Top 10 Money Saving Tips For Your Model Railroad
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Top 10 Money Saving Tips For Your Model Railroad

August 20, 2019

if you want to know how to save money
while you’re building your model railroad you’re gonna want to see this
did I hear somebody saved budget I’m Tom Kvichak and this is Toms Trains and
Things this channel was created to help other modelers who are in need of
guidance in pursuing their dream of building a model railroad and I’m gonna
give you ten ways that you could save money while you’re building your model
railroad if this is your first time here and you would like to see more videos
about building your model railroad go ahead and hit that subscribe button and
while you’re at it ding that Bell so you could be notified whenever I have a new
video coming out so let’s get started with this right now with number one the
first way to save money while working on your model railroad is to buy at train
shows you can get a lot of good bargains at train shows and the earlier you go
the better the bargains that you get Debbie used to tell me to go to church
sales and garage sales and go there a half an hour an hour early and wait in
line and I always wondered why well because you get in there and get with
all them people and they fight over all that stuff and get in there and get all
the good stuff before everybody else gets it so that’s the first one go there
early to the train shows number two you’re gonna find a lot of things at
thrift stores that you never thought that you could use on your model
railroad in fact about three or four years ago I found an entire collection
of somebody who must have passed away and their wife just unloaded it at a
thrift store I got about four locomotives a lot of buildings in fact
some of the buildings are here on my layout I got all kind of good stuffs
really cheap and not only model railroad related but tools
I got a tripod at Bogan tripod it’s worth a couple hundred dollars I got for
$9 at a thrift store because they didn’t know the value of it a lot of times
these people at the thrift stores know the value of some of them do some
of them don’t and wall warts you know these wall warts that I’ve been
showing you it well if you don’t like doing electrical projects and you want
to get the wall warts some of them go as far as categorizing them put them in
little plastic containers according to voltage for 50 cents apiece
so there’s your power for your model railroad at thrift store number 3
clearance isles at your local Hobby Lobby A C Moore Jo Anns Michaels any one of
those stores even Walmart you could get paint I don’t know how many of those
little tubes of paint that I got some of them I got for as low as twenty-nine
cents they’re odd colors but they still work as far as scenery goes you can get
some really good stuff there and I always shop there I get all my paint
brushes there they seem I got a gallon of Elmer’s glue for something like 17
bucks and a Seymour I think was even less than that but anyway at the
clearance Isles for these places and I told you about the Just Plugs these
things here okay I got this one apart right now but anyway I got this one for
I think that the hub for $3.59 and I got all those LEDs these things right here
they normally go for $9.99 for two dollars and 59 cents
number-four garaad’s sales you can get a lot of stuff at garage sales in fact I
got a shovel hanging up on the wall it’s a coal shovel I got that at a garage
sale the guy didn’t even have it out selling it because he had some other
stuff selling I asked him if he had any other railroad related stuff and he said
sure I got this I got that and I got some other good stuff and not this one
here you could get tools I’ve got a lot of these clamps at garage sales from
people that didn’t want them anymore I bought an entire N Scale layout that
had more turnouts in the boxes that came
with the layout and there was on the layout itself and there was about 20 on
the layout itself I mean I had over 40 turnouts between what was on the layout
and and I only paid like $95 for it at a garage sale so you can find a lot of
good stuff at garage sales number five now this one you got to be careful with
eBay and Craigslist you could find some good stuff on both of them but you have
to be very knowledgeable you have to do your research when you’re buying there
otherwise you’re gonna get burnt you have to know what you’re doing you have
to know what you’re talking about and you have to know the products and you
have to read all the little things about the shipping on it also because a lot of
times you can get something real cheap and the shipping will cost you three or
four times what the product cost you so you have to beware but you get some good
stuff on there in fact if you’re looking for projects electronic projects or
anything else on eBay you could get hundreds of transistors hundreds of
resistant for pennies I mean I got on this Just Plug board right here they
have a transistor on there that I looked up and they were selling them on eBay
