Category Archives: RC

What the People want:


So, for example, here’s what brought people to my blog yesterday:
More editing tomorrow.

— Information pointed to from here:
mosquito bomb aimers position 23
boeing 707 gray 2
hobby store bay area 2
dh mosquito

— Information here for airplanes and other subjects for modelling:
mosquito bomb aimers position 23

— Information here for paint and finishing:
boeing 707 gray 2
how to sand down excess plastic modeling 2
how to thin model master acryl paint 2
remove decals to model aircraft 1
tamiya paint sets 1spraying with water based paint 1
water based paint diluters

— Information here about Bay Area hobby shops
hobby store bay area 2
san francisco rc plane shop 1

“wwii” and “model kit” and “kids” 2
“air international” magazine index 1

dh mosquito cockpit door 1
grumman f7f tigercat/cabin view 1
1
radio shack electric motor rf-500tb-182 1
thinning water based paint for spraying 1
tamiya acrylic remover 1
dh mosquito 1
model paint stripping 1
and dilute acrylic paints for models 1-20 y 1
boac mosquito 1
removing future floor wax 1

I— nformation *not yet*here
italeri c 27 1/72 2
spray paint for pots and pans 1
système de trim wheel en cockpit 1
misquito twin engine bomber three view 1
revell constellation lufthansa blue tamiya colours 1
cockpit/grumman tigercat/images 2

Families of references for the model builder


I’ve started working on my index of Air International again, but on reflection it occurs to me that a simple list of all the potential reference sources and how to start reeling them in on the internet would be of value, so here’s a beginning,  and yes, I’ll list more of Volume 18 of Air Internatonal!

Which Dewey Decimal and/or Library of Congress filing sections this stuff goes in is a separate matter, and there’s also on-line stuff but here’s a start on books, maybe magazines after this: I’ll put in examples after I get the listings going.

ARCO- ARCO did several different series:

ArcoAircam small, paper-bound volumes of color and black-and-white profiles by artists like Richard Ward

– larger, soft and hard-bound books on a single subject, mostly pix and text – Boeing 707, Lockheed Constellation, P-51, B-58, etc.

Aero series A numbered series of soft-bound books on particular subjects

Colors and Markings – Squadron or Kinzey started this series, they’re a bit too exhaustive for me. One I remember specifically was the volume for F-106s. I like F-106s, and I’d be interested in what I construe their “Colors and Markings” to be. In actual fact, the book contained a clear, black and white, photograph of the squadron markings (and variations) for every squadron that operated the F-106, with some of the test, NASA, etc airframes thrown in too. No color at all, just the names of the colors. (Well, F-106 were almost always Air Defense Command glossy gray…) Still, I was hoping for something like the Arco-Aircam profile books, lots of color illustrations, and sadly disappointed. On the other hand, if you have a squadron number and want to see the markings they used on a particular kind of airplane, this would be golden.

Aerofax -A magazine that morphed into paperback books and now covers a wide range. Very scholarly, dry, text, lots of official technical manual drawings and photos. Mostly black and white, a page or four of color and a color cover. Very reliable, thorough, but a little bloodless.

Aero Detail – Japanese productions with photographs of museum examples, contemporary technical drawings, color profies. Some English text, some in Japanese, photo captions are in both. Scott Hards of Hobby Link Japan serves as translator for this range and does a good job. Pictures are from a variety of airframes if there ARE a variety available. These books are the beyond-the-ropes tour you wish you could get….

Aircraft in Profile, Armor in Profile, AFV in Profile, Classic Cars in Profile, Cars in Profile, Warships in Profile, Locomotives in Profile, Small Arms in Profile. – the melting pot of British amateur enthusiasts. Texts can be quite good to pretty poor- I don’t really believe that the P-51 (aka A-36) made no progress in the USA until a bribe was paid by North American to someone, but the photos and color art are always fun. The sun WAS setting on the British Empire while these were being written and the result is a lot more pre-1939 British content than any objective analysis would warrant, but what of that? So there are more between-wars RAF bi-planes than total USSR subjects… even with 260 titles published this was a work of love and devotion, not really a scholarly enterprise. Its all from the heart, and they DO have some airliners and the odd civil subject.

The automotive series are even more oddly focused, or un-focused, but there are some interesting topics, even if the mix is strange. The Ferrari 330 P3/P4 and Porsche 917 are well served, in the more modern series, and a lot of the “Classic” cars at Pebble Beach and so forth can be found.

The Armor series seems to have been aimed at classic WWII subjects, the AFV series was a re-take with something improved, but I’m not clear what. Photos tend to be the official record photo from the proving grounds, the text is too short for all of a general overview, operational history and placing the design and use in context. I never found the text particularly usable, or the range of markings in art and photo worth keeping for reference.

In Detail & Scale – Bert Kinzey’s very impressive if slightly stiff series of books on US subjects (Note ampersand in title). The model kit reviews are sometimes singularly humorless, but the quality of the photographs Mr. Kinzey and his authors turn up is VERY good.

Naval Fighters – Steve Ginter’s slightly less formal take on US Navy subjects, with more photos but messier layouts, plenty of manual pages reproduced, lots of informal photos.

Air Force Legends – Ginter Books stretched out to cover USAF subjects, particularly the unusual and underserverd B-51s and F 103s, etc.

Aeroguide With large, clear, black and white photos of modern RAF/RN subjects, this can be thought of as a condensed version of Detail and Scale without the extensive internal detail or text. One or two pages of black and white profile drawings, a good photo or two of the ejection seat, the rest is a walk around.

Aeroguide Classics

Aerofax Extra

Aerofax Minigraph

Air Age Publishing

Aircraft Monograph

Arco Aircam

Smithsonian

Airliner Tech

Warbird Tech

Air Racer Tech

A J Press

Apogee Books

Windsock International

Aircraft Archive

Ballentine History Of A Violent Century – WWI and WWII battles, armies, weapons, commanders. Very high contrast photo reproduction mixed in the text, generally good text, no color. Trade-paper size, inexpensive, mass-market books from specialist authors.

Berliner, Don

Gunston, Bill

Braybrook, Roy,

Chant, Chris

Ellis, Chris,

Zaloniga, Steve

Green, William, Swanborough, Gordon

Presidio Press

Blandford

Harleyford

Crowood Press

Squadron/Signal In Action

Camouflage and Markings – Dulcimus Press

Kookaburra

Famous Aircraft Of The World (FAOW)

Osprey

Salamander/Crescent/Chartwell

Concord Publications

Schiffer Books

Doubleday Books

Hanover House

Koku-Fan

Maru Mechanic

Macmillian Publishing

Monogram Books

Motorbooks

Munson, Kennith

Ward, Richard

Wanatabe, Ruyuku

Naval Institute Press

Cross and Cockade

SAM Publications

Prentice-Hall

Tanks In Detail

Tankograd

Ventura

Verlinden

More later!

Airliners International 2008 at DFW Airport, Wow!


I had a whirlwind day at the AI 2008 Airliner nerd/enthusiast show and it was terrific! Important family business meant I had to bail after the one day but I sure had a good time anyway. People in Texas are, and I hope will always be, friendly. First and foremost. Regional cuisine was limited to watching my friend Ken eat a piece of Texas-shaped waffle, and loveliy fresh fruit & veggies in my hotel breakfast. Ken said the waffle was chewey, I thought the all-the-veggies-and-a-little-ham-and-cheese-please omlet was terrific. The buffet hash-browns were very nice- little bits of red pepper, moist without being either wet or oily. All this at the DFW Sheraton. If I could have had a breakfast the next morning I would have tried the waffle.

We took the American Airlines DFW maintenance base tour- 4 hangers in 3+ hours at 2 sites, very, very, nice. Far superior to the Kansas City maintenance tour last year for several reasons:

1) They let us take photos

2) DFW is a going concern, KC was something like the Marie Celleste, even if we did get to see the escape slide repair and refurb shop and a bunch of other deep-inside activities- A busy shop is a happy shop: DFW was hoppin’

3) we got to walk all around and go into the cockpit and interior in (groups of 5) of a 777 and a 757, (the 757 was having an engine cowl change so the tour guides powered it up and deployed the thrust reverser on the other engine!)

4) we got to walk around a number of MD80s, 767 and 757s;

5) They let us take photos!

Big thanks to AA management and the union, each of whom contributed a tour guide, emphasizing that they worked together on everything, at every level. And I’m sure they do… now. Terrific tour, American already gets good marks from me for offering tours, and this was a GREAT tour. One little boy with his mom and dad got to stand in the intake of a 777 and a 757- in the 777 the union guy jumped in first and stopped the windmilling fan by holding onto the spinner. One of those pictures is going to be the holiday card this year…

Good so far, and a nice lunch at Sonic too. The grilled chicken-breast sandwich, no dressing, was tasty and healthy, and I partially made up for that with the banana-split splash/smash/swirl/blended drink. Cold and tasty, and no doubt no good for me.

Then we went to Wild Bill’s Hobby shop and looked around and I found a PitRoad/Skywave 1/700 accessories set including two P3 Orions, at least one of which will become an Electra airliner, and a bunch of cast-metal 1/144 WWI bi-planes (!). I bought a DH-4, which can be a US Airmail plane or ???, and a Neuport 28. They had a bunch more, but the Fokkers and SPADs and DH-2 and Sopwith Camel were sold already.

