Garden Train Sets

O, HO, N, G, S, and Z scales. But what kind of scales go by such names as these? Model train scales of course, no weights or snakes here. Model trains have many different styles and types as a matter of fact. These scales are different track sizes, but that’s just the beginnings of model trains variety. Track’s, scenery, wiring, and more interesting types and products come in the model train avocation. Garden model trains are a very common interest as of late. Interested in finding a new hobby, keep reading!

Before we really get into it, what is a scale, and what is a gauge exactly? A scale (by definition by the National Model Railroad Association(NMRA))is “scale is the ratio of the model to the real thing or ‘prototype’”.The gauge (also provided by NMRA) is “the distance between the rails.” All these O scales and Scales and such are really just how much of the actual train your model is.

Tracks are mostly made of one of these four materials: Steel, nickel, brass, and zinc-coated steel. Also when you lay track you have to watch and make sure your curves aren’t too tight,or else you could end up jumping the track with certain carts, or trains. But also the tighter the curves the smaller the  cars you may be able to use. Also if you ever decide to use a sectional track you would have to use rail joiners to connect them. For a garden model train tracks you should check in store for a little expertise on what to get.

Among scales, G-scale may be your best choice for creating your garden model train scenery. It works well both outside and inside and is a 1:25 ratio to a normal sized train. Ot only are they a bit bigger but they’re also fun to work with. Easy track laying could be fun for the whole family or friends. And lucky for you, we just happen sell G-scale trains at Robbies Hobbies.

So, if you and some friends or family are looking for a new way to bond, or maybe just you yourself want something to do alone. Try garden model trains. It could be perfect for you, you never know if you don’t try.


Garden trains are a wonderful way to enjoy the hobby of model railroading.

One of the main advantages of running garden trains in your back yard is that it brings your railroad into full view for all of your family and guests to see without it being hidden away in an attic or basement.

Another advantage is that your whole family can be involved in helping you build and operate it. Some members will like doing the construction. Others will like placing and nurturing the plants. Everyone can help with the cleaning and maintenance; and more importantly, everyone can enjoy it together.


The first thing to do is to determine the best location on your property to build your garden train layout. One of the best places is near your back patio where the railroad is easily visible and can be a topic of conversation. Or it could be located in a central courtyard that is present in many homes these days. It can greatly enhance your rock garden or your terrace as well. You could have track going around the pool or lining the front of your flowerbeds. Also, a garden railroad would be a great addition to a greenhouse.


Next you will want to be sure the drainage is adequate in the location you have chosen. Before installing the railroad, inspect the area during or after a rainstorm and see where the water goes. If there is a lot of pooling in the middle of where you want to put your layout, you may need to put in some drainage tile or pipe to carry the water away from the area to a lower level.

Other options would be to elevate your railroad using salt-treated wood or to build up the gravel roadbed fairly high to keep your tracks from flooding when it rains.

Another consideration might be to make a small water pond in the middle of your railroad or nearby so that water will naturally gravitate to and accumulate in the pond away from your track.You may want to use a combination of any or all of the above. The important thing is that you don’t want to have standing water or mud on your tracks if you can help it.

Plan Your Layout

For a simple oval or figure 8, draw your garden train track plan on a sheet of paper first. You may want to include where you want to put structures like train stations or freight houses and where you might like to put bridges or tunnels. Also include which plants you want to put in and where.

If you want a more complicated plan with switches and sidings, draw those into your plan as well.


You can pour a 3-4 inch pad of cement as a roadbed or use salt-treated wood. For rigid roadbeds like these, make sure to consider expansion joints to allow for expansion in the heat of the summer and contraction in the winter.

The other option would be to use a so-called free-floating roadbed using crushed gravel on top of flat ground on which you can lay your track and then use finer gravel to fill in between the ties to hold your track in place. I would use the latter method if there’s a good chance you may want to change your track plan later.


You may want to use a ground covering tarp that will keep weeds from poking through. These can be purchased in rolls from your home or building store. An inexpensive way to do this is to just lay newspaper down. This will work just as well to prevent weeds, but they will have to be replaced more often.

