Alphabetic Directory of San Francisco Bay Area Hobby Shops


Berkeley Ace Hardware, 2145 University Ave, Berkeley, CA – (510) 845-0410
http://berkeleyace.com/ (under construction…)

Boss Robot Hobby, 2953 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705 – (510) 841-1680

http://www.bossrobot.com

Capitola Hobbies, 3555 Clares St, Capitola, CA – (831) 462-3555

http://www.capitolahobbies.com/

Chan’s Trains & Hobbies, 2450 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA
94109. – (415) 885-2899.

http://www.chanstrains.com/

Dan Webb Books, 331 17th Street (Between Webster and Harrison), Oakland CA 94612 – (510) 444-4572
**More hours! Mon thru Sat 11:15-4:30, Sun 9:40-4:30**

http://www.danwebbbooks.com/

D & J Hobby & Crafts, 96 N San Tomas Aquino Rd, Campbell, CA – (408) 379-1696

http://www.djhobby.com/

Franciscan Hobbies, 1920-A Ocean Avenue San Francisco, CA 94127-2745 -
415 584 3919

http://www.franciscanhobbies.com/

Gunnings’s Hobbies, 538 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, CA 94960-2614 -
(415) 454-3087

http://www.gunnings.com/

Hobbies Unlimited, 937 Manor Boulevard, San Lorenzo, CA – 510-351-7112

Hobby Company, 5150 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94118 – (415) 386-2802

http://www.hobbycosf.com/

Japantown Collectibles, – Japan Center Kinokuniya Bldg.,
1st Floor, 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco, CA 94115 Tel: 415-563-2970

J & M Hobby House, 1660 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA – (650) 593-5019

Nor Cal Hobbies & Raceway, 30600 Union City Blvd, Union City, CA -
(510) 324-5700

http://www.norcalhobbies.com/

R C Unlimited, Rc Unlimited Hobby Shop, Slot Cars and Hobbies,
Slot Cars Unlimited Raceway, Speedway, Castle Hobbies
14910 Camden Ave, San Jose, CA – (408) 377-7760
14918 Camden Ave, San Jose, CA – (408) 377-3771

http://www.rcunlimited.net/

Slot Car Magic and Hobbies, 104 Parrott St, San Leandro, CA – (510) 357-8514

http://www.slotcarmagic.com/

Sheldon’s Hobbies, 2130 Trade Zone Blvd, San Jose, CA – (408) 943-0220

http://www.sheldonshobbies.com/

Talbots Toyland, 445 S B St, San Mateo, CA – (650) 931-8100

http://www.talbotstoyland.com/

Toy Safari 1410 Park St Alameda, CA 94501 (510) 522-1723

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5 responses to “Alphabetic Directory of San Francisco Bay Area Hobby Shops

  1. omg.. good work, brother

  2. Largest Hi Speed Commercial Plastic Track in Northern California

  3. Thanks for a most useful (and entertaining) website! A specific quest: I’ve just bought, at Ace Hardware in Berkeley, the GMP 1:35 P-51D “Old Crow.” The model had been on display, and somehow had lost its tail wheel. Where would you suggest I shop to find a plausible replacement? I don’t insist on absolute authenticity, since it’s such an inconspicuous part, I’ll settle for any wheel of about the right size to be the tailwheel on a 1:35 model of the Mustang.

    Mark

  4. Hi, thank you for the list.
    My son is looking for tank models to work on. Could you let me know which store has the largest and best collection? We live in the East Bay but are willing to drive far if necessary. Thank you.

    • Hi Sue,
      Tanks, armored, unarmored military vehicles, and soldier figures, and equipment, are in reasonable supply at Berkeley Ace Hardware and Hobbies Unlimited in San Lorenzo. The most common scales for these sort of models are 1/35 and 1/76 to 1/72. Both shops have a good selection of 1/76 to 1/72. Kits in that range are around $20 or less, and the newest kit tooling by Dragon, Revell, Trupeter, Academy, etc is very good indeed. In 1/35, kit prices $25 to $60, in my opinion, Hobbies Unlimited has a slightly better selection. I wouldn’t be surprised if each store had something the other didn’t, and I could find something for myself or for a gift for a beginner or an expert in either store. In 1/35 you get Dragon, Italeri, Academy, Trumpeter, Tasca and industry leader Tamiya, as well as Zeveda, AFV Club, Bronco and many others.

      In figures (generally soldiers, one or two sets of non-soldiers in each scale) I think Berkeley Ace has a slight advantage
      It would not be a mistake to visit either of these stores.

      I have heard good things about the people at Hobbyland USA in Concord. I visited once many years ago and its fairly large, well lit, plastic models are one one part of their offerings. These are your three best bets in the East Bay, from my experience.

      Among tank and military kits, Airfix kits are almost all extremely old, somewhat simplified and robust. Fujimi, Hasegwa and Esci / Italeri also have a large number of older kits in their catalogs. Some are quite splendid, full of parts and interest, some are simplified to the point of not being much fun. The earliest, very old, kits are not as accurate as we’ve come to expect. There are a number of Eastern European makers, and I’ve bought some of their kits but not built any of them, yet.

      I’d give Berkeley Ace Hardware a slight edge on paints, because they have the Testor’s Acryl line, as well as acrylic paint from Tamiya, Gunzie Sangyo and Hubroil. I use and recommend the blue label liquid cement from Testors – non toxic, though flamible. Interesting trick, that. I also highly recommend Polly Scale and Testor’s Acryl paint. Like any latex paint, you have to stir and stir and check it and then stir some more.

      If you’d like to brave a bridge, Talbots has a a fair armor selection in San Mateo, J&M Hobby House have a slightly smaller selection, in San Carlos. Either of them is better stocked than Franciscan, Hobby Company or Chan’s Trains and Hobbies in San Francisco.

      Almost all tank kits come with no interior contents, any exceptions being notable. ESCI/Italeri and Fujimi have rather old 1/76 or 1/72 M4A1 Medium “Sherman” tanks with a bunch of inside details. The ESCI/Italeri kit is said to be the better. Most people who are new to tanks will be surprised that there’s an “airplane” type round engine in the M4A1, but that is how they were built, M4 and M4A1 both. Fujimi have what appears to be the M4A3’s Ford V8 in their 1/76 M4A1…

      In 1/48, a new, “midsize” scale that Tamiya started using and a few others have joined, Hobby Boss have a series of T-34 Russian tanks (T-34/76 and T-34/85) with about 400 parts, because the kit has a full interior! You can lift the top off to see it. Priced around $20 they are clearly the bargain if the 1/48 scale is acceptable and the builder is happy with a lot of smaller parts.

      In 1/35, the Academy M3A1 Stuart/”Honey” has an interior, at least where the people are, and AFV Club make a T-34 with a transparent hull and full interior. Academy also have a WWII German Tiger tank with full interior- again, lift the top to see what’s inside.

      Other than that, you’re doing well if the main gun has a breach, etc, inside the turret. Seats in the turret, if they should be there, are a real distinction, as are seats and controls for the driver. Because of the paucity of windows, the actual interiors of tanks tend to be a light color – glossy white isn’t unusual, or a light buff or beige. Not dark green or even sand color. But the inside of the hatches will be the same as the outside, so that the camouflage isn’t disturbed when a hatch is opened.

      I’d be delighted to hear where you went, what you saw and thought, what you or your son picked out.

      Cheers!
      Bill

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