make an extra carriage set for Emerald Night.
Station 4554 had ramps and looked better in yellow than its red equivalent - I would not have bought it in red, given similar availability where I live.  This was better than any of the other stations too - I didn't buy any others.
Cargo terminal 4555 had useful wagons and slider parts that I used in a larger crane in 1996, so this was mostly about parts: high yield = more sales.  These might have been the first 9V sets I bought, with enough track (10 straights) to test whether the 12V wheels would work with 9V track.  Bought 5
Train set 4559 was not a "buy new" set because it was weird.  Yellow bases not useful.  I got one second-hand.
Train set 4561 was better and the windows were versatile considering the demise of proper train windows.  Black bases were a more useful colour.  I bought 2 new and 1 second hand.  Also no need to buy separate controllers.
Goods train set 4565 had some interesting parts but it was not a "buy many" set.
Motor 5300 / 10153.  Bought at least 50.  Most in use and a few spares in case of failure (lesson learned from 12V failure).  Some of my trains use 4.
10013 Caboose: bought 10
10014 Log Wagon: bought 10.  Logs are one type of load that would make a good train, maybe 3 bought wagons to 1 built wagon?
10015 Passenger Coach: was too bespoke so I didn't buy any.  Would have bought some if it had had a mix of wide and narrow windows.  Would have made a great conversion to Class 101 DMU as "Daisy" from the Thomas stories.
10016 Tanker.  Bought 5, converted to 4-wheel wagons because the 8-wide tank works well with my wider trains.
10017 Hopper.  Bought 1.  Prototype for my Railtrack hoppers - I used a similar means of opening the hopper doors.
The My Own Train loco concept was flawed because the design of the train itself was not what I wanted to buy.
10020 Santa Fe Loco: Bought 2, to run as a pair.
10025: bought 5, enough to make a train for the locos.  Didn't buy 10022.
10027 Shed: Arches not wide enough for my bigger trains.  I took the concept lessons and added them to those of the shed in the 7777 ideas book, but didn't buy the set.
10133 BNSF loco: bought 2, as education in US trains (you can never have just 1 with US trains!), and to compare with Cyclopedia books.  Might make a larger version sometime.
10173 Christmas Train: Bought 2.  Fun set, has proper train windows.  I made a better 6-wide tree wagon from the 2 sets, more like a British prototype log wagon.
9V Track: lots of all types but no 90-degree crossings.
Feed wires: lots, all allocated for experiments or permanent use.  Plans for sectional operation, using insulation tape at some track joints to make the sections.  My layout currently has 4 sections, each using 2 feed wires.  The inner circuit will be similar.

RC trains: Bought no sets.  Train set 7897 was atrocious, with its nose being the 2nd most useless part ever.
Bought just a few motors 8866 to experiment with.  Torque hopelessly inadequate.  This would have been the demise of LEGO trains if we AFOLs had not stepped in to push for a more powerful PF train motor.

PF trains:
7938 Passenger Train: Good stand-alone set.  Versatile enough, learnt the lessons after the poor RC train.  Having bought 1 I thought I could make a second through-carriage from the parts of the two end ones, so I bought another.  I now have a 5-car multiple unit as a basis for 6-wide experiments, to supplement and feed the wider trains.
I haven't bought any of the goods trains yet, because I still have 9V track and plenty of LEGO parts to make any conceivable plant to go with the trains.  Now that I'm into scale modelling I'm more likely to make a real-looking hopper system from Technic parts and hence not need the bespoke parts from the good trains sets.  So in a sense I've grown out of the play opportunities presented by these sets.
10194 Emerald Night: Bought 1 for experimenting, then another 4 to support my Future Large Steam Engine project.  Best steam engine TLG has ever made, so I had to encourage them by buying it.  I hope its replacement is just as good, has black wheels (red ones are useless to me) and is not long in coming.
10219 Maersk Train: Not a bad set but not quite what I wanted.  I already have larger containers and a pocket wagon for them.
7867 Flexi Track: I'm getting into flexi-track slowly, pending good results from my experiments with it.  If it continues to do well then I should buy some more, maybe up to another 1000 pieces over the next 10 years.
7996 Double Crossover.  I was glad to be able to operate this pneumatically.  Bought 2
88002 Motors: They performed well in torque testing.  I expect to buy more as PF trains grow on me.  I will retain the 9V capability for the main line for the time being and run PF in the yard, but a wide flexi-track curve will be tested on the main line in due course.  If it performs well then my transition to PF will accelerate.