Put these weed guards down on the ground wherever you don’t have the tracks and roadbed. Then cover them over with a thick 3-4 inch layer of high quality mulch, being careful to keep the mulch from getting on the tracks or on the gravel roadbed.


Now it’s time to select whatever plants you want to use and figure out where to put them. You should mostly select small low growing plants. Make sure that when they grow, the roots or plants won’t interfere with the track or the garden trains. Try to select ones that will be relatively low maintenance. Your favorite garden center should be able to help you pick out the right ones.

Garden Train Equipment

Your trains should be kept indoors except when you are using them.

The track of course can be left outside. Make sure you use a high quality of track that will be durable outside in harsh weather. Some tracks that come with starter sets are best replaced by better track more suited for outdoor use.

Locomotives containing batteries and electrical motors will not do well if left outside. Some people cover them to keep the rain and wind off, but the best thing is to bring them inside where the humidity can’t get to them. Some folks like to use a pet door and put track through it so that when it’s time to come in for the evening, the train can be run inside through the pet door!

You can use O scale equipment outdoors these days since there are now manufacturers like Atlas and others that have produced O scale track that is relatively weatherproof. The electrically operated O scale locomotives may require more meticulous attention with respect to making sure they stay out of bad weather and keeping them clean and lubricated.


Most of the G scale structures you buy for outdoor use are fairly durable in harsh weather and can be left outside unless you live in an area where the winters are particularly severe, in which case freezing rain and ice could crack some structures.You should make sure your structures are anchored well enough to withstand wind and rain. You don’t want to have to reposition everything after every storm.

In Summary

If you have a backyard and if you love model railroading or just love trains in general, this is for you. It will get you outdoors and off the sofa. You will constantly be tinkering with it wanting to change this or that, add more plants, build tunnels, etc., etc.

The quality and number of locomotives and rolling stock that are available now for this hobby are ever expanding. Many of them can blow smoke and have lights, bells and whistles that you can operate from a handheld device.

Also, the garden trains in G scale are very impressive. It’s been said that if they were any bigger, you would have to buy a ticket!


Model Rockets

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? Picture this, one of those perfect summer days, a cloud here and there but not much. Boredom has consumed you for the day, what on earth could you do to fulfill the emptiness of your brain? You remember that good old model rocket kit you have just lying around your house. Seems like a good day for it. You spend a good while assembling it and later launch it with some friends. Any memories stirred up in your mind? Maybe you didn’t do them as a child, but rather had an interest in them as an adult. That doesn’t mean you can’t have them anymore though. They just keep getting better and better. Stick around and read to learn more about some new rockets of the age and time.

We’ll start simple. Here we have a beginner rocket. Easy to build, but still fun and exciting to launch. My example today is “The Sky Twister’’.  Though a simplistic rocket, I myself found it fairly interesting. Once launched it can reach up to 650 ft!! When hitting that height and plummeting back the earth it has two additions too it going on. First is has its parachute which is folded into the body tube and once the nose cone falls out the parachute comes out and becomes of use. Second has to do with the nose cone. Once the nose cones leaves the body tube it has a helicopter attachment to the nose cone, making the landing slower and more interesting.


Let’s move up a few levels, this one is for the more advances rocketeers. “The Magician™” is a more advanced rocket to build, but still that doesn’t change the amount of fun that it may be. This interesting rockets stands at a whooping 33.5 inches tall, and can reach soaring heights of 1600 feet! Possible for you to use two different engines with this rocket the D or E engines. If you feel inclined to do so you could also send such things as a “small race car”, or you could send a gopro to get some really cool shots. In landing this bad boy, as the nose cone falls off, a 18 inch parachute emerges from the rocket.


Last but most definitely not least is a more fun rocket to build. The one i thought was on the more interesting side was the Black Star Voyager. With a very sleek and futuristic look this model rocket can soar up to 1100ft. Standing ant 39.7in and weighing right around 7 ounces this rocket is one of the coolest created this year, and a “must have” for many rocketeers. A very fun, but challenging build try this rocket and have a little fun this summer.

