How do I send my items in for service?

This is the most commonly asked question we receive.  The paragraphs below will tell you all you need to know to submit your valuable articles for service and ensure their safe delivery.  There are two points that are more important than anything else you can do. 

1. First, supply us with documentation.  We need to know who you are and what you are sending and why.  It is hard to believe, but we receive items for repair weekly, which include no documentation and we have no idea who they belong to or why they were sent to us.  A phone call is simply not enough.  A lot happens in a week's time and many repairs come in each week.  We have just added a new "Service Form" which should be submitted with every repair sent to us.  You can access this form from navigation buttons on all pages of our web site. 

2. The second important point is to pack your items with care to protect them in transit.  We receive locomotives which are poorly packed on a regular basis and damage often occurs in transit.  Please review the section on how to pack your item below.  If you just put your locomotives in the factory packaging and put them in a Priority mail box with little or no packing materials and think that is all that is needed STOP!  Read below.

Shipping Instructions:

Pack your item carefully!  Locomotives without fragile detail parts are best wrapped in clean bubble wrap.  The small bubble sheets are the best for this purpose.  Wrap the item tightly and secure with tape or rubber bands.  Locomotives with fragile detail parts should be packed in the original plastic cradle they came in from the factory.  It is important to install the felt pads (originally used by the factory) wherever the plastic cradle touches the locomotive. (both ends and roof top)  This protects the paint finish from rubbing damage in transit. 

Pack the items in a good sturdy box that is oversize enough to protect the item should the shipper drop or crush the box.  Pack the box tightly with packing noodles or crumpled paper all around the item.  Ship it to the address below.  Insurance coverage is your choice.  Include a completed copy of our "Service Form" with your shipment. This has all the information we need to complete your repair.  Turn around time varies at different times of the year.  Winter is peak season and it may take three weeks or more to complete a repair.  Summer turn around is much faster.

                   Ship to:  Helmuts Hobbies Service
                                       83 Brookshire Drive
                                       Warrenton, VA  20186-3032


Special Shipping Instructions for
Trix and Märklin BIG BOY

Packing the Big Boy properly for shipment is one of the most important things you can do to ensure it does not sustain damage in transit to us.  We have received several models that were carelessly packed.  Because of this, they sustained damage in transit that cost extra time and money to repair.  The most important things you can do to protect your locomotive are outlined below. 

The most important thing to do is make sure to use the original brass spacers and the three transport screws to secure the locomotive to the base.  Make sure the screws are absolutely tight.  I suggest paying a visit to your local auto parts store to purchase a small tube of Permatex "blue lock-tite".  This is a thread filler that prevents screws from vibrating loose.  It is not uncommon for the transport screws to loosen in transit.  Use just a tiny drop (trace) of this on each of the three transport screws when attaching the locomotive to the wooden base.  Make sure to purchase the BLUE not the red.  Red lock-tite requires the joint to be heated to a temperature of 500 degrees before it can be broken loose.  Needless to say, you do not want your Big Boy to become a permanent display piece  and I do not want to have to heat it up with a torch to get it off the base! 

Now that you have the locomotive securely fastened to it's display base, it is time to pack it.  If you no longer have the original plastic that was wrapped around the locomotive, find a suitable replacement and place it on the bottom of the wooden box before the locomotive.  Wrap the plastic over the locomotive and close the box lid carefully.  Wrapping plastic around the locomotive prevents small detail parts from catching on the foam insert and breaking off.  If you have the original box, pack the wooden box in the plastic over wrap and cardboard cradle before inserting it into the outer box.  Pack the locomotive in a strong box large enough to give at least 3 to 4 inches of packing material all the way around.  Fill this area tightly with foam noodles, foam padding or wadded newspaper and ship insured by your favorite method.  A little time planning and care will ensure the safe arrival of your loco for servicing.