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Costa Mesa Train Show

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Costa Mesa Train Show
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 12:18 PM

    Last weekend I went to the train show in Costa Mesa California at the Orange County fairgrounds. I went on Saturday and most of the day it was packed. I have never seen a train show with so many people attending. There were a lot of vendors and club displays too. The last time I went to a train show in Costa Mesa it was all in one building. This time it took up two buildings. The second building was almost entirely club displays.
    Over the years the club layouts get better and better. The one that really impressed me was a large Z scale display. The trains weren’t that impressive but the scenery was. I couldn’t believe they could make it so nice in that small of a scale. The highlights of it in my opinion were the water scenes which featured two ships.
    Another layout that I really liked was an HO scale club which built all of their modules to be put together in a specific order instead of the random style that is the norm. This allowed them to have an elevated section of track instead of it all being flat and boring. It was a nice touch.
    As for vendors, there were some that were trying to hit homeruns with every item. I wonder if they sold anything at all, or maybe just a couple of items. The prices on many items were pretty high compared to the going rate on eBay. But there were a few bargains to be had and that’s what I was looking for. The best bargains I found were from a vendor who was selling Athearn dummy locomotives for only $5 each. I bought several of them. They were in very good condition, in the box, and had Kadee couplers installed. I know I might have too many locomotives but now I have some more. I can’t help it. I love locomotives.
    Every train show is different. Last train show I bought mostly hoppers, covered hoppers and gondolas. This time locomotives. I also bought a lot of detail parts. One vendor had them nicely separated by type so you didn’t have to just dig through a box of random details to find what you want. I also bought some hard to find kits including a Jordan Spreader and a house to match one I’ve had for years. All in all it was a good day and a good show.
    Feel free to discuss....

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by hornblower on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 4:06 PM

I attended this same train show on Sunday.  The highlight of the visit was having my name announced as the winner of a door prize not five minutes after I walked in the door!  Best of all, the door prize was a $15 voucher to be used anywhere at the show.  I gave the voucher to a kid in our group who is trying to start his own N scale shelf layout.  He used it to buy a nice running Atlas GP7 loco in CB&Q livery.  As it was priced at $30, it only cost him $15 with the voucher.  Surprisingly, the vendor accepted the voucher without question.  I spent $30 on an Athearn Blue Box EMD F7 and another $22 on four Walthers 36' tank car kits, all new in original boxes. Yes, we also had to look hard for the "deals" and I was surprised how many vendors priced their items, even used items, above MSRP.  

Hornblower

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Posted by stokesda on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 7:05 PM

I also attended the show on Saturday with my two kids (wife chose to stay home Big Smile ). I had been to a few Timonium shows in Maryland when I lived in the DC area, so to be honest, I actually thought the Costa Mesa show was kind of small by comparison. One thing that did impress me about the CM show was the large number of club layouts. I know the Z-scale layout you're referring to, and yes, it was impressive. My favorite layout (I didn't catch the name of the club, unfortunately!) was an HO layout that in the corner of the "layout only" building (opposite from the Lego vendor). I think it's the same one you mentioned.

One highlight for me was getting to visit the ScaleTrains booth and see the new GECX Tier 4 GEVO in living color (that I've previously pre-ordered!), and getting to chat with Mike Hopkin live and in person.

Although there wasn't a TON of vendors, it was just enough and a nice mix. I got a good deal on some Blue Box sets of undecorated shipping containers to round out my intermodal fleet. I bought decals for them from the detail parts vendor mentioned above.

My biggest score was the elusive Intermountain CN rainbow covered hopper. I have been kind of wanting one of these for a while, and apparently missed the boat on the latest Rapido version. Asking price was $40 new, which wasn't exactly a bargain, but it was the only one they had. I held it for a few minutes, and almost set it back down to think about it and maybe come back later. My 10-yr old son wisely pointed out that somebody else might buy it in the meantime before I got back. I knew he was right, and I had been burned before in this very scenario, so I decided to bite the bullet and fork over the cash. In retrospect, I'm happy I did. Now I don't have to keep hunting for one, or live with the regret of not buying it when I had the chance, and truth be told, I'll never miss that $40 anyway.

The kids had a good time and enjoyed the Lego layout the most. My son bought a couple of used Lego sets from each of the two Lego vendors there. Little sister also picked up an inexpensive Lego set, so she went home happy, too Big Smile.

I'll try to post a few pics I took at the show when I get home later tonight.

Dan Stokes

My other car is a tunnel motor

N-Scale Japanese Shinkansen Display Layout blog

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 12:33 PM

hornblower
The highlight of the visit was having my name announced as the winner of a door prize not five minutes after I walked in the door!

Winner winner chicken dinner. Way to go!

hornblower
$22 on four Walthers 36' tank car kits, all new in original boxes.

