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Title: How to Create Your Personal Inventory Using TroveStar Reference Data

Collection: N Scale Model Trains
Category: Database How-To
Publication Date:
Last Modification Date: 2018-05-02
The May 2018 NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) Magazine featured the article “A Word to the Wise: Inventory!” by Thomas Roskelly who lost his home to a fire. He penned the article to urge his fellow model train enthusiasts to not only create an inventory of their train collection (and any items they might lose in a fire) but to safely store it so it too is not destroyed by the ravages of heat and flames. (Mr. Roskelly did have an inventory of his train collection but it was stored in a fire-proof safe, which did not survive the heat of the fire; house fires can approach 2400 degrees.) To be sure, Mr. Roskelly shares some very sound advice.

And TroveStar can help folks act on this advice. TroveStar can be used to create personal inventories, which can help collectors do the following:
  1. Avoid buying duplicates. TroveStar is accessible on mobile devises like iphones. As a result, you can take a live version (via your smart phone) of your inventory to every hobby shop and train show you frequent. Before you make that impulse buy, you can quickly check to see if you already own the item that interests you.
  2. Easily and quickly furnish insurance companies with a detailed inventory of your collection. If your your collection has been destroyed because of a fire and you need a list of your melted trains to submit to your insurance company, you can log on to TroveStar and print out your former collection.
  3. Get the best possible prices from dealers for your collection. If you are thinking of selling your collection, you can print out your inventory and shop it around to the dealers. An accurate list of what you are selling (versus "Here are 2 boxes full of 150 rolling stock.") will get you the best price.
  4. Leave your affairs in order. We all go to the great train station in the sky someday. Want to leave an accurate list of your collection to your heirs? This is a simple, easy and fun way to plan for that final departure.

Here is how to use TroveStar's 'collection tracking' system to create a personal inventory (based on the various Collections on TroveStar) and to keep track of your collection.

How to create an inventory:
  1. Go to this page:
  2. Enter your inventory name ('MyTrainInventory' for example) into the box that says "type name here". Please make sure to NOT include the “<” or “>” symbols.

  3. Hit “Enter” Your new inventory will be created and appear in a list on the page.

  4. Find your inventory in the list. Click "Make Default" which will make it "Active" (This will make it possible to in one-click add items from the database to your personal collection by using the reference data on TroveStar.)

This is by far the easiest way to add items to your inventory. There are other ways but not as simple.

By default, ONLY you can see your inventory. (There will now be a new button on every individual item page to allow you to add items to 'My Collection'. I use this feature all the time. This feature also adds a new column to all the checklist pages called 'Have,' which shows you whether you own the item already or not.)

How to populate your new inventory:
  1. Find the Collection you are interested in. (Since I'm making an inventory of my n-scale collection, I will go to the N-Scale Model Trains Database landing page located at
  2. Once I am on the n-scale database landing page, I use the search function on that page and type in the name of the item (in this case "Pods") to find the item(s) in my personal collection.

  3. Here are the search results for "Pods"

    I locate my specific item in the search results and go to that page.

    On my Pods page, there is a button below the image of the item that says 'Add to Active Inventory.'

    If you push this button, it prompts you for a price.

    You may enter "$0.00" if you like. However, if you are using this for insurance purposes, you should instead take a guess as to a fair value for the item. Sometimes TroveStar will make a guess for you if it can find market information on the target item. You will see in this case historical pricing data that says: "18 of these sold for an average price of $12.26"

  4. Here is my Inventory so far.

How to edit your inventory
Have more than one of the item in your collection? No problemo. Under the 'Collection' menu, you will find 'Inventory Editor'. Select this and it will take you to a form that allows you to alter quantity and price of the item in question. (Soon we will also have a place to put notes about the item such as 'Missing the box' or 'Hand Weathered'.)

Want to make your inventory public so other people can see your awesome collection of model trains? Go to this page, find your collection, and push the "edit" link in the fourth column next to it. You will see an option "Inventory is Public". Change this to "Yes" and then push the "Submit Changes" button. Voila! Everybody can now share the awesomeness.

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Display rights were granted to: TroveStar LLC