A few newbie passenger car q's - model accuracy, paint recommendations, etc.

All,
I'm attempting to get back into this hobby after having sort of drifted out of it over the past 10-15 years or so. When I was younger
I was never really concerned with accuracy, but as I get older I'm becoming much more of a perfectionist.
My wife and I just took Amtrak across country and I figured it'd be a fun project to try to replicate the two trains that we took as my first foray back in (well, four trains, but same basic consists in both directions) - this has the side benefit that my wife will actually support the initial expense. Just today I paid a visit to Red Caboose here in NYC and was completely bewildered by the various options. Ended up just buying a lone Walthers Viewliner car as it seems they're really the only company doing them in plastic, and their model looks pretty good with the exceptions of the car number being in the wrong place and no interior.
Seems the Walthers models are expensive, though, and I couldn't find any smooth-sided diners in Amtrak livery; their Amfleet cars also seem a bit dodgy (trucks and undersides look a bit off to me). Is there anyone that makes a smooth-sided diner-grill in Amtrak livery, and anyone who makes decent Amfleet cars? (Hopefully more cheaply than Walthers...) I'm also looking for recommendations on Amtrak P-42's - I've heard the Athearn models are decent for the price?
Also, anyone that makes decently accurate RTR Superliners with interiors? (I could ask the same question about the Viewliners, but I'm sure the answer would be no.) Walthers' sngle-level Budd cars all seem to have interiors, but not their Superliners or Viewliners - though otherwise these cars look great.
Lastly, it's pretty obvious that I'm going to need to do some touch-ups on the paint on any RTR cars that I buy - I know absolutely nothing about paint, so what do you all recommend for painting the smallest details? Is there such a thing as a paint "pen"? (For example, the very thin bottom white stripe on my Viewliner is misapplied just a bit and I'd like to fix it.) If there are any web sites out there that have sort of a painting/detailing primer, feel free to just point me in that direction.
Thanks,
Jeff Williams snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com
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Word has it "Red Caboose here in NYC" has some of the highest prices. Check with Trainworld/Trainland in Brooklyn.
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Check
Well, trouble is I'm in Queens - at least with Red Caboose I can just pass by on my way somewhere (like work) and stop in. Brooklyn, though, is literally a two hour special round trip (I'm one of those New Yorkers with no car). You may as well direct me to a shop in Pennsylvania.
If there's a cheaper place online to order, I'd love to do that... but I haven't really found a good online store with that kind of selection. And most of the online stores don't seem to have very good pictures; seems like you really need to know what you want.
Jeff
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Here is a suggestion Jeff.
Stop in at Red Caboose, but keep your wallet in your pocket. Don't buy there, just look.
Then pick up the telephone and call Trainworld, ask if they have what you want and if they deliver.
Compare prices...
Or check out either: www.internettrains.com or www.modelrailroads.net

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Unfortunatly, You really need to know what you are looking for to order stuff online. I have found that I can look at the Walthers website to get a good idea of what something is, and then go look elsewhere to find it and order it.
I have used the following 2 mailorder/websites to order from in the past. Both of these sites have closeout/blowout sales that regularly advertise in Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman.
You can order from trainworld online. http://www.trainworld1.com/index.html The one time that they messed up my order, (I was missing a case/box) it was corrected the next business day.
I have also ordered from Standard Hobby Supply http://www.standardhobby.com /
There are several other websites out there that are probably equally as good or better, but I have not dealt with them.
Good Luck! Have Fun! Enjoy! We had been talking about doing the coast-to-coast Amtrack bit... But have not gotten around to it yet.
Mike Naime

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stuff online.
Trainworld has excellent prices but they do expect you to have the order numbers ready when you call. Else you get the NY attitude: "I haven't got all day, honey" :-)
They are a GREAT place to deal with in spite of that. Some folks don't care for what they perceive as rudeness.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Corelane) wrote in message

Yes you certainly need to know exactly what you are ordering when you call them. They can't search for anything.
Jerry
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order
got all

