Preferred Mail Order Hobby Suppliers

Each hobby seems to have a short list of preferred mail order hobbly sellers. What are the best ones as far as reliability, service,
prices, and availbility? Mainly I'm looking at all items for N Scale including track, locomotives, and rolling stock.
I prefer new over used stuff on eBay.
OS
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OldSailor wrote: Each hobby seems to have a short list of preferred mail order hobbly sellers. What are the best ones as far as reliability, service, prices, and availbility? Mainly I'm looking at all items for N Scale including track, locomotives, and rolling stock. I prefer new over used stuff on eBay. ---------------------------------------------------------- My favorite is Brooklyn Locomotive Works:
http://www.blwnscale.com /
I have dealt with BLW many times over the past 15+ years and have always been pleased.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire http://www.billsrailroad.net
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
One of the best is Big Al at: http://www.ecmrhobbies.com / He handles N scale.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Do you know anything about his weekly specials? Are they new or are they returns which were previously rejected or refurbished?
OS

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
They have been new in the box.
--
73 de KT0T
Bob Schwartz
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Al let's you know if an item is new or not. Most are new,90%. Now and then he sells something that was damaged in shipping or the like but he tells you in the discription. I've made several good deals that way.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
As far as I know when he sells something that is damaged it's the box, not the contents.
J. Bright

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm kinda new at online model railroad sources myself, but have been around eBay for awhile: Do keep in mind many things on eBay are brand new and many small shops sell new items via auctions or eBay stores including model trains and accessories. The description sections will let you know if it's new or used (and make sure you buy from someone with a high feedback rating which indicates good service and products). You might not find everything there, but it's worth a look sometimes. :)
~Brad H.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
While I agree that these "eBay stores" sell new merchandise, by the time you add the high postage rates these guys want, it's usually cheaper to go to the hobby shop or mail order. really irks me to pay 4.95 postage and get a box with a 2.00 stamp on it. Say what they want about handling costs, etc, that's the price of doing business...

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Roger King spake thus:

"Handling charges" are BULLSHIT. Period. If they want a couple bucks more, just should just increase the starting bid price instead of nickel-and-diming the buyer with bogus charges.
(And I'm an eBay seller, not just a buyer.)
--
Save the Planet
Kill Yourself
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Well I get irked the same way, but when you consider the cost of postage, cost of envelopes and containers, a trip to the post office with gas at 3 bucks a gallon, not to mention time, sometimes the postage and handling is worth more than the merchandise. What stupifies me most is that sometimes the bid price is much higher than the "buy now" price.
I prefer dealers with a phone number and good service. Usually their shipping rates are reasonable and they make good on problems.
I have bought and sold through eBay, but am not impressed either as a buyer or a seller.
OS
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On the eBay subject; I didn't mean to suggest everyone in there has good deals. Just like online stores or even walk-in stores, it's a place to shop for things and there will be good and bad to watch out for. And of course the maximum bid, shipping, and feedback rating should all be taken into consideration as to whether or not an item is a good, safe buy.
I've done a lot of buying and selling for 5 years now with a lot of good results (and honestly only a handful of disappointments). Obviously way too high shipping charges by some (but not all) sellers are annoying but only if the item price is near what you could get it somewhere else. For example if an HO boxcar was worth $30, final bid was $10, but shipping was set even at a high $10, you've still saved $10.
I haven't checked for awhile, but one reason some (but not all) sellers set a high shipping charge is to offset a low starting bid. If it's still like it was, the higher the starting bid, the higher your insertion fee. But if you keep your starting bid low and raise the shipping cost you still keep the fee low while covering yourself a little from actually losing money on an auction if the starting bid is all you get out of it. EBay still gets a percentage out of the final bid so I don't know why they charge extra for higher starting bids and leave a loophole with the shipping.
Having said all that, I don't see myself buying anything expensive like a current locomotive, but accessories wouldn't be out of the question. Even then I'd rather go through my local hobby shop if possible. The one here sells at a discount anyway (got the 0-4-0 Porter for $49 which I thought was pretty good).
Anyway, I just wanted to put a couple more positive cents in about eBay. I know it can be a pain at times but if you can navigate through the bad stuff, there's treasure to be found there. :)
~Brad H.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
    I am amazed that what seem to be intelligent people don't think a dealer should charge handling.The dealer has to pay for the box, the packing materials, tape, labels, tracking number, gas to and from the post office and their time. Yes, their time. Why shouldn't they be compensated for their labour in packing your item? Would you do your job with no pay? Then why expect them to do the same?     Handling is a cost a dealer incurs and should pass along to the buyer. In a storefront shop the rent, utilities, advertising and time are all factored into their price, you just don't se them enumerated like you do the handling fees, so why gripe when the"hidden" costs are out in the open?     Admittedly some merchants charge exorbitant fees (like$20 on a few ounce item) but they are like those overpriced stores you find anywhere. the solution is simply do not buy from them. In fact on eBay you can contact them and see if a more rational fee can be arranged.     Overall I have had very few problems on eBay as dealer or buyer (I have even bought 3 cars on eBay and am delighted with them) Like any shopping experience, eBay is what you make it.
                                cat
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What part of this don't you understand:
The Post office will pick up packages at your door, whether a residence or commercial location. No extra chrge.
Postage and shipping labels can be obtained from the PO on line at your location, again, no extra charge by the PO.
Package tracking can be set up from your site, you don't need to go to the PO to do it.
If the shipment is a Priority Mail shipment, the PO will even supply, free, no charge, both the boxes and the sealing tape, though you have to pick those up at the PO unless you are getting quantities in excess of 500 boxes. For that, the PO will deliver to your location.
Handling charges are ok. Packing peanuts, if lou have to buy them, and time might be the only real costs that should go into "handling charges" if one is shupping through the PO.
And if you are smart, you can rdce the "packing peanuts" costs to almost zero by using shredded newspaper. Newspaper / newsprint is a trash item in almost any hoe or business. The time to shred it is the only cost.
But far too many vendors over charge on "handling" to pad trheir oer item prfit.
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 3 Apr 2006 12:24:15 -0700, "Jim McLaughlin" <jim.mclaughlin> wrote:

