I share the excitement in the 1/350 community, but I gave up on that scale years ago when I knew that I could not afford kits costing $200+ each. I have been retired for over 10 years now and my fixed income doesn't allow me buy such pricey kits. The costs of 1/700 kits are equally outrageous. I recently dropped $50 for the Trumpter ALASKA because I have wanted one for many years. When I resumed modeling in the early 1970s, prices were more reasonable. You could buy a ship kit for $4 or less. Now, I agree that today's models are more detailed and are of far better quality, which justifies price increases.
But I fear that prices will doom our hobby to oblivion. When you look at ages listed on various roll calls, most are over 50. The mean age is probably in the late 60s. Of course, this age group may be best able to afford today's kit prices. I don't foresee enough young modelers entering our hobby in order to sustain its future. That is sad.
I don't know if there is an answer. There are no US companies left. Local hobby shops which helped us begin modeling, have largely gone the way of the dodo.
So, let's enjoy our hobby while we can. I doubt it will exist after another 25 years, except for modelers able to afford $1200 for a 1/350 destroyer or the 100th BISMARCK kit.
Okay - I have a wish list for Tamiya, Revell, and Trumpeter (somebody/anybody).....Please, can we have quality, injection-molded, 350th scale kits of the following ships:
1. RN Colony and Town class cruisers - UGANDA, SHEFFIELD, etc;
2. USN "Big Five" battleships - WEST VIRGINIA, CALIFORNIA, etc, circa 1941,
3. An accurate ARIZONA, and PENNSYLVANIA;
4. NEVADA class battleship, circa 1941.