Other Hobby Shops

Now days, it is tough to find a train oriented hobby shop that stocks parts, paint, decals, scratch building material and such. I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Sacramento had a very good shop that was about 25 miles away. It closed last year. I have learned that the local Hobby Lobby and Hobbytown USA have a fairly good selection of useful items along with specific railroad items that I get from the Schwedler brothers at Coronado Scale Models.
My brother has been a great resource for tools and techniques used by plastic modelers. He is a very fine modeler and has opened my eyes to some neat things that are useful in model railroading.

thin cement

My brother mentioned something about thin liquid cement.   I didn’t quite understand how Testor’s liquid cement was somehow thick compared to something else.  So I decided to try a “thin” cement.   Well, the Tamiya Extra Thin cement is made from Acetone and not MEK.  It does seem to flow very well.  The thin cement softens the plastic more than Testors so it will fuse the material together.   The fumes are rather strong so use caution.


One of my trips to the local Hobbytown USA yielded a new masking tape made by Tamiya in Japan.  It is very thin and flexible allowing it to fit around curves and details.  The tack is sufficient to form a good bond to prevent seepage of paint but still release without pulling up paint.


Jon Cagle, owner of Southern Car & Foundry, suggested I use this particular brand of plastic filler. He sent me a partial tube to try.  I found it to be an exceptional product for plastic filling.  It doesn’t shrink much and sands out to feather edge.  It is much better than Squadron brand fillers.

sanding stick sanding sticks 1

I found a couple useful tools for sanding and shaping styrene.   The blue sticks have an embedded grit that comes in different grades.  These sticks are excellent for shaping a radius in a corner and enlarging holes.  The long white sticks have a different grit size per side.  I use these frequently for sanding down the Tamiya filler.  You can add a little water to speed up the finishing.   They can be cut to fit specific needs.

thin saw

The last tool I would like to mention is the super thin saw.  It looks like an old double-edge razor blade only with teeth.  The blade is etched from steel and is very sharp.  It will cut styrene with ease leaving a clean line.  The blade is easily replaced.  I purchased my saw at UMM-USA.  These folks have super service and a wonderful array of useful tools and supplies.  Micro Mark is now selling a similar saw.



5 thoughts on “Other Hobby Shops

  1. Gene,
    All good tips and I appreciate them. After moving to SC, I have had to find alternatives, too. I find the local Hobby Lobby sporadic in what is offered. Most of my purchases come direct from various manufacturers via online. There is one shop about 20 miles away that has N, HO, and MTH 3-rail. But he also carries materials, paints, and scenery items. What is interesting to me is that he seems to want to stay open and is now investing in more materials, etc. for those of us who build. He was burned by Testors when they pulled out of the market along with other dealers, and he is working to qualify a new paint line to carry. Time will tell if he survives.
    As an aside, I looked for Testors at Hobby Lobby since it is a craft store and only see sets of the old enamel for sale. Maybe Testors gave up paint altogether?

  2. Gene
    I live near Toledo, OH, an area once having five hobby shops stocking a complete selection of useful model railroad supplies. Within a years time, all were gone. I do well with the on line shops I use but it is not the same as visiting with fellow modelers in person. With the number of individuals such as you sharing information it replaces some of that lost. Thank you.

    • Michael
      You are right about that. The new Glacier Park SP drop bottom gondola is on a par with the Japanese.
      Tamiya has a nice ’42 Ford kit in 1/48 scale.


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