Good deal. I missed out on those. I guess I didn't see them. I could use more tank cars. Smile

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 12:43 PM

stokesda
I had been to a few Timonium shows in Maryland when I lived in the DC area, so to be honest, I actually thought the Costa Mesa show was kind of small by comparison.

I’ve noticed that indoor hobbies like model railroading are not as popular in warmer climates compared to places that have a lot or rain or snow.

stokesda
One highlight for me was getting to visit the ScaleTrains booth and see the new GECX Tier 4 GEVO in living color (that I've previously pre-ordered!), and getting to chat with Mike Hopkin live and in person.

Those were some nice looking locomotives. I too talked to the guys for a couple of minutes.

stokesda
My biggest score was the elusive Intermountain CN rainbow covered hopper.

Good call by your son to tell you to get it. Always one of my biggest regrets is not buying something I see at a train show and then later realizing that I might never find it again, at least at that price or condition.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by The Jet Clipper on Friday, February 09, 2018 9:02 PM

I also happened to stop by at that show on Saturday. Early enough to snag a Walthers 20th Century Limited 4-4-2 for $35! My dad was questioning why it was that cheap, especially when they run for at least $120 on eBay...

Whatever. A steal is a steal.



 

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Posted by Metro Red Line on Saturday, February 10, 2018 1:20 AM

I was at the show on Saturday. It was a great show for me personally for several reasons. It was my first big train show since the World's Greatest Hobby On Tour show in Pomona last year, which I attended half-blind (I had a cataract in one eye at the time and could only see with the other -- navigating a train show like that is a little nerve-wracking), but now that I have two working eyes again after my operation, it was a joy looking around. 

Glad to see the ScaleTrains.com booth and asked Mike when the ET44 GEVOs would be out in N scale. He told me, "March."

The usual collection of Southern CA club layouts was on display. Always love seeing the N-land Pacific Free-MoN layout. Also loved seeing the So. Cal Traction Association's layouts, especially the ones with the 3D-printed Metro Rail LRVs in HO scale. 

As an N scaler, I never know what I'd get with these big train shows. Sometimes, it's a hit, sometimes it's a waste of money on admission and parking. Fortunately, this was a hit, with numerous N-scale vendors there. I ended up buying one loco (with DCC installed already), two covered hoppers and one loop of Kato Unitrack as a warmup/speed matching training track. Happily spent my $140 on trains here.

The show closed a bit early (4pm, really?) but at least that allowed me time to drop by Arnie's Trains in nearby Westminster. Though I live in Southern CA, I don't get out to this part of Orange County very often.

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:58 AM

The Jet Clipper

I also happened to stop by at that show on Saturday. Early enough to snag a Walthers 20th Century Limited 4-4-2 for $35! My dad was questioning why it was that cheap, especially when they run for at least $120 on eBay...

Whatever. A steal is a steal.



 

 

Sometimes you can find great deals at trainshows from people who want to sell everything they brought and don't want to bring anything back home.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Monday, February 12, 2018 12:03 PM

Metro Red Line
Happily spent my $140 on trains here. The show closed a bit early (4pm, really?)

    I heard a father tell his son, "It's a train show, it's ok to spend all of the money in your pocket." I thought is was funny but true. I just saved enough money to buy gas for the drive home and for a fast food dinner.
    I always thought they closed a little early too, at least on Saturday. I noticed that there was stil a good size crowd when it closed and people didn't really want to leave yet.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by owen w in california on Monday, February 12, 2018 2:31 PM

I arrived just moments after opening on Saturday. As Southern California train shows go, this one was a good one. They have been getting smaller, as some of the out of town train stores no longer send folks to sell. Plenty of N Scale. Although the pricing was high on many of the items, retail or retail plus, there were plenty of bargains. I found a great quonset hut oil dealer - built with tanks - $8!  (Didn't even know I was looking for that, but it is exactly what I needed for the layout.) Microtrains 50' Gon with load - $10. Some details. Lots of layouts, great crowd. I was very satisfied with the event.

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Posted by Autonerd on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:28 PM

I was at the show on Saturday -- picked out a couple of Intermountain reefers, only to discover that the vendor was selling all of his HO stuff for 50% off. SCORE! 4 great kits for around $20. Also got a Walthers B60B baggage car in PC green for $10! (From a vendor from whom I have bought before -- he's a regular at the Simi Valley swap meet.)

A friend picked up an old Blue Box Athearn GE modern something-or-other (sorry, but to me locomotive production stopped after the GP50). Asking price $30. I told him if he didn't buy it, I would. He wound up getting it for $25.

Same friend wanted to stop by Arnie's on the way home, and I spent more there than I did at the show! He had a nice collection of older car kits, of which I partook liberally, plus a used P2K loco I've been looking for at a more-or-less eBay price.

Aaron

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