1⁄35Modeling on the Cheap
I am convinced that any time a company puts “model” or “hobby” into the name of a product it triples in price. Take a simple toolbox for example. Recently I was in a national hobby chain store and they had a toolbox for artists. Other than it’s gaudy purple and black color, and it’s price, it was exactly the same as the fishing tackle box I keep most of my supplies in. The price of this “artists” box was $32.95, compared to the $12.95 I paid at “Wally World” for mine.
If you look around there are all sorts of alternatives to expensive “model” or “hobby” items. Take paint. Until recently I have used either Tamiya or Model Master acrylic paints. Until they stopped carrying them the larger bottles of Tamiya paints were $2.79 at my local hobby store. Model masters, even though they are a smaller ½ oz bottle, go for about the same. True you can get better prices through the Internet but even there the prices aren’t all that much less. Recently though I started picking up 2 oz bottles of acrylic paint for as low as .58 cents at crafts stores. True the paint isn’t exactly made to FS color specs, but as long as you have a sample from one of the major suppliers you can come pretty darn close. I bring a bottle of Tamiya or Model Masters with me as an example in order to pick the closest match.
Other tools are such items as tweezers, picks, files, sanding sticks, etc., which can all be picked up much less expensively from other sources without the high markup. Negative locking tweezers, such as Testors, cost over $5 in hobby stores, compared to similar items going for as little as $2.50 in craft or hardware stores. Wood sticks, similar to Popsicle sticks are a ridiculous example. I see packages of 10 such sticks in the model section of some stores going for $2 or $3 while in the craft section of the same store a box of 1000 is about the same price. Next time you’re in a grocery store or discount chain wander over to the women’s cosmetic aisle. Look for such items as tweezers, emery boards, finger nail boards, etc. You might be surprise at their costs compared to your friendly local hobby store.
This doesn’t even begin to discuss all the things you can pick up for free. Items like foil wrappers from candy bars, plastic lids from fast food restaurant drinks, soda bottle caps, etc.
One last example is for an air supply for my airbrush. I’ve seen specialized airbrush compressors going for over a $150. True these are quiet, and have water traps and filters and such. Still I couldn’t justify that kind of money. I hook my Aztec brush up to a $125 Porter Cable compressor I use to power my air tools for remodeling my house. That way I get double duty out of it. Can you imagine hooking a nailer up to an airbrush compressor? I’m lucky in that I live in a VERY dry climate so I haven’t found the need for a water trap yet. Still this can be added to my compressor and still cost about the same for a tool that can do both jobs. I just fill up the two-gallon tank outside, so I don’t bother the wife with the noise, and bring it inside to spray away.
Bottom line is look around at inexpensive alternatives before plunking down you hard earned money on expensive “model” items. Check out craft stores, like Michaels or Hobby Lobby; discount tool stores like Harbor Freight, hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowles. Think of the number of kits you can get with the savings.