Wild Bill’s Hobby Shop

http://www.mikeshobbyshop.com  <—- interesting, that… I wonder which came first!

535 E Shady Grove Rd
Irving, TX 75060
(972) 438-9224

This is a full-service shop, RC from small to chain-saw engine powered, plastic models, slot cars, balsa and other construction materials, die-cast collectables of every kind of vehicle, in all the popular sizes. The model paint range was extensive, Testor’s, Floquil, Polly Scale (Yay!). The building is a serviceable size, but its packed with stuff, so you’re really looking at the depth in stock of warehouse operation. Prices are MSRP or thereabouts- no astounding bargains and nothing very old or dusty on the shelves. They know what their customers buy and that’s what they stock. There appeared to be an RC vehicle race track behind the store, but I can’t confirm it is open.

We visited an Army-Navy-Pawn shop and paused at “Trinity Broadcasting” on our way back… Army Navy Pawn is a good-quality army-navy store with a wide variety of new patches and tee shirts and pouches, etc. I bought a cotton tool bag for my son Benjamim, as a souvineer.

Our one mis-step was to try to find a good photo location at DFW… we spent an hour or more driving around looknig for some place worth parking and taking pictures from. There’s a “founders park” that’s being moved, and the temporary one does it exist, but with three (!) pairs (!!) of runways in use, its not close to any of them and infavorable form a son perspective in the afternoon. Oh well! Be a great place in the morning, especially if you like climbing around in weeds. In the afternoon the closest pair of runways was upsun of us, and the pairs (!) further away were too far for the lenses we had. There were 6 active runways and that was something to behold. You just have to make the sun angle match your location, and get close enough to get the shot. Shooting the shadow side of an airliner under a blue sky is like drawing on an inside straight… you might succeed but you probably won’t.

After that, we went out to get Ken’s photos printed (worth it, he took 2 3rd places in the photo contest!), had dinner at Chili’s (nothing regional about it, other than the nice service staff), and then we had a beer at the hotel bar. I was working to finish some of my small models so I joined late and didn’t go to the swiming pool. I did confirm you can apply model decals with beer, however. Back in my room at 11:00, I caught a 7:30 departure for Oakland and arrived at 11:45 local time- 6:15 travel time, gate to gate.

Pictures will be posted soon. This was a great trip.

Where To Get Small Electric Motors, San Francisco Bay Area, for science-fair projects, etc.


Partial lineup, Mabuchi Motors

Some, but not all, of the motors Mabuchi make today. From 5 people 50 years ago to 40,000 today….

So I now have some data to back-up my speculations:

Mabuchi Motor Co. US Product catalog

http://aristocraftforum.com/articles/motors/index.html

1) Aristo-craft pack a line of Mabuchi or Mabuchi-like electric motors, sizes 130, 140, 260 and 280, which have a retail price for $2.85 to $3.95, depending on size and whom you buy it from. They’re a great deal because they each come with a little stamped steel mount that holds the motor and which you can use to attach it to your project. Better than rubber bands or hot-melt-glue. You can take them off and use rubber bands or hot melt glue if you want.

They also come with 3 plastic gears to fit on the common 0.079″ (2mm) motor shaft, making it easier to connect the motor to something. Other gears, or push a sewing machine bobbin over the gear or hot-melt-glue something (K’nex, Lego) to the gear… They’re in a little clamshell blister-box with a yellow sheet of paper giving the model number on the front and the specifications for the whole range on the back. The packs are about 3″ X 3″ (aka 75mm square).

All four sizes, the small ones for 1.5V typically, the larger ones for 3V, typically, are available at Hobbies Unlimited in San Lorenzo and J & M Hobby House in San Carlos. I’ll report on what other stores stock them as I know it. $2.85 or $3.35 for a 130 size motor with a mount and three gears is a pretty good deal, considering the purchasing power of $3. The 130 runs willingly on a single AAA cell

1a) There seems to be a Japanese-originated standard for small electric motors. I’ve seen 130s to 540s and many sizes in between. I’m not sure if its a measure of optimum energy output, length * diameter in mm or what.

2) There are larger motors in the same series, up at about $9 and then there’s another price point around $12. Dumas packs motors in the $9-12 range for battery powered model boats. After that you’re looking at the standard RC Car motors, from $15 to the sky’s the limit. MAJOR power, drawing on MAJOR batteries! If you want more, or more efficiency, look at the “Speed 400” and “Speed 280”, which are based on standard electric motors from rechargable battery powered tools. A “Speed 280″ is about the same size as the 280 that Aristo Craft packs for $3.75-3.95 retail, but costs more, and can both draw and produce more power. Beyond that, you’re into the brushless motors used by electric model airplanes- much more efficient than DC brush motors, for the same battery power. But you’ll need a controller. Figure $25-50 for something that works, before you buy the battery. You’re paying for the low wieght and high efficiency.

For that kind of money you could buy a rechargable tool AND battery and perhaps a spare battery and use it for motive power in your project. And you’d have the tool to remember it buy when you’re done. Almost any electric tool will have a robust reduction gear set along with an on/off switch, possibly variable speed, possibly reversing. In their last year, the Odessey Of The Mind team that I coached used two rechargable drills to power a one-person vehicle that drove around on patios, quiet streets, and high school gyms. 3/8″ steel axles were chucked to the drills and very small tires and wheels fastened to them as well. The wieght of the vehicle was carried on some kind of bearing the axle ran through on both sides of the wheel- copper tubing fitted snugly into a block of wood might have been the bearing- I didn’t invent it! The drills ‘floated’, other than being restrained from turning in reaction to the torque they applied to the wheels. They were mounted upside down and the tires and wheels used were a compromise between what would let the drill run at its optimum speed (about 1/4″) and what would allow the drill to clear the ground! (about 3/4”)

3) I’m pleased to report that Radio Shack also sell electric motors, with several available in the 1.5-3.0V range and for a $4 or a bit lower price. My local Radio Shack had a ‘260-like’ motor, 250mA, 3.0V, for $3-something, a smaller, higher voltage motor that came with a metal gear, and some larger motors at the higher price points.

4) Of course, you can also shop on the Internet, starting by searching for Mabuchi in titles AND descriptions of all items at eBay. You’ll find everything from 540 series motors used in stock RC cars by companies like Tamiya, to people selling the little tiny motors used for pager and cell phone vibrators. You can get the $1 motor this way, but you’ll pay shipping.

5) If you’re willing to pay shipping, Did You Know that K’nex has a catalog and will sell loose pieces? Like gears, wheels and tires. Wheels and tires are opportunities to scrounge and invent but gears are more hassle when you’re inventing. Its never bad to know where they can be bought. They’re made to turn on or lock to K’nex “sticks” and that can be readily attached to other things.

6) Radio Shack sells battery holders for 1, 2, 4 and 8 AA cells, 1 and 2 C or D cells, closed boxes with lids as well as open holders. Single-cell AA holder is $0.99, the simplist versions of the larger ones are $1.99 or less. Before you say “Battery holders are for wimps, I’ll just tape some telephone wire to the button and bottom of my battery cells”, consider how easy it will be to change to fresh cells, or swap rechargable cells, with a first-class regulation battery holder. You could even have someone else do it for you!

7) Just like with restaurants, its worth your time to find out what’s local where you live, or where you are, and patronize them. Hence my leading with Hobbys Unlimited and J & M Hobby House. Try the yellow pages for your ocal electronics parts and/or surplus place when looking for switches, battery holders, etc.

8) Extra Credit: If you put an incandesant flashlight bulb in series between your battery and your motor (3V or more, with appropriate bulb…) it will light up in proportion to the current flowing through the motor- lots of current, lots of light. Little current, not much light. Spinning freely with no load, the motor won’t light the lamp very much. Put some drag on the motor and watch the light get brighter. Its brightest when you’ve completely stopped the motor. You can use this interesting behavior to show when your motor is being loaded and when its spinning freely… Can you apply that to your project?

9) Extra extra credit: Make your own motor!
Michael Faraday invented the homopolar electric motor, taking advantage of the magnetic field from a current running at 90 degrees to the direction of electron flow…

Wendell Oskay's take on Faraday's Homopolar motor

Windell Oskay’s homopolar electric motor, made from a drywall screw, powerful rare earth magnet, single “C” cell and a 6″/15cm piece of copper wire.

http://www.miniscience.com/projects/Magnet_Motor_kit/index.html
wire loop motor
There is a trick, and the trick is, not all the insulation has been removed from the two straight bits of the wire that stick out through the safety pins. When connection is made, an electric field is created and that change in the electrical field creates a magnetic field which attracts or repels the button magnet on the wooden base. The loop turns, the connection is broken, more change in electrical current, more magnetic field. The momentum of the mass of the wire carries it on until it connects again and the whole business starts again. Extra points for figuring out how to get it to do useful work, more for finding the optimum amount of wire that should be bare and that which should be stripped, and the angular relationship between the stripped area and the coil…

Science Fair season- building stuff, vehicles with electric motors


I see kids and parents walking around some of my hangouts with folded papers in their hands looking for stuff to build science fair projects. Many times, electric motors, small wheeled vehicles and that sort of thing are being sought. Here’s a couple of quick words of advice and I’ll do more reesarch on what’s available where:

1) Electric motors for battery powered things: 1.5 to 6, 9 or 12V DC motors. Smallish unless otherwise indicated. The “Mabuchi” motors of my childhood, no doubt made in China now. The higher voltage ratings will work slower with smaller voltages from small numbers of batteries, but 1.5 or 3.0 V will make a 12V motor turn, possibly at more or less the speed actually needed.

