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Graham Windle
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My all time favourite hobby shop has to be Nevilles in Blackburn,As a child I remember the huge window displays with penny in the slot opperated scalex and rail way tracks and in what seemed to me at the time the dark depths of the shop itself were all manner of wonderfull things for a young boy to explore .Sadly this shop was destroyed by fire in the 60s never to be rebuilt ,the magic lost for ever replaced by online shopping and all things digital.
Graham
 

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Graham...You've done it now..I'm off again!

I'm from a different neck of the woods, but I remember with great affection the days when I could get on my bike on a Saturday, point it in any direction of the compass and be at a worthwhile Model shop inside fifteen minutes. There was Teddington to the East, which had it's own useful line of scratchbuilding gear, rewinding gadgets and motor brackets. Then West to Richmond, which had a small but smooth raceway and ready built brass chassis made for them by an ex-Honda F1 mechanic, Yosuiro Watanabe if I remember right. Whitton, North, the smallest but nearest and handy for odds and ends. Chiswick had the best stock of US magazines, and kept a range of GT Models Vacforms in stock. Then there was Southall, home of Titan slot racing products and a huge raceway- great for Sunday competitions. Hammersmith I think had the first US commercial raceway established over here. I once took my little homebuilt Monogram Ferrari 275p all the way there and forgot my hand throttle. Had to suffer the shame of using the daft Steering wheel things that were for toddlers and casual visitors.
King of them all was Tottenham though. Had to get on the tube to get there, but what a place that was in it's pomp. Two enormous tracks, every kind of spares, kits, magnet zapping, arm.balancing, you name it. Run by Team Lotus manager Peter Warr! How close was that to paradise on a Sunday evening? All gone now.
The internet is much more convenient than my old 12 speed Raleigh, but the weight is beginning to spread... And I miss the unique Model shop smell of dope (the old fashioned kind) and balsa as well as warm motors and tyre goop. P'raps someone could whip up an aerosol room freshener with essence of `1965 Model shop' so I could spray the office next time I hook up to Pendles web site.
 
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Hi Graham,

For me Christmas was going shoping in Cardiff where the major store had large Scalextric display tracks with D type Jags and Porsches and other wonderful 60's slot cars you could race on.

I am sure this is one of the reason I like scalextric. It was just so exciting then and I started to build up a collection of cars that is still growing 40years later.

RR. Still a child at heart.
 

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QUOTE P'raps someone could whip up an aerosol room freshener with essence of `1965 Model shop' so I could spray the office next time I hook up to Pendles web site.

..or you could just rub some "deep heat" into those aching old muscles of yours tx


For me the earliest memory was the department store Gamages in London. Again long gone.

They used to have what seemed like a whole universe of toys. Slot car layouts from everyone from Champion to Scalextric it seemed to me.

That was where I first discovered slot cars: each year they had a scenic train exhibition type thing at Christmas but one time they had a Scalextric in with it too. Wonderful it was. Ahhh!!! I had to wait another year for the Scalex though as Santa had already ordered a Triang Train Set it seems. Great fun racing with it anyway


Later Beatties in Southgate became my "local". They had a number of shops around Southgate Circus one of which had a 6 lane pay track. On my first go there I remember renting an Airfix-MRRC Clubman BRM and using one of the big MRRC controllers. Great stuff. They also had a similar set up in Holborn that I visited occassionally.
 

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DT
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I have bad experiences of Hobby shops.

There was one in Wimbledon Broadway - I think it was called L.E. Richards - that was where I used to gaze through the window at the Scalextric cars and Hornby trains.

My folks bought me a set in 1976 with the Yardley cars. On top of that I bought a Porsche and a Ford Escort. That was the sum of my collection then.

I remember being kicked out of that place as I couldn't afford to buy anything. Same story in other model shops - look (preferably from the outside), but don't touch.

I prefer friendly efficient Internet shops that can have a product that you've been looking for and researching delivered to your door in a couple of days. After playing with cars, planes and trains for a few years, I'm tired of always knowing more than the guy behind the counter and sick of paying exorbitant premiums on merchandise.
 

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I can't tell you of the weirdest model shop I've visited for fear of legal proceedings. Suffice to say it is a one-man proof that running a model shop requires AND develops serious character defects of a socially disturbing nature.

Being a natural pessimist, I'm not sure I have any fond memories since without exception, no matter how much I leave the shop with, it has much more still in it that I want causing a net sense of disappointment.

Scott
 

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Ric Woods
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I remember there was one in Belfast when I was growing up, cunningly called 'The Model Shop', which had a big routed track upstairs and I was allowed to go and watch. It must have been about 1967, or early '68, and I still remember seeing a Cox Chaparral 2E with the big wing moving up and down. That really got me hooked on slot cars.

Howmet - thanks for the G.T. Models prompt. They were the best place to get mail order stuff from, really fast and the bodies were great. I wonder what ever happened to Gordon Tapsell? I found some of my old efforts in my Dad's attic over Christmas, and it was vaguely comforting to see that I was always as bad at painting bodies as I am now!

I won't name my favourite all-time hobby shop, for fear of embarrassing the owner, but as a clue it is still very much a going concern and is based in Lancashire...