now it’s on a slow boat from China it takes two to three weeks to get them
but a hundred of those transistors the SMD versions of them for two dollars and
sixty eight cents a hundred of them so you could find some good stuff on there
but you could get burnt on it also so be careful number six make your own
lighting just like I said with the the Just Plugs okay I bought a lot of stuff
at Hobby Lobby on a discount sixty percent seventy five percent seventy
percent discount at Hobby Lobby and I figured out how to do it by the parts
and you got your instant lighting build your own lighting things you could I
have so many videos out there showing you how to
solder how to use LEDs how to figure out what resistors to use with LEDs you can
make your own lighting you can make your own effects with lighting to that I’m
gonna go into with Arduino number seven scratch build your buildings it doesn’t
take a lot to scratch build in fact you can define cheap items all over your
house that you could use for scratch building
Vinny Susseto uses for sale signs that he gets at Home Depot or Ace Hardware for
his styrene projects and you could do the same thing years ago when people
didn’t have the supplies that’s how they did it they found things around the
house to build their buildings from a lot of people just use that stuff to
make cutouts for just to see where the buildings are gonna go but you could
even make your buildings out of that card stock that heavy cardstock and draw
right on it and do make your own buildings out of anything that you could
find around the house number eight your scenery you could make your own scenery
outside dirty dirt there’s trees there’s leaves that you could crunch up in a
blender there’s foam that you could use from packing that you get your supplies
from and grind it up in a blender and use that as a ground cover there’s an
unlimited amount of things that you could use for your scenery from stuff
that you get around the house all my scenery the the the base that I use was
it froze from cardboard boxes I just sliced them up and put them together
with a hot glue gun and that made the form for the scenery of my mountains the
plaster cloth here’s some that I got the wooden hood Scenic’s plaster cloth that
I got at Hobby Lobby 4 or 4 dollars and 31 cents but if you can’t find it that
cheap you can always use paper towel and diluted plaster of Paris like we used to
do 30 years ago when there wasn’t any plaster cloth or the only place that you
can get plaster cloths was in a hospital for where there was making the cast
number nine buy in bulk every piece of roadbed I have on my railroad is quarter
inch cork underlayment I bought it in bulk it comes in four foot wide 80 foot
rolls now in here I don’t know if it’s anywhere else but the Home Depot here
will only sell it by the roll but they used to sell it by the foot and that is
a lot better than buying these little strips here now granted you could bend
these a little bit around the curve you know once you take these apart how much
do you pay for this compared to buying a whole roll of cork or just how many feet
that you need I think I did my whole layout with about 25 foot of cork and
you can’t tell the difference because your ballast over the stuff anyway the
only time that you could tell the difference is before you put the ground
cover down so buy in bulk the same thing with your electronic projects if you’re
doing any kind of electronic projects on here for LEDs for transistors for
resistors buy them in bulk it’s cheaper that way number 10 repurpose your items
I have a static grass applicator that I made myself from one of those electronic
fly swatters and a little strainer it cost about 6 bucks
altogether and how much did they cost in the store 35 $40 for the same thing
that’s something two things that you can repurpose into make a one little tool a
lot of modelers use hairspray on their models especially on the trees to
finalize their things and what I found is to use the pump type ones instead of
the aerosol because you could use them over once you’re finished with the
hairspray you could either put alcohol in here or water in here for your
scenery and it has a much finer mist than those spray bottles that you have
to pump that you get from the hardware store or from WS these are
much better a much better spray on them a finer spray on them and you can put
anything in here I use them for alcohol and water and diluted glue on here also
a lot of the things I mentioned in here I just went over real quickly for you so
I could go into better detail in other videos coming up soon about how to do
things on a budget I hope you were able to get some good tips on saving money on
your model railroad this is how I’ve been doing it for a long time and I try
to save as much money as I can whenever possible on my model railroad so I think
it’s a good idea that you could do the same thing there’s a lot of good tips in
here that I’ve given you to save money on your model railroad and I hope you
could save money too so we’ll see ya next time


