Copyright 2020 Nicholas Kalis
VisitAnother Resource for Potomac Division Members
By Nicholas Kalis
Our series on modeling resources available to Potomac Division members turns this issue to a hobby shop a bit outside the geographic boundaries of our district. For members in Maryland, this could prove to be a useful stop on their search for paints and other supplies. In September 2019, Gary Eames and I visited this shop and found it to be clean, well-stocked, well lit, and a treasure trove of modeling paints – I would say second to none – though I noticed that they did not seem to stock Tamiya rattle cans. I was surprised to see what I thought to be about 40 varieties of Alclad lacquers for reproducing metal finishes. Also in abundance were an almost limitless variety of weathering liquids that most model railroaders have never heard of since their manufacturer’s target market is apparently military modelers. These weathering liquids (I hesitate to call them paints) would fit the bill for weathering locomotives, rolling stock, structures, and vehicles. I would caution visitors that scratch-building supplies such as wood, styrene sheets, rods, etc.; brass are – with exceptions - generally not stocked.
Competition Minis in Towson, Maryland offers a large selection of military and non-military modeling supplies. According to the web site, this web site is owned by Uncommon Treasures which has “been in business since 1995 and operates several websites as well as a retail store and warehouse”. Jim Sisk started this business as an outgrowth of his own modeling needs. In his own word “Several years ago, when all of the Hobby Shops in the Baltimore Metro area began to close, I found it increasingly difficult to find what I wanted and needed for my hobby as a figure painter - so I opened a store. As more hobby shops closed, we expanded our inventory to include plastic models and the supplies needed for them. We now stock over 15,000 different products exclusively for modelers”.
Modelers in the know, know that most model railroads can be enhanced by models and diorama supplies that are not primarily aimed at model railroaders. For instance, Competition Minis carries AK landscaping supplies – something I have never seen at a model railroad hobby shop.
These products allow us to build a kit or just place a ready to use model on our layout that visitors will not recognize from any other layout or the Walther’s Catalog. While surfing the net my attention was drawn to a fantastic web site featuring many of the supplies model railroaders require. Further research uncovered that this is indeed a brick and mortar shop. Owner Jim Sisk writes “We stock over 2,000 different paints, thousands of weathering and diorama supplies, Badger and Iwata airbrushes and compressors as well as lots of scratch building materials. For anyone making the trip from afar that does model railroading, we are only 15 minutes away from MB Klein. (the last remaining model train dealer in Maryland).” Well Jim may have overlooked Engine House Hobbies in Gaithersburg.
Also, you can browse some of their inventory on our website to give you an idea of the variety they offer. Sisk also stocks thousands of products in his store that are not on his web site due to high shipping costs. There is free shipping on orders over $ 49. Take a friend to visit this great shop and – since this could be quite a ride for some Potomac Division members - don’t miss the finest seafood you might ever eat next door at Mo’s Seafood 1528 E. Joppa Road, Towson 21286 410-823-2200. Gary and I can attest to the quality and variety of the seafood offered there.
Competition Minis8803 Orchard Tree Lane
Towson, MD 21286
Toll Free 1 888 846-7436
Hours Monday through Saturday - 10 am to 4 pm