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Discussion Starter #1
Hello once again,

Does anyone have any information about Kalamazoo trains, cars and/or track? I am looking at picking up some of them but I have nothing to go on as far as pricing or quality. If anyone knows of any links or information that can help me it would be appreciated or if you have personal experience with them even better. (By the way, this has been the bext forum that I have found yet on G scale trains).

Rich
 

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They haven't been made since the 80's I believe. Toy like quality in about 1:24 scale. The molds were sold to Hartland Locomotive Works who now use them as the base for most of their steam locomotives. Hartland makes good sturdy stuff that a bit toy like but can be detailed.

-Brian
 

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Kalamazoo was an early American manufacturer in the largescale hobby. As Brian mentioned, the visual look is toy-like and if I remember correctly, they identified themselves as toy train makers. The castings are very solid and durable, good for bashing, but the drive units have an issue. While excellently engineered overall, the plastic gear on the drive axle is not a great mesh and with age (they are ALL old now) have a tendency to crack. The good news is that Hartland makes an excellent replacement gear.
I have bought a number of Kalamazoo locos, but I don't think I've ever paid over $35 for one, as I have to put a large effort in them to get them up to Rogue County specks!!
Chris
 

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As the others have already noted, Hartland Locomotive Works picked up a lot of the Kalamazoo products. I think the gondola, box, and flat cars are still the original Kalamazoo designs. HLW also picked up some of the Delton pieces. The short passenger cars and the long passenger cars were originally Delton. HLW used the long passenger car bodies for their interurban trolley cars. The bobber caboose may have come from a proposed Delton C&S caboose, and the Mack switcher was proposed but never produced by Delton. I also have a "Delton Doozie" railbus that looks identical to the HLW railbus, except that the HLW unit has a better drive.

Aristocraft got the rest of the Delton mass produced items. The brass limited run items are now very high priced collectibles.

The Birney trolley and the shorty freight cars are HLW's own "children."

Have fun,
David Meashey
 

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There used to be a webpage of all the history of this, but I cannot find it now.

Anyone else remember Kalamazoo trains showing up as Wheel of Fortune prizes in the 1980s?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
All,

thanks for the update and information. If anyone can find the web site with the history it would be appreciated. I have run across a bunch of the old Kalamazoo trains that have the original boxes. Any idea on what to pay for these? I am trying to figure out what is a good price for some of the trains. If anyone can help here it would really be appreciated! Thanks

Rich
 

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It depends on whether you want to play with them or to sell them off again. Also (IMO) depends on whether you are dealing with someone getting out of the hobby or a widow.

Easiest today is to do an evilbay search for ending prices on similar pieces and average them. But if you're out to lowball some guy's poor widow just to make a buck, ummm.....
 

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If you're intending to scratchbuild, they might serve as a source of parts. Or cheap runners until you get a feel for what you like best in the LS world. OTOH, if they're more than the cost of a B'mann or the like starter set, and you're hot to get rolling, pass on 'em and buy new. Fewer headaches to get started.

Les
 

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Posted By Mik on 01/27/2009 7:06 AM
edited
But if you're out to lowball some guy's poor widow just to make a buck, ummm.....








Mik,

A slow-start morning here. Just to throw a clay bird in the air, re the 'poor widow'.


OTOH, suppose she was one of these who felt every dollar he spent on his junky, stupid thing in the basement instead of on sensible things like entertainment, new clothes, a big house and bigger vacations was a huge waste? Now, she's got all that crap in the basement, and all she knows is he threw all that good money away on it, and she wants it back, every dime. And anyway, men who come to buy it are by definition, well, men. Who waste money on stupid junk. So they must be out to cheat her socks off. Not gonna happen, because she knows how much that stuff cost. And since a lot of it is old, it's got to be valuable because her lady pals down at the saloon--er, salon--remarked that this cousin's friend's widow sold her dead husband's trains for huge bucks. Something about good money for scrap brass, or somesuch nonsense. Well, Backman and Kazoo are USA made, not foreign junk, so well, she must be sitting on a fortune!

Should hostile indifference cost, or should it be free?


Les
 

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Les, unfortunately I've met a LOT more... vultures, who were right proud of paying pennies to someone's widow, than I have the kind of ladies you described.