Mooster
 

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Yes, I've often wondered about Gordon Tapsell.... Betta bodies still going strong, but what of G.T. Models of Beckenham? According to an old Model Cars I was reading the other day he was into R/C racing at some point, which did hoover up a lot of the really great slotters, although I could never afford it! (not that I ever qualified for the 'great slotter' category. I was a 'great something-or-other', I can't quite recall exactly what now) I did also hear that Trevor Crout is still about- correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he carved a lot of the moulds.
Worst model shop would also be a fun subject to explore Scott! There was one near here until comparitively recently where the proprietor kept the front door on a chain during opening hours. He sat in the shop tinkering with his toy trains all day and would only get up and open the door if a)he recognised you, b)you had a model train in your hand, or c) He'd just finished his loco and had nothing better to do. Despite the fact that the shop was full of ancient Scalextric stock. Come to think of it, if I had a slot car shop, I'd probably work the same way.
But the whole business must be severely dangerous to health. My Dad ran a sweet shop and that was bad enough.
 

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Hi all,

Nice topic to start the day off with my coffee before the serious work begins.

Here in Toronto, at least the West end, the best hobby shop bar none was Rigby's Hobbies at Jane & Bloor. It was close enough to our house but a little far to go alone on our bikes so some parental coaxing was required. Good thing my dad was an engineer by trade as he liked to tinker and explore too!

My memories are from the 70's. This shop carried models, trains, slots, the works. The proprietor was a master builder of models and had ton's of superbly done planes dangling from the ceiling.

He also had a big display of catalogues from all the manufacturers so you could flip through all the great stuff from Aurora, Revell, Tamiya etc. (this of course being the ONLY sorce in the pre-internet days!). Heck sometimes you had to wait your turn to browse!

Rigby's had a small HO train set up and a small 2 lane HO AFX track at the back. The slot track was like an American 1/4 mile oval. Dual Aurora pit garages, grandstand, immaculately landscaped and figured. A beauty all in about 2 1/2 x 5 feet!

The slot cabinet was where I spent alot of time as a boy (a tween as they are called now!) just staring at row upon row of crystal case AFX slots... I can see them now, Magnatractions, G+ F1's...

The kicker was the shop was right across from our family dentist so a couple of extra miuntes were added on to those days where you were off school for an appointment!!

Alas, in the 80's the bloom was off the rose and Rigby's owner turned more toward his paintng (no comment other than he was a better modler than a painter!). The hobby industry swooned and despite a shop relocation and a few lean years into the 90's, Rigby's packed it in quietly a few years back.

Luckily Toronto is big enough to support many specialty hobby shops today and there are some fantastic dealers out there. Add the internet and its good times to be a big fully grown up boy wih a good credit rating!

Best, Ken R
 

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QUOTE I remember there was one in Belfast when I was growing up, cunningly called 'The Model Shop',
'The Model Shop' is still there in Queens Street, Moo!
Unfortunately the slot track is long gone and all they have are a few lonely Scalextrics among the plastic kits and a wonderful stock of excellent radio control models - mostly planes rather than cars.
 

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Graham Windle
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I too mourn the passing of GT models they did some of the best bodies of the day I still have some in my collection I would dearly love to make some re pops for my own use but as I dont know which ones Trev carved or where he or Gordon is these days I cant with out permision so they will just remain on the shelf,I also ocasionaly visited Totenham for the race meets and Eltham models both great places sadly missed .
Graham
 

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Ric Woods
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Good to hear that The Model Shop is still going, Tropi. It's a pity the track is no longer there, but that's the way it goes, or perhaps more accurately, the way it went.

Mooster
 

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I have only just happened upon this thread whilst having a browse of the site...Gordon Tapsell...There's a name I haven't heard for years! I used to get quite a bit of stuff from GT... I think,only think- I stand to be corrected, that he had an ambition to buy a boat (a real one) and literally,sail off into the sunset!When there was an R/C boom in the 70's he did rather well selling shells and bits and pieces-much better than selling slot shells at 30p each and achieved his ambition! Of course ,I may be completely wrong-I usually am....I would love to hear from anyone who knows more...
On the subject of Model shop's, the one I remember was actually a bike shop called Bridges,located in Hawthorn road in Bootle. It was on my way to school,so I passed it every day-it was where I first saw slot cars,a VIP set with that fantastic box art by Michael Turner.Sadly, the shop and surrounding streets were demolished in the 1970s- a victim of redevelopment... They never even built anything on the site! It is now a rather tatty field used by dog owners as a toilet...for their dog's that is! God ,I'm old.....
Regards,
TED....

Go fast and stay on!!!....
 

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Bloody hell that could be sad.

As I reach for my hankie ( sorry tissue ), I recall scenes from my youth when I was introduced to Scalextric by my Dad who had tried Trains two years earlier to lesser effect.
Yes, I know you can race trains, but it is not as much fun if you keep the tracks seperate !!.
We went through countless copies of the "todays equivalent of the evening express" or whatever, and phoned up these people who seemed to be selling the world for halfpence.
Anyway eventually Dad decided to buy NEW. We got a JagD and Porsche Scalex Plexitrack set for Crimble. ( still got them actually ).