Generally, electric motors are too fast for the wheels, propellers or other mechanisms that they propel things through. So some gear reduction is in order. If you salvage your motor from something, it may come with the reduction hardware- usually a small gear on the motor and a larger gear for whatever the motor is turning- wheel axle, propeller, treads, fans, etc. The secret is that the motor turns something small and that small thing turns something big- this reduces the speed and increases the torque by the ratio of the small thing to large- count the teeth if gears, measure the diameters if pullys.

A convenient “belt reduction” you can build from stuff found around the home can be made by putting a bobbin or some other small, flagned, pulley, on the motor shaft, and a thread spool or other large, flanged, pulley substitute, on the axle you want to drive. A big, fat, rubber band transmits the power. Thread spools can be sawn in half and the halves glued over an axle, with hot melt glue, if the axle is already installed. Obviously, one can cut down a spool width as easily as cut it in half. Using an idler axle between the motor and the load you can have a Two Stage reduction too.

Gear reductions and gear sets based on Lego gears, K’nex gears or various gears available to experiementers are also possible. For toy-sized projects, Lego gears are good choices, but not for something you want to ride on yourself!

Rubber bands can be shortened and sewn together. Rubber strip for flying model airplanes and lightwieght bungee cord are available if long loops are desired.

Various sizes of pre-made wooden wheels and spools are available, as well as the lovely but expensive RC Car tires and wheels, RC Airplane tires and wheels, etc. Scale model car tires and wheels are usually better to look at than use- the tires are too hard. Inexpensive wooden wheels with a rubberband stretched around the outside have much better traction. If you need cheap, consider tuna or cat-food cans with a rubber band or two stretched around them. Metal or plastic pipe caps make dandy wheels, as to slices of dowel. A slice of the dowels used for hangers in closets, with a length of bicyle inner tube over it, makes a very usable, very inexpensive, wheel.

Axles: Steel is good, especially with brass tubing for bearings. Brass or copper rod or tubing is ok, Wooden sticks, dowels, bamboo skewers and other round things are good. Use brass or plastic tubes for bearings. Even plastic rods or tubing. Plastic straws make all kinds of structual stuff, if light-wieght is a goal. Carbon fiber is fun if you know how to cut and shape it and don’t care that much about cost. VERY stiff.
Bearings: A hole drilled through the structure is always a good start. Brass tubing or copper tubing or plastic tubing can be oiled or greased, after its attached. Its generally a good idea to use the axle or a dummy axle to hold the alignment of sets of bearings when attaching them to a structure. Depending on what you’re doing, you might even allow a screw adjustment for alignment.

A hole through something hard, hardwood, a block of metal, a thread spool, can serve as a bearing. Aluminum is soft but works great for flying airplanes- steel shafts through aluminum brackets, with beads or small brass washers, for thrust bearings, are popular with rubber band airplane enthusiasts.

If your motor or bobbin or axle or thread spool doesn’t fit and there’s too much space, use nested brass or plastic tubing (or rubber tubing…) to fill the distance without loosing the ‘center’. The advantage of rubber band belts and rubber tubing to make sizes match is that it allows a little lee-way in alignment. If you build with gears, you have to get your holes in the right spots and aligned correctly. Gears are pretty unforgiving of misalignment.

Sources:

Radio Shack sometimes stocks 1.5-3 or 6V motors.
Target has some toy car product which has removable motors and is selling a pack of replacement motors right now.
This is right up Hobby Engineering’s aisle, give them a call. You can have dim sum at the nearby big, fancy, chinese restaurant..
Some hobby shops (D&J and Berkeley Ace Hardware for sure, likely Hobbytown) sell science-fair experiementers supplies, including motors.
Some (D&J again, and Fry’s Electronics) have Tamiya’s line of inventor stuff, including motors, gear boxes (fixed ratio and selectable), crawler treads and the like.

Most hobby shops and many hardware stores have brass tubing, and most successessive sizes of the small stuff (1/16 inch to about 1/4 inch) ‘nest’, like an old telescope. Plastic tubing that nests is also available, and because its made from oil, may cost more than brass! Use aluminum tubing if you need something really soft, but still stiff. Use steel tubing if you need something strong- stainless steel won’t rust, a convenient property. If you want to attach axles, gears, pulleys, etc, to an axle, consider simply drilling a hole through it and sewing a piece of wire through the hole. You can be fancy and use a cotter pin if you want. Filing one or more flat spots in the round axle is another good technique, if you can get something stiff up against them.

I’ll do some more research and post what’s available here. I still remember coaching a terrific Odessey Of The Mind team back in the 1990s, and I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for the subject.

A good $2 investment is a battery holder from Radio Shack, etc, that holds the cell(s) you want to use but allows you to replace them. Really slick stuff compared to using masking tape to hold a bit of telephone wire to the end of one or more cells…

Answers to the questions that brought people to my blog…


Hmm, wordpress saves what the search key was that brought people to my stuff, and there were a bunch of questions in the last two days that I do have an answer for, but its not written down here. So here’s a grab bag of answers to questions people were asking when they found this blog, and perhaps the people who were looking will come back some time and find them… or someone else will profit from it.

Mixing Olive Drab ?

After ‘open the window!’, ‘keep the lid on the glue’ and ‘clean the paint brush while the paint is still wet’, my introduction to the secret knowlege of model building came in my early teen age years. I mentioned wishing there was an olive drab paint, as all I had were the glossy primary colors, and my father told me it was just yellow mixed with black. And indeed it is, which is why its so often seen in nature. Yellow and black are common enough colors among plants. Mix some for youself today, and give a thought to how much has changed since I learned this, in 1969.

Color Code Gull Grey?

The US Navy uses a color called “Light Gull Gray”, 595a # 36440 for flat, 26440 semi gloss, 16440 gloss. In the 1950s and 60s this was the standard color for the upper surface of USN and USMC military planes, with shiny white on the underneath. The white was removed from fighters in the 1970s when it was realized that the different top and bottom colors would give-away the way the plane was facing in a dog-fight. So the white/gull gray scheme was replaced with overall 36440.

I really like 36440, because it seems to precisely capture the color of clouds in sunshine- there’s a definate warmth to it. Surprisingly poetic, but if you want to blend into clouds, you need to be cloud colored. (Unless you choose the green balloon and want to look like part of the tree- appologies to A. A. Milne, Christopher Robin, Pooh and the bees…)

Prior to 1942, the US Navy used a light gray overall or for the UNDERSIDE of airplanes- the SBD, TBD, F4F-3, F2B-3, etc. There’s an Army/Navy (A/N) number for the USN Light Gray, but the AN USN LIght Gray and 36440 are indistinguishable by me. The formula may be different, or the same, certainly the purpose was the same.

Lots of airline model instructions call out “(Light) Gull Gray” or “36440” for the light gray frequently found on wings and horizontal stabilizers, on the wing/fuselage fairing, jet engine fan cowlings, and composite (fiberglass or carbon fiber) pieces. I find *6440 too dense and too warm. Boeing do offer more than a dozen colors for gray and another more than a dozen for white, to their customers, but there is a definate, ‘typical’, gray that’s about the same tonal value as bare aluminum that Boeing, McDonnel Douglas, Lockheed, Airbus, etc all use or used by default. At Boeing it’s called “Boeing Aircraft Company Gray” and has the stock number “707”. Sometimes this is rendered “BAC 707 Gray” but it’s not “707” gray- the number is coincidence. Or so I’m told.

Xtracolor make pre-mixed BAC 707 Gray, which is a spot-on match. Hannant’s in the UK own Xtracolor, and stock the paint. Airline Hobby Supply carry it in the USA, and perhaps others do too.

I recently decided to try mixing something similar using Testor’s Acryl, and found 3 parts 36495 Light Gray (I’ll look up the Testor’s part number and post it here) and 8 parts white were pretty good. Its far, far, from 36440 or Light Gull Gray, but its a pretty good match to what you see on the wings of DC-9s, 737s, A-320s, etc. Your milage may vary, of course.

There’s also a “Dark Gull Gray”, a darker color (FS595 36231), used in airplane cockpits and perhaps in more modern US Navy camoflague schemes.
Check out:

http://www.fed-std-595.com/FS-595-Paint-Spec.html

Its a complete list of 595 color names with samples for your screen- not definative but a great place to start.

Thining Vallejo paints for airbrush?

Al at D&J Hobbies in Campbell always advised thinning to the consistancy of fresh, whole, milk, for airbrush use. That’s what I’d try first. Thin with whatever Vallejo recommend- water, water + alcohol. Some sporty airbrushers thin their acrylic paint with laquer thinner- boy I bet that dries fast, but you’d have to be used to laquer thinner to bother.

Used Radio Control Cars?

The RC Car-oriented shops, Sheldon’s or NorCal for example, often have a spot for people to post their stuff for sale. Not unlike the similar spots at PartsHeaven or other foriegn/speciality car parts places. And there’s always Craigslist.

San Francisco Bay Area Slot Cars?