You're right , the prioroty mail tape is free , but it's pita to use. I've used it , but I buy the shipping tape in a dispenser at Office Depot or Staples. Takes too much time to wrestle with the free stuff.
You can order them online by the case and now they will actually ship as few as 25 , which is the number of boxes in a case , right to your door..... at no charge.

Time is the biggest cost of all.

Time again.....thats a very big cost. And I have never been able to get enough packing material from the trash.

I agree , some do.
As a matter of curiousity , how many here are in a retail business or have ever been ? Anyone here in the hobby business ?
Ken
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ken Day wrote:

Yes I am. I don't sell on e bay. If asked to ship something I quote a handling charge plus actual shipping cost. If the buyer doesn't like the charges they can make some other arangements.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I (and the bank) owned a hobby store - everything but RRs - for a year or so. Didn't know what I was doing and was also working a full time job...
--
73 de KT0T
Bob Schwartz
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

    I was/am a partner in a retail store which specialized in imported models, etc. Like many small hobby dealers high costs and all too few customers made the business impractical so we closed. However we are now doing better selling our stuff on eBay. I have to admit having a whole world as potential customers beats hoping for a few clients from a few towns.
                                cat
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 3 Apr 2006 12:24:15 -0700, "Jim McLaughlin" <jim.mclaughlin> purred

    Like I said they do NOT pick up outside their business hours. If you are working then, tough, no pick up so you have to go to the post office.

    Only in some cases. Not all merchants have systems which can use this and this does NOT work with foreign orders (the bulk on my customers are not in the US)

    Paper is VERY inferior protection for delicate items. as a legitimate dealer I want the buyer to receive their items intact and that means proper packing using styrofoam packing at the minimum.

    That is true but a legitimate handling charge is appropriate. Those with insane shipping are simply ripping people off. It is clearly against eBay's rules but even with complaints they do nothing about those with the exorbitant shipping. this makes it tougher for legit dealers to cover their actual expenses without being lumped in with the crooks.
                                cat
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
cat spake thus:

I suppose you have a point, in that it costs the seller something to ship a package above and beyond the actual shipping charge. But there's at least one other way to look at this, which is to say that those expenses can and should simply come out of the profit made by the seller. That's the way I look at it, anyhow. I think I'm not unlike a lot of eBay sellers in that I'm not really running a business: I don't keep books, pay employees, and perhaps most importantly of all, *I don't pay taxes*--something any real business would have to do. So instead of looking at it as if I were being cheated by not explicitly charging for all that you mentioned (including the one thing you're supposed to charge for in any business: your time), I just see it as being covered (one hopes, anyhow) by my profit.

That's true, and I've done just that and gotten excessively high shipping costs reduced. (One seller even thanked me for pointing out the actual cost to them.)

Well, yes and no: I suppose if you're a diehard libertarian, then to you eBay is just one more shining example of the "magic of the marketplace" at work. I don't see it quite that way: in fact, eBay is a disruptive economic influence on many other businesses because of its size and power. Try telling that to the thousands of collectors, for instance, who have gone out of business thanks to eBay. (I know one around here who now sells on eBay, but no longer has a store, which is a loss both for him and for me.)
--
Save the Planet
Kill Yourself
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.