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Discussion Boards => HO => Topic started by: Martha on January 31, 2017, 09:01:03 PM



Title: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Martha on January 31, 2017, 09:01:03 PM
My Grandson who is 8 and I are attending our first Model Train and Railroad Hobby show in a few weeks. We are novices on this stuff and hope to learn from this experience. We are starting our own 4' x 8' layout so figured this would be a good thing right? Question is is there anything(s) to watch out for such as poorly made products or dealers who try to gyp me. Do they generally take Credit Cards or cash only? Also how much money should I bring? Are we talking a domestic type car or a high end type car? I know depends on what I am looking for right? Fellows, we are just starting out so imagine how the 2 of us will look, deer in the headlights, candy stores, Christmas Eve all come to mind. Some things I'm hoping to look for such as the rock wall Jonathan uses, some mini lights or bulbs, need fire trucks, police cars and first responders. Oh the list goes on. ;D

Any suggestions or watch out for is greatly appreciated.


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: WoundedBear on January 31, 2017, 09:09:37 PM
Resist the urge to spend a lot of money on anything and everything you may see. Decide what and when you want to model and stick to that.

Sid


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Terry Toenges on January 31, 2017, 09:20:22 PM
If you have general ideas of what you might want, check out some prices online from train stores and EBay before you go. That way you have a rough idea of what stuff goes for.


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Martha on January 31, 2017, 09:45:12 PM
Thanks Sid and Terry and Terry yes I would.


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Martha on January 31, 2017, 10:36:07 PM
No maps that I can find however richiy great advice I will contact the local club. This one is a small one, good one to get started. Thanks!


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Piyer on January 31, 2017, 10:58:26 PM
Notepad!

Write down what you are looking for, online prices, etc. before you go. Make notes while you are at the show BEFORE you buy. If you have a smart phone, you can quickly check prices. If not, see if you can arrange to have someone at home by the computer so that you can phone them for a price check.

RESIST IMPULSE BUYING....... says the guy who should truly leave home without his credit cards when going to a hobby shop, a train show, or even into most any "junk" store on Main Street.

Set a budget before you go to the show.... let's say $100.... and stick to that regardless of how much you are actually carrying with you. Keep it separate, like in an envelope, and once it's spent, that's it. For $100 you could easily pickup a bunch of $5 freight cars, a nice 2nd hand DC locomotive, and maybe two or three structure kits.

While I love the detail of the high end stuff, I tend to go for quantity over quality - 10 $5 junkers in need of TLC vs 1 $50 "Cadillac". And, in doing so, I've found some hidden gems: beautifully weathered Athearn Blue Box era cars for $7-$10 each, and a used-but-like-new Atlas locomotive for $45 that, to my surprise when I got it home, had a DCC decoder already in it! 

Good luck and happy hunting!


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: jonathan on February 01, 2017, 07:45:09 AM
Martha, as suggested above, I have to fight the temptation to buy every cool thing I see.

And like others, I keep a set amount of cash in my pocket.  Once it's spent, that's it.

I also make a list: a) the things I need; and b) the things I really want, but probably can't afford.  Every now and then I get to purchase something from the 'b' list.

The dangerous vendors are the ones who take credit cards; not all do.  Usually nothing wrong with their products, but I'm always tempted to head that way when all the cash is gone.

Since you're working on a 4' X 8' layout, there's only so much that surface area will hold.  That will help keep the budget down.

If you're looking for locomotives, better to stick with some rugged, basic diesels. An 8-year-old does not yet have the dexterity and light touch for playing with steam engines.

Just some thoughts.

Regards,

Jonathan


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Yardmaster on February 01, 2017, 09:44:00 AM
If you make a purchase at a train show and you are looking for new product that has not been previously used you should buy from a retailer who has a local store. This way if you have any problems you can contact the retailer.


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: jonathan on February 01, 2017, 10:50:29 AM
Absolutely!

When I'm shopping for a new Bachmann product, I go to Star Hobby at our local train shows.  They are an official dealer for Bachmann.  I get a good price, and I know the product is new and backed up by the warranty. And I have a slew of Bachmann steamers and diesels.

Same goes for new structures, craftsman kits and some scenery elements.  Now if your looking for brass or discontinued specialty items... all bets are off.  :) I try to buy power packs, figures, and vehicles out of discount bins from the second-hand vendors.  Helps if you're not picky about that sort of thing.