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I called them and got one of the ladies. With just a vague description from me she was able to figure out what I needed and what I didn't, Of course, I still have my Jersey accent after 40 years. I am extremely well satisfied.
Jim Stewart
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a
Oh oh - if people keep doing that, you know they'll be switching their web site to a paid service!
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And, after 'Red Caboose" (substitute ANY local hobby shop) goes out of business, THEN you can mail order everything "sight unseen", because there won't be ANYWHERE you can see the item before buying it!
Wonderful advice. Browse the local shop's inventory, handle their merchandise, perhaps waste their time with questions, THEN buy somewhere else. You want all the advantages of a local shop, but are not willing to pay the price for one. NO local shop can compete on price with a mail order operation ... not and survive.
No wonder we keep getting all those "Such-and-such local hobby shop just went out of business ... NOW what am I to do?" questions on this group.
And yes, I did work (part time) in a local hobby shop for many years, and saw this behavior frequently.
Dan Mitchell ========" snipped-for-privacy@CreditValley.Railway" wrote:

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Actually it depends on the shop.
I have recently heard of a shop about 30KM from me, "The Right Track" in Bracebridge, Ontario.
I was talking to a business acquaintance on the weekend and was surprised that he too is a model railroader. I was mentioning my future plans and he adviced me about the shop. In a followup series of emails with him, it appears that "The Right Track" will be the place to buy my products, they were within $1.00 of all the rolling stock and structures on my wish list compared to what had been described as the best mail order house in Canada. (CEL) and of course with the mail order place, I had to add shipping charges.
Bottom line was for the same money, less 60KM worth of gas (about $125), I could:
A) stay home, order via email and wait a couple of days, hoping the courier/mailman did not destroy my shipment.
OR
B) Go for a short road trip, enjoy the scenery, chat with other modelers purchase what I wanted and have it immediately. Also see what is new or on special.
I also found out that the store is associated with the local Model Railroad Club (I never knew one existed up here) that meets every wednesday night. I now have something to do on Wed. :) -- Will future Credit Valley Railroad modeler.

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I have NO problem with using mail order, or internet, to buy things ... as long as you already know what you want. You can obtain such information from product reviews, internet chatter, or word of mouth.
It is also acceptable to 'shop around' and buy from the lowest cost source.
But it is NOT acceptable, as the original poster recommended, to 'inspect' (handle, test run, ask questions about) items at a local hobby shop, THEN go buy the item somewhere else because it's cheaper. It's likely cheaper because (among other things) the other source does NOT allow 'inspection' (they probably don't even have a store).
Dan Mitchell ========" snipped-for-privacy@CreditValley.Railway" wrote:

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acceptable to 'shop around' and buy from the lowest cost<BR>&gt; source. <BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; But it is NOT acceptable, as the original poster recommended, to<BR>&gt; 'inspect' (handle, test run, ask questions about) items at a local hobby<BR>&gt; shop, THEN go buy the item somewhere else because it's cheaper. It's<BR>&gt; likely cheaper because (among other things) the other source does NOT<BR>&gt; allow 'inspection' (they probably don't even have a store).<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; <BR><BR>Dan, what is your definition of "shop around" which you say is acceptable?<BR><BR>Am I not shopping around if I go into a shop and look? <BR><BR>If I pick up a product off the shelf, that is handling, right?<BR><BR>If a sales person comes over and asks me a question, should I say no thanks I am not a customer, even though I might be?<BR><BR>When you go into a shop, do you feel obligated to buy something just for the priveledge of visiting the shop?<BR><BR>If I see something advertised on the internet, magazine or where ever, all I see is a picture, I can walk into the shop and look at the product can't I?<BR><BR>It has been my experience in other areas that I do about 50-50, 50% internet/mail order and 50% retail/wholesale shops. I expect that it will be the same with model railroading. I have already found a line of structures (JR Scale Models http://www.muskoka.com/busmall/shards/jrmodels.html ) they look good and are sold mail/internet order, but I don't think "The Right Track" carries them. JR have 12 structures and say they have a line of wood rolling stock:<BR><BR>Choose from 36 and 40 and 50' boxcars, single and double sheathed, 36' caboose, 36 and 40' flatcars, and log car conversions. All accept Kadee compatible couplers. Trucks and couplers not included&nbsp; ($12.95).<BR><BR>-- <BR>Will<BR>HO - Credit Valley Railway</FONT></BODY></HTML>
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Sure there are 'degrees' of everything.
'Shopping around", as I intended to use the term, is checking prices. It's 'OK' to go into a store and check prices. Picking up a box and looking at it (which MAY be opened or shrink-wrapped as to view the contents) is 'OK'. What is NOT 'OK' is to open boxes, or take materials to the counter to be opened by store personnel, inspect parts, or to ask questions requiring non-trivial TIME for the store personnel to answer, or to test run something ... WITHOUT ANY INTENTION TO BUY AT *THAT* STORE!
Now requesting such service from a store does NOT require you to buy there. Maybe the item is just not what you want. Maybe it's somehow defective. But you should NOT use the services of one store when you INTEND to buy from another.
Providing such services is part of the reason local hobby shops MUST charge more for their merchandise. Such service costs the store money. Using the service with NO intention to buy is just cheating the store at best, and stealing at worst.
Now it's agreed that SOME local shops are very poor. They charge high prices and offer little or no service anyway. That's still no reason to cheat them. Just don't go there in the first place!
And, as I've said, I have NO problem with 'buying from the lowest bidder' ... as long as you do your OWN research on what to buy, and don't steal the knowledge from some other store then stab them in the back.
That's MY position on the matter.
Dan Mitchell