I’ve used and recomend “Homeroom Racing Cafe” on Webster on Alameda Island. Slot Car Magic and Hobby in (San Lorenzo? Between Hayward and Oakland) have a great track and I hope to try it one day. Both are multi-lane layouts made from Scalectric Sport track. There’s an old 1960s commercial track with about 8 lanes and the big banked turn at the RC and slot-car place on Camden Avenue at Union Ave in San Jose. Others?

Bare Steel Colored Paint?

If you can take the time, smooth and polish the plastic to a shine, just like a molded part, and shoot rattle-can Testor’s Metalizer Stainless Steel on it. Then buff with a soft, clean, cloth, or paper, never touching it with your bare fingers, changing cloths frequently, until you get what you want, and seal it with their clear laquer sealer or Future floor wax- one coat, no more. Polly Scale make a “Steel” color, in their Railroad line, which is ok. Tamiya make a “Metalic Gray” (XF-56) which is also ok, though a bit more work to get looking good. For both acrylics, the key is to brush it out THIN and use more than one coat for coverage. The acrylic metalics seem to get thick and gloppy even more than regular color acrylics. Frankly, oil/solvent based paints make better or at least easier to use, metalics. So the Testor’s Model Master or 1/4 oz little bottles of “Steel” would seem like good things to try. Or Humbroil or Revell Germany or solvent based Mr. Color (Gunze-Sanyo) if you can get them.

Can Tamiya Paint Be Thinned With Water?

Yes. Absolutely. I’ve done it myself with great success. They sell an acrylic paint thinner, and its NOT water, but if you want to make Tamiya paint brush nicer, or make a wash of it, or spray it from a Badger 250 paint sprayer, water will work just fine. As will water and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. I have never sprayed Tamiya acrylic paint through an airbrush, so I’m speculating when I say it’ll probably work fine thinned with water, but I think it will. Paint some test object first to be sure, of course. When I was a kid, the ‘test object” was always the inside of the lid of the box the kit came in. A ‘spare’ kit or the parts of a spare kit make superior test objects. You can paint different colors on the two sides (inside and outside, top and bottom) of each part- that’s a lot of test subjects! Make sure you keep track of what each test consisted of, you’ll forget in a year or two…

I have every confidence the Tamiya Acrylic Thinner will work as well- in fact, if you plan to airbrush a lot of Tamiya, you’d be well served by doing some experiements with different thinners and find what works for you.

Remember, thin to the consistancy of fresh, whole, milk. The stuff you put on your cornflakes, or did, when you were a kid.

Alphabetic Directory of San Francisco Bay Area Hobby Shops


Berkeley Ace Hardware, moved to Miliva, 1 block south of University, Berkeley, CA – (510) 845-0410
http://berkeleyace.com/ (under construction…)
A Hardware store so still open under Shelter At Home.

Dan Webb Books, 322 15th Street (Between Webster and Harrison), Oakland CA 94612 – (510) 444-4572
http://www.danwebbbooks.com/
DanWebbBooks@sbcglobal.net

Hobbies Unlimited, 937 Manor Boulevard, San Lorenzo, CA – 510-351-7112
Closed during Shelter In Place for Covid-19.

Hobby Company, 5150 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94118 – (415) 386-2802
http://www.hobbycosf.com/ – Plastic models fading out, diorama supplies for school California Mission projects were in stock last time I visited..

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
Closed during Shelter In Place for Covid-19.

Nor Cal Hobbies & Raceway, 30600 Union City Blvd, Union City, CA –
(510) 324-5700
http://www.norcalhobbies.com/

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/

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

Quick reviews of San Francisco Bay Area Hobby Shops


A general observation about non-toxic glue:

Like most hobby shops, the one’s on this don’t stock the Testor’s Non-Toxic blue-label liquid or tube glues. I have to special order it. Everyone “In The Know” pooh-poohs the non-toxic product. They’re flamible, but not toxic. Nice trick, that. Everyone who “knows” the non-toxic glue doesn’t work is all wrong. It works great, for me. I clean parts with lukewarm soap and water. I’ve got 25 years of non-toxic success, and no regrets. Try it, and use acrylic paint, and you cna model indoors, in the winter.

Berkeley Ace Hardware
2020 Milvia St #100, Berkeley, CA – (510) 845-0410
http://berkeleyace.com/ (under construction…)

(Formerly, 2 blocks away, 2145 University Ave )

For the scale airplane modeler, this was the Bay Area’s gold standard. Everything
from the mainstream; Airfix/Heller, Hasegawa, Italeri, Revell, Tamiya and
Trumpeter, to A-model, Anigrand, High Planes, MPM, Pavla, Special Hobby,
Supermodel, Sweet and Valom were on the shelf. Detailing sets from Ares,
Squadron, etc, were in the cabinet, as well as bagged kits from Bilek,
Pegasus, etc. The latest and greatest, particularly in model airplane kits, were
here. A small display case holds local modeler’s efforts, armor, some 1/72 planes. A few built models are hanging from the ceiling, but the wierd and wonderful (Douglas F4D-1 Skyray in British Temperate Sea camo, B-47 OD over Neutral Gray and sci-fi rayguns on typical WWII UK, US and German planes) are mostly gone. The 1/72 Monogram B-36 is still up, and still awesome. I had to put more than 1 used-up “D” cell in the one I built to keep it on its nose gear and mains.

Then there are the 2nd hand relics (Airfix/Buzco/Frog/Heller/Hasegawa/Revell)
going back to the 1960s (or earlier). For example, you can buy a 1/72 Frog
F4F Wildcat from before 1975, the Eastern Express re-issue (with a great decal sheet) from last year, and Hasegawa’s modern and Aifix’s superb, version. Want a different scale? There’s a story there too. The armor/military selection is wide but thin. 1/72-1/76 AND 1/35.

The car section is small- some MPC, some AMT, Some Revell, Trumpeter and Tamiya.
They stock Model Master Acryl and oil-based, Humbroil, Tamiya, a rail-road oriented range of acrylics,, some Gunze-Sangyo, along with tools, fillers, glues, finishing supplies.  The styrene, wood and metal stock section is not bad but not what it once was.

The train section is large, with a great H.O. and N scale engines, cars, track,
features, etc, selection, parts, scratch building materials, decals, etc. An H.O. track is suspended from the ceiling. I look forward to watching it run at Chirstmas.

1/32 and H.O. slot cars are also well represented, and there are test tracks
for both sizes at the Train department counter.

Prices are normal to, “Hey, this is a great deal!” Customer service varies
from very good (some of the staff are modelers) to rudimentary (some of the
staff are NOT modelers…). some aftermarket decals and a lot
of reference books round out the offering. This is where my wife gets my
birthday and Christmas presents…

Last thing I bought here, 2019, Testor’s Model Master Acryl (aka Acryl II) flat white and white primer. 1/32 Audi R8 slot car, Crocodile (Australia only) marking.

Previously, 200x, a Smer 1/72 Spitfire Mk VI, made from
someone’s MkV kit by adding a tree of wingtip extensions, metal covered
alerons, a scoop for presurization and a newly tooled windscreen and canopy.

 

Dan Webb Books
322 15th Street (Between Webster and Harrison) Oakland CA 94612
510 444 4572

http://danwebbbooks.com/

The best bookstore for modelers I have ever seen- so good they even have a few plastic kits on the shelves! (These probably came in boxes of books…) The primary focus is aviation subjects, civil and technical as well as military, and military and naval. An interesting assortment of automobile, railroad, civil sea-fairing and boating books and magazines are available, (more than I’ve seen in almost any other store). Stock is sorted into technically focused, operational histories, and of course there are a lot of memoirs and proper history. At the front of the room, more typical used-bookstore items- literature, physical science, art, mysteries, children’s books, recent titles in hardback and paperback. The civil aviation section is large with more titles than you’d typically see in the entire transportation section of a conventional book store. Airframe and engine development are also separated. “RAF, Battle of Britain” and “Luftwaffe, Battle Of Britain” are separate shelves. In the core stock there is a free mix of rare, out of print and new, in-print works, on the shelves

I’ve had a full time just looking at what I can see and not exceeding my limit in the two visits I’ve had to these newest digs. This is still the place to go and the web site even has stock on line!

This is one place you simply have to set a budget for yourself before you go in, because you’ll find more than you can afford (or explain) 9 times out of 10. Mr Webb clearly loves both books and the subjects his store focuses on, and there is frequently a discussion between him and his friends, associates, and down-town neighbors going on at the front of the store. The shop does buy used books, which are inspected and valued at the front desk. Magazines are not typically bought.

Both Dan and his store are Bay Area treasures and this is, perhaps, the best place of all for the hard-core Advanced Modeler Syndrome sufferer, because you can get that reference that will allow you to finish something! The last things I bought here was a number of P-40/Tomakawk references – RAF/Commonwealth aces, US aces, Squadron book, memior by a pilot from the western desert. Yes, I’ve read “God is my Co-pilot).

 

Good, Better, Best
Mmm Encinal, Alameda. Look up the details!

This is an antique / what-not shop, which help liquidate someone’s huge collection some years back and now has a regular display out at the front of the store- 50-100 kits at any one time, from all over the Antique hunting ground the store searches for all its stock. If you think a price is too high, make an offer. Strictly second hand, but that means everything from 1980s 1/48 resin Do-17s (!) to modern mass-market Chinese kits, Tamiya, Revell and all the rest. Frog kits in Triang boxes… Gowland model cars in Revell Highway Pioneer boxes. There were hundreds of decals at one point, and photo etch and resin sets. A 1/48 vacuum form PZL-23 Karas kit. Several 1/32 Matchbox Tiger Moths. There’s also an excellent book room where everything is silly prices, $1-2 usually.

