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Author Topic: Sourcing items from another country  (Read 603 times)

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Offline Newportnobby

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Sourcing items from another country
« on: June 29, 2020, 01:55:50 PM »
Being on a search for a few (and in some cases very obscure) US freight wagons (is Boxcar Willie really a medical complaint?) I'm really starting to appreciate just how hard it can be for anyone in the USA modelling UK outline (that's just one example) to source items.
Not only do you have to know where to look in the first place but you also have to attempt to find everything wanted in one place to avoid multiple shipping costs. As an example, I have no idea who the US versions of Hattons, Rails and other major UK box shifters are. Looking at those who advertise on the UK Model Shop site as being stockists of US items becomes an exercise in futility as, by the time you get to 'freight wagons' you're faced with 'there are no items in stock' in many cases :doh:
Likewise, Googling a make and stock number brings up heaps of entries, many of which are actually Fleabay, to find the listing has ended and they offer you everything but the item you looked for in the first place! :veryangry:
The item, should you find one, looks a reasonable price until you look at the small font shipping cost :goggleeyes:
I'm finding I'm spending huge amounts of time on t'interweb for bugger all result.
To those who have managed the reverse i.e. bought UK stock in the UK for shipment abroad - I salute you.

Offline jpendle

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 02:43:46 PM »
Hi,

Don't feel sorry for @LASteve, or me, or anyone else here in the US modelling UK outline.

We just use Hattons, Rails, Kernow, et al. EVERYTHING, apart from scenic materials, is cheaper to buy from UK based suppliers than it is from anyone in the US. We get a 16.67% discount (VAT) on everything we buy, which if you spend more than 100 quid pays for the postage, or even DHL tracked from Hattons.

For example I just bought 7 MX617N decoders from DCC Train Automation, after VAT they cost me about $21 each, and my total order came to $172, which included 20 quid for tracked shipping via Fedex. If I had bought them here they would have cost $31 each, which is $217 and doesn't include postage!

I think that one of the problems for people who want to buy US outline stock is that the US market is so big that many suppliers can't be bothered shipping outside the country.

Regards,

John P
Check out my layout thread.

Contemporary NW (Wigan Wallgate and North Western)

https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=39501.msg476247#msg476247

Offline bigdawgks

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 02:54:28 PM »
In my experience, the supply of UK stock is much smaller than that of North American and European (especially German of course). It's actually very easy to find and purchase European stock in the US, there are a number of importers that exclusively sell European products in the US. For UK stock, I have not found any options that actually have the products in stock.

So, all of my stock I have ordered online from various shops in the UK. There are actually plenty of online shops that will ship to the US, and shipping costs can be a bit high but at least it is offset by not having to pay UK VAT.

Now as far as finding specific items, I think it's no different than looking for North American stock online. Most online retailers only have products released within the last few years. If you are looking for something earlier or that had a limited production, ebay is probably your only hope. However, the amount of UK outline stock available on the second-hand market is extremely small by comparison to North American products. Here in the US at least, your best hope of finding good deals on older or second-hand stuff is vendors at train shows. In all of the shows I have attended I have not once seen anyone selling anything in UK N gauge, with the exception of maybe a few Kato trainsets. There's just not a large enough number of people here modelling UK in N gauge for there to be a local second-hand market. I would imagine if I had an opportunity to visit a show in the UK that had vendors I would be able to find things that are impossible to find elsewhere.

Some specific items for me have been impossible to find. For example, Graham Farish Short NEM Couplers (379-402) are out of stock on every single website I have found them on. Supplies of Peco wagon kits have also been drying up recently (although I am kind of waiting for some of their new tooled wagons to come out).

Finally for my personal thoughts; I believe the actual demand for N gauge/scale in any region is higher than the manufacturers actually supply. I think the fact that most manufacturers only supply to 3rd party retailers leaves out a lot of people who don't have access to said retailers. While many shops now have a good online presence and can ship worldwide, they only seem to stock what they think they will sell locally, and so those folks from other regions are competing for the same stock as the locals. From what I can tell, the hobby is growing, but current supply chain places a huge barrier to those looking to get into certain areas. UK in N gauge is one of those areas that I think more people internationally would get into if there was more accessibility to the products, and specifically a wider range of product. I get that a lot of people in the UK want to model more modern stuff because that's what they're nostalgic for, but for foreigners like myself that nostalgia isn't there, and I think that's reflected in the fact that transition era stuff is much harder to find in stock than modern stuff in online shops.

Offline Papyrus

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 02:58:26 PM »
Why not put out a wishlist to our US members? I'm sure somebody would be willing to source them for you and post to the UK.

Just a thought.

Cheers,

Chris
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Online chrism

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 03:00:33 PM »
For example I just bought 7 MX617N decoders from DCC Train Automation, after VAT they cost me about $21 each, and my total order came to $172, which included 20 quid for tracked shipping via Fedex. If I had bought them here they would have cost $31 each, which is $217 and doesn't include postage!

No import duty to factor in?

On most things we can get clobbered several times on imports to the UK - Import Duty depending on what the goods are, VAT on the goods price, VAT on the Import Duty and VAT on the flipping postage.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 03:01:50 PM by chrism »

Offline jpendle

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 03:07:56 PM »
No import duty to factor in?

On most things we can get clobbered several times on imports to the UK - Import Duty depending on what the goods are, VAT on the goods price, VAT on the Import Duty and VAT on the flipping postage.

Model trains are not subject to Import Duties, and that seems to cover DCC stuff as well. (BTW I think that's true everywhere in the world)

Like I said, don't feel sorry for us  :D

John P
Check out my layout thread.

Contemporary NW (Wigan Wallgate and North Western)

https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=39501.msg476247#msg476247

Online NGS-PO

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 05:00:30 PM »
Does this help?

