Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Westbourne Model Centre

westbourne models
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.
Sorry about the photo - there were some road works outside the shop when I visited. Don't be too disappointed though, because the unobstructed view isn't that more exciting. To enjoy this shop you need to get inside.

Walking in the first thing you notice is that there are boat kits on the left. Not just a couple and not just plastic kits with a token couple of Ripmax items, but a wall full of shelves stacked with kits. A wall that disappears into the distance. I didn't count but reckon there are around a hundred in stock. With each kit being in a box 4-5 feet long that's a lot of box space !

Then there are the fittings. Even a big model boat show would struggle to have that many fittings on all the stands. I found at least one range I'd never heard of but will be using in the future.

The rest of the shop is a mix of aircraft (a nice Shorts plane hung from the ceiling) with a similar range of bits although a lot fewer kits. Various wood and metals filled stands in the middle. Even a small selection of plastic kits are offered along with all the glues and paints you could want.

I understand the shop has been around for 20 years - it shows too as there are plenty of boxes with odd items in. Great news for the model shop afficiando like myself who can resist a dig.

The staff are incredibly friendly too. While I was there the man in charge spent the time advising people on the phone. At least one hadn't bought his kit from Westbourne but needed advice on motors and mechanical gubbins. He still got it, which I hope means the next kit comes from someone other than a box shifter !

They say that the best time to visit the supermarket is when you have just eaten - the urge to impulse buy is reduced. Similarly the best time to visit Westbourne is at the start of the day when you don't need to carry a new kit around for hours. And you have decided not to buy any new projects until some of the others are finished. That's how I managed to get out without too much added to my stock.

Mind you, I did enjoy my day out and they do have an excellent website.

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