Airplanes and cars are the largest selections, a bit of armor, some nautical stuff, sometimes.  Nice people, wild selection, stuff you’ve never seen and stuff you never thought you’d see again. Highly recommended, by me.

GILROY HOBBYS
6901 Monterey Road, Gilroy, CA 95020
(408) 847-8799 ‎

1/24 1/25 car kits, pricy ($13-50) but wide selection of US makers – AMT, MPC, Revell, Monogram, Jo-han, Lindberg. Little bits of non-US makers: Tamiya, Fujimi, Airfix/MPC, . Many 2nd hand, all sealed, guaranteed unless stated otherwise. (Some are partial, some started, some w/o instructions, according to labels.) Pretty good selection of Hotwheels, Johnny Lightning, etc, for the collector of small, metal, cars.

RC cars/trucks wheeled vehicles looked like an active interest of the owner- lots of stuff, wide as well as deep. range. Some New Old Stock (NOS), some unused but probably bought 2nd hand.

Airplane selection thin, odd, a few newer kits at market price- (Tamiya 1/48 Mosquito, $35), older kits over-priced (Minicraft/Hasegawa EA-6B for $25? you tell me.). Fair Almost Ready to Fly (ARF) RC planes in nice boxes, not a lot of spares. Small amount of model trains. slot cars.

Bunch of arcade style video games and boxes of comic books in bags. Also antique toys- 1970 back to 1950s, maybe even earlier. Magic, Yu-gi-oh, etc, trading cards. Possibly sports cards too. Oddly assorted arts and crafts supply, some airsoft and paintball. Big Tamiya 1/28 Four Wheel Drive car track, setup for party/event use.

You’ve heard that there’s a fine line between “Hobby” and “Mental Illness”. You can see both from here. Plastic models, paint, the arts and crafts supply and flying model departments look like a mix of personal collection, other people’s collections from estate sales, flea markets, and store closings, etc.

At a guess, the owner(s) like cars, toys, models, working model, all kinds, and comic books. The only built-up items on display are automotive. Looking for a specific Mustang or Camaro or Dodge / GMC /vehicle in miniature? Worth checking. For all I know, the comic books are too. Otherwise, it may be difficult of find  something interesting to spend money on.

Last thing I bought here – Revell Germany  1/72 RAF  pilots & ground crew. $1 MORE than msrp. But I could use them, hadn’t seen one before and believe in supporting the locals

 

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

A broad-based, general purpose hobby shop, deepest in plastic scale models, trains, RC and slot cars, flying models, lots of airplane, ship, military and train references. Solvent-based Model Master and the full line of Tamiya acrylic/alcohol-based paints, some Tamiya spray paint, Floquil solvent based railroad and Polly Scale large-bottle railway paints are stocked, but no Model Master Acryl. Paint and finishes for model rockets, RC cars, planes and train layouts available as well. Lots of glues and specialized tools.

Of course they stock the Aristo-craft 130, 140, 260 and 280 size utility electric motors for science-fair projects and the like. Also Dumas boat motors and lots of power boat propellers- the plastic ones are cheap, the metal ones are NOT cheap. Big RC car tires and wheels aren’t cheap either ($10-20 for 2-4 wheels, 2-4 tires) but modern, rough and tough stuff.

In car kits, a large selection of domestic USA kits, Tamiya, some Hasegawa, Fujimi, Italeri, sometimes Airfix or Heller. Lots of sports cars and Grand Prix cars, besides the US muscle cars and dragsters.

In airplane kits, Monogram/Revell, Airfix, Heller, Hasegawa, Tamiya, Accurate Miniatures, Minicraft as well as short run kits, resin, photoetch and vacuformed detaling parts are in stock. All scales, from 1/18 display models and 1/24 kits down to 1/144, 1/350 and 1/700 are available. Emphasis is 1/48 and 1/72 kits but this is consistently the best place for 1/144 kits in the Bay Area.

Naval and military/armor builders are also well served, lots of 1/35, some 1/7x and the new 1/48. Large selection and many choices. The owner displays large kits at the end of the aisles and up on the walls, a lovely effect.

21st Ccntury Toys products are well stocked, both the pre-built 1/18 planes and the 1/32 kits. Resin, photo-etched and vacuformed accessory and detail parts for airplane and car models are also well stocked.

For the flying model builder, balsa wood in 3 foot and 4 foot lengths is available, along with all the fiddly bits, high quality contemporary stick and tissue kits, gas and electric kits, and intro/easy flyer stuff. RC gear, motors, etc.

At their old location, of all the shops I visit, this was the one where you were most likely to find other scale modelers standing around talking. Sometimes even about models. With flying models, trains, scale kits, references, paints, RC cars, planes and boats, slot cars and magazines for all the above, all under one roof, they may be strongest ‘general’ hobby shop shop left to us. J & M would come in second, and Talbots, Franciscan and Fremont Hobby Town would tie for third. I hope this tradition continues at the new location.

The last things I bought here were (2010) An AMT ’62 Ford Thunderbird and the recent Fujimi Ferrari 330/P4. Previously, a set of True Details 1/48 resin tires and wheels for the AMT 1/48 F7F-3 and the new Squadron US Attack Submarines book,

Hobby Company,
5150 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94118 –
(415) 386-2802
http://www.hobbycosf.com/

Plastic kits have shrunk down to a few of every category, not a lot of anything. Fading out. The arts and crafts side has a huge range of brushes, along with extensive art paints and supplies, craft stuff, Some RC plane & car supplies, doll house supplies, etc. Some train stuff but much smaller than static scale models.

The stock still turns regularly. A nice display case built into the front counter shows lots of car models from the local modelers. If I needed a mix of modeling and arts and crafts item this would be my first choice, in San Francisco.

The last things I bought there was (2011) a tube of Rub-and-Buff  “Silver” metalic finish, and some 3/16″ X 1/2″ basswood. They’ve got some of each of the whole range of Midwest’s hardwoods- maple, mahogany, cherry (!), walnut, along with bass and balsa. Previously (2008 or possibly 2009) a Tamiya 1/48 Sherman Firefly IC, a hardback on the Lockheed Constellation with extensive color profiles and a bottle of Gunze Sanyo paint.

 

Hobby town USA
Concord, CA

Once of the larger Hobby Town USA shops in the bay area, with a slowly decreasing selection of plastic models. Not nothing, good, interesting stuff, but not a wide selection for browsing. That said, if you have something in mind I’d bet you could order it for about the same as any regular mail-order plus postage. Last thing I bought here was another example of the Revell Germany Golf II Coupe. Maybe a race-car, maybe a steel-wheel economy car, its a VW and one I used to own, so I feel good about it. Sure wish Revell GMBH believe in brakes on models as much as I do…

Hobby town USA
840 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
(408) 900-8202

Hobbytown Sunnyvale is compact but offers a wide range of hobby supplies – plastic airplanes, cars, military vehicles, etc, along with finishing supplies, references, etc. RC airplanes and cars, flying rockets, and a host of other hobbyish stuff is available. Staff are very nice, Selection included some new kits and some classics, not exhaustive but they can order lots of not everything. The power of the franchise is they share purchasing and use multiple distributors.

I bought a 1/32 snap-together car and something else in the small end of my range, got a 10% discount for their July 4 sale or something like that. Good stuff! Its a long way from my home but I’d check them every once in a while, for sure.

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

Oriented toward the anime and Japanese culture fan, plastic kits are only a small part of their stock, but they take them seriously. Lots of movie and TV theme car and plane kits that you’d otherwise only seee at Hobby Link Japan, as well as non-marketing-tie-in stuff that isn’t normally sent to the US market, like Toyota Leven 86 drift racers and the Honda Beat micro-super-car.

This is the first place I have saw the Airfix TSR-2 on the shelf, and they stocked it because a look-alike was in an anime movie/series! Airfix has now re-released the kit with extra parts and decals for the anime and historic versions. With Airfix and othernon-Asian brands in stock, you’re looking at a wide, wide, assortment of kits here, and the staff is both enthusiastic and informed. Its hard to predict which Drift Grand Prix, Space Battleship Yamato, Gundam, etc, kits might be in stock, but of you’re interests go that way, this is definately a place to try. If you’re after something specific, call first. The last thing I bought there was an Aoshima Honda Beat convertable.

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

Up to the minute stock with the comprehensive and warm environment of the old-style Hobby and Crafts store. Hobbies are in the back, Crafts up front, and the husband and wife team that run this place have been there for 30+ years. The building is an old dear of Art Deco style, worth a trip just to see itself. Stock is varied and fresh, mostly mainstream but with some cottage industry/short run stuff.

Naturally they have the Aristo-craft 130, 140, 260 and 280 utility electric motors in stock, along with several different assortments gears, Tamiya’s very nice gear-boxes, larger motors etc, for the inventor/tinkerer/science-fair participant.

Among plastic scale models, planes, cars and ships get the most shelf military vehicles but less than, say, Hobbies Unlimited or Berkeley Ace Hardware.