"Hostile indifference" works both ways. How much is your misses doll collection, Amish furniture, or good china really worth? What if she was gone and you NEEDED the money to live on and a bunch of slick talking women told you it was all junk?.... Well, I guess you'd just deserve to be taken, right?


just think about it
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK,

Now that it seems we are off track here (pun intended), anyway the trains that I am looking at are not in some poor widows place but owned by a business man that knows what he paid for them. The question is truely, what is fair? On Aristocraft or LGB I can find plenty of references and price lists out there but nothing on Kalamazoo trains. So basically what I am looking for is someone that is truely knowledgable in the Kalamazoo trains to know if I am being taken or not! Hopefully that puts us back on the track!

RJR
 

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Ebay is still you best bet for current prices. A printed guide would be hopelessly out of date before it reached the distributor (or maybe even the printers), most websites wouldn't get updated often enough either.

Fortunately (for you since you are the one trying to buy), the entire market for just about any hobby product is a bit.... soft right now. (read: in the toilet) .


At the moment I see a "RARE" (gag choke) drover's caboose at $65 with NO BIDS, a combine at $13 plus shipping, and a gon at $6 Some stuff that ended recently were a NOS 4-4-0 for $200 (waaaay overpriced IMO, but it only takes 2 guys with more money than brains to turn an auction into a circus), a combine for $28, and a barrel car for $16. Mostly I've seen the passenger cars go in the $20-25 range, and the freight cars for $10-12... with a wide variation depending on condition, and even how the listing was worded.... BUT I'm no expert.

I do know that the Kalamazoo passenger cars are nice and short if you have R-1 curves, but it bothers some people that they sit on freight car trucks. They also tend to wobble a bit. I put San-Val's metal wheels on mine and it made a world of difference. (Mine were only $35 for the three plus $15 shipping... but they were mislisted under o scale
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Rreiffer,

Sorry, I wasn't trying to derail your thread, I was attempting to yank on Mik's chain.

Bottom line: any thing is only worth what you can get for it at the time you sell it. Or if buying, what you have to pay for it when you buy it. Here's something to keep in mind: A Kalamzoo train cost X dollars to the guy who's offering it to you. He hopes to get Y dollars for it. What it is worth is Z dollars, the price you give him. "Fair" has no meaning in a transaction like you're contemplating.

For instance: Last year on evilebay I paid (shipping incl) $30 for an Am Flyer engine w. no tender and missing side rods. Why? Because I wanted it. I was discussing the .808 ga here and a person I particularly tend to trust suggested that ga. would be great for the mine I want to build. So I bought that engine while that discussion was 'live' (or hot) so I could get a visual appreciation of the gauge. Was that engine worth it? Not even for parts. But now I know exactly what S gauge is. (I'd never had any S ga stuff before). That dealer had to go away smiling. I bet he was happier than a hog in mud. I'd be lucky to get five dollars for it if I offered it for sale. Upshot: That particular deal was 'fair' to me, because I wanted what was being offered at the price offered. So to me it was fair, to others, they'll think I was nuts. Or mourn that I didn't ask on the board to buy one.

One other thing to consider is 'The Piano Story'. A guy goes out to buy his wife a piano. He finds a great one on sale. He buys it and takes it to his wife, who is so happy. At work he tells his friends. One says, "Hey, I know where you coulda got that piano for half that much!" His second friend says, "My neighbor gave away one exactly like that!" His third friend said, "Well, I know where you coulda got one plus $50 for hauling it away!"

What you're doing is buying blind in a market you know nothing about from a person you know nothing about. Do you want the trains, or don't you? Will he take an offer or is his price firm? Will he let you check them to see if they run? Do you like them better than anything else you've seen, or are they the first thing you've found? That's the sum total of the 'deal'. What anyone else says about the price is meaningless, once YOU have decided.
Les




 

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Posted By Mik on 01/27/2009 11:48 AM
Les, unfortunately I've met a LOT more... vultures, who were right proud of paying pennies to someone's widow, than I have the kind of ladies you described.

