Hobby Stores Online

Source For… Quality Shipping
Hobby Retailers
Hobbylinc. Products, materials and supplies covering Model Railroading and other hobbies. Everything from general supplies to scale-specific product lines. Good selection of Walthers catalog items. Good product selection for N scale. Having things in stock can be an issue with them; if they are out of stock on something, I’ll look elsewhere. International Brands. As always, you get what you pay for. Good pricing; even better when you factor in rewards program credits. Slow order processing (2 days, generally). Lots of fairly priced shipping options, including flat rate Priority Mail. That option is fabulous – 2-3 days from Atlanta to Reno at a low flat price. Overall I get things from them in a week and that meets my standards.
Model Train Stuff This is the internet incarnation of MB Klein, the longtime Baltimore purveyor of everything model railroad.  I logged more than a few hours in their old downtown store back in the 90’s. They are well stocked with products and supplies covering all HO, N, O, Z and HOn3 scales. Excellent source for locos and rolling stock in N scale. Consistent with their long history, they always seem well stocked with good quality gear. International Brands. As always, you get what you pay for. Pricing is very competitive, usually at an attractive discount to standard retail. I rarely see them underpriced. Order processing is one business day, completely up to standard, with economical shipping options. USPS flat rate options will get the goods across the country quickly and economically. The rest of the industry could learn a lot from these folks.
Tools & Supplies
Micro-Mark All manner of tools and supplies for hobbyists, from the common to the truly obscure. Some HO Scale specific products. Best for tools, parts and supplies you can’t get elsewhere. A long time catalog merchant, the goods are accurately presented and acceptably priced. The best strategy with Micro-Mark, however, is to stock up when they run sales. I would avoid the frequent shipping promotions (they don’t really add up to much) and watch for the good sales with deeper discounts. Annoyingly slow order processing (2-3 days). What, are you guys printing orders, putting them in envelopes and opening them by hand them like mail orders? Only three shipping options: slow but cheap, and two overpriced fast options. Slow but cheap depends on the FedEx->Post Office hybrid service that I have come to dispise and avoid: shipping to Reno from New Jersey is 9 days. Total turnaround from order to receipt is 12 – 14 days. Not good in the internet age; if you want something in less than two weeks, shop elsewhere or prepare to pay dearly.

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