Full range of Model Master and Tamiya paints, Squadron books, Huge selection of RC planes, helicopters and boats, an amazing selection of HO slot car hop-up parts,a substantial train department and operating ship models. Far from living in the past, they listen to their customers, clearly know quality when they see it, only have one or at most two of anything in the wall of kits.

They sell a lot of RC Electric stuff to hardcore fliers, hop-up parts to slot-racers. The counter people sound like they know what they’re talking about. If you visit only one store that’s new to you on this list, this should be it. Then the rest.

The last things I bought from them was an ICM 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire Mk VII and a Lindberg 1/32 1936 Ford Coupe.

Kit & Caboodle the Hobby Shop – MOVED! NOW:
3675 Main, Oakley, CA – 925 625 6000
10-7, Tuesday-Friday, shorter hours Saturday
http://www.kit-and-caboodle.com/

FORMERLY:
425 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706 – 510 524 9942

The former local hobby shop north of Berkeley, in Albany, near the BART station. Kit and Caboodle (Note, K, then C, and the web address has embedded “-” dash characters) seem to have moved to Oakley. I haven’t visited them there yet.

In the old days, they had the most depth in RC (at a guess RC airplanes) and trains, with an interesting selection of plastic airplanes, some cars and some armor/military/ships etc. Some of the stock was clearly new, some quite obscure (Pegasus WWI subjects, Aircraft In Miniature vac-kits of transport aircraft in 1/72…) I think a some of the airplane kit stock must have been second hand, there are only a few of the 1/48 Monogram/Revell/Hasegawa/Tamiya/Academey kits that set the pace for plastic modelling today. So you might have found an old dear by Airfix, Hasegawa, Heller or Monogram, Italeri or Frog, in 1:72, or you might find the latest Revell Germany or Tamya kit.

Model Master and Polly Scale paint were in stock, and extensive paint and finishing tools and supplies. (Railroad influence probably) A large range of spare and repair parts for outdoor planes, cars, rockets, etc, and sage advise for beginnners, was available. All of the staff appeared to be even older than this faithful scribe, which may explain why everything was so orderly and neat. They were very nice people and could doubtless order anything that’s available through normal channels.

The last thing I bought, at their old, Albany, location, was a set of Model Master photo-etch part clippers- similar to plastic part clippers but about twice as expensive, with hardened blades.

Nor Cal Hobbies & Raceway
30600 Union City Blvd, Union City, CA – (510) 324-5700
http://www.norcalhobbies.com/

Aimed at the RC Car fan, they have one shelf unit of scale models, a fair selection of Tamiya, Hasegawa, Dragon, Revell, Academy, Italeri, planes, and military, some cars, motorcycles and naval ships. Almost all good stuff too. Tools and supplies are mostly RC oriented, but the vibe is good and though it moves slowly, the stock is fresh, since they opened several years ago. Prices are suggested retail, not jacked up, as sometimes happens. Odds of finding exactly what you’re looking for are low, but you can get a good kit for a present or make a lucky find. It’ll be interesting to see if they re-stock or just let it run down. The last thing I bought here (2008? Earlier?) was the Tamiya 1/700 Russian Kursk waterline sub.

 

Sheldon’s Hobbies
2130 Trade Zone Blvd, San Jose, CA – (408) 943-0220
http://www.sheldonshobbies.com/

The bulldozers got their old building on Old Oakland Road, but they’ve relocated. Sheldon’s carries a small selection of static kits, but also a full line of Model Master, Tamiya and Polly Scale model paints, epoxy and solvent-based putties, brushes, sanding sticks, tools, scale references (mostly aimed at flying models), balsa, carbon fiber, basswood, hardwoods, aluminum, steel, brass are all in stock. And, of course, their main business of flying models, RC, U-control and free flight, and RC cars, on-road and off-road, with finishing supplies for cars and planes. They have an indoor track for RC cars in the back of the building. Three guys were drifting their cars around faster and I could when I was there last, and more were arriving as I left.

The last thing I bought here was a tube of Tamiya rubbing compound, a carbon fiber tube and a wide roll of fiber reinforced strapping tape, for use on a tape-reinforced styrofoam gliders and powered planes.

 

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

I shouldn’t tell you about this place, but I will. This is a very nice, local, toy shop, with a small, *very* eclectic model department. Everything from two new 1/72 TBD Devastator kits (Valom’s new tooling and the recent reboxing of Airfix’s 35+ year old effort) to a 1960s issue of Airfix’s venerable 2 pounder and Bren Gun Carrier. Star Wars kits, AMT and Fine Molds, are very well represented. No paint, glue, or tools displayed. The ancient and collectible kits have market (high, but fair) prices. The stock is too small and too greatly varied to count on finding anything in particular, but its not going to be boring! Some is clearly second hand, perhaps estate and garage sales are the primary source. The last thing I bought here (2009) was a Valom Douglas TBD Devistator. Earlier, the original Bandai boxing of the two person gunship from Miyazaki’s “Princess Nausicaa”.

>Viking Hobby
Sacramento, CA>

Finally got there. A terrific sto, overflowing with no more than one of every kit, a vast set of role playing game accessories, airplanes and scratch-built spaceships hang from the ceiling. No time to write more tonight but absolutely worth a visit. Last things I bought were a Dragon U-2R/TR-1 in 1/144, and a Lego/Airfix Spitfire, 1/48ish. Molded in dark earth, dark green and Sky, with black odds and ends.

———-========== * # * ==========———-

Places I haven’t visited yet:

Brentwood Hobbies
160 Chestnut St, Brentwood, CA – (925) 240-7111

Hobbytown USA
Sunrise Plaza, 638 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose, CA – (408) 229-1972

Hobbytown, USA,
Petaluma

———-========== * # * ==========———-

Not-really-static-scale-model-places that I’ve visited:

Games of Berkeley
2151 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA – (510) 540-7822

No static plastic models. A wide range of game figures and figure painting supplies

R C World of Planes
520 Lawrence Expy 307, Sunnyvale, CA –
(408) 732-9029

No static plastic models. RC Planes, a bit of balsa wood and carbon fiber for the scratchbuilder.

Victors Hobbies Inc
39269 Cedar Blvd, Newark, CA – (510) 796-8049

No static plastic models. RC Planes and cars, balsawood, basswood, and carbon fiber for the scratchbuilder.

Aeromicro
1655 S De Anza Blvd, Cupertino, CA – (408) 255-5566 –
near SCOTT in SANTA CLARA NOW

No static, plastic, models. Nice flying model ship, pretty much all RC electric.

Legends Diecast & Collectibles
790 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA –
(650) 508-8588

No static kits. A VAST stock of diecasts. But I prefer to build my own. I’ve never seen them actually open but looking through their window is a treat.

Gator Games & Hobby,
4212 Olympic Ave, San Mateo, CA –
(650) 571-7529

Not really a kit builders place. Game pieces, figures, paint and finishing supplies.

Hobby Engineering Store
180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA –
(650) 552-9950 (650) 552-9925

The place to get parts for the robot or other complex, technical, thing that you’re building at home. Nice people, neat stuff, though not cheap. Scale modelers can get latex mold and resin-casting supplies here, as well as parts for working features, sensors to detect triggers in the environment, etc.

Arch
99 Missouri St San Francisco, CA 94107 –
(415) 433-2724

Listed as a hobby shop, they’re an art supply store, with lots of airbrush, X-acto knife, finishing tools, etc. But no kits, as such.

Cliff’s Variety
Castro, San Francisco, CA

Reported on the Internet to have models and hobby supplies, the nice fellow I spoke with on the telephone checked and came back to say that they didn’t have any such stock at the moment.

———-========== * # * ==========———-

Games, Trains, RC, other specialists, but not plastic kit sources:

R C Tech
1618 Sullivan Ave, Daly City, CA – (650) 992-7600

California Hobbies LLC
1702 Meridian Ave I, San Jose, CA – (408) 448-1449

RC Airplanes.

Games Workshop
925 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose, CA – (408) 226-6325

Figures, paints and supplies. A source of paint, brushes, etc, if you’re close or their hours fit you.

Grandrc
2235 Grant Rd, Los Altos, CA – (650) 962-0400

Games Workshop
1466 Stoneridge Mall Rd, Pleasanton, CA – (925) 463-1481

Loco-Boose Electric Train Shop
260 Main St D, Redwood City, CA – (650) 368-1254

Nor Cal Trains
2791 Depot Rd, Hayward, CA – (510) 887-7115

R C World
4088 East Ave, Livermore, CA – (925) 960-1158

Welly USA Inc
23759 Eichler St J, Hayward, CA – (510) 782-8198

Caboose
1225 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA – (650) 508-8669

Starwood Scale Models
17 Starwood Dr, Woodside, CA – (650) 851-9027

Uppa Valley Lines
PO Box 60613, Sunnyvale, CA – (408) 733-8772

Digital Bay Control Systems
17950 Hesperian Blvd, San Lorenzo, CA – (510) 276-2710

Kwok Silas Helicopters
1909 Valdez Ave, Belmont, CA – (650) 591-0888

Gary Mathews Enterprises
14297 Wicks Blvd, San Leandro, CA – (510) 351-3503

Epic Adventure Games
222 Mount Hermon Rd, Scotts Valley, CA – (831) 438-2032

Peninsula Channel Commander
22300 Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, CA – (650) 726-1452

Tom’s Trackside Trains
1675 Rollins Rd B1, Burlingame, CA – (650) 692-9724

Homeroom Racing Cafe
Now back on Park St, Alameda, CA – (510) 865-1575

Big, fast, track. Nice people.The attached restaurant is really, really, good!

