G scale stock and track, due to its size and intended environment, is relatively tough and can last a long time. This means there
good second-hand market in the hobby. A savvy and patient buyer can find some good deals to grow their collection either because they’re looking to have their hobby funds go further or to source an out of production favourite item.
Where to buy G-Scale Second Hand?
Membership to the G Scale Society itself comes with a lot of perks – including access to the Local Area Groups which make buying second-hand items face-to-face, local and easy. G Scale Society Journal also includes member sales from across the UK.
Many of the specialist garden railway stores have a healthy second-hand selection – you can find some of our favourites on our Buy G-Scale page. Other model railway stores may also have a selection of G Scale but these tend to be more limited in favour of the more popular N, OO and O scales.
The other option are online auction sites – either general ones such as eBay or those run by specific auction houses. Be sure to read the descriptions in full, carefully check the supporting photos and ensure you know where the item is being sent from!
General notes on buying second-hand
First off, please remember the phrase “buyer beware”, check what you’re buying carefully, if not sure ask someone other than the seller for advice and guidance (for example, a friend from the Local or Facebook Group).
There is a tongue-in-cheek joke in the community that G Scale (and certain manufacturers in particularly) have a rubber ruler when it comes to size and scale. G “scale” actually can include a variety of scales from 1:20 to 1:30 – all running on 45mm track. If you’re a stickler for this (some of us are!), it’s best to stick with brands you’re familiar with. However, with a little thought different scales can be acceptable by avoiding running too obviously different stock in the same train and watching the scale of figures.
A particular mention towards, DCC (Digital Command Control). There are a number of different DCC type control systems out there. Although many do work well together – there are ones that are not compatible with others and some others that are now out of production. The second point on DCC is the often misunderstood term “DCC Ready”. This simply means it is straightforward to fit a decoder to the locomotive – it does not mean the locomotive itself is digital.
The locomotives are usually the higher-ticket investments you’re going to make so it is important you get value for your money to enjoy the hobby. Some general pieces of advice when buying locomotives second-hand are:
- Look underneath – the state of the wheels and skates are a good proxy for how much the locomotive has been run. Running marks are to be expected but if the they’re discoloured there may be other issues luring.
- Check for melted or deformed plastic on the chassis. While you have the locomotive upside down, check for any plastic that has become deformed. This usually happens when the metal contacts around it have gotten too hot due to extensive running or because the motor has been drawing too much current.
- Ask about modifications or changes. Many in the hobby enjoy making changes themselves – these can be anything from rewiring to support DCC (Digital Command Control) or a new paint job or numbering. This isn’t inherently bad and may result in a locomotive that is easier to convert or looks more prototypical.
- Does it come with the box? As with many specialist hobbies – stocking coming with the box is a great way to help it hold it’s value. From a more practical perspective, however, it makes it easier to store and transport your investment
- Check the shipping cost. G-Scale items are big and can weight several kilos. Particularly when buying larger items, check the shipping costs so you don’t get a nasty surprise. This is particularly true if buying items from outside the UK where intentional shipping charges for heavy and oversized items ramp up quickly.