In summary:
My experiments with 6-wide sets have supported my wider trains.  If the parts yield from a set, for use with my wider trains, is poor then I won't buy.
The new anti-swallow couplings are expensive parts (high proportion of the cost of the sets) and I need only so many of them before I won't buy the sets any more.  If TLG separate the buffers from the coupling mount then I could buy the sets freely and widen the buffers.
Wagon baseplates are another high proportion of the cost of a set so these have to be a sensible colour.  Black, grey, dark grey OK but white or yellow are silly, resulting in no sale.
I think PF-compatible is a good way to go for locos.  Keep the motor etc... separate so that the train set can be a better parts pack or the customer can define their own motorising solution if they wish.
As time has gone by, growing up and getting a job, my LEGO funds have exceeded my ambition to buy the sets and I have become more choosy.  I used to have a train set.  Now I have a scale model railway with proper scenery.  I buy a lot of PaB and fewer sets.  Everything's a parts pack and a set has to be spectacular and reasonably priced for me to buy it just for the set it is.  What I want from a train set is the right bespoke train parts, good value and a model that gives me an idea, especially if I can convert the set into something for my wider trains.  The extra wagon packs were good for that.

LEGO is what it always has been - a new toy every day.  The driver is ideas, followed by the parts to make them happen.

Mark
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#40 rday1982

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 10:01 AM

As far as Lego trains go, I'll buy one of any train set that I can afford at the time of release, and that'll be mainly for parts to play with when trying to build a train of either my own design or an actual locomotive series from the age of steam (or possibly classic diesels).

I'll buy multiples of any Lego train that's got parts which are rare/useful, any set that I want more than one of the component models (eg: EN's coach. Had I known about it and been able to justify buying Lego to my rather un-understanding ex-girlfriend whilst that was actually being sold, I'd have wanted three sets for the coach alone), any set that looks like I can MOC something interesting out of it, and anything that I think I can chuck on eBay for a profit once it's discontinued. This is all contingent on my having the spare cash (which is sporadic, due to what I do and when I do it. But that's another story, for another forum).

My Lego train layout is still very much under construction. I'd like ideally to represent as many of the big mainline steam locomotives run by BR before the discontinuation of steam, eventually. But that's not going to happen for a while. I'd like to switch over from 9V to PF, as well. That's going to take time to accomplish properly. I'm also going to want to focus on scenery once I've got the "train set" part of things sorted.

For me, what triggers "buy" when I have money in my pocket is when I see something that I would have been excited about when I was small, something that would have had me begging my parents for money or drawing up plans to rob a bank in order to finance the purchase of it. Lego trains generally fit that description, but train-associated sets do too(and train robbery sets sounds like something that my inner 8-year-old would have gone absolutely NUTS for).

When it comes to Lego, I'm really only an AFOL because it represents a way to have a train set without being "that guy" who makes scenery from balsa wood, gets excited over the production of a new limited-run milk tanker by Bachmann, has fingers covered in enamel paint, obsesses over the realism and detail level of his fake ballast, and generally has no friends.

If that goes away, my Lego collection will be up on eBay, piece by piece. Literally. It'll be worth about ten times more that way than as a bulk lot.

#41 JopieK

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:25 AM

I do not agree at all to those that state that children don't like trains. As posted here, I am teacher of a group of high school students that built a train system in cooperation with teacher training students for primary school kids (a whole mouth full). But the effect: children love to see that LEGO trains can be so educational. We linked it also to high speed train control systems etc so we gave children more insight on sensors, micro controllers (we didn't call it that of course) and actuators.

It works very well. LEGO is still one of the best selling toys in NL. When talking to children at LEGO world etc. it seems that stuff like Ninjago is much more temporary than trains. What lacks is LEGO having a versatile system of trains just like they did in the 12V era.

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#42 roamingstop

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

View PostJopieK, on 01 July 2012 - 11:25 AM, said:

When talking to children at LEGO world etc. it seems that stuff like Ninjago is much more temporary than trains. What lacks is LEGO having a versatile system of trains just like they did in the 12V era.
And perhaps there you hit the nail on the head. Look at all the marketing which went into Ninjago. It is a brand which is likely to flare brightly, and burn a lot of $$$, and then fade to glowing embers. A 2-3 year life cycle which can be relight with a slight variation (Bionicle -> Hero).

Trains need a lot of long term investment. And SPACE. It might not burn so brightly, but will burn for a very long time. It is a completely different market strategy... but we might be seeing it with he AFOL Emerald Night and Maersk trains, some good designs for Cargo and Passenger models slowly feeding the fire.

There is a good interview with the Product Manager of PF systems on Technic Bricks where it is mentioned that there is a 'long list' of PF type items planned, but only released when sufficient number of products require it.

I agree the Arduino platforms can be a much better resource especially for complex sytems, but perhaps they would be in the realm of Education / Hobbyist much more than kids. Trains as a learning tool help many people; there is optimal scheduling of trains on a track (with disturbances such as late, accidents etc), optimal reordering of wagons in shunting yards (minimise time, cost efficiency).