Clawson Cassidy
3110 Porter St, Soquel, CA – (831) 479-1680

Toy Train Depot
1951 Bywood Dr, Oakland, CA – (510) 444-8724

All Speed Hobbies
230 S Spruce Ave, S San Francisco, CA – (650) 692-6180

———-========== * # * ==========———-

No longer in business: Sigh.

 

D & J Hobby Inc.
Now at a new location:
” 5205 Prospect Road, Ste 160, San Jose, CA 95129 ”
[
formerly 96 N San Tomas Aquino Rd, Campbell, CA]
(408) 252 1266
379-1696
http://www.djhobby.com/

Did not survive to Christmas New Year season of 2015. Alas.

 

Franciscan Hobbies,
1920-A Ocean Avenue San Francisco, CA 94127-2745 –
415 584 3919
http://www.franciscanhobbies.com/

They’d been there forever. But got old, a little strange, and stopped being generally profitable at some point…

 

Gee-Bee Hobbee <== RIP Closed
234 Golf Club Rd Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (925) 798-5133 <== RIP Long Closed

Had just changed owners and when I last dropped in, I need to go back. I’m told they’ve re-stocked with Revell-Monogram and Revell Germany, and other manufacturers. They had been very RC intense, which would keep the doors open and pay the bills, but also had a wide range of flying models, craft stuff, mainstream plastic models, some trains, and decades of ‘hobby shop stuff’- tools, adhesives, specialty stuff. Model Master, Polly Scale and Tamiya paints, along with airplane dope and RC Car body paints, and a good shelf of Squadron books.

The last thing I bought there was an A-Model 1/144 UH-16 Triphibian, priced a bit over market, a Hobbycraft B-47, priced a bit below market, and a Revell Ferrari 612 on sale for $10.

Hobbytown USA – Fremont – CLOSED 8/2011 <== R.I.P.
39152 Fremont Hub, Fremont, CA – (510) 796-2744 – CLOSED  8/2011  <== R.I.P.
http://www.hobbytown.com/CAFRM/ – CLOSED   8/2011 <== R.I.P.

C L O S E D  M I D –  A U G U S T  2 0 1 1 ! ! ! Sidewalk traffic down after Borders closed, I hear the corporate Hobbytown people wanted the owner to get a 10 year lease… So a new store under different management may appear…

My favorite Hobbytown, of the several that I’ve visited, since the old Milpitas store closed. A friend from Silicon Valley Scale Modelers says the Concord store has even nicer management, so consider both.

Well stocked with Model Master, (acryl, military and automotive), Tamiya (bottles and spray cans) and Polly Scale (aircraft AND train lines) paints, also Vallejo’s full line of acrylics in squeeze bottles. Tools and adhesives of many kinds.

A large stock of Airplane, Ship, and Military kits get about a facing shelf unit each, separated by an aisle, Cars get a wall display across the end of the aisles. A good range of mass-market kits, but little cottage industry stuff, no airliner decals, SNJ or Alclad, etc… Some Resin and photo-etch accessories, for aircraft, armor AND cars, is behind the register right next to the finishing products. Not the one that’s in the RC department.

Osprey and Squadron books are in stock, and a decreasing selection of Aeromaster decals, mostly 1/48 fighters (duh). They are a volume outlet and the stock turns over pretty well. Tamiya, Hasegawa, Revell/Monogram, Revell Germany, Academy, Minicraft, Testors, Airfix, Heller, Trupeter, ERTL/AMT and some Aoshima Japanese drifters are all in large supply. A LOT of die-cast collectors stuff in traditional modeler’s scales also get a pair of facing shelves, and Japanese Gashpon trading kits are available.They also carry RC, trains and slot cars, arts and crafts stuff for kids. Things that move too slowly get marked down with bright green ‘sale’ stickers, 25% off, typically. There used to be a ‘sale table’ but recently the bargains have been left out with the general run of products, so browsing is well rewarded.

Its a big store, and they seem serious about serving the local customers. But plastic scale models isn’t something that any of the staff I’ve met actually are interested in, so the result is somewhat out of a cookbook rather than from the heart.

The last things I bought here (2011) was a bunch of Polly Scale paint at the going out of business sale. :^(

Hobby World: San Jose <== RIP Long Closed
6148 Bollinger Rd, San Jose, CA – (408) 873-2109 <== RIP Long Closed

I have to believe this was an offshoot of Hobby World in Gilroy. They were big on 1/28 Tamiya racing, with comic books, collectables and trading cards, lots of RC cars, some RC planes, and a somewhat wierd selection of plastic kits. Closed now, and empty. The last thing I bought here was the Lee 1/144 F-14A kit- yet another bad F-14, not even a copy of any of the existing bad F-14s.

Marsten’s Crafts and Hobbies   <== RIP Long Closed
Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center, Meridian and Hillsdale Avenue…
<== RIP Long Closed

My childhood favorite, full service, plastic models, trains, balsa, slot cars. Huge stock, brass trains, unpainted, in the window, packaged their own line of craft supplies. Gone for at least 25 years now… The last thing I clearly remember buying there was a Tamiya 1/48 M-60 tank, possibly a Hawk Spitfire Mk 24.

Pepeno’s Hobby <== now closed or never existed…
3016 Macarthur Blvd, Oakland, CA – (510) 482-3300 <== now closed or never existed…

Found in recent internet searches. There isn’t a hobby shop any more at that address. A zombie name and address from the past? Its in the current phone book…

Root’s Hobby Hut <== RIP  CLOSED
Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA <== RIP  CLOSED

This closed store front stood empty for years, with the sign unlit but still
visible. 1960s vintage? The sign is now painted out and its a tattoo parlor.

Scenario Game & Hobbie Shop <== RIP CLOSED
37757 Duvall Ct, Fremont, CA – (510) 792-5468
<== RIP CLOSED

No longer in business, they couldn’t make their old business work in a new, rented, building, so they’ve closed. The last thing I bought here was a can of airbrush propellant.

Wold’s Hobbies    <== RIP CLOSED
7100 Village Pkwy, Dublin, CA – (925) 828-5350
<== RIP CLOSED

Was a great place, now closed- the owner retired. They’ll be missed. A full range shop with coin collecting and some scouting stuff as well as RC, scale kits, trains, slot cars, books, paint & finishing materials. Very nice. They’re missed.

The last thing I bought here was the Minicraft 1/144 R4D-5 “Operation High Jump”
C-47/C-53 THIS boxing has had better engine cowlings, engines and propellers
added, Bravo Minicraft! Now if they’d just fix their L.188 Electra’s horizontal
stabalizers (in the wrong place!), Then could you convince Revell Germany to fix the horizontal stabalizers on the 737-800 – swapped left and right! If you mountthem so the tab holds them at the right dihedral, the airfoil is upside down. If you mount the airfoil correctly, they have anhedral, not dihedral, like an F-4.

Yannis Hobbies   <== RIP  CLOSED
4846 El Camino Real suite 10, Los Altos, CA – <== RIP  CLOSED
(650) 965-2113   <== RIP  CLOSED

Where the action is in super-premium scale modeling in the Bay Area- think Ben and Jerry’s. The latest kits and reference material, from a wide range of sources, for airplanes, cars, military, some ships, and some die-cast. Here’s where to find books you never knew existed, where to see with your own eyes some kit that just appeared in the Squadron catalog, where to find magazines that aren’t on any other shelf within 2000 miles. Tamiya and Model Master paints, some tools and brushes, some decals. Airplane and military/armor selection is very broad but not exhaustive; anything can be ordered with a 2-4 day turn

In many ways this was a better replacement for San Antonio Hobbies than San Antonio itself was in it’s last decade(s). I’ve walked in and seen something I *must* have on almost every visit. And Yanni is one of us- a modeler, intense, someone who really digs a cool kit, or the one kit of a cool original. And there was nothing snooty here- you didn’t have to wonder if you qualified.

The several, small, display cases around the shop showed a range of local modeler’s talent, from stuff I only imagine doing to things that were clearly works of enthusiasm rather than skill. Shelves, tables and the counter were overflowing with kits, magazines and other desirables. It was like Christmas. There were a few inexpensive kits, but typical prices were MSRP, $12-25 (and up).

The last thing I bought here was a Hobby Boss 1/48 T-34/76 kit, which is a scale-down of the Trumpeter 1/16 kit from a few years ago Comes with complete interior and engine, $19.95!

Hobbytown USA – Sunnyvale  – CLOSED 201? <== R.I.P.
585 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA – (408) 738-9600  – CLOSED 201? <== R.I.P.
http://www.hobbytown.com/CASUN/  – CLOSED 201? <== R.I.P.

A smaller Hobbytown (they’re a franchise…) with one shelf of airplanes, cars, armor/military, ships, Model Master Acryl and oil based paints. Lots of tools and adhesives and figure painting paints. Obviously the big turnover for them is RC and stocking spare and repair parts for RC cars, planes, helocopters. I’m sure they could order static scale stuff through normal distributors.

The last things I bought here were two sets of 1/72 figures, (Lewis and Clark expedition, British 8th Army), four bottles of Model Master Acryl paint and a really great red sable brush.

Next time I looked for them (9/2011) they were gone.

