The Longest Preorder

If you get into buying Japanese trains, the preorder is inescapable. Many models are produced in production runs just large enough to fill initial orders, and often not re-produced for several years, if ever. Popular models can sell out before they even arrive in stores, and if you want to be sure of getting something, you need to work with that.

It’s not that bad a practice in general. You are committing to buying something (stores may not do business with you again if you back out of a preorder, and they’re generally not cancelable). But you don’t have to pay, not even a deposit, until it actually arrives in the store. I do almost all of my preorders through Hobby Search, and have overall been quite satisfied with them.

A typical new product will be opened for orders several months in advance of the planned delivery date, and preordering will close when that store’s initial allotment is accounted for, which can be days after the preorder opens, or not until the model ships. Some preorders are for shorter lead times, even as little as a few weeks. Most are generally within six months. But I had one order that took a year. That is it up above.