Miscellaneous Details from China via eBay

Most of us modellers are always looking for cheaper solutions to accomplish more with limited funds, and a lot of new stuff to seemingly allow this seems to be offered from China these days on eBay. No matter what country you are from, these inexpensive alternatives from China seem to be available to every country.

I've bought a few of these myself over the past year or so, and I thought I would share my opinions on them with everyone else.

I've bought three different types of lights from China, one of them by accident!  The three lights shown below are all from China, the two on the left being LED's and the light on the right using traditional incandescent bulbs.
The dual light LED lamppost below was something I mistakenly ordered (don't ask!).   It might be a little obvious in the below photo, but they are much too large for N Scale.  They are LED's (the bulbs seem to be 3mm LED's) are a nice warm white, and have the resistor already soldered in below the base of the lamp post, so they are ready to connect to your 12volt power supply.   These were purchased from Xinsai Brakepads88 store on eBay, and they are labelled as "H12 75mm warm white LED" lamp posts.  For an HO layout, I think this would suffice.  Quality is okay, nothing special.  They cost around $1.50 USD each.
The below streetlights are the T92 HO and N Scale 45mm LED street lights.  These are pretty good for N Scale (Potentially a bit smaller than some other traditional brands version of street lights) but would be way too small for HO scale.  These feature a white (blue-ish white) SMD led rather than a bulb, and look really nice.  Unfortunately, you'll have to solder the supplied resistors to the 'bare' copper wire (which then connects to the negative power of your 12v DC power), so a little more work is required with these.  I ordered these from seller everestmodel, and they cost about $1.50 each as well.  I like the look of these a lot, but next time I will order the 5cm versions for a little bit more height.
The platform style lights below use traditional incandescent 'grain of wheat' type of bulbs rather than LED's.  Interestingly, the entire assembly is spray painted with black paint, so when power is first supplied to the bulbs, a bit of smoke rises as the paint on the hot little bulbs burns off!  The quality on these is not that great..the bulbs are soldered to a flat piece of metal that acts as the lamp post cover, and the connections are weak.  I would avoid these.  I've installed some of these on my layout, but they are place holders until better alternatives are found.  These are sold by cnmodelnt and labelled as L327 5.8cm 12v lamp posts.
Here's a photo of the above lights installed on my platform. They look okay...the bigger challenge for me is getting the darned things to all stand up straight! Arg!

One product I've really enjoyed from cnmodelnt is their Dark Green trees!  Below is the D9035 (9 cm) and the D7027 (7cm) trees in dark green.  The 7 cm version are about $0.50 a piece, while the 9cm is closer to a dollar.  The 7cm trees are okay for a small, growing tree, but seem to small for my tastes for something meant to represent a more mature forest.  The 9cm version is much better at representing a more mature forest area.
The below photo shows the 9cm version next to a train so you can some idea of the relative size.  Not too bad. As trees go, I think these are pretty good, but their general uniformity might look too fake if not broken up with other trees of different size and color (representing different species for example).

One thing my urban environment has been lacking have been statues!  I know a lot of modellers used various figures from war gaming, and this was my intention until I came across these.  Also from cnmodelnt, these are labelled as DS04 Resin Sculpture Statue figures for HO and N.  As the below N Scale figure shows, they may be a bit on the large size for N Scale statues, but I think they will serve just fine.  The below photo shows them painted in a primer coat of black, awaiting some final coloring by hand before they are added to the layout.  Again, these ran me about $1.00 a piece ($13.99 for a pack of 14, with apparently no duplicates) so a pretty decent value I think.
What about the little people? You know, those little plastic figures to help populate the layout?  With quality figures from Woodland Scenics or Preisser costing quite a bit, populating your little metropolis can be quite expensive. Fortunately these cheap figures from seller wehonest  are about one tenth the cost ($0.10 a piece) can help to fill in those empty sidewalks.  I bought a package of 100 for $9.99 labeled as having 19 different poses.

For comparison sake, the three figures on the left in the below photo are from Preisser, while the figures to the right are the inexpensive Chinese imports
 Close up details on the Chinese figures reveal a rather disturbing level of facial disfigurement - this couple was made for each other!
This chap has what appears to be one of those samurai pony-tails.  It looks pretty spiffy with that magenta jacket, I must say.
And for comparison sake, the rugged, handsome profile of this gentleman from Preisser:
Obviously, the quality of the painting and details are nowhere near the above mentioned Woodland Scenics or Preisser figures, but they are acceptable in my view for populating building interiors or scenes in the distance where details can't be seen anyway.  And at $0.10 a piece, this is certainly a much funner option than the inexpensive, but unpainted, bulk packages from Preisser! So I'm very glad for this cheap, efficient option for population expansion!

That about sums it up! Hope this was in some small way a helpful guide to help you with your layout scenery decisions!


  1. Hi Jerry,

    Street lamps are really interesting. Good catch on that one!

    They are unexpensive compared to mine which are also time consuming to build...


  2. Hello Jerry. I really enjoyed the article about cheap Chinese products. I also have some low quality Chinese figures and that does not compare to Preiser and Noche figures, but sometimes we have to choose between spending less money and buy these figures for scenes with many figures such as a large group of people. I found that mixing some of these Chinese figures with Preisier and Noch the final result is very good. For example at the main station in my layout, i made this mix and i am happy with it.

  3. @ Patrick and Maria - Yes, the classic trade off between money and time and price! There is a place for all of these things on a layout and its nice to have the choice! Thanks for your comments!

  4. I second Patrick on the lamps, this is a great idea! Though they may not look as good, this solves the usual dilemma (cheap bulb lights that will fail in a year, or LED lamps in Europe that easily cost 15EUR each!).

    Thanks Jerry!

  5. Jerry, thanks for the review on the various Chinese products available. I have been thinking about lights, and this should help with some of my decisions.