This is where I get much of my North American stock:

https://www.nscaleamericantrains.co.uk/en/

I also use this retailer in Canadia:

https://www.pwrs.ca/n_in_stock.php

best

Scott.

(PLEASE NOTE: Unless where obviously posting on behalf of the NGS, all posts and views are my own and not connected/endorsed by the Society.)

Anxiety is a lot like a toddler. It never stops talking, tells you you’re wrong about everything, and wakes you up at 3am.

I get nervous about just about everything. Sometimes I literally don’t know why I’m anxious. I just am and no-one seems to understand that.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 06:35:19 PM »
Why not put out a wishlist to our US members? I'm sure somebody would be willing to source them for you and post to the UK.

Just a thought.

Cheers,

Chris

@Papyrus Already here, Chris.......
https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=50088.msg651346#msg651346

Don't get me wrong. I don't feel sorry for those who have established the way forward but I do feel sorry for anyone starting out in another country's railways. Sure, the forum is a great way to discover the best sources but until I created this thread, Scott's @NGS-PO has been the first to suggest sources and I very much look forward to scrutinising them. Like I say, if I can get what I want from one source I could maybe live with the shipping costs but we also get clobbered with the damned '£8 handling fee'. My searches have unearthed some great websites from which I have compiled my list of desires but I think that prime US based dealer is my ultimate aim i.e. someone who stocks the most (old and new)

Offline jpendle

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2020, 06:49:15 PM »
Don't forget Fifer Hobby.

I think they even post on here sometimes.

John P
Check out my layout thread.

Contemporary NW (Wigan Wallgate and North Western)

https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=39501.msg476247#msg476247

Online railsquid

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 01:33:13 AM »
To those who have managed the reverse i.e. bought UK stock in the UK for shipment abroad - I salute you.

Never had the need to source anything from the US, but purchasing stock from the UK has been always been fairly straightforward for me, especially once you work out which retailers are best at international shipping. Hattons charge a whopping GBP 4.60 for sending their anonymous cardboard boxes, which rarely if ever attract the attention of the local customs'n'excise and arrive in around a week, and the VAT exemption more than makes up for the postage cost. Need to find somewhere else for sourcing new Farish stock though...
Takahachikawa - Japanese and other trains

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Online NScaleNotes

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2020, 10:35:10 AM »

Don't feel sorry for @LASteve, or me, or anyone else here in the US modelling UK outline.
We get a 16.67% discount (VAT) on everything we buy, which if you spend more than 100 quid pays for the postage, or even DHL tracked from Hattons.



Oh yes, I remember the good ole days when I lived in the States. At first it was always cheaper to buy European stuff from US box shifters like Eurolokshop and MicroMacroMundo. Then prices slowly started to equalise and due to the lack of VAT, no import duties and possibly currency fluctuations it was cheaper to buy European stock direct from suppliers in the UK/Germany and import it to the US, plus you had access to a bigger range in most cases.

Anyway I digress, if you're looking for a US box shifter with good prices that also offers a search service then try: http://www.wig-wag-trains.com/
I quote:
"We have a large inventory and even if we don't have it here we may be able to locate it for you. Our hunts for older items are successful more than 75% of the time.  Some of our suppliers have been in business for 30+ years and are not computer literate so they have some products still available that we haven't seen in 10 or more years.
Obviously the older an item is the harder it is to locate."


Simon
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My blog about real-World locations that might make interesting layouts, modules or dioramas.

Find out more about my N scale 3D printed tanktainer models:
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Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2020, 10:53:50 AM »
@NScaleNotes
Thanks, Simon, but all my attempts to find their e mail address are frustrated by their site constantly throwing me to their 'Terms' page so I can't even find if they ship to the UK let alone ask specific questions.

@NGS-PO
Scott - I found many items listed but the Hershey and Nestlé items are all sold out :doh:
Some of the prices are hugely scary as well - $68.95 for a box car! :o

Online Bealman

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2020, 10:57:43 AM »
You do get 8 wheels  :D
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Online Simon D.

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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2020, 11:12:38 AM »
I buy from the States fairly regularly.

I wouldn't bother with Wig Wag trains, their website is not helpful.

Biggest suppliers are:

https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/n-scale/

http://www.hobbylinc.com/model-trains

Fifer Hobby as mentioned:
https://www.fiferhobby.com/

Walthers is also massive, but they are a bit of a dodgy company - poor attitude to N scale when they were manufacturers.

The one I like best, though his ordering system is weird, is N Scale Supply (he also has preowned).  https://www.nscalesupply.com/

Shipping costs are also horrendous, and most use USPS which connects with our post office meaning you will almost invariably get customs and the post office handling charge (£8).

Most suppliers are very efficient and stuff will get across the ocean in 10 days to two weeks, even in these times.  I suppose you have to remember that items may have to go a couple of thousand miles even before they leave the US.

I think I may have a Hershey freight car - I'll have a look

Like the sweeties project idea a lot.

Good luck

Simon


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Re: Sourcing items from another country
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2020, 11:23:56 AM »
@NScaleNotes
Thanks, Simon, but all my attempts to find their e mail address are frustrated by their site constantly throwing me to their 'Terms' page so I can't even find if they ship to the UK let alone ask specific questions.
Oops, I linked to their old website. Yeah, even the new website leaves something to be desired but it's a Mom & Pop outfit as they say. I did still give them a go as they are a part of the US exhibition circuit so will have contacts with all the dealers that attend shows:

wigwag@swcp.com
It's says include your country when contacting them from overseas.

Simon
http://nscalenotes.com/
My blog about real-World locations that might make interesting layouts, modules or dioramas.

Find out more about my N scale 3D printed tanktainer models:
http://nscalenotes.com/category/modelideas/scratchbuilding/3dprinting/

 

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