These are just a few suggestions, but there are many choices to pick from. Model rockets are a great way to remember your childhood or just fill your free time take some time and have a little fun, shoot of a model rocket or two.


To get started with model rockets for your family with Summer, stop by Robbies Hobbies today 4578 North High Street , Columbus, Oh 43214 , Call 614-265-7288 , or email

Drones for Kids

Best Drones for Kids

Many people – mostly parents who want to buy toy drones – believe that searching for the best drones for kids is very tasking. This is because each time they searched for their favourite drones, what they found were quadcopters designed for hobbyists and professional photographers who are mostly adults. Because they are unfamiliar with the different models in the market, they don’t know which of them are suitable for kids. In short, they don’t want to make the mistakes of buying just any flying toy. If this resonates with you, don’t worry. In this post, we’ve compiled for you a list of the best drones for kids.

Robotic UFO

This is a fantastic toy drone that your kids will love. Here is why. Robotic UFO is a mini quadcopter with three channels, and it is a beautiful flying toy specially designed for children. You know, sometimes, kids can be rough with toys. So, the RC helicopter and its propellers are inside the gyro ball. This makes it not only durable but also stable. The drone is protected against crash. However, this is not to say the flying object can’t be wrecked if the kid mishandled it, but it is cost-effective as it doesn’t damage easily.

Syma X5C

Because it’s easy to fly, the Syma X5C is one of the best drones for kids. With its 720p camera and a MiscroSD storage device, you can take a nice shot as you fly. Also, it has 360 flips with an accurate size of 31cm x 31cm x 8cm. Its 6-axis feature lets you have a smooth and flexible flight. Even when you’re flying this flying machine in all direction by flicking the joystick, you’re still in control of your drone. Moreover, Syma X5C can charge its battery for 100 minutes with a flight time of 8 minutes.

Hubsan X4

Good to fly indoor or outdoor, the Hubsan X4 is a great excitement for your kids. Even though you’ve never flown a quadcopter before, your first time with this drone will be fun. As a mini quadcopter with 2.4” size, it’s reliable and easy to fly. This flying toy is equipped with a 4-channel controller that makes it fly anywhere with no hassle. And that is why it is a powerful tool in the hands of kids who love to catch fun. Besides, it comes with a LiPO battery that is durable and lasts longer.


Among the best drones for kids is the UDI U818A. It’s durable and strong. With its modular design, you can repair and install the parts when the drone crashes. Moreover, its propeller is safe, too. And when its propeller is tampered with, it can easily be repaired. Flying this drone makes your kids feel like a real pilot. Apart from its superb FPV camera for a photo shoot, it comes with a battery that lasts for 9 minutes and can charge for 180 minutes. The IDI U818A is also incorporated with a 3-axis gyro and 4-channel radio for easy and stable control.

Holy Stone Mini RC Drone 

This is a flexible drone. With a size of 5.31″ and 1.38″, the Holy Stone Mini RC Drone is very easy to fly. Designed with a gyro ball of 6-axis, it is stable and easy to control. It is 4-channelled and has 3D flight with a protective guard that ensures that it is safe while in the air. In addition, it can do 360 flips, and its colourful LED lights will give you a clear direction of your flight.

Whether you want to buy it as a birthday present or Christmas gift, the best drones for kids should be durable, flexible, and reliable – all of which are the qualities shared by all the five drones listed above.

For a full list of drone options stop by our store today at Robbies Hobbies
4578 North High Street Columbus, Oh 43214  or Call 614-265-7288.

AFX Slot Cars

Remember back to your childhood and playing with slot cars.  My favorite growing was the Dukes of Hazard Slotcar.   If you want to relive the fun and share it with the next generation, check out the AFX Racing,  the next generation of slot car racing.