Regards,

Jonathan


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Len on February 01, 2017, 11:01:10 AM
The local clubs around here all provide test tracks at their shows. Any sellers that don't allow a loco to be tested for operation before purchase aren't invited back.

Len


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Joe323 on February 01, 2017, 12:19:58 PM
There are. 2 types of train shows.

The TOY type (Greenberg for exanple) where you have a lot of dealers selling chaff admist The wheat.  (By chaff I mean Lionel Matchbox cars Hess trucks signs books etc) The trick at these shows is not to wear youself out looking for the stuff you want.  You may want to even peruse these shows a few times so you know which dealers have what you want and are always there.

The Train type show (National Train Show for example) where manufacturers reps are on hand to show you there products and answer questions.  I find this type of show a bit more useful as there are less likely to be non MR products for sale.

Personally I think the first type would interest an 8 year old more than the second type show I would take him to that type and go alone to the second type.

BTW I second Jonathans endorsement of Star Hobbies at either type  show I have found their prices on Bachmann Products to be the best.


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Martha on February 01, 2017, 08:51:11 PM
Once again, thank you all for such excellent advice. I believe this is a small show which is good, hopefully I won't get into to much trouble purchasing. I do have a budget and I will take cash and no credit/debit cards. Course it is less than 2 miles away, will just need to find the strength to control that spending. Looking forward to it. M


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Martha on February 01, 2017, 10:59:40 PM
Once again, thank you all for such excellent advice. I believe this is a small show which is good, hopefully I won't get into to much trouble purchasing. I do have a budget and I will take cash and no credit/debit cards. Course it is less than 2 miles away, will just need to find the strength to control that spending. Looking forward to it. M


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: James in FL on February 01, 2017, 11:12:15 PM
Take a 9v battery with you just in case no test tracks.

Good luck


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: JNXT 7707 on February 02, 2017, 11:21:36 AM
All good advice. That said, it's a train show - have fun! It's your first show. You WILL overspend. You WILL get things that are impulse buys. It's OK!
I make up lists before train shows too, and have a budget (the cash in my pocket). 99% of the team I find nothing on my list, but I DO find other things that turn out quite well.

BTW, it is like walking into a wonderland - your grandson will be in hog heaven  ;D


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Royce Wilson on February 04, 2017, 10:37:45 PM
Most dealers you will encounter in the show are honest but they do want to sell their wares so some can be pushy so don't let that bother you, remember they are business folks and have overhead. You can use that to your advantage if you spot a used item simply inquire "how low will you go on that as I am running low on funds".

Take advice from an old man make a list of what you need and stop at that!.

I have a basement full of wants and thought I would donate them to some young people soon but they are now into gaming and computers.

Royce


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: HoModeler on February 05, 2017, 08:49:01 AM
My Grandson who is 8 and I are attending our first Model Train and Railroad Hobby show in a few weeks. We are novices on this stuff and hope to learn from this experience. We are starting our own 4' x 8' layout so figured this would be a good thing right? Question is is there anything(s) to watch out for such as poorly made products or dealers who try to gyp me. Do they generally take Credit Cards or cash only? Also how much money should I bring? Are we talking a domestic type car or a high end type car? I know depends on what I am looking for right? Fellows, we are just starting out so imagine how the 2 of us will look, deer in the headlights, candy stores, Christmas Eve all come to mind. Some things I'm hoping to look for such as the rock wall Jonathan uses, some mini lights or bulbs, need fire trucks, police cars and first responders. Oh the list goes on. ;D

Any suggestions or watch out for is greatly appreciated.

Like everyone else is saying don't be quick to buy anything do your research as well before you go Some Train show venders sell JUNK... The train show that comes to my area SELL's ALOT of JUNK & not worth the $8.00 admission fee. Go to Vendors that offer Test Track so you can see if Loco's are working & ASK a lot of questions to the vendors watch there body language if the vendor operator seems he does not seem interested in your questions WALK AWAY.... ( For example if you see a box of train cars & a sign everything in this box $ 10.00 chances are it's JUNK don't waist your money )... Trust me it happened to me I thought I was getting a good deal on some rolling stock & every car turned out to be JUNK & I wound up throwing them in the garbage a waist of $9.00 I threw away.

