I'd planned to take a day trip to Nottingham for a visit to Gee Dees amongst other things. However the bus got me to the station a few minutes late so I missed the train. Then the ticket machine informed me that by turning up on the day instead of booking the night before meant the fare would be £26 instead of £18. Humph. I'll go another day I decided.
However some boat fittings were still required and back at home I perused the Hobbys catalogue and noticed that they listed retailers. One of these was Bobs Models in Solihull - 18 miles away.
Parking was fun as the shop is in 1960's precinct but it is free for an hour - which I thought would be plenty. The shop itself is a good size from the outside. The window display is stuffed with Good Things with appealing prices.
Inside it is an average sized shop and full. When I say full, I mean full from floor level to about 10 feet up. And there are counters with stuff in and drawers in the back. This place has been there a long while. Long enough to contain gems. Oh, and there are well made plastic aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling.
The boat fitting (some pulleys for a Puffer) were found in the drawers of such things. The range is good - better than every shop except model boat specialists. Some kits are also available - mainly the wooden sort for static models but also larger plastic kits suitable for motorising. The Thunder Tiger range of RTR boats were on sale for bargain prices too.
Railway modellers are well served. Bachmann and Hornby items are for sale - more of the later with lots of the scenic parts. I also had a dig in the drawers and found lots of bit including 12mm gauge Romford Axles. The drawer also had boxes that claimed to contain wheels but I didn't look inside the tubs. I quite fancied the Hornby tree armatures. They were a bargain for just over 3 quid as I hate winding those. Sadly I'm not building a layout that needs trees at present so they stayed on the shelf.
Plastic kit fans won't be disappointed as the range is good. The 1:35 German rail mounted gun called out to me. If it hadn't been quite a bit of cash and well over a meter long I might have added it to the pile containing a 1:72 version. The matching loco looked good too. Apparently this isn't the largest version either. There is a special order giant kit for a version that ran on two parallel tracks. A kit with 2000 pieces weighing in at over 30lbs - and they have sold more than one !
Obviously there are other modelling supplies including glues and Humbrol paints. Behind the counter were kept all sorts of fillers and other "dangerous" substances that we modellers consume (while modelling anyway, what you do with the dope otherwise is your own affair) along with various tools.
The staff were helpful, generous considering the re-pricing exercises going on to accommodate the new VAT rates, and knowledgeable too. Not "anoraky" either.
I don't understand how I've missed out on this place. It is fantastic. It doesn't take Mystic Meg to predict that more of my money will be finding its way to Solihull soon.
Bobs Models Website - warning, Diescast Car heavy.