I don’t believe that the hobby is dying in Europe, Asia, Russia, etc., especially overseas. In fact, I think that it’s thriving as I am seeing more and more kits being made that I want, and the timeline for modern military kits is almost to 2021 in terms of gear and technology. It’s not there yet as modern military advancements outpace the hobby representation, but it’s close enough.
Check to see where your kits are made from. In the USA, we’re downloading 3D files for printed kits and painting—these don’t need a hobby shop anymore unless one opens one to take orders for 3D printed kits to pick up. Shapeways doesn’t have a Brick and Mortar store.
I often equate the price of a kit to how good, complex, rare, and large it is. Scale and size does matter and the larger a kit is, the more expensive it should be.
I rarely buy from eBay anymore as most of those are Chinese recasts and the quality is sketchy at best. I often buy direct from the source, and even shipping is justified compared to buying from the USA online hobby retailer that doesn’t sell resin figure kits.
Remember, model and figure kits have PERSONAL VALUE, and you should decide how much you want the kit to pay for it. That should always be on your dreaming and imagining mind—what do you want the kit for? How are you going to display it? How is it going to look built? That should help you decide on payment and costs and desire. Dream it finished and see if you still want it. If you do, do you want to pay the price (factoring in spouse, budget, time, fun, etc.)?
If someone were to take your kits, they’re worthless to them because they’re still in pieces. Kits require PERSONAL SKILL, time, effort, and supplies to assemble. That is why I sign all my built kits now; they’re mine. I don’t intend to throw them away. They’re time capsules of history and life.
As a modeler once said, completed kits are like art. One can’t really place a price on them because they’re custom to the entire world. Most viewers have no idea how many parts and how complex building kits are. To them, they might think that completed kits are plastic diecast toys, and that you just painted a LEGO assembly—not panels and tiny parts and decals that you have to cut, file, sand, glue, prime, paint, and weather.
If cost is a factor, try 3D printed kits or wargaming that are cheaper. Shipping costs also factor into kit prices.
Finally, I also think that kit prices are affected by the artists’ skills. Many of our kit suppliers are artists in their prime or near retirement. Their skills have increased and they’re at the stage were they command more salary because they’re experts in design. They don’t design and produce junk anymore.
Oh, and caveat…most online sellers have sales once or twice a year, usually during the Summer and especially after American Thanksgiving in November. Kits usually go on sale in December, but not all online hobby shops have sales. HobbyEasy and LuckyModels in Hong Kong don’t have sales—I asked.