Two Kinds of Hobby Shops

panther1

Years of shopping for hobby stuff has taught me a couple of things. One is that you can find useful hobby stuff in non-hobby stores.  This can be the dollar store, the hardware store or even the grocery store.  The other important thing, which was reconfirmed this weekend, is that there are two kinds of hobby shops.

There’s the one that’s brightly lit, with organized shelves and clear product areas. The store has the latest products, the least amount of dust and staff who use price guns to stalk the aisles and tell you what something costs.  They also have some cute toys for the youngest children and a good chunk of things for display.

panther2

The other is like the one I went to. The lighting in insufficient and the windows, if there are any are covered over with displays, shelves or curtains that don’t get washed all that often.  This leads to lifting the products up to get a better look at them.

There are clear signs of organization, it’s just more general. Military models in that corner, cars in that corner, trains over there behind the wall, N on the left, HO on the right.”  You might find things in the wrong place, but that is part of the fun.  You might even find a bargain.  If you can’t find it, you ask and the person can take you right to it, and maybe tell you a story about how long they have had it for, where they got it, or how they sold twenty one snow January day.

In addition to all this, the store might have a whole bunch of stuff that you can’t find anywhere. The store I went to was no exception.  It was a treasure trove of stuff.  They had:

  • a whole pile of Tyco and AFX track for sale, including risers and lap counters.
  • a multi pack of N scale figures from Woodland Scenics (more than 16 sets bundled together for a bulk sale–the plastic on the outer pack had yellowed from years of indirect sunlight–but it was still for sale.
  • every scale of train from O right on down to Z.
  • Apollo, Gemini, space station and space shuttle rocket kits.
  • monster models and dinosaur kits.
  • educational models
  • cool prints of train artwork
  • a large number of slots car scales and kits (analog and digital)
  • a whole pile of tools for crafting your hobbies, including spray booths and choppers
  • RC car parts (though I didn’t see any RC cars)
  • New and vintage magazines (some real vintage ones)
  • used electronic parts for trains, slot cars, power boats and ….

panther3

I could go on listing all the things I saw, but the truth is that I probably missed a whole lot more. I spent more than an hour there just wandering around trying to buy something.  The only problem is that I really just didn’t want to.  There was nothing I could justify spending money on because I have a whole room full of half complete or unopened things to do.  I am in a bit of funk and I don’t know how to get out of it.  I thought wandering the hobby shop would help, but it only made me more confused.  Starting a new hobby or a new project is fun…but seeing all the other incomplete projects makes me sad. (I did consider a race car set, and I was looking for a large scale 1964-67 Mustang Kit…and some train cars……..

I walked away with my money in my pocket….for now.

Advertisements

Can You Ever Have Enough Tools?

Okay, if I wasn’t sure before, I am sure now.  I have a very bad habit of buying tools for my hobbies.  I went to the hobby store, planning strongly to resist any purchasing of tools and magazines.  I even took a friend–you know, don’t go swimming without a buddy, hoping that they would help me be the voice of reason, or at least restraint.

No such luck.

I don’t mean to blame my friend.  They would have restrained me if I had asked.  I just didn’t ask and proceeded to the checkout very quickly.  I am my own worst enemy….I guess.

On the bright side, I do think I made a good purchase.  I have a lot of train buildings to assemble and not one of them has a square edge.  What?  That’s right.  I have to assemble about 20 buildings for my train layout, and not one of them has a straight edge.  You see, to facilitate the manufacturing process, the moulds all have “draft” edges, so they will pop out of the machine easily.  Hmmmm?  You’d think with today’s technology there would be another way around this–but what do I know of injection moulding?  In the end, I have to sand the edges until they are 90 degrees.

You might remember a post where I created my own sanding board.  That worked well, but provided no way to evaluate my work.  This tool should do the same thing, and allow me to be a bit more uniform.

My friend, and several people at the shop, said I was making a wise purchase.  They explained that while I didn’t need the tools, the proper tools make things go so much easier.

Any thoughts.

Hobby Progress

I just wanted to update people on my hobby progress.  Quite a long time ago I featured the painting of a train building I was working on.  It is finally finished and I thought you would like to take a look at it.

This was the only the second train building I have made, so it is not perfect, but I am happy with the results, and I will continue to make them, hopefully improving every time.  I haven’t added any roof details, but I purchased the kit, so perhaps sometime later today.

