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Armor/AFV: Techniques
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Best hobby store in bay area
Chuck4
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United States
Joined: November 13, 2013
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Posted: Monday, November 06, 2017 - 02:07 AM UTC
What are some good brick and mortar hobby stores in the SF bay area? Particukarly near San Ramon area?
Chuck4
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Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 09:39 PM UTC
Not a single recommendation?
Stickframe
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California, United States
Joined: December 01, 2013
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Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 10:09 PM UTC
Hi Chuck - just saw your post. The Bay Area isn't great for model shops - I do a fair amount of scratch building, so for supplies and tools etc I go to Just Trains in Concord. They are a great train shop, and carry lots of useful stuff that we can use too - scenery, styrene, scale bolts etc, and if you brave the special parts, you can find parts that can be repurposed, and they're nice people! Berkeley Ace has some supplies and a few kits (all sorts of kits).

Sad to say for most kits, paint, special details and conversion parts,I go on line -

Cheers
Nick
seanmcandrews
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 10:10 PM UTC
Could it be that the situation is like many other large cities in that lack of interest plus rent prices have killed them off ? That seems to be the case on the East Coast.

Sean
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 10:39 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Could it be that the situation is like many other large cities in that lack of interest plus rent prices have killed them off ? That seems to be the case on the East Coast.

Sean



Some general thoughts:
20-25 years ago a well stocked hobby shop could have most kits in stock and only need to order a few of the odd or expensive ones. In 1/35th it was Tamiya, Italeri, some had Heller, Revell, ESCI and maybe some other stuff.
10-15 years ago there were a few new brands in the business but it was still possible to keep up.
5-10 years back it was starting to get difficult and now it is difficult to even keep a printed catalogue since there is so many new releases all the time.

20-25 years ago the customer knew about what was in the shop and in the catalogues. Some read model magazines and ordered stuff by sending paper mails. Payment was difficult until the credit card came along, now I can "visit" a store in HongKong (or the Bay area), put stuff in the "shopping basket" and hand over the payment without going outside my front door. Now there is a lot more to know about and desire out here on the internet. Only a few stores are able to keep up with the internet-shops.
Everything has changed drastically with the credit card and the internet. I can get things I could previously not even dream about. Too bad about the real shops though ....
/ Robin
abelynn
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California, United States
Joined: October 27, 2005
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Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 11:57 PM UTC
Berkeley Ace Hardware used to be on University and was mentioned. I haven't been to their new location on Milvia, but I hear that everything that they had went there. Lots of kits, including many out of production.

Hobbies Unlimited in San Leandro is a smaller shop. Well-stocked and the owner is courteous and helpful. A bit expensive.

Hobby Lobby in Dublin. Enough said.

But yes, sad to say, most of the hobby shops in the area have steadily disappeared.

Good luck,

Abe
marcgm556
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Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 11:59 PM UTC
Hobbies Unlimited in San Leandro. Just "down the road a piece" from SR.

http://www.hobbiesunlimited.net/
babaoriley
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California, United States
Joined: June 23, 2017
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Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 01:06 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hobbies Unlimited in San Leandro. Just "down the road a piece" from SR.

http://www.hobbiesunlimited.net/



The window bars demonstrate how hobby shops often have to keep their rent down by operating in a not so desirable part of town. There are a couple of good model shops around here, and one of them is located in an area where I maybe wouldn't go for a stroll after dark. But we're lucky enough to still have a couple of good model shops left even if they have to carry games and radio-control vehicles and craft supplies to stay in business. So if anyone from the bay area is making a trek to Sacramento anyway, RC Country Hobbies and Viking Hobby are worth checking out.
bcm235
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Colorado, United States
Joined: August 21, 2005
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Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 10:07 AM UTC
For armor, Hobbies Unlimited in San Leandro is about your only good choice. 1/35 scale kits are a bit expensive there, but they do have quite a variety in stock (Dragon, Tamiya, Trumpeter, Meng, etc.). If you know what you want, buy it online. If you want to browse and pick up something on a lark, this hobby shop will fit your need (armor, ships, aircraft, etc.).

I've been to the Ace Hardware in Berkeley once several years ago. They have a LOT of aircraft kits. If you're into aircraft, that's the best hobby shop that I have ever seen. Not so good for armor or ship kits (small selection). Basically, not worth the trip for anything other than planes.
Tojo72
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Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 06:46 PM UTC
For me,sadly it boils down to that it's nice to have place to pick paint or glue,but even with my hobby shop 5 minutes away,I won't pay his prices for kits.If he closes up,then i'll be ordering paint online like a lot of folks do,me buying an occasional over priced kit from him isnt going to keep him open.

Hobby Lobby also 5 min from has some paints,brushes,and glues,but I cant see myself buying kits from there either.