In praise of online shopping

What do you want from a model railway shop?
ChrisGreaves
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:32 pm

In praise of online shopping

Postby ChrisGreaves » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:41 pm

I'm new here and busy reading through old posts. MAN but you guys write a lot ...(grin!). (but see below!)

Sixty years ago there were two or three model train shops in Perth Western Australia, which did me no good because we lived 230 miles to the east. Still and all into my teenage years (high school and Uni) I could purchase KALBS (Kitmaster and Airfix Locomtives (British (Steam)); also paints, track etc.
Ten years ago and newly-retired I found a hobby shop on The Danforth (Avenue) in Toronto, but it was all weaponized planes and tanks :roll: :cry: .
There are a few hobby suppliers in Southern Ontario, but not much in the way of KALBS.

And now here I sit in Bonavista (third pointy bit up the East coast of Newfoundland, closer to the Azores than to Toronto, I believe), surrounded on 350º by saline-laced rain water. There is no option for me but to order from an online supplier. The GOOD news is that there are no lawyers closer than 90 minutes drive to the south!

So. I have ordered track, kits, and paint from three different suppliers. And of course I shall post with great excitement and fanfare in NRMF when the packages arrive.

I am not sure how to start this, but for some of us, and in the end possibly all of us, the only way to purchase fine stuff will soon be via the internet.
Yes, my new-found-friends, soon we will all be struggling to read the numbers that were once visible on the front and back of our credit cards.

The GOOD NEWS is that as long as you are not in a hurry, the stuff is going to arrive before too long, and in truth it ought not to matter to you WHERE the Real Guy Supplier is based - Canada UK Australia Poland or The Hutt River Province. Shipping will be a flat 9.99 and free for orders over 60.00, whatever your currency.

So now might be a good time to have some mechanism where we can rate Good Online Supply stores. I don't mean Amazon/eBay, as much as what used to be brick-and-mortars which have switched to, or are switching to, home-based online stores. It is the way of the future.

Now, I will never meet Angelo or Bruce or Mary-Ann in person, but if they answer my emails carefully, and make good substitutes for me when things are out of stock, or tuck a free sheet of decals just to say "Thank You", might we not have some sort of scoring system whereby we could recommend decent online stores to each other?
Right now I am anticipating enough material to keep me happy until spring arrives (July in this neck of the woods) but come the end of Summer (August 1st) I will be getting ready to buy again, and for me it will be online shopping. Now, and forever.

This thread
is not a place to post names of good suppliers, but I would be happy to see discussion about what sort of mechanism might be set up within the cosy confines of NRMF.

Thanks
Chris

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 5451
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby End2end » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:51 pm

To be honest Chris there's a lot of posts on specific model shops already within the forum.
Just search the name of the model shop and any posts mentioning them by name will be found.

Of course if you like to add any comment about a specific model shop you can do so here - viewforum.php?f=19
Thanks
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

ChrisGreaves
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:32 pm

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby ChrisGreaves » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:36 pm

End2end wrote:To be honest Chris there's a lot of posts on specific model shops already within the forum.

Thanks End2end, and to continue being honest, I did see the various lists. I'll present two examples here, both in England:
(1) Model railway shops in Manchester while led me to GREATER MANCHESTER MODEL SHOPS
(2) London SW Model Shops + Home Counties

In the first example I am led to believe that BufferStop knows of five in what could be called "the city centre" (I recognize Deansgate as a name from my youth), but "... but as I live in Warwickshire... " his access is limited anyway. The pins in the map of Manchester number three, one in Wigan (hello Appleby Bridge!), and one in Manchester city, one in between.
I have a feeling that sixty years ago, say, there might have been six or more shops in Manchester itself, defining Manchester as a region that a ten-year old might travel by public transit.
Based on that I suppose that while Manchester might not dwindle to zero shops, it is certainly hovering around that black hole.

In the second example GordonBigBoy begins "My shopping trip to UK is in a couple of weeks ..." which suggests that his domicile is not well-stocked with model shops. If by Kingston Surrey he means "West of Wimbledon", then he appears to have five locations on offer which is possibly two days to visit and explore by public transit or a full day or more in a private car.

In short, for what might be the two largest cities in England, the days are long gone when one might wander around the city centre and inspect stock by hand, or chat at the counter with a knowledgeable owner or clerk. Things can't be any better in Goodshaw, Crawshawbooth, or the bustling and vibrant centre of Rawtenstall.

Hence my thesis that however many brick-and-mortar (railway modelling) shops there are in the UK today, there will probably be ten percent (or more) less each year. The number will not drop to zero because we will always have a family business run by a fanatic or two that will cling on to narrow margins, or who have developed such a good reputation that they will profit by the online side of their business and run The Shop just for the sake of any companionable hobbyists that drop in.

Hence my supposition that, like it or not, most of us, not just the isolated hermits like myself, but those of us who are used to "dropping in whenever we are in town" will find ourselves in a bun-shop across the street crying softly into an overpriced and milky coffee.

Then the Good Places To Buy From will be those that manage to develop a good customer base without a face-to-face element.