Edited by roamingstudio, 01 July 2012 - 11:45 AM.


#43 LovinLegoSince97

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 06:49 AM

I love the reality of the Maersk and as always the build is part of the whole experience.  What triggers my to want a train set deals with the reality of the set.  Also what comes with the set, I got the 3677 because it was on sale and came with track PF and cars. I really enjoyed the Maersk set a lot because I see SD-40-2  locomotives with intermodal railcars every other day, I see the Maersk cargo containers(large and small) and Maersk trailers on the road and in our local container yards. The thought of setting up the locomotive in my lego setup that I am building is what drove me to want it and eventually get it. (Also wanting more Maersk sets after how amazing it is and looks)....  I think if TLG came out with  a My Own Train line again, or a set with accessories for a train yard,minifigures, small buildings, crossings, like the old locomotive shed set. it would be very popular with all the AFOL and MOCers, I would personally love to be able to buy 5 of the same railcar to setup in my yard.
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#44 rday1982

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:09 AM

View PostLovinLegoSince97, on 02 July 2012 - 06:49 AM, said:

I think if TLG came out with  a My Own Train line again, or a set with accessories for a train yard,minifigures, small buildings, crossings, like the old locomotive shed set. it would be very popular with all the AFOL and MOCers.

I know I'd love to grab a few of those, for train parts, if they were re-released.

#45 domboy

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 04:05 PM

View Postandythenorth, on 24 April 2012 - 05:34 PM, said:

And there, for me lies the heart of the question - and why I started the thread.

My guess is that without christmas and birthday sales - for kids, but the sale is to a parent - trains simply aren't viable for TLG.  No parents buying = no TLG trains.  I can't prove it with numbers but I think it's a reasonable guess.

No trains limits the sources of MOC parts to Bricklink, eBay and/or Enlighten trains (which look cheap and nasty).  This is bad for AFOLs and bad for kids who want to MOC.

So what would cause you to buy the red cargo train?  :classic:

(I can confirm that the red cargo train was a christmas hit for my boy, especially combined with the harbour set)



View Postdomboy, on 24 April 2012 - 09:38 PM, said:

Good question. I think right now it's probably just a lack of available funds (I only just bought the motor to power the Maersk, and I've had that since July). I love the red locomotive, which is why I've thought about using my little boy as justification... :classic: I'm sure he'd love to have his own train, especially a red locomotive! Of course, he's only 4, so does he really need his own Lego train just yet? :sweet: He's getting pretty good a building Legos with help on the instructions, and understands how to use the PF controller and change the switch tracks. I'm sure I will get him his own train at some point, but I don't know if it'll be the red cargo or whatever comes next.

Ok, I'm bringing back a slightly older thread... again... I need closure...

I finally got a trigger to buy 3677 Red Cargo Train. I bought it for my little boy (now ~4.5 yr) as I had originally hoped. He's thrilled! It was awesome to see him carry that big box to the counter to check out!  :classic:

Like I said it in last post on this, it really did come down to having available funds, as the desire was always there, but I don't usually have $160 just laying around. Once I had the funds, the decision was easy. And the funds came from a lucky break (or a Providential provision depending on your world view) of buying a lot of Legos from a co-working who was selling them for her son who was "outgrowing them" (right... he may regret that someday). I "bricklinked" the missing pieces and resold most of them (kept 7641, 7994, and 7734) on ebay and ended up with enough profit $$ to buy the 3677 train set, some extras (switches/points etc) to go with it, PF stuff for my Emerald Night, and also to finally finish my Bricklink reconstructing projects (10027 and 7838). Very cool... well worth the time spent sorting, rebuilding, and photographing...

I must say one of the reasons (a secondary trigger perhaps) I decided I really should get 3677 for my son (instead of the other two, yellow cargo or red passenger) was I realized the cargo pallets for both the box car (hazard car) and the maintenance car is the same design Lego used in 7733 & 7734 so the play value would be greatly increased by having all three sets (which we now do) and being able to move the cargo the between truck, train, and plane. Pretty cool! I love it when Lego does something like this to make different sets go well with each other (unfortunately the story with containers isn't so happy).

Edited by domboy, 13 August 2012 - 04:28 PM.


#46 andythenorth

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:22 PM

View Postdomboy, on 13 August 2012 - 04:05 PM, said:

I bought it for my little boy (now ~4.5 yr) as I had originally hoped. He's thrilled! It was awesome to see him carry that big box to the counter to check out!  :classic:
The happy face of a kid who's just been given a big box of lego - if I worked at TLG that's what I would be striving for every single day  :classic:

Edited by andythenorth, 13 August 2012 - 06:23 PM.

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