Australian Hobby Shops.

What do you want from a model railway shop?
Notanyware
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Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Notanyware » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:47 pm

Or should I say lack of them, here in the South side of Brisbane we have two shops catering for railway modellers, one of which caters for American type the mere mention of British and the shop owner looks at you as though you are carrying a fatal disease.
Our second one sells OO Gauge but at inflated prices, the attitude taken by Aussie hobby shops is take it or leave it but there is not much to leave as the ones close to me rarely replenish dwindling stocks, even to buy scatter material can be a major job, I dont see the fun in having to send an order back home to the UK for half a dozen bags of ground cover or bushes, to be honest I think shops that dont stock a reasonable range of layout building supplies should put us out of mysery and shut shop.

Cheers

Dave

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SRman
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby SRman » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:40 am

One of the main problems Aussie model shops have had to contend with until very recent times was the wholesalers. Bach in the UK, Hornby and Bachmann were their own wholesalers, selling directly to the retailers, whereas here in Oz, the retailers had to deal with the middle men - middle men who more or less had that "take it or leave it" approach. So retailers got what they were given, rather than what they ordered or wanted, and had to add their own profit margins to the wholesalers' mark-ups.

In very recent years, this has changed, with the wholesalers here dropping out, so retailers can only now deal directly with the major firms.

Exchange rates have been reasonably favorable in recent times, but prices have been rising, with the nett result we haven't seen much difference here.

Here in Melbourne we have a few retailers dealing with British stuff to varying degrees; Branchline in Croydon, Metro Hobbies in Box Hill, Brunel Models in Cheltenham (winding down, though), and Train World in Brighton, all with actual shop fronts. I was able to buy some Peco bullhead track from Metro Hobbies, for example, so even the more esoteric items can be had.

Brisbane has always been a little sparse for retailers of British lines, and a few have been and gone again over the years.

GWR_fan
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:26 am

Living in Sydney one would expect with a population of over 3 million people that one could buy most items for a hobby. Alas, as already written the mainstream hobby store will usually only offer goods at full retail and then a very limited range. Some stores may offer a loyalty discount to regular customers.

About two years ago I was in what used to be one of the biggest stores in Sydney and overheard a conversation between the store owner and a female customer discussing her teenage son's needs to enter the British "OO" scene. The owner's words were basically, with the advent of the internet the store had drastically reduced its model railway stock in all scales/gauges and was more intent on catering to other hobbies. The store was full of car, plane and ship plastic model kits.

This store started out catering almost exclusively to the model railway hobby and yet over the years has basically abandoned its railway stock. I made a locomotive purchase from a retail store online from a store on the other side of the country and when it arrived to my dismay this new purchase was actually over six years old. The store stated that they only sold items direct from the manufacturer's distributor in Australia and yet the stock was old. If I had of known then I would not have made the purchase. All the seller responded was if you do not want it then pay the return postage and then I will refund your purchase price on receipt of the item. Thus I would have been out of pocket for two lots of postage across the country (nearly $50.00 in costs) plus nearly a month of lost time. No wonder I purchase goods from Britain.

One store in western Sydney lists the full Hornby and Bachmann catalogue items showing full retail price and yet stocks only a fraction of goods listed. I really wonder why consumers continue to bother supporting local stores when most do not even stock basic items. The large store referred do in the beginning of my posting did not even have plastic styrene glue or matte black paint when I spent the time to visit the store, a round trip in city traffic over two hours travelling time. In two minutes I can purchase goods from Hattons, pay less in postage then I would pay for a locally purchased item and then await basically the same time a local store would post the same item to me.

Notanyware
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Notanyware » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:44 am

When I lived in Melbourne 30 years ago the situation was fine Model Dockyard and Hearns Hobbies carried a decent range of model railway equipment, living in Mornington I used to buy models from Train World who I always thought were a tad expensive, going back further to the late 1960s and 70s everything I needed for this hobby was available from a Newsagent in Moorabbin who carried a large range of Triang Hornby, sadly those days are long gone as for Brisbane model railway shops the rent was the killer with several offloading their stock online or at railway shows, speaking of which many country located modellers bring suit cases to the Brisbane show and fill them up with models, I myself buy from shows and table sales which helps me to get what the stores dont carry, I do think retailers selling top notch reliable American HO models at a reasonable price has reduced the amount of OO gauge in stores.

Cheers
Dave

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Ironduke
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Ironduke » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:22 am

When I was living near Brisbane I mostly went to Hobbyrama (North side). They mostly have 00 scale Hornby and Bachmann and Japanese and American N (Kato).
The Christmas Shop on the Gold Coast was the other place I often went but I gather they are not there any more.
Regards
Rob

Notanyware
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Notanyware » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:02 am

Hi Rob myself and a couple of mates used to pay Hobbyrama a visit from time to time, our locals are Hobby One very little stock these days and Austral Modelcraft they have a massive stock of US model trains, pretty close to home but I lost interest in US railway modelling some time back, I guess that was because I grew up with British steam in the late 1940s and 50s, to GWRfan I had thought about buying from Perth but the prices are pretty high, I also keep an eye on ebay store FNQhobbies they get some decent stock from time to time, other than that like you I buy from the UK.

Cheers
Dave

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SRman
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby SRman » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:21 am

Notanyware wrote:When I lived in Melbourne 30 years ago the situation was fine Model Dockyard and Hearns Hobbies carried a decent range of model railway equipment, living in Mornington I used to buy models from Train World who I always thought were a tad expensive, going back further to the late 1960s and 70s everything I needed for this hobby was available from a Newsagent in Moorabbin who carried a large range of Triang Hornby, sadly those days are long gone as for Brisbane model railway shops the rent was the killer with several offloading their stock online or at railway shows, speaking of which many country located modellers bring suit cases to the Brisbane show and fill them up with models, I myself buy from shows and table sales which helps me to get what the stores dont carry, I do think retailers selling top notch reliable American HO models at a reasonable price has reduced the amount of OO gauge in stores.

