The demise of the local hobby shop may be having a much greater impact on the future of the hobby industry than many people may realize. We have all heard how the internet has changed everything, but Iím finding the impact to be much greater than buying an ARF from a laptop.
Using myself as an example, moving is harder on people and property than we oftentimes like to admit. One of the casualties of our move was the vertical stabilizer on the recently reviewed Great Planes TwinStar. Obviously in terms of a world crisis this isnít a big deal, but to me it was a real pain. After settling in I wanted to take a free morning a go play airplane, but before I could do this I needed to make the (minor) repair. As store owners youíre thinking no big deal, somewhere in the back corner is a rack with some balsa, and the last time I checked there were still a few pieces of triangle stock left. A couple of pieces of reinforcement, one on each side of the vertical stab, and itíll be stronger than new.
The problem is there are no local hobby stores, and everything owned thatís hobby related is still packed in bins and will stay that way until I have a chance to tackle the cave, which will be my building area. The closest hobby store I can find by using an internet search (please tell me you have a website) is over 100 miles away. Digging around I was able to find a bit of balsa square stock and some 5-minute epoxy (not my first choice for a permanent repair), but nothing in the way of Monokote scraps or anything finer than 80-grit sandpaper.
Determined to make the repair the square stock was split into two pieces of triangle, and by using the 80-grit paper they were sanded about as close to smooth as possible. The 5-minute epoxy was then used to adhere the bare wood reinforcement in place. I built my first model airplane with my father when I was six years old. Now in my 60ís I was going to show up at the local flying field for the first time looking like a real wood-butcher. Not the impression I wanted to make. Unfortunately way too many experienced people in the same position would have put the broken airplane back in storage, said the heck with it, and stayed home.
Iíve mentioned many times that although my focus is generally radio control, I love all hobbies, especially trains. Although known by few people, there are cabinets filled with G-scale model railroad bits and pieces in the hobby room. In the past Iíve always been denied the opportunity to assemble a garden railroad, but something has happened to my wife. Perhaps itís the fresh air, Iím not certain, but I do frequently look to make certain she is real and her body hasnít been taken over by a space alien.
No matter how many times in the past I have asked, Cindyís reply was always the same, ďDonít even think about it.Ē Figuring it might be worth a shot I asked about putting a garden railroad in something of a blind corner of our lot. Her reply; and this is something that will make our railroad advertisers happy, ďSure, if thatís what youíd like.Ē Outwardly it may appear different, but Iím not a fool. Just in case this was a whim on Cindyís part Iím not about to ask twice. I was given permission, so the next step is to clear and level the space.
There are a number of Garden railway plans available on the web, and Iíve picked one that will fit perfectly in the allotted area. Although construction will be underway by the time this is in print, itís not a short-term project. I was not raised in the era of instant gratification, so considering this is a hobby it will be a project to enjoy well into the future.
Until next month,