Riverside Hobbies,
5141 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA. Phone: 916-455-3747

Out of business the end of December, 2011. Good part, the couple who own it are retiring and they seem OK with it.  Better to retire than fly it into the ground.  This was a full service hobby shop, old school, all kinds of stuff, LOTS of plastic kits, paints, etc, as well as RC and other stuff I’m not that focussed on. So I dropped in the Saturday after Thanksgiving and they’ve got a 50% off sale going (!) and a lot of the store is bare. All the back walls RC stuff is cleared away, mostly plastic kits and some gaming stuff, and books, are whats left.

Of course I took advantage to buy some totally cool kits for the holiday gift exchange we put on in Silicon Valley Scale Modelers – The minimum standards for the exchange are $12-$15 retail value, no junk, no Lindberg, no over-wrapping (no figure sets in a refrigerator box…) Club officer’s decisions are final. Someone who puts a wrapped but unworthy object into the gift pile may have the item(s) returned to them and be asked to leave. All gifts are tracked by giver and an ID, until the wrapping is opened. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a problem, to tell the truth. But a 50% off sale (or a 2nd hand dealer) is the perfect place to stretch $15 to $25 for something seriously cool. LOTS of gifts given exceed the minimum, which is part of the fun. Some people are constrained and $12-$15 is is a real limit for them. Unless I ever run out of models, I figure its better to give than to receive!

Riverside’s prices were in the reasonable/market range and they offered some excellent specials… half off that meant a Hobby Boss 1/48 T-34 for $10,  $0.75 for little bottles of Testor’s acrylic (NOT Modelmaster- this is a line I’ve never seen anywhere else… works, nice, non-military, colors) $17 or something for a Hasegawa 1/48 F-104S in Tiger Meet colors. ESCI 1/72 A4s were $4 or so. Works for me!

In Yelp and other places you can read negative reviews of the counter people, but I had no such problems in my two visits. Judging from the books that show up for sale, used, somebody’s politics are seriously to the right of mine, and conservative talk radio wouldn’t surprise me. But the young guy with the shaved head was polite and helpful both visits I’ve made, and the owners were talking with their long time customers the way most owners who are retiring talk to long time customers… Since the 1960s, I’ve made it a point to NOT judge people by their hair cut, can you dig it? ‘Nuf said.

One on-line review recommended Viking Hobby, and while they were too far away to try this time… NEXT time I’ll give ’em a go. At 50% off, there were bargains to be had at Riverside, though I expect it may empty out pretty quickly. Call first, to make sure they’re open.  Go see if they have’t that kit, paint, etc, you’re looking for. Come 2012, they’re gone.

Not there anymore Alas. Positively reviewed by someone else in 2010. Drive by in November 2013, no sign of them. 😦

Gunnings’s Hobbies
538 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, CA 94960-2614 – (415) 454-3087
http://www.gunnings.com/

A local hobby and craft shop out by Red Hill in the middle of Marin County. (Well away from highway 101.) Two facing shelves of plastic kits, mainstream and good quality, Evergreen styrene stock, I can’t remember what paints they had. Also doll-houses, trains, RC airplanes, cars, etc. All in a small shop, everything somewhat on top of everything else. Like Chan’s, think ‘local’ rather than ‘gigantic emporium’ and you’ve got it right.
Very nice staff, neat neighborhood if you don’t have to put up with the traffic every day.

The last thing I bought there was a bag or two of Evergreen styrene tubing and a Revell Germany 1/144 Airbus A-319. Revell Germany have Danny Coreman (DACO/Skyline) do a lot of their decals and he did the British Airway’s and the extensive detail markings that come with this kit.

 

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

http://www.bossrobot.com

Primarily a place for RC, slot cars, and Japanese Robot / Monster /anime-themed stuff, they do have paint and finishing supplies, and sometimes, scale plastic kits. More often, just Gundams and Tamiya educational products. It has to be the smallest hobby shop in the Bay Area, and the owner is helpful and thoughtful.
The last thing I bought here was a 1/72 Italeri Lockheed-Martin X-35 JSF.

Capitola Hobbies
3555 Clares St, Capitola, CA – (831) 462-3555
http://www.capitolahobbies.com/

Tidy, small, with a surprisingly wide range of plastic kits, as well as RC, balsa and foam flying models, kites, paints and finishing supplies, games,
some toys, die-cast vehicles, etc. The total stock of kits is small but wide, Tamiya racing cars along with AMT and Revell cars, airplanes from the usual Hasegawa, Tamiya, Revell Monogram, Revell Germany, and Italeri, Minicraft, and Special Hobby (!). Model Master paints. The owner is clearly intent on staying in business, nothing is gathering dust. A fine place to support the local economy during a day off or a weekend at the beach.
The last thing I bought there was a Sword 1/72 Grumman F8F-1/2 Bearcat, steeply discounted, and some Model Master Acryl paints.

Chan’s Trains & Hobbies
2450 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109.
(415) 885-2899.
http://www.chanstrains.com/

Very much a train store, with a small range of good-quality, mainstream, models, on one shelf out of 4 or 5. A good range of tools, Model Master (solvent based) paints, good balsa, bass and styrene stock. Some built kits hanging in the front window. The owner has been running this store for decades and the stock reflects what his customers are buying. Not so many plastic models, but some, and not junk. For a small stock, there are a relatively large number of big kits (Monogram’s 1/48 B-29, large ships, etc.) leaving me feeling that some of the sales are gifts bought by train fans for non-train-fan children or relatives.
In contrast to the well regulated plastic kit department, the trains and train accessories are a riot of new to ancient, with many cottage industry suppliers represented. If you can get into 1/87, or other railroad scales, you’ll find a lot of vehicles, figures and structure kits. Again reflecting the buyers, RC electric vehicles (planes, cars, helos) are stocked, with parts and accessories.
From the scale modeler’s perspective, this is a nice, neighborhood shop.

The last thing I bought here (2010) was a Polar Lights “2001 Moon Bus” kit- back in the day I saw the Aurora original exactly once- and relatively, the price isn’t too bad. Polar Lights also give you an accurate set of front windows- the Aurora kit windows are nice but not like the miniature or set in the movie.. Before that, Evergreen 0.040″ / 1mm half-round styrene strip stock and a pair of drill bits, 0.040″ and 0.0145″.

Talbots Toyland
445 S B St, San Mateo, CA –
(650) 931-8100
http://www.talbotstoyland.com/

Between Talbots and J&M there used to be some kind of time-warp is at work on the San Francisco Penninsula. To J&M’s classic old school hobby shop, working in the 21st century, Talbots was an old school downtown toy story doing the same. Well, with time, the space devoted to plastic kits has decreased, with more trains, airplanes and die-casts. Kits are all mainstream, stocking is fair, some variety, and the magazine shelves includes both periodicals and Squadron and other references in soft cover. Kits are mostly cars, airplanes, some armor/military, some ships, the usual formula. Trupeter, Revell Germany, Italeri, Monogram Revell, Hasegawa, Tamiya, AMT/Ertl, etc, are the main kit vendors.

They have Model Master and Tamiya paint, some aftermarket decals. A small number of very nice models are displayed in one case. Other “hobby” items include trains, RC cars and planes, rockets, etc. A very large selection of diecasts at the front of the hobby section will make you want to build better looking models from plastic kits.

The last thing I bought here was the Tamiya 1/72 Supermarine Spitfire MkV/Trop, and a set of U.S. star with yellow circle decals.

RC 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/

All gone to points south, Gilroy/Morgan Hill under the name “Andy’s Hobbies” Look ’em up!
They have a variety of names, but the 5 digit address on Camden is common. A full-range RC Car shop, with some RC airplane and scale modelling stock. They had an old, commercial, 1/24-1/32 slotcar track and lots of cars, parts, historic stuff, etc but have released that part of the store. Some modern 1/32 home slot car stuff as well. An employee there told me they bought-out the last of San Antonio Hobby’s stock, at least in plastic kits and RC Cars. They have SA’s sign.

The plastic kits don’t turn very quickly, but they maintain a stock in cars and some planes. Tamiya Acrylic and Testor’s Model Master oil-based paints are both stocked, brush and spray types. Lots of brushes and other finishing supplies. Last time I was there I was looking for Metalizer but they didn’t have any in rattle cans. Last thing I bought (2009) was a set of replacement rotor blades for a small IR control helicopter. Earlier, Tamiya static model car spray paint.

 

Slot Car Magic and Hobbies
104 Parrott St, San Leandro, CA – (510) 357-8514
http://www.slotcarmagic.com/

Primarily 1/32 slot cars, parts and accessories, and a lovely 4 lane track for same. Computerized timing shows 6 or maybe 8 second laps, which is a long time for a modern, spot-magnet-equipped, 1/32 scale-looking car from Scalectric, Fly, Monogram, etc. There is a selection of car and airplane static scale models in the back, and a modest selection of paints and adhesives. Cars tend to be US muscle cars from the 1960s and ’70s, airplanes are a small range of 1/144, 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32, almost all military subjects, but recent stuff and not junk. Open late Friday and Saturday night for racing, this might be the place for a quick purchase at 8:30pm. The couple that owns this place work hard every day and its got a big heart. Naturally, they can order models and supplies.

The last thing I bought here was Testor’s dark metalic blue, rattle-can and brushing type, and some 1/16″ masking tape stripe for airline models..