On Jul 3, 1:21 pm, email@example.com wrote spam, which I gladly
To bring it back on topic, more or less, for those of us who cannot
block the OP...
How about some modeling nostalgia? Feel free to join in...
My older brother built models when I was little, so I got the modeling
bug from him. I dimly recall going into hobby shops with him in the
70s. I didn't really get into modeling until I was almost grown, in
the mid 80s. I miss the mom and pop shops that were still hanging on
then. There was one left in my area by then, a nice older couple that
would order anything for you. They showed me how to order an amazing
invention called aftermarket decals...and had oddities in their shop,
such as eastern block kits. I couldn't believe that someone could
order models from the commies! I had quite a few KP kits,some NOVA/
Frogs and a few VEBs (my favorites).
They sold out and retired, and the new owners basically threw it all
away and were out of business within 2 years.
But those days with those kind of owners are probably gone forever...
Most likely. But here in western New York whicle we've lost the Mom
'n' Pops (except for a model railroad shop that's my source for
However, the former owner of the local Hobbytown USA retired (to work
at another craft shop) and sold his franchise. The new owner
immediately lowered all the prices to MSRP - 10% (down from the MSRP +
20% of the previous owner). I went there about a week after he opened
and we talked for about an hour about paints, Metalizers and other
things. He wants to get in a line (or two) of resin kits and is
willing to order any kit manufactured (which the previous owner
wouldn't unless paid 100% up front and you'd still have to wait.
Looks like I have a new local.....
It's not all Happy Days.
There's a shop south of me that I once refered a friend (who has his
own shop) to. Now sometimes we ask if the other has been back down
there; the canned reply is "Whadda you kids want!?" It's a camera/
train/model store with an emphasis on the formers. The models are
stacked on the shelf as they come in about 20 high, and you need to be
Daniel Plainview to find the older stock, the real reason to go down
And god forbid you ask the guy if he's got something in back, or
upstairs. Or if you dig too deep.
He's also got a rack of paperbacks in the back that look like they
haven't been restocked since 1965--wonderfully lurid covers promising
weird sex and violence.
Hey, I think I'll get back down there . . .
My father got me started on models. He built everything, especially
antique cars. He had owned some of the classics such as a Cord,
Stanley Steamer, and first started building what he had owned.
Eventually he did all of the Gowland & Gowland and many others. He
also got into the original Disney space stuff (Oh, to have one each of
those today), the horse-drawn stuff including the fire equipment and
much more. I still have his wood train, the one with an engine with no
cab, a baggage car and two stagecoach style passenger cars.
I started with the old Revell Jeep/Trailer/Gun, which I assembled
(sort of) with rubber cement. It didn't take long to narrow down to
custom cars and airplanes. I started doing just 1/72 aircraft and the
occasional vehicle after high school and have stuck with it for forty
years. The only time I deviate is for a customer. I'll build anything
in any scale for the right $.
We are very fortunate in the San Francisco Bay Area. In Marin when I
was a kid we had two well stocked hobby shops in the little town of
San Anselmo. One still exists, bigger and with far more stock, but
with an owner wh occasionally cops an attitude. There have been a
dozen other shops in Marin County over the years, they come and go. In
the greater Bay Area we have had a lot over the years. San Antonio was
the biggest, but with a horrible attitude towards their suspects, er,
I mean customers. We had a Squadron Shop which moved to different
locations before disolving. Talk about attitude problems! Franciscan
Hobbies remains a family shop after maybe fifty years and is well
worth an afternoon. The Hobby Company in SF is another good stop, if
small. By far the best for well over fifty years is Berkeley Ace
Hardware with their basement hobby shop. Bill stocks stuff from all
over the world as well as buying collections. If he can find it he'll
order it as well. A good portion of my paycheck is reserved for him
for magazines, models and after-market stuff.
All in all my favorite memories are of sitting at the kitchen table
watching my father build models and occasionally being honored with
placing a part or painting a part and listening to his stories of this
car or that spacecraft.
Used to be a half dozen of those hereabouts. Now the closest we have is
Michael's or the shop that appropriated the name of one of the golden
oldies. I was just there this week seeking paint and have come to the
conclusion that it would have been better to have ordered it from
Squadron and wait for it to arrive.
I found what I went for, more or less, and went to the register to pay
for it. I found two 'kids' there, y'know the kind, tattooed, wearing
their ball caps the wrong way 'round. One's playing with the wiring and
the the one waiting on me can't get the computer to come on line.
Time passed as I waited for them to either straighten out the computer
or break down and write out a ticket. By now even I had figured the
total in my head.
Eventually Tattoo gave up and wrote down the stock numbers and prices,
getting the tax & total with the help of a calculator. Then he had to
jimmy the cash drawer open to give me my change.
As I was leaving I checked out the magazine rack and found NO modelling
mags, just comic books. An enquiry gave me the results I feared: they
quit selling them as no one was buying. Knowing the owner slightly, I
think what that meant was they weren't selling fast enough for him.
I've been there whilst he espoused the Walmart philosophy so I expect no
rational decisions there.
Perhaps if he lowered his prices on some of the stuff in back that was
part of the original stock it would have turned over by now. No, it's
not that old or rare as they've only been in business about 6 years.
I just don't see any reason to waste the gas to drive up there for the
experience. The selection of car kits is better at Michael's and
they're within walking distance.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
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