Sit down with your Grandson both decide what type of layout you both want to make...
Most people in this hobby model FREELANCE Layouts LIKE MYSELF I did a Mountain Scene with some Factories & a Passenger Station & a Junk Yard & Farm & Coal Mine I also have a 9 track yard area & I got proper scenery to fit those scenes for example Passenger People for the station...

Some People in this hobby show there Pride in a certain Railroad & Model parts of that area on there layout as well & only use the proper ERA Rolling stock as well to that railroad.

Also I would visit your Local Hobby Store too you can get a lot of help there as well...


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: JNXT 7707 on February 05, 2017, 12:27:04 PM
Like everyone else is saying don't be quick to buy anything do your research as well before you go Some Train show venders sell JUNK... The train show that comes to my area SELL's ALOT of JUNK & not worth the $8.00 admission fee. Go to Vendors that offer Test Track so you can see if Loco's are working & ASK a lot of questions to the vendors watch there body language if the vendor operator seems he does not seem interested in your questions WALK AWAY.... ( For example if you see a box of train cars & a sign everything in this box $ 10.00 chances are it's JUNK don't waist your money )... Trust me it happened to me I thought I was getting a good deal on some rolling stock & every car turned out to be JUNK & I wound up throwing them in the garbage a waist of $9.00 I threw away.


Just a point or two about the above...
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran, if you see a box that says 'everything in this box $10', yeah it might be junk but you don't know until you LOOK at what's in the box BEFORE you part with cash. Nobody is going to put premium items in a box like that, nor should we expect them to...but there may be parts/pieces/shells/etc. that are worth $10 or more to YOU.
Second point - NEVER throw anything away!  :D


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: jonathan on February 05, 2017, 10:34:37 PM
Well, Martha, I for one am curious about how it went this weekend.  Any treasure?

I found some bargains.  Had money leftover.  Then our club treasurer reminded me to pay my annual dues.  No more leftovers.  :)

Regards,

Jonathan


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Martha on February 06, 2017, 10:59:24 PM
Jonathan it is this coming Sunday and I can't wait! I think I am more excited as I have not attended one before. Connor on the other hand went last year but wasn't into MRR. He told me it was a BIG show. I know it isn't by the size of the building but it will be fun none the less.

 https://flic.kr/p/QtpLTN

This is a little steamer I purchase with some other pieces. It is Connor's favorite because it hauls butt around the track and easy to line up on the track. Now this little bugger ran backwards or best I can describe it, it was polarized incorrectly. If you put it on a track along with another engine and applied power they would go in opposite directions and would crash head on. Thanks to searching the internet I found how to fix it which I am proud to say I did! Switched the wires and bam it now goes forward following the same direction the others go. It was incorrectly wired from the factory. I guess it happens.

I will be sharing my first MRR show and tell you all all about it!



Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: jbrock27 on February 11, 2017, 10:39:23 AM
Lots of excellent advice already given here.  Although, personally not a fan of "The Train Show" for several reasons, including the entry fee, parking fee, cost of gas and inherent handicap in being able to effectively "price shop" as touched on, it is a great thing for kids to get to and to make a family day out of it.

Quite a few ATM's also.
Many vendors do accept credit cards but I prefer to use cash.
richiy

ATMs are only good if they are for your bank and don't charge you what is an exhorbitant fee to take money out of them...
I prefer NOT to use cash if I have the option to use a CC instead, more consumer protections if things go south on the purchase.  Don't like using "debit cards" for the same reason.


The dangerous vendors are the ones who take credit cards

Regards,

Jonathan

Why "dangerous" ???  You must mean dangerous for you bc you would then be tempted to spend more, right?  LOL  :D Well that is where self discipline comes into play :D ;).    I like using a CC for reasons I have stated above and previously.  If I had a choice between a buying from a vendor who took a CC and one that only took cash and the price difference was not significant, I am gong with the CC.