By the fifties, America was moving firmly past the Second World War and into an era of unprecedented prosperity. More and more Americans felt they could afford some pleasant distractions. About this time Joseph and Gennaro Giammarino got together with John Cuomo and Abe Shikes to create a company that would become an icon of the American toy industry – Aurora Plastics Company. While you could fill a book with the history of this innovative business, we will focus on their contribution to slot cars and only briefly touch on some of their many accomplishments.

First, A Quick History of G+

Here is a portion of one of the original flyers printed to introduce the G-Plus cars at the 1975 Chicago Hobby Show

The original G+ Chassis was created by an R&D team based out of K&B Model Aircraft in Downey California. The members of the team were: John Wessels, John Cukras, Robert Bernhard, Jack Garcia, Fred “The Bear” Kessler and Jim Russell. The team was formed in 1971 as part of a strategy conceived by Russell to establish a “skunkworks” operation away from the Aurora offices in New York. This strategy was born of two conclusions he had reached in the years since he sold Russkit to Aurora in 1969 and moved to New York as manager of the Hobby division: first, that it was impossible, given the corporate culture and political nonsense then going on at Aurora, to get any breakthrough products out of R&D and second, Russell hated New York and was desperate to get back to California.

K&B was then part of Aurora and had some problems that needed to be addressed so Russell seized the opportunity and proposed that he go out there to help sort out K&B and in the process would manage the accessories part of the slot car business and develop a range of new products to take Model Motoring to the next level. He had long been unhappy with Model Motoring feeling it was simply an accessory for HO trains and, with his enthusiasm for motorsport, wanted to put more excitement and realism into it. Wessels had been part of the Russkit team during the 60’s and Cukras made a nasty habit of beating Team Russkit when few others could. Bernhard was a local slot car “hot shoe” from the San Fernando Valley racing scene and Jack Garcia was a well known craftsman and fabricator. Wessels and Cukras were the “engineering” guys, Garcia did most of the model making, Bernhard was the go-fer/helper, The Bear did machine work and Jim contributed ideas and kept the group headed in the right direction – more or less.

So the team set out to do something special. Specifically the goal from Russell was to create a new kind of chassis that would be lighter and faster than anything yet produced. They were working on an inline motor design in a monocoque chassis, a first for the hobby, and at one meeting around the famous “orange table”, Bernhard, then only 18 or 19 years old, showed the team an idea he had for using motor magnets to help stick cars to the track rail. The next morning the entire team was off like a rocket, out to adapt John’s discovery to their radical new chassis.

Stories/Photos Wanted!
Do you have some personal knowledge about the history of Aurora/AFX? Got some old photos? Like to be famous? Please drop us an email and if we use your contribution we’ll be happy to credit you by name.

Later, once the chassis had been sorted out and it was clear that a patent was possible, it was John Wessels who suggested that Bob’s name go on the patent. All agreed and he was promptly paid one dollar for the privilege of having his name on the document. With that the first “ground effects” magnet car was created – certainly one of the most important developments in the history of HO racing. Russell named the new chassis: G+ for “gravity plus”. According to Cukras: “Jim was always coming up with the really dumb names”.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Jim Kirby, then product manager for T-Jets, was working away to develop a breakthrough for the line. (A little side story: Jim Kirby was brought out to New York from California by Jim Russell. Kirby had been hired by Russell at Russkit when he was very young. He was a hard worker and had a touch for R&D. He also made a decent living street racing on Van Nuys Blvd in the most beautiful Corvette in California.) When he and Walter Moe, VP of R&D flew out to California and saw what the little group had done he returned to New York and got to work attempting to use the technology on the T-Jet chassis.

The result was the MagnaTraction line. Aurora had a lot of parts to make the older, shortly to be outdated “Pancake” motored cars and they wanted to try to get some use out of them. Also, some of the New York R&D group questioned whether or not it was wise to pursue such high performance levels – the cars may be getting “too fast”, they felt. However, Russell was convinced that there was no reason to expend any more effort on the old technology and that time was of the essence if they wanted to get the jump on Tyco. In the end, Moe and Chuck Diker decided to delay the introduction of the G+ indefinitely.

