... Thought that'd get your attention...
I know that for many it's not that we're xenophobic with our model rail, it's just that continental models are just darn hard to get hold of cheaply, right?
If you know how to use ebay.co.uk, you can find a much wider range of items to be shipped to your door, often for a lot less than you'd find on the UK site. I'm an N-Gauge modeller myself and finding stock, kits and speciality "wow" items for a continental layout used to involve interrupting a family holiday for a trip to Germany or Holland's model shops to find other items. Now it's possible to find such items still within the realms of eBay, but with a slightly foeign slant.
You want to find SNCF items, try typing your search into www.ebay.fr
You want to find Fleischmann, Roco, DB, Wiking, Brawa, DB, ICE (the list is endless) give www.ebay.de a go.
Want to find Arnold or Lima continental stock? www.ebay.it - bellissimo!
Be aware that the Mainland European sites are nowhere near as accommodating with PayPal as the UK or US sites, so bank transfers are more widely used, but experience has shown that telling the seller that you're bidding from the UK may result in a PayPal account being introduced.
Your seller may not speak english, but probably will (or will know someone who will) - failing that, try an online translator - useful for such things.
Also, make sure you are FULLY aware of how much P&P you will have to pay before bidding/B.I.N*-ing and take the total you'd be paying and compare it to large modelling stores here in the UK (I don't think eBay would wish me to give examples of such businesses, but you can find their details in most modelling mags)
You will be bidding in Euros, so be aware of the exchange rate - best thing to do is to find your item, click on "Watch this item" (in whatever language it appears, it's in the same place on the listing as on the UK site),sign in with your details (it's just as secure as ebay.co.uk), go to www.ebay.co.uk and click on "My eBay" and the item WILL be there with the rest of your watched loot, with prices in UK Sterling as well as those Euro-things...
Examples of things that I've got cheaper from foreign ebays...
- Minitrix NS (Dutch) Intercity coaches
- Industrial chainlink fencing
- Kibri Stations
- Faller Station Canopy
- NS Post Locomotive
- Arnold Tram (from www.ebay.it - good for Arnold and Lima)
The list goes on (but at 11.55pm, that's all i can think of...)
All I can say is have a browse and keep your eyes peeled, you'll never know what you'll find until you find it.