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Feb 18, 2018, 03:16 AM
Modeling Retread
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Swap Meet Fun


I occasionally participate in swap meets. I go to them more often to buy odds and ends but every few years I have some 5hings to sell. This was a sell year. I teamed up my pals Jim Branaum and Bob Severance, who did this much more often. We went to the San Antonio area Tri City Flyers Swap Meet, an annual event I like to get to to hit the itenerate hobby shops, if nothing else. On a personal basis, itís a good place to catch up with old pals.

There had been a great disturbance in the Swap Meet force in January. The long standing Georgetown RC Swap Meet had been visited by the Tax Man. The state comptrollers had shown up to register all the amateur sellers to pay sales tax. (Yes, itís true. If you rent a space to sell, you owe sales tax.) Some vendors pulled chocks and left but not all. A week or so ago we got a note from Tri City that the same would apply there too. It takes about 15min to get a sales tax ID on line so we did it. We wondered how it would affect the event. It did seem to have an impact. There were empty tables both Friday and Saturday.

The backstory on Georgetown is that, as related by the grapevine, they have a disgruntled former member who is waging a vendetta against them. Someone with political clout sufficient to roust out the staties to hassle them. What we're not quite sure of is if this caused the state to send notes to swap meet organizers to pay up or if Tri City poked the bear.

I gathered up my things and piled the into Jimís truck to go to the Meet. I was expecting big sales, just hoping for the best. I really like visiting with people, old friends and new. A fun Meet was with Fitz Walker of the RC Rountable Podcast, out from Houston. I really like that podcast and recommend it. He was passing through on his way to the plastic model show on the other side of town. We had a nice chat.

While I had my list of things I wanted from the pro sellers, I kept my eyes open for something special in my price range. I was hoping for a kit, maybe something vintage. There was a whole table of vintage kits brought in but before I could get to it, a hobby retailer from Houston swept in and bought the whole table. There was a deBolt Live Wire Bipe in the stack - sigh. About mid Friday evening something did show up, a Balsa USA Fokker DVIII kit.

I already have a built and flying (see my build log) Balsa USA Eindekker EIII, so I know their quality. I like that era of planes, for warbirds. A DVIII has a cantilevered wing so there is no rigging. It was offered at a good price. I casually asked about several items the seller had, including the DVIII. He told me it was new in the box but there were no plans. Long story short, the original kit owner was a plan filer, Iíve known a few over the years (usually people who spend more time plan fondling than buildingj. I checked the BUSA web site and you can buy the plans separately.

This morning, the cut the price before the show started, so I knew they were ready to deal. I let it go for a couple of hours, then caught up with them in the aisle. They knew I was interested and suggested I make an offer. I offered a round number $30 less than the new price ($60 less than their starting price) and they accepted. Even counting buying a new set of plans, the final price was only about a third of current retail.

My only disappointment was there were no 4/5 channel non computer Spektrum radios for sale. I want one for a buddy box. When I didnít want one, it seemed like everyone had at least one.

Things I learned:

- Nobody wants servos. I had some coreless BB Airtronics servos, some NOS, nobody even picked them up to look.
- Nobody, at least at this meet, wants glow powered R/C engines.
- Nobody had any Monokote to sell, except me. Black and Flat Tan, raffle prizes that finally sold.

Swamp Meet Characters, Amateur Sellers (game sense)

- Winner: has things people want and is ready to deal. Understands not everything will sell at every place. No significant issue with recovering sunk costs. The goal is to clear the decks.
- Also Ran: Ready to deal but doesnít have any or enough of whatís in demand.
- Loser: Irritated that nobody wants to pay full retail for his used stuff or pay a ďfair priceĒ for his masterpiece.

I was in the broad Also-Ran group, as expected.
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