Although senior management agreed to show the G-Plus at the ’75 Hobby Show Walter Moe insisted that the price be more than doubled to hold down demand. This is the price sheet that John Cukras used to make that change. Note the discoloration over the “Net Price” for the two G-Plus cars. He had glued the revised prices in place then had them reprinted. The changed prices fell off over the years.

So it was that prior to the Hobby Show in January of 1975, Russell took the buyer from Sears aside and showed him the new chassis. The buyer was bowled over and insisted on being able to buy the new chassis right now. Armed with a fistful of prospective POs from the then world’s largest retailer, Russell went to Diker and Moe and politely suggested that maybe they should release G+ after all. The pair relented but Moe told Russell that they had to price it more than double what they had planned. This all happened just as the show was starting and Cukras was dispatched to change the prices from $3.85 to $8.50 on all of the price sheets. But even this couldn’t stop the G+ and it stole the show.

By the end of 1976, AFX sales hit their all time high of about $45 million on the back of the stunning popularity of the new technology. Quite an increase from the roughly $15 million in sales for the line in 1970.

In spite of the success of the AFX range, Aurora was not doing well. Their decision to attack the toy market had hurt profitability and even when the toy products were hits, the TV expense and low profit margins of selling to the mass merchants made it difficult for the company to make any money.

Nabisco let it be known that they wanted to unload the company. So in 1977 they sold Aurora to a British toy conglomerate. AFX would eventually be purchased by Tomy and open a new chapter in its history.


Bruder Toys

Remeber when you were a kid and you opened that shiny new toy for your birthday or Christmas?  It didn’t matter if it was -30° out, you were heading out the door to play as soon as you opened it!  Off to the sandbox to set up a new construction site.  Down the slide your toy went crashing into the ground below.  Odds are you have a few of those toys still laying around in your garage or attic.  Or at least the toys that made it through your high speed car chase, construction zone, demolition derby or anything else your imagination could put your new toy through.

When you are looking to purchase the perfect toy for that special boy or girl, you need to make sure that you are buying a well made toy that will survive the adventures it will face.  The last thing you want is to see that perfect toy broke the first day of play.  Bruder toys are developed as model-sized toys to be as realistic as possible.  Bruder’s company slogan “just like the real thing” allows children to imitate real life in the form of role plays.  These toy vehicles are developed and designed to last.  No flimsy plastic here.  Plastics of the highest quality are used, some of which can be found in the car industry.

The toys are also life like providing the ability for doors and hoods to open.  Fire engines shoot water.  The Mack Granite Liebherr Crane Truck extends to 50 inches tall and has 4 outriggers (stabilizer legs) to provide stability.   The Mack Granite Flatbed Truck with JCB Loader features a fifth wheel clutch, side gates that are removble, foold down ramps that are held by chains to unhook and many more life-like features to provide hours of playtime.

When you are looking for the perfect gift, look no further than Bruder Toys.  Bruder toys are made in Germany and made to last.  Bruder is still a family owned company that puts a family touch in every product made.

For latest as well as classic selections of Bruder Toys, Stop by Robbies Hobbies today and see them for your self.  The perfect gift for this Christmas season.



Santa Claus is Coming to Robbies Hobbies Black Friday

Do you have a model train or slot car racing enthusiast in your home?

At Robbies-Hobbies we have great selection of Slot Cars (Scalextric & Life Like) and Model Trains with brands like MärklinLionel , and more.

And this Black Friday, November 25 through Monday,  November 28th  get 20% off all train and slot car sets.  Plus with every train set purchase, all accessories for the matching purchased train and slot car sets will be 20% off.

So when you pick your train or slot car set, check out our wide selection of  cars,  buildings, tunnels and more.

Plus, this Black Friday from 12 pm to 2 pm , Santa Claus will be at Robbies Hobbies as well.