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Martha on February 13, 2017, 11:05:57 PM
Well folks despite we had yet another snow storm on the day of the show I made it through my first train/hobby show and came out broke ;D . Connor mentioned on our way home that next year I need to bring more money!!! I said I think he needs to do odd jobs to buy more stuff next year! Due to the nasty weather conditions it wasn't crowded so we could take our time. Now I don't know jack crap about these types of shows but I would say this is a tiny show. There were around 25 - 30 vendors trying to go by memory. several selling thomas the train stuff and lots selling Lionel large scale guessing O scale? There were several layouts set up. Keep in mind I'm with an 8 yr old that is hoping to purchase LOTS of stuff. Our first buy was a Erie US Postal railway car $5.00 in the box. Next we came upon the actual one and only HO Scale Engines table. All in original boxes and priced I felt reasonable and make an offer pricing. The story behind that table of mostly Atheran products was a man had rooms and rooms in his home filled with train products he also had storage units filled. Due to age and illness he was put in a retirement home and all his stuff was sold. The guy didn't even have a layout, he just collected the stuff so it was priced to sell. Connor is in love with Amtrak and Metro North, he has a Amtrak engine and cars already but there set on that table a brand new Blue & Silver Amtrak engine. It now is part of the C & G Railroad lol. He also spied a really nice diesel that actually we both liked. Now this is were things go wrong. I took everyone's advice/suggestions very serious and took that with me however, yes however, I didn't even know dummies existed or if I had heard about them it slipped my mind. We purchased what we thought was a really nice GE Dash 9 engine only to bring it home to realize it was fake. I am still beating myself up over it. The "great" deal I made didn't turn out so good. Connor the great little guy he is said "It's ok Grammy it still looks good on the track". We proceeded to pick up a few cheap items, little vehicles and such. Luckily there was not an ATM machine nor did they accept debit or credit cards if there had been I'd of spent a lot more on buildings.

Now can anyone explain why some Ho scale buildings seem to be of a different size HO scale? I seen some smaller versions of some of our buildings that both are suppose to be of the same scale. The vendor said its based on the size of the front door?  He had lots of pre erected buildings and lots of kits. I really wanted several of them. At another table I spied the power plant Jonathan has so expertly created. I also eyeballed Brass engines and tenders that I believe Jonathan also fancies.

All in all we had a great time. We came home ate a quick lunch and spent hours playing with our purchases. I think I know the answer to the question is there any inexpensive way to turn our dummy into the real McCoy?

I look forward to the next local show that is a lot bigger I'm told. Thanks once again for all your advice and knowledge you shared with Connor and me.

M


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: WoundedBear on February 14, 2017, 12:15:39 AM
I would say you were looking at N scale versions of HO kits and that vendor you were talking to has no clue about the hobby......he just buys and sells stuff.

Other than the misstep on the Dummy Loco, it sounds like you did all right.

Sid


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: jbrock27 on February 14, 2017, 09:08:28 AM
Nope, no "inexpensive" way to power outfit a dummy.  I would cut your losses and leave as is.  How does it roll?  What make?

HO scale is HO scale, no variances other than their comparative sizes, ie: "Grammy's Outhouse" is going to be smaller in size than "The First Federal" bank building.


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: Len on February 14, 2017, 09:54:22 AM
Sometimes you run into a situation where HO (1/87 scale) and OO (1/76 scale) stuff gets mixed together at shows and sold generically as "HO". The size difference isn't really noticable unless you set them next to one another. And locos and rolling stock for both scales will run on HO track.

Len


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: jonathan on February 14, 2017, 10:15:51 AM
Sounds like you had some fun, and that's what it's all about.  :)

First starting out, I bought things that I never used. We live and learn. I've tinkered with structures and engines that ended up in my parts boxes.  Eventually, some things get a second life.  I tend not to throw anything away, as parts become useful later on... well, horn hook couplers get tossed for sure.

Congrats on your first shopping trip.  I always have fun searching for inspiration.

Regards,

Jonathan


Title: Re: Suggestions on Train Show purhases
Post by: ebtnut on February 14, 2017, 02:18:31 PM
When I was at the Timonium train show the other weekend I found a loco I had been after for a good while at a fair price.  After I bought it, I then found two more for even less, but I was OK with what I had since it is going to be a kit-bashing project.  What I also saw but passed by was an American OO scale ten-wheeler kit.  It didn't register with me until I got home that U.S. OO uses a track gauge of 3/4 inch which is three feet in O scale, or On3.  In fact, the NMRA standards gauge for On3 is labeled On3/OO.  OO scale uses the same wheel and flange standards as HO, so they are essentially to scale in O.  I principally model in On3, and that kit could have been the basis for a free-lance On3 loco, maybe using parts from a Bachmann On30 loco.  I can hope that, since OO is long out of favor, I might see the kit again at the next show.