Two Kinds of Hobby Shops

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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.

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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 ….

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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.

Japanese Cargo Trains

 
 
I just wanted to put some shots of some of my other Japanese cargo trains…..in case there were some train fans out their reading this blog.
 
I think these mini tankers are kind of cool.  I don’t know what they are called, but do like them.  The ones on the right are undecorated, but someone put the sticker numbers on them already.  I will have to paint over them and apply some new letters–sounds like a project.
 


An overhead view.

I am interested in Japanese cargo trains for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I seem to have an over exaggerated interest in anything Japanese.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that.  The second is the sheer novelty of it.  These cargo trains are quite different from the ones we have in North America.  The third is that their way of doing things is different.  You don’t need to have a bunch of different cars, just different cargo add- ons.  This is the same rail car as in previous shots, just with different card put on top.  Seems pretty cool to me, but I would love to hear from other N scale railroaders about their opinions.

Most of what I have seen in hobby shops around here are just Japanese bullet trains.  Nobody seems to have cargo trains.  It is too bad, because they are cool.

A Win Win Situation

 
Getting some trains running has buoyed my spirits.  I got the chance to hear the clack clack of the engines running over the tracks, see the lights on the diesel blaze ahead of the train, and got to see some of my trains perform.  We will call that a win.

I also got the inspiration to shoot some pictures and some video.  The pictures I will include here, and the video….well, despite my belief that I would never do it, I uploaded the videos to YouTube.  A few people have stumbled across them, but I don’t expect that number to grow rapidly.

I think the motivation for putting things on YouTube was in fact a combination of several things.  The first is that I took some video, and wondered if it could be uploaded.  The second was that, despite my reservation, I want to emulate those Jvloggers (like Busan Kevin, Tokyo Cooney, discount sausage, and the late Rodger Swan) that I like so much and be on YouTube.  The third is that I was hoping to draw a few more people to my blog.

The last of these things seems a little selfish, but it is true.  Right now, about twenty people see each post (and sometimes fewer).  Though I don’t think it will ever reach thousands, I can dream.  I’d like to think I am entertaining people, and that I could find a larger audience.  Of course, I need to be realistic as well.

Regardless of the motivation, the end result is that I have some train pictures to include here, and four videos up on YouTube.  Again, we would call that a win-win situation.