Santa Picture A

Have great Thanksgiving from all us at Robbies Hobbies , and we look forward to seeing you next weekend during our Black Friday Sale!

 Robbies Hobbies

4578 North High Street , Columbus, Oh 43214

Call 614-265-7288

Call 888-803-7864


If you are into car collectibles and want to up your collection beyond Matchbox and Hot Wheels, at Robbies Hobbies, We can help.



GreenLight Collectibles is a premier manufacturer and marketer of authentic die-cast vehicle replicas, scale figures and other automotive-related products.

GreenLight replicas are made in 1:18, 1:24, 1:43 and 1:64 scales and are officially licensed by both automotive and film companies like Ford, GM, Universal Studios, and more. 

Along with Customs sets and Dioramas,  Greenlight also parnters with Film and TV Merchandising for special editions like “The Blues Brothers”  and “The Walking Dead”




See our List of Greenlight Cars for Sale Online at:
Or stop by our shop today at Robbies Hobbies
4578 North High Street
Columbus, Oh 43214

Matchbox vs. Hot Wheels

When it comes to collectible cars the two most common standouts are Matchbox and Hotwheels.  Though the cars may look similar, each brand is distinctive in its own right.


Matchbox is the oldest of the two brands, starting being sold in Great Britain back in  1953 by Lesney Products in Matchbox containers.   The brand has come to include a wide range of  toy cars, die-cast collectibles, and plastic model kits.

Matchbox has since been purchased by Mattel, but they have strove to keep the theme of the brand along the way.

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels were introduced by Mattel in 1968 and was introduced to compete with Matchbox in the die-cast toy car market.  The competition continued till Mattel bought Matchbox in 1997.   Hot Wheels has gone after collectors market with limited edition models as well as their standard runs.


The greatest difference between the two brands is that Matchbox is primarily a producer of real street production cars, and Hot Wheels offers a wide range of Fantasy and Concept cars.  Such as the Hot Wheels Halloween Series


If you are looking for some great die-cast cars , we have them at Robbies Hobbies.

See our online store today at

Playmobil Play Boxes

Playmobil My Secret Play box, bring the action of your child’s imagination anywhere.

Just in time for Halloween the Playmobil Haunted House Play Box.

Relishing the thought of capturing bad guys on the go with Playmobil My Secret Police Station Play Box.


Experiencing the fire-breathing adventures no matter where you are with My Secret Dragons Lair Play Box.

Enjoying a cool ride through the countryside when you’re on the go with My Secret Horse Stable Play Box.

Experiencing the enchanting royal adventure no matter where you are with My Secret Princess Castle Play Box.

All these Secret Boxes is a line of play boxes that can be unfolded to reveal the desired environment that children aged 4 – 10 years old would love to play and have endless fun enjoying the imaginative environment they created.

At Robbies Hobbies we have a wide selection of Playmobil Play Boxes and Playmobil toys for whatever your child is into.

Find out more today at our online store on Ebay .

To see our full selection, stop by our store at 4578 North High Street  , Columbus, Oh 43214 .
Or call  614-265-7288 today.


Playmobil Princess little girl dreams of being a princess, and with Playmobil your child start today.

These great toys come both full size sets and travel playboxes.

Take a Video Tour of all this set has to offer.

Playmobil Princess Fantasy Castle: Create your own dazzling and regal fantasy world with the Princess Fantasy Castle. With turrets, gilded entrance gate, grand staircase, and lots of rooms, this castle is the perfect home for her royal highness. Store all the royal jewels in the tower’s secret hiding place before taking a spin around the ballroom using the revolving dance floor. Set also includes two figures, throne, chairs, chaise, chandelier, jewelry box, tea set, goblets, flower bushes, and a life-size tiara, bracelet, and ring. Recommended for ages four to ten.

And so you can play keep the fun going anywhere,  Playmobil as has Princess game for your  Android or Apple phone.

Look for this free game in your app store.

And for more great selection of Playmobil toys, stop by today at

Robbies Hobbies
4578 N High St
Columbus, OH 43214

Or Shop online at