We will see!
Cheers, and thanks again
Chris

P.S. If I've done my Excel sums right, 10% drops us from 100 stores to 14 stores in 20 years, a 20% erosion drops us to one store after 20 years. Anyone have a realistic figure for the number of brick-and-mortar stores in England? The UK?
CB.

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 5451
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby End2end » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:06 pm

Just by the by, if your visiting Kingston, Guildford is not that far away and you'll find a newish opened Kernow Models there. The second Kernow Model shop opened after the initial one in Cornwall.

I think that's the only new physical model shop I know of that's opened recently. Ironically, I've been to the one in Cornwall but not the one around 30 miles from me in Guildford. :lol:
My local model shop closed down around 4 years ago but it was rather a half and half store. One half modelling the other stationary, birthday cards and the ilk.

On the other end of the spectrum, Gaugemaster is almost in the middle of nowhere. Luckily there is a small railway station next door.
A good place to go and peruse items in the flesh, but their prices are the upper end and beyond. :shock:
Thanks
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

Bigmet
Posts: 9117
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby Bigmet » Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:02 pm

The loss of model shops in major cities is a pain. My nearest is in Old Stevenage, and likely there or thereabouts as close to the centre of London as any... When you think of the great model shops that were once a short walk from KX it's rather sad.

... Anyone have a realistic figure for the number of brick-and-mortar stores in England? The UK?[/quote]
This is a good site. https://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/

ChrisGreaves
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:32 pm

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby ChrisGreaves » Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:52 pm

Bigmet wrote:
... Anyone have a realistic figure for the number of brick-and-mortar stores in England? The UK?

This is a good site. https://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/

Thanks BigMeet.
The first page showed 54 shops, of which perhaps 10% were closed, and I saw that we had 15 pages, so assuming 90% of 54 shops times 15 pages, it looks like 700-800 shops, although I see that "C" seems much less than 54 stores on the page, so a starting estimate is 500 shops.

That is low on a per-capita basis, but in absolute terms significantly higher than the number of "model railway shops in Newfoundland"!
I shall not antagonize anyone by exclaiming "You guys are spoiled rotten!". :lol:

I shall stand by my thesis, that more and more we will end up relying on online stores, although this will be several years in the development.

Cheers

Chris
Last edited by ChrisGreaves on Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
captrees
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 7:45 pm
Location: Kalamunda WA.

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby captrees » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:23 pm

I don't think there are any suppliers in Hutt River Province.

Prince Leonard passed away recently.

ChrisGreaves
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:32 pm

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby ChrisGreaves » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:01 am

captrees wrote:I don't think there are any suppliers in Hutt River Province. Prince Leonard passed away recently.
Hi captrees!
I know, and I know.
The latest podcast can be found at https://wildwapodcast.com/episodes/.

OTOH there remains scope for an extensive garden layout with no gradients! O-scale to full-size, even.

Cheers
Chris

ChrisGreaves
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:32 pm

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby ChrisGreaves » Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:03 pm

ChrisGreaves wrote:... There is no option for me but to order from an online supplier. ...
And then I found myself browsing a thread by Ironduke: Picnic Creek - An US N gauge train set with superb models and components such as angle-brackets from a 3D printer. That would be a path to follow. Instead of buying a Kitmaster plastic kit in a box, we will be buying plans for locomotives, and the plans will arrive as an attachment to an email (or a download link).
So even online shopping for parts may head towards the Do-do.
Cheers
Chris

User avatar
Ironduke
Posts: 1240
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:04 am
Location: Ballarat Victoria Australia
Contact:

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby Ironduke » Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:24 pm

Thanks for the nod, Chris! I think we're a long way from that though.
You can download many models from thingyverse but Shapeways seems to be the dominant player in the 3D printing field. But unfortunately they don't sell the designs for you print, they sell the 3D printed objects.
Regards
Rob

ChrisGreaves
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:32 pm

Re: In praise of online shopping

Postby ChrisGreaves » Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:06 am

Ironduke wrote: ... unfortunately they don't sell the designs for you print, they sell the 3D printed objects.
Of Course.
But the day can't be far away when the flat-sided loco-shed kits plans are available, then coaches, then locomotives.
I know that the 3D industry has programs to analyze multiple images and create 2-D and 3-D plans from that.
Forty years ago I used an early laser-printer's 'BOX" commands to take simple room measurements and print out some "insert tab A into slot B" sheets to make a model of my (then) home.
We had a programmable knitting machine 30+ years ago.

I have not (yet) looked at how to program 3D printers, but I would imagine that there is some feature that allows one to build a simple and pure six-faced 3D-slab from basic instructions, just as Word/VBA allows us right now to draw a simple 2D rectangle from LINE commands.

So: here's the deal: I'll start producing 3D plans for all sorts of coach bodies, based solely on available plan/elevation/end-elevation drawings, and you set up the business to flog them on the Internet, and I'll ask for only a small portion of the royalties; say 70% ( 8) :lol: )

On the other side, CGI and holistic images are already here, so if we can "print" 3D models then we ought to be able to "project" 3D holistic images, so in theory we can display our model railway where and when we like to anyone we want, even if they are on the far side of the Real World!

When that day arrives we will all be able to pack away our Humbrol Paints and get back to reading books!

Cheers
Chris


Return to “Model Railway Shop”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests