Heads up on Life Like 2-8-8-2 USRA Steam Locomotives

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Gavin Miller, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. Gavin Miller

    Gavin Miller Member

    Australian hobby stores are just taking deliveries of the Life Like "Heritage" series 2-8-8-2 USRA Steam Locomotives.

    I work casually at a hobby store in Western Australia and I can tell you these beautiful little locos are real gems both in detail and performance!

    I had a couple on the test track today - wow! Quiet and smooth!

    I could not believe the price of these quality locomotives - just $165 AUD. (at current exchange rates that's about $92 USD) Can you believe that?

    I've seen them advertised in the States for $200 - $235 (MSRP $275). Even Tex'N'rails who have the best price I have found so far are at $179.

    Is someone in the US profiteering? Why the HUGE price difference? I'm sure those poor Chinese workers got paid the same bowl of rice for this product to make a profit for Life Like, the wholesaler and retailer at $92 USD. Beats me!

    For once we Aussies are having a "loco feast" at a fraction of the cost of the same product in the US. LOL (we had 17 delivered to our shop on Thursday. In two days only 5 left)

    We are SO used to paying TWICE what Americans pay, this is a really pleasant surprise. Pity those Aussies who placed advanced orders with US retailers ($200 USD = $360 AUD plus freight!)

    Anyway, here's a "heads up" for US members of the Gauge. Buy your Mallets from Australia and save a bundle (even after freight).
  2. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Australian models run...

    Australian models run counter clockwise so it's assumed that the price would be lower- No? :eek:

    Just kidding- thanks for the heads uP! :D

    Like we say in the "purchasing game"- cheaper at twice the price! :)

  3. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Gavin,it is my understanding that LifeLike ships dirrect to Australia from China .Its abit cheaper that way. :D
  4. billk

    billk Active Member

    That might be some of it, but I have a hard time believing that shipping makes up that much difference. Is this typical of prices in Australia vs. the US?
  5. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Bill from what my Aussie friends tell me this is normal pricing for LifeLike in Australia.It might actually be cheaper to order LL from Oz.
  6. billk

    billk Active Member

    What's the good places to e-order from in Oz?
  7. Gavin Miller

    Gavin Miller Member

    Yes. I can confirm that LL has always been cheaper here and I believe it is, as Catt said, because LL ship directly to Australia from China.

    We also get Kato, Green Max, Tomix direct from Japan via an Australian wholesaler.

    Atlas, MicroTrains, Bachmann, etc which come from the US suffer through the dollar conversion (one US $ = 0.56 Aussie cents, sigh!). One MicroTrains centerbeam flat car will cost you $65!!!

    But, back to the LL 2-8-8-2. Why should it cost LL so much more to ship them from China to the US than from China to Australia???
  8. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    There might be some kind of import duty involved.

    :D Val
  9. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Not to our half of Turtle Island Val.Now your half of the island is a whole nuther storybook.:(
  10. Gavin Miller

    Gavin Miller Member


    I don't know of ANY Aussie sites with on-line ordering.

    There are many different shops however and all, I'm sure, will take phone or fax orders from the States.

    Here's a couple of the big ones in Western Australia:-

    Perth Hobby Centre

    Stanbridges Hobby Centre

  11. redracer

    redracer Member

    'Kato' brand American prototype comes from Kato USA in the US I think, it would only be their Japanese prototype that comes from Japan directly ???

    The difference is that Kato USA is a seperate company, and just uses the Kato name, and has their goods manufactured by Sekisui Kinzoku, which is the parent company selling goods in Japan under the Kato brand name.
  12. Gavin Miller

    Gavin Miller Member

    Actually Doug, I am pleased to say (being a big user of US outline locomotives on my freelanced layout), Kato American prototype stuff does come DIRECTLY to Australia, NOT via US. I guess it must be by some arrangement with Kato USA though.

    We have a direct Australian importer/wholesaler in Melbourne who distributes to Australian Hobby Shops.

    He also imports Tomix, Green Max, Micro Ace, Modemo etc but only what he feels will sell in the Australian market (trams in Melbourne?).

    However, if I want something specialized, I contact you at Japanese Model Supplies, because you seem to have better access to stuff for the Japanese prototype enthusiast and I know you source stock directly from Japan also (you speak the lingo don't you?).


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