7 Ways To Build Your Dream Model Farm or Truck layout At A Fraction Of The Usual Price

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If you have been a model farmer or trucker for some time you will understand that the costs can add up very quickly.

 Model tractors and trucks is the best hobby in the world, but if you are going to pay full retail price for everything you buy… it will soon become the most expensive hobby you have ever had!

 Here are 7 tips to save money on your models…

1) Make Sure You know What You Want

A common mistake with beginners is to start collecting one scale of model trucks and tractors only to find that there are more accessories in another scale, so they change over. Do your research first, speak to other diecast enthusiasts, check how much space you have available, do you want 1/16, 1/32 or 1/64, will your layout be multi-level, etc.

With the internet it is easy to do some quality research and find the best price. Often model farm and truck equipment from different states or countries can be much cheaper, even with postage included. 

2) Create Half a Layout

A model farm that takes up your whole basement looks very impressive, but the bigger your layout the more money you will spend. Often beginner model farmers and truckers will see large and impressive layouts at their local toy show and want to build a similar sized layout.

 They usually do not have any idea what that large layout has cost the owner and how many hundreds of hours have been invested in building the system. Start off slowly with a half sized layout built against a wall. With clever use of backdrops you can make your layout appear twice as big as it actually is.

A half sized layout is quicker to build and will provide any beginner layout a good idea of costs and time involved. A half sized layout can always be pulled away from the wall and made twice or three times as big.

3) Buy 2nd Hand

Unfortunately some veteran farmers and truckers die after 30 or 40 years of modeling and collecting. Often complete sets like these can be bought for a fraction of the cost of buying new. Set up an alert on eBay, watch your local newspapers and community boards, keep in touch with your local toy shows and ask the hobby shops.

Hobby shops usually only sell new equipment because the profits are bigger, so they will happily keep your details on file should someone come in wanting to sell 2nd hand equipment.

 Advertise in newspapers and newsletters that you want to buy 2nd hand farm and toy trucks. Most veteran model railroaders have far too much equipment for their needs and usually have had stuff sitting in boxes for years. Your advert may come at a time when they need some cash.

4) Trade With Other Model Farmers and Truckers

Toy shows are a great way to swap and trade for pieces we are seeking. Often diecast enthusiasts do not want cash but they may want what you have. It does not mean that you have to swap a truck for a truck, you could trade your skill in building a pond or painting their model room. The ideas are endless and this can be a massive money saver.

5) Always Spend Your Hard Earned Money on Quality Over Quantity

If you have the money and only want new equipment than you absolutely must buy quality over quantity. First Gear and Speccast models can cost over a hundred dollars and it can be tempting to buy at the lower end of the price scale. 

 A common mistake is to say you will upgrade later, because the initial money you spent will be wasted. Once you experience quality equipment you will never use the low quality stuff again.

6) Make It Rather Than Buy It

Model trucks and tractors will teach skills that you never had before. From working with paint to creating rivers and ponds to building landscapes and so much more. It is this skill set that you develop that makes model farming and trucking the best hobby in the world.

7) Keep a Journal And Budget

It can be very easy to impulsively buy when being sold by an enthusiastic hobby shop sales person. If you know what you want and have done your research online you will know how much you need to spend, which will make negotiating easier.

As you buy your model equipment record the date, the details of the item you bought and the price you paid in a journal or notebook. That way, when you come to sell it 2 or 3 years later, you know what you paid for it and can price it accordingly.

 A journal is a great way to record your progress. Keep pictures as you are building your layout and comment on any issues or milestones.

 I have been receiving some questions about layouts that it is time to address in one spot. This post is dedicated to reader questions with answers. Read on: 10 Common 1.64 Layout Questions and Answers
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