  • Reply Tyro March 7, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Gee I wish the uk had Hobby Lobbys!

  • Reply Archie Berger March 7, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    What kind of camera equipment do you use? The quality is great. Thanks.

  • Reply Debbie S March 7, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Great Ideas Tom , you found some great deals

  • Reply ELSDP-45 March 7, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    THANK YOU…for sharing.

  • Reply Eeveelutions8 March 7, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Nice video again I am trying to do my layout mostly on budget as importing is expensive.

  • Reply sparky107107 March 7, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    good ideas for sure. you could also wait till someone has a contest on you tube and try to win, lol.. many of us train guys hold contests.

  • Reply Austin Nadeau March 8, 2018 at 12:02 am

    What if you can afford to buy everything in bulk

  • Reply Jim Watson March 8, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Good tips Tom the dollar tree is a great place to go for supply and i love to repurpose things for my layout most of my layout has been free or very little cost

  • Reply Hot Rod Rodney 25 March 8, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Dirt track dirt/clay works for ground cover old out of date food spices and dryed out coffee grounds tea bag grounds etc

  • Reply Hot Rod Rodney 25 March 8, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Christmas tree branches= cheap trees

  • Reply waltworld March 8, 2018 at 1:53 am

    Great tips Tom.  Thanks for posting.

  • Reply M&M Rails March 8, 2018 at 2:46 am

    Good tips. The flea market I go to on occasion has vendors that give deals toward the END of the day because they want to get rid of their stock. Everything must go! -Mark

  • Reply Jimmie Bingle Sr March 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Great tips Tom

  • Reply bnsf6951 March 8, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    hi Tom… great money saving tips… thanks for the shout out.. just a note on the for sale signs walmart has a limited assortment of these signs for under two bucks… vinny

  • Reply billfusionenterprise March 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Nice list, but here are few thoughts I have
    budget? something the wife said?
    1. get there early for the want to get out of here sellers, who stuff may get bought by the other sellers for their stalls (very true for swap meets), but also found if their at last half hour you may find someone who doesn't want to carry something back, got some free stuff that way, a bunch of free stuff.
    2. not all thrift stores are good, once in a while but my close by ones, no, further away ones ,sometimes , your area varies.
    3. clearance is good EXCEPT Walmart, for past 2 years Walmart clearance has been stupid, less than 5% off.
    4. garage sales depends on sellers, I found some good, a few real good, and some like come on ( I avoid estate sales because, 90% they want to much)
    5. ebay or evilbay, I have not used them n year because of the bad issues
    6.for cheap lightning, clearance x-mas lights
    7. Could also use kitbash parts as part of the scratchbuild
    8. be careful with some stuff, some stuff may have issues
    9. Bulk can be good , just be careful of what it is, some bulk may be a pain to use to convert for you
    10. Be sure to label so someone else the house may think it is something else.

    Great list of tip again Tom

  • Reply deltaray3 March 8, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Looks like Woodland Scenics disliked this video.

  • Reply Ron's Trains N Things March 8, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Watch those train show bargains–they aren't always bargains. $17 for a gallon of glue? Get it at Walmart for $10. Ebay/Craigslist? Good place to overspend or get ripped off. Buyer beware. Research and know what you are getting and what it is worth.

    Make your own lighting, scratch build buildings, make your own scenery–these are great ways to save money and make it look better than it would with commercial products. Bulk cork–I do that too.

  • Reply SMT Mainline March 8, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    7:17 After I saw that part I decided to carve up my mom's ikea sofa to get some foam for ground cover and some thin wood for buildings, it's a great money saving tip! my family probably won't notice bits of it missing anyway, so I guess i've been sitting on resources, literally!

  • Reply John Ridel March 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    As always another great video. Great idea with the cork underlayment!

  • Reply Dale Saylor March 10, 2018 at 8:47 pm


  • Reply The Lowmein March 13, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Tom, I see over your shoulder you have a bottle of MG rosin flux. I had a bottle like that, and it tipped over while I was transporting my toolbox. Even with the lid tightly closed the stuff leaked out and made an ungodly mess! Do you have any advice on how to avoid that? Is it normal for the bottles to leak? Is there another better bottle I can transfer my flux into? Thanks

  • Reply Bobby Slater March 20, 2018 at 1:12 am

    We used to use lichen to make trees. Is that still available?

  • Reply Cody Allan April 12, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Scratch building is the best way to get ideas going, I use 5/8 thick melamine and make bridges and underground warehouses areas.

  • Reply Neil Builds April 27, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    This is a GREAT video!!!! Thanks Tom!

  • Reply Patrick Webb June 26, 2018 at 2:27 am

    Good Tips, I'll be sure to refer back to this when I start my model railroad. 2 websites I've seen from Sam'sTrains–a british youtuber, so maybe not applicable here–is Hatton's and Rails of Sheffield.

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