Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Engine House Hobbies - Gaithersburg, MD

Well, we're out here visiting the in-laws for the Holiday out here in Gaithersburg, MD and I had remembered visiting a cool little shop in the area a few years back. I made the 10 minute trek over with my daughter, but the store was closed Mondays. I posted something up to MODEL RAIL RADIO because I thought people could relate. "I'm going to the train shop! Gonna see trains! Whoot! Ah....shoot...it's closed today..." 

Like I said, I had been there before and loved the place. It had a charm and the owner/operator was friendly and fun to chat with. The place is right by the tracks, so when the CSX rolled through, the five or so gents in the shop walked over to the window and all watched like kids. Friendly folk and a great trainspotting location. 

I was taken aback when the Yelp page was added as a comment on my post. The Yelp review was one star and filled with horrid service comments and stories about the owner hating children. I thought that maybe the ownership had changed hands - this wasn't the same shop I had been in. My uncle lives in Bowie, MD and he used to drive over to frequent the shop as well. I cruised over today - sans daughter just in case - and the experience was fantastic. 

Ken wasn't the horror that he was made out to be at all. Even though he was trying to get something done before the UPS guy came in, he took the time to ask me if I needed help. When I informed him I was just browsing, he completed his task, then circled back around to chat. 

We talked trains, I explained that I was running an N scale Japanese style layout and he was very interested. He asked about Christmas and we talked trains around the tree and the potential I had for a train in the yard. No hard sale talk, just train chat. When I mentioned that my Uncle used to come in, he remembered him and asked how he was doing - a bit worried because he hadn't been in in a while. 

This was no ogre. This was a really cool guy. I mentioned the Yelp review thing and he was really sad about it. He explained a few of the interactions that were on the site and that he tried to make things right with the reviewer, but he was too upset to talk things through with. 

In short, ENGINE HOUSE HOBBIES was a great shop for O and HO modelers. He has a lot of O items and I think the place would be well worth stopping in on if that's your gauge. And, the store is located right by the tracks, so when the train rolls by, you can view it passing from a lovely, warm location. It just goes to show that Yelp reviews may or may not be helpful - it really depends on who's leaving the reviews and why they are choosing to leave it when they do. Sometimes, it may be posted out of spite. 

Check 'em out!
1A East Diamond Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Sun 12:00 -5:00,  Mon - closed,  Tues - Fri 10:00-6:00,  Sat 10:00-5:00

My personal favorite - I'd love to own one of these Penn electrics

HO and toy items along with paint supplies and a large supply of scenic materials.

A very large O scale selection!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 2014 Layout Tour Video

I wanted to get another little layout tour video in for 2014 - the end of the year is starting to look a little...busy, so I figured I'd knock another benchmark video out to see where things stand at the moment.
They are pretty much where they were a while back - I need to get more people and more vehicles for sure.

I rearranged the Shizuka section yet again and I am liking it a little more. I also took another pass at the Town area, but that needs another revision.

I'm going round and round on the subway section. I really would like to have a subway area and I like the idea I have going for it, but I'm not sure the time, money and effort makes sense at this point. Spending the money getting more items o make the existing sections dialed in seems to make more sense. I'm going to keep sitting on it and milling it over.

As usual, comments are welcome. The video is just a fun little piece that I spent all of an hour on. :)

N-RAIL November 2014 Layout Tour and update from Malcolm Johnson on Vimeo.