Bagnalls, of Stafford, for that was their name. Those purveyors of things slot-related.

My younger brother and I would routinely cycle the 7.5 miles each way of a Saturday morn to relish the excitements of a model shop with a grasp of pocket money and slotracing.

We had a small shop in Rugeley called Littlemore's but they were into 1/24th ( dont know where !!. ).

Bagnalls were in fact very very good, and kept up with general advancements in slotracing ( as well they were able ).

My dad actually took me down to London on the train, after persistent nagging, to Hounslow Model Raceway, with my home-built cars !!. Can you imagine ??. According to him my Ford Galaxy "burned-off" every comer, but in retrospect I reckon that is rose-tinted speculatory devices at work.

I raced at Lichfield, and at Sale ( parental split, common these days ).

But in the late 1960's things started to go pear shaped as we all remember, and model shops being businesses, slot-racing started to suffer.
I then left for Uni, joined Cardiff club, joined ECRA, ( loads of stories there boyo ), and forgot about back home.

Gave up for several years, took it up again in 1978, raced to ECRA Premier Grade in 1984 Nationals, then gave it up again as career became predominant, then re-started in 2002, and here we are.

vbr CJA.
 

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Alan Tadd
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In the Sixties it was the "The Modellers Den" in Bath, owned by a Slot Fanatic called Norman, who introduced me to my local ECRA track. He stocked everything, slot-wise, you could wish for, Betta shells, Champion 1/24th chassis, Mura motors etc, only problem was I couldn't afford most of the stuff.

The shop is still in existence today, although now called the Bath Model Centre, it still has some slot car items, mainly Scalextric and Revell, but the cars retail at the very top of the price range. The current owners are into R/C so it mainly stocks these items, but it does carry a good range of general items such as Specialist Glues, Plasticard etc.

I did visit Tottenham several times, as I guess it was every slotters dream to race there, but the Locals didn't seem to like visitors so we stopped going.

Regards

Alan
 

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Eddie Grice
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QUOTE (GRAH1 @ 7 Jan 2004, 22:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I dont know which ones Trev carved or where he or Gordon is these days
Hi Graham,
Trev Crout still turns up at some of Ian Fishers "Southern 32" series meetings & produces BSCRA type bodyshells under the CAT name. (Crout and Tapsell)
I vaguely recall someone telling me GT had moved to sunny climes, Spain?

CJR
Bagnalls was also my local model shop. John B & various members of staff were members of the Newport club & we travelled to many ECRA area 4 quallifiying rounds in the back of the company van.
I just about remember Johns father running the original shop but during the 60s slotracing boom Mrs Bagnall ran the new shop with a rod of iron!
At one of Newports twice yearly open meetings one event was for the J.W.Bagnall memorial Trophy, Mrs B always turned out to present it, I wonder where it is now?
Eddie
 

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I have dug (digged?) even further into the deep recesses of my memory and remembered a shop in the centre of Liverpool,down a side street. The shop was aptly named "Hobbies".It had two floors,the upper one sold rail and slot.They had a little track set-up and sold "ECRA" type stuff like Mura and Champion motors, sponge tyres and the aforementioned GT models shells.I was Gobsmacked by all this stuff and certainly unable to afford any of it- except the shells.I bought some shells but I then really didn't know what to do with them! I then discovered "Stan Catchpoles model world" (I think this shop is still hanging on!)on Bold street.Again, two floors and even more slot swag! I reasoned that if there was a market for this stuff which you couldn't really run at home,there must be a club or clubs out there.After a bit of digging round and one or two mentions in "model cars" and "Miniature Auto" mags ,which I had recently discovered- I located the Aintree club.By now it was situated in Kirkdale community centre.The rest is,as they say, history.....Anyone else out there remember any of this?........
TED...
BTW ;I find this thread fascinating -I would love to hear more peoples stories.....

Go fast and stay on!!..
 

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.. Leo A Capaldi ..
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I have to mention Harburn Hobbies in Edinburgh. Still on the go for what must be about 50 years. I first frequented the original shop at the "Foot of Leith Walk" in the 60s. A change of ownership and move up the hill to "The Top of Leth Walk" has kept the name alive and kept model car and train enthusiasts supplied. An excellent shop. I believe that the Harburn name came from a combination of the two original owners' names, but cannot recall their names.

"Lang May Your Lum Reek"
(Scottish phrase wishing that someones house is always warm (Lum = chimney, Reek = smoke))
 

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i have one memory of when i was 5, i walked into a shop with slot cars every where, all the tune ups and latest sets. but i only went there once and the only Slot LMS is a crappy toymaster who stocks over priced ninco, SCX and Scaley. if you're looking to set up a LMS then pleasedo it in Weymouth! there is a shortage!
 

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I still think snetterton are the best. Bought a SCX Skoda Ovtovia which i was told is getting very obsolete new and used. Got that for about £20. Plus a Cesam Megane for £22.50 i think and a SCX Jag F1 car for £15! But beside this fact thast its cheep, theres nothing like being in an old dusty shop. I enjoy it
 
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