Cheers
Dave



I forgot to mention Hearns in my earlier post. Thanks for jogging my memory. They are probably the most central model shop, being in the city itself, right under Flinders Street Station.

GWR_fan
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:57 am

Notanyware wrote:....... I also keep an eye on ebay store FNQhobbies they get some decent stock from time to time, other than that like you I buy from the UK.

Cheers
Dave


Dave,
you will not find a nicer gentleman than Mark at FNQhobbies. I have dealt with him on several (many) occasions and always have nothing but praise for his quality of service and friendly manner.

There are a lot of British ex-pats in Perth, no doubt a result of the post-war migration, so I believe that there is most likely more OO hobby stores than any other major capital city.

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Ironduke
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Ironduke » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:55 am

Notanyware wrote:Austral Modelcraft they have a massive stock of US model trains, pretty close to home but I lost interest in US railway modelling some time back


I was modelling OO when I used to go to Austral and I must admit I never bought much there. I seem to recall they had pretty much everything you could want from Superquick and Metcalfe though. Of course they were rarely open when I was able to go there.
I now model US N gauge and they would be perfect for that but I'm in another state now.
Regards
Rob

Notanyware
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Notanyware » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:33 am

SRman wrote:
Notanyware wrote:When I lived in Melbourne 30 years ago the situation was fine Model Dockyard and Hearns Hobbies carried a decent range of model railway equipment, living in Mornington I used to buy models from Train World who I always thought were a tad expensive, going back further to the late 1960s and 70s everything I needed for this hobby was available from a Newsagent in Moorabbin who carried a large range of Triang Hornby, sadly those days are long gone as for Brisbane model railway shops the rent was the killer with several offloading their stock online or at railway shows, speaking of which many country located modellers bring suit cases to the Brisbane show and fill them up with models, I myself buy from shows and table sales which helps me to get what the stores dont carry, I do think retailers selling top notch reliable American HO models at a reasonable price has reduced the amount of OO gauge in stores.

Cheers
Dave



I forgot to mention Hearns in my earlier post. Thanks for jogging my memory. They are probably the most central model shop, being in the city itself, right under Flinders Street Station.


Hearns Hobbies must be one of the oldest in Australia, I remember when I was 17 buying control line model aircraft kits and engines from them, I am 75 this year so they have certainly been around a long time, they had their own brand range of kits and were all A1 quality.

Cheers
Dave

Notanyware
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Notanyware » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:37 am

Ironduke wrote:
Notanyware wrote:Austral Modelcraft they have a massive stock of US model trains, pretty close to home but I lost interest in US railway modelling some time back


I was modelling OO when I used to go to Austral and I must admit I never bought much there. I seem to recall they had pretty much everything you could want from Superquick and Metcalfe though. Of course they were rarely open when I was able to go there.
I now model US N gauge and they would be perfect for that but I'm in another state now.


Austral have the largest range of US N scale models I have ever seen, I think their prices are fair as I used to buy lots of stock from them so never bothered buying from the USA where the postage is a killer

Cheers
Dave.

Notanyware
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Notanyware » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:42 am

GWR_fan wrote:
Notanyware wrote:....... I also keep an eye on ebay store FNQhobbies they get some decent stock from time to time, other than that like you I buy from the UK.

Cheers
Dave


Dave,
you will not find a nicer gentleman than Mark at FNQhobbies. I have dealt with him on several (many) occasions and always have nothing but praise for his quality of service and friendly manner.

There are a lot of British ex-pats in Perth, no doubt a result of the post-war migration, so I believe that there is most likely more OO hobby stores than any other major capital city.


Thanks for the heads up on FNQhobbies, what I like is the pictures and honest review he gives each item he lists best ebay seller I have come across, I have also looked at Arlott St Station but he doesnt carry the stock which I find a wee bit off putting.

Cheers
Dave.

rainynight65
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby rainynight65 » Thu May 17, 2018 6:47 am

Most of the shops I've been to have the problem that they buy from a large supplier and have to buy their stock proportionally between Model Railway, RC, Jigsaw and other hobby areas. These shops generally tend to carry limited stock in model railway, and concentrate on the bigger brands (Hornby, Bachmann etc.). You'll have a harder time finding local manufacturers (Southern Rail, Wuiske, Auscision) at those shops.

(Also, most of these shops have websites that are rubbish)

I went to Austral Modelcraft and was impressed not only with the range and variety of their stock, but also their willingness to chat and give some insight into their own experiences. They're clearly not a regular store with 9-5 opening hours, but since I am usually in the area when they're open on Saturday afternoons (my mother-in-law lives close by), I can pop in there for a browse and a chat.

My greatest challenge so far has been to filter out the useful advice from what's undoubtedly personal preferences when I go and talk to people. At the end of the day, beginners like me have to make their own experiences as well.

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TimberSurf
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby TimberSurf » Thu May 17, 2018 2:10 pm

rainynight65 wrote: At the end of the day, beginners like me have to make their own experiences as well.


Or just ask on forums (and take with a pinch of salt that it's personally biased) at least there should be a consensus from several members pennies worth.
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Ironduke
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Re: Australian Hobby Shops.

Postby Ironduke » Fri May 18, 2018 4:29 am

rainynight65 wrote:I went to Austral Modelcraft and was impressed not only with the range and variety of their stock, but also their willingness to chat and give some insight into their own experiences.


Which is why you often can't get in the door for all the old men lounging around the checkout counter :P
Regards
Rob


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