I am not sure this will go on my layout, because I am hoping to build better one–perhaps adding some window details or signs. 

The model featured is Design Preservation Model, Haye’s Hardware.  It was painted with Polly Scale paints, and the roof is done with Woodland Scenics coal.

What’s Next?

As a hobbyist with too many hobbies, I am most often juggling several at one time. Nothing wrong with that as it keeps me from getting bored.  I realize that I have not posted an update on my hobbies lately–mostly because I am not particularly satisfied with the results, partly because I am preoccupied with Christmas (and memories of Christmas’ past) and partly because having so many hobbies, work, obligations and a rather long commute, I haven’t completed that much.

lots of kits to build
I have managed to actually finish some things, and that means I have to look ahead.  That’s the topic of this blog: What lies ahead?  I am sure most hobbyists confront this question.  Mostly, they are confined within one hobby, but I am sure they ask it.  Train layout builders ponder if they should expand their layouts, or redo some part of it.  Video gamers wonder which game they want to beat next.  Puzzle makers consider which kit has the least amount of sky.  Music makers are looking for the next beat.  All of us are wondering what’s next.

What makes this question so difficult for me is that it has so many meanings.  Which kit should I build next?  Which Nanoblock kit should I buy and build next?  Which train building needs to get done next?  Which set of freight cars should I buy?  What layout project should I tackle next?  Which blog should I update next?  Should I start a new blog?  Which books should I get from the library?  Should I start a new hobby like remote control helicopters?  Should I get a pool table for my house? (The Hustler was on TV this weekend…. just so you understand how my mind works)  Should I get my motorcycle or pilot’s licence?  Should I join the gym?  Wouldn’t it be cool to make my own beer?  Baking seems like a good way to feed myself.



lots of model railroad buildings to make
Yes, not only do I wonder what is next in the hobby queue based on what I am doing (I finished one kit, what’s the next one?) but also on what new hobby I would like to take up.  Is this wise?  I can’t really say that it is, but that is just how things go.  That’s what makes the question, what’s next? so difficult.



The other wrinkle in all this is preparation.  I might want to do something, but that doesn’t mean I am ready to do it.  I might pick a model kit, or building kit and find I don’t have the paint or that my glue has dried into a rock solid mass that will never dislodge itself from the bottle.  There is nothing more of momentum killer than having to go out and get something.



and a nanoblock project awaiting
Sometimes a trip to the hobby store is good for getting oneself going again, but for someone like me, it just opens up too many avenues of exploration.  Going to the hobby store for glue might mean the beginning of an entirely new hobby.



So, what’s next?


An August Progress Report

I seem to have found myself with a little bit of spare time, so I thought a progress report was in order.
I went to the dollar store (I think this one was called Dollar Tree)  I had never been there before, but I was, pardon the cliché, in the neighbourhood.  I wonder if that applies to big box stores.  I guess what you can say is that I was in the general vicinity after shopping for some airbrush bottles at an art store.
In this new dollar store I was only really thinking about getting something to drink.  Somehow I managed to spend $7, so I guess their master plan worked.  I came out with 2 more jigsaw puzzles.  I don’t really regret it because you can’t really complain about paying $1.25 for a puzzle….. and yes, even though it is a dollar store, there are things that cost more than $1.
I decided to take the systematic approach first.
Step 1)  Get all the edges
Step 2 Separate into 3 piles: Sky, Buildings, and transition from building to sky
Step 3) attach all the pieces that transition from building to sky.
Step 4) fill in the building part
Step 5) scream because now I am left with only sky
I almost decided to quit the puzzle and move onto something else.  I mean, I had the picture done, all that was left was the sky.  That huge, multi-piece blue sky.  My friend who needs a hobby urged me to carry on, so today I finished it.
I also had some time to apply my first airbrush coat to one of the buildings for my train layout.  Never having worked with that paint before I have to say that I made it too thin.  The result wasn’t bad though, and the slight variation should look okay on the building.  This is Design Preservation Models Hayes’ Hardware (N scale).   It isn’t the most complex building, but it has served as a good introduction to this type of modeling.
 
I will apply the next, slightly thicker coat, tomorrow.
Now you know where things with me stand.