"Hostile indifference" works both ways. How much is your misses doll collection, Amish furniture, or good china really worth? What if she was gone and you NEEDED the money to live on and a bunch of slick talking women told you it was all junk?.... Well, I guess you'd just deserve to be taken, right?


just think about it









Mik,

I have thought about it. I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone else commented. Since you chose 'Poor Widow' and all that evokes, I chose "Hostile Wife" and all that implies.

I already wrote this to Rreiffer, but injecting moral qualities into a financial transaction is leading away from the issue of 'what's this thing worth?' It's worth only what you can get for it when you want to sell it. And that value changes with the times, as you rightly pointed out to Rreiffer, about trains on Ebay being tanked. I suppose they are, I actually don't know.

But other factors count, too: Do you want to pay X dollars? Then that's what it's worth. To you. The seller says yes, or no. If he says, "yes", then, that's the price it is worth at that moment, in that place, between you two. If a guy rushes up five minutes later and says, "Oh, I'll give you 4X! I want that!" And you want to sell it to him on the first seller's sidewalk, you have made 4X your money. But you no longer have your item. The original seller has no right, legal or moral, to scream 'Ripoff'.

As for my personal postion, my wife has a most excellent idea of what my guns, trains and whatnot are estimated to be worth. The converse is true for her personal possessions, and my knowledge of their estimated value--last time I checked.

If, as you cite, some 'vulture' telling an innocent ol' man like me, "That Royal Daulton china, well, it's a glut on the market. I'll do you a favor because I know you're down 'n out: I'll give you $15 for all of it." If I conclude, "Darn right, I'm hurting, here," and I sell it to him for that, and another dealer shows up and says, "Man, you got took, bad." No, I got fifteen bucks. It's ever so easy, once there's no risk, to say "Well, that set was worth $5,000!" The worst that can be said in that case is, I didn't know. I always had the option of saying, "No, I'll keep it." Letting personal feelings intrude on business transactions is not good. Just look at how many posts we see about some person complaining about 'poor service' and 'poor quality' and 'unfeeling help'. (I'm glad they do, I know a certain brand I'm going to stay away from, solely from what I read on this board.) But that info has taken me more than a year to acquire, and R. wants to know now.

One last angle: There are three prices for something: What it cost new. What you want for it. What you can get for it when you want to sell it. Only the last matters in the secondary market. Have you ever considered the bragging rights you hear when someone says, "Gee, I snuck up on this GG-1. Fifteen bucks OB! That's what the guy said he'd take!" Do you say, "Why, you Vulture, you ripped him off!"? No one ever says, "Hey, you're not asking enough, let me pay you more." How come we don't hear that more often?


Les
 

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Good Morning,


I buy things for a living, and oddly enough I do occasionally say, "that price is to low", trying to figure out what I have missed. Usually the seller then says some thing like "you also need to buy X, Y, and Z".


Phillip 
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks everybody that replied to this post so far. I do appreciate the moral side of the question, however my current issue is what to pay for the list I have sitting in front of me. Here is a list of the cars:

DR&GW Engine and Tender 4-4-0 Rio Grande Crude Crane K1880-3 D&RGW Gondola- Yellow 1873-3 D&RGW Passerger Coach 1863-3 D&RGW Log Car 1877-31 D&RGW Combinaton Car D&RGW Caboose 1876--3 Kalamazoo Aniversary #1 Kalamazoo Aniversary #2 Kalamazoo Aniversary #3 Kalamazoo Aniversary #4 Kalamazoo Aniversary #5 Kalamazoo Aniversary #6 Kalamazoo Aniversary #7 Kalamazoo Aniversary #8 Kalamazoo Aniversary #9 Colorado & Southern Gondola Green 1873-1 Colorado & Southern Log Green 1877-21 Colorado & Southern Combination Car Colorado &Southern Caboose 1876-6 Colorado & Southern Flat Car 1877-2 Kalamazoo Fruit Growers Express 1871-3 Kalamazoo Empire Line Box Car 1872-1 Conoco Tank Car 1865-2 Oil Depot W/3 tanks Red Horse Saloon Cripple Creek Station Johnson Hardware Sheriff's Office Small Switch Building

So if anyone has any idea on what each individual item might be worth it would help a lot. They are all Kalamazoo with the original boxes. The last items are buildings that are available to me.

Thanks for looking.

Rich
 
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