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On Mon, 05 Jan 2004 11:26:49 -0500, "Daniel A. Mitchell"

And you might be surprised to learn that I've never done that (I don't really care if you believe me). But what I will do is walk out of any shop, in a big hurry, that treats me like crap. And that I have done, and more than once. Although for shops its less than the fingers of one hand, and in once case the same shop did it to me multiple times and each time I stayed away 2-3 years. Biggest offenders there are show dealers especially GATS dealers.
Andy ----------------------------------------------------------- http://www.duckcreek.org - Pre-Interstate Urban Archaeology -----------------------------------------------------------
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Sounds like a good policy to me
I too have met dealers who seem to think THEY are doing ME a big favor by doing business with me, and act like obnoxious idiots. And, yes, flea markets are a good place to find these types. Few real stores can survive long with such an attitude. sometimes a store will have a particular employee who acts inappropriately, but they shouldn't last long ... unless the offender is the owner.
Dan Mitchell ========Andy Harman wrote:

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On Mon, 05 Jan 2004 10:04:45 -0500, "Daniel A. Mitchell"
I don't think the notorious Red Caboose of NYC can be equated with "any local hobby shop".
Andy
----------------------------------------------------------- http://www.duckcreek.org - Pre-Interstate Urban Archaeology -----------------------------------------------------------
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'OK', I've not dealt with 'Red Caboose', perhaps they are a PITA, but that's still not reason to cheat them as was suggested. If they are that bad, just don't go in their store at all.
There are all sorts of shops out there. But the more service they offer, the higher prices they MUST charge. Only you can decide if the added service is worth the cost.
The reverse is not always the case. Some stores may charge high prices and offer little service. Keep away.
Dan Mitchell ========Andy Harman wrote:

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Jeff, If you want, there is a fairly local Train Meet in your area. (a flea market for model railroad stuff). It is in Greenwich CT and accessible by Metro North, New Haven Div. They hold three meets a year, (March, September and November) and there are usually some pretty good deals there.
If you want, Email me off the group with your name and address and I will forward it to the guy who maintains their mailing list.
If Peter King comes on the group, try to flag him down. He is Flying Scotsman hobbies and does mail order and attends the meet. He is also involved with the Poughkeepsie train meet, (also accessible by Metro North, but on the Hudson Div.)
As an aside, I use to be associated with the Greenwich show until I moved to Michigan 4 and a half years ago.
Jeff Williams wrote:

ignored.
The Gratiot Valley Railroad Club bi-annual train show and sale March 7, 2004, at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center. Macomb County Michigan. Please visit our Web Site at: www.gvrr.org
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On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 02:17:14 GMT, "Frank A. Rosenbaum"

http://www.fshobby.com
I will second the nomination of the Flying Scotsman...
Jeff Sc. Edinborough, Ga.
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