Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Midnight, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. Midnight

    Midnight Member

    I haven't bought anything related to trains but I'm leaning towards HO scale. If I can get my dad to help me clean out our storage room/two car garage that we don't use, I can set up my layout in there. What scale do you think I should get, if any? Remember that I'm a twelve year-old-boy with school and homework to deal with. I also have very little money.

  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Midnight, and Welcome to The Gauge!announce1
    It sounds like you have the space for HO. I would have to say that there is better
    availability of inexpensive/pre-owned/bargain/sale equipment in HO scale. (1:87.1)

    You might consider going "around-the -walls" in that storage room rather than a table-top.
    Better use of space, IMO. Are you interested in modern era trains or something older?

    I like to recommend checking out And read all you can!!:)
  3. alexander

    alexander Member

    yeah, HO all the way

    stay away from the Lifelike train sets, tho, if you get one cheap//as a gift, its ok for some bits i suppose

    Athearn make a good solid product that runs well, if a little crude

    Atlas make good buildings

    i have nothing against the Lifelike scenery stuff either

    Bachmann make a decent starter set now

    thats pretty much all i know

    PS: I'm only 14 years old, the startup costs are the hardest bits, but when there going, its much cheaper

    All the best

  4. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Welcome aboard Midnight !!! - When I was 12 yo i went with HO scale - They are relatively inexpensive ( depending on the quality of course ).. Try for a perimeter layout as discussed... As you get older and discover girls / sports / etc and decide that you no longer want to stay with your trains, wrap them up good in brown paper and pack them away in a totes or rubbermaid container, along with the rest of your childhood toys. As you get older and get a place of your own, you will be glad you stored them away.. My 2 cents - I was glad that I did that..
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge:wave:

    Wow...12...that's when I really took the first steps into the hobby. That was 34 years ago...whole different hobby now. Pinch your pennies, look for yard sales and train shows, don't be afraid to settle for less than the best out there---you can always use the cheap stuff for weathering and paint practice, upgrading is a good skill to learn on them, too. Check out Robin's work in the Academy and don't forget it's a hobby.:thumb:
  6. alexander

    alexander Member

    take second best? why do it when one word will solve your motive power probems: Athearn. Thats all i need to know
  7. Midnight

    Midnight Member

    I might do something like have mountains going up the walls with tracks and tunnels on the mountains and then having something going down the mountains into a town or something like that. I'll probably do all my ordering on the internet seeing as I live in the middle of nowhere. The only thing we have within fifty miles of here is a Hobby Lobby with half an aisle of train stuff.
    My mom says I should start out small since this is like a lifelong hobby and you can't really get out of it. I say that since it's a lifelong hobby, why not start early?
    @alex: I want as much realism as I can get for the lowest price. When I was little I had a Thomas the Tank Engine train set. I liked that one and I still play with it some when I'm super bored, but I would like one that runs on electricity and looks more realistic.
    I'll work on my dad to see if he'll at least move everything to one side. Maybe for Christmas we can do that and get me a starter set.
    I guess I can't add a poll now, but I have a question. What would be the best brand(s) for me to go with? I want realism and cheapness. Oh, also something that won't break that easily. I have four cousins that love me to death. They're not that old so they would probably step all over it. I'll try my best to keep them out but... yeah.

  8. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    You can buy an HO-scale electric Thomas the Tank Engine train set from Bachmann for $40 or so from Trainworld.. I bought that for my 5-year-old nephew and he got quite a kick out of it. :D

    You can get something like that for your young cousins to play with when they are visiting you, so that if they broke it, it's no big deal. I would tend to keep young kids away from the more fragile high-quality superdetailed stuff.

    For yourself, if you look around you should be able to find some really good deals on high-quality stuff. Trainworld has the very nice Proto 2000 S1 switcher locomotive for just $30, for instance. The other day I bought Athearn RTR GP38-2 diesel locomotives from M.B. Klein for $40 apiece, and they got the really high-quality Atlas B40-8 diesel locomotive for $60.

    Good luck, and welcome!
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    That would be Athearn Blue Box, as Alexander pointed out.:thumb:
  10. Midnight

    Midnight Member

    Sorry for my ignorance, but what is a Proto 2000 S1 switcher locomotive? Is that one car? If so, that is way too much for me!
    BTW, what scratching and kitbashing?
  11. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    $30 for a good-quality HO-scale engine is reasonable.

    There are good engines, and there are bad engines. The bad ones (usually comes with the cheaper trainsets) have flimsy parts that break easily, such as poorly-made couplers, poorly designed motors/mechanisms that does not run smooth and is not reliable (jerky running, poor electrical pickup, etc.). Then you got good engines such as the S1 made by P2K I mentioned, which has all-wheel-drive and 8-wheel electrical pickup, runs reliably and very smooth due to the flywheels in the mechanism, and has great detail.

    If you want avoid all the costly frustrations with bad-running engines, you should invest in a good one to start with.

    Hope this helps.
  12. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    :wave: Hi Midnight and welcome to the Gauge.

    12 years old huh. That is about too years younger than I started and I am 17 years old now. Great to have another kid on here, there are a few I know of on this forum. Now to your questions:

    S1 Switcher is an engine and yes it is only the engine. You will find that most engines are going to be expensive (that is mainly the reason I only have 2 engine right now:oops: ) but you can find them for deals.

    Scratching is making something from spare parts, styrene (plastic), or other things.
    Kitbashing is modifying something or combining things together to make something else.
  13. Midnight

    Midnight Member

    Okay... kitbashing is like taking two kits and bashin'em together until they look like something. :D
    So, a Proto whatchamacallit is just the car at the front that pulls them along?
  14. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    This is how the Alco S1 Switcher engine made by Proto 2000 looks like.

    Notice the mechanism-- It's got a motor mounted in the middle of the frame, with two brass flywheels and worm gears to drive all eight wheels smoothly. That's a well-designed mechanism and for $30 it's a hell of a bargain.

    You will find even middle-range-quality locomotives in HO scale to cost $50 or more. Some of the more fancy engines such as steam locomotives with sound effect circuitry on-board can cost $200 or more.

    Like I said, $30 for a good-quality engine is a worthy investment.

    Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

  15. alexander

    alexander Member


    Locomotive: Somthing that pulls the train
    Rolling Stock: somthing that follows the locomotive

    ie, my train has a Locomotive at the front, and, Rolling Stock behind, there are many different types

    the common ones are

    Caboose, its on the rear, it keeps the workers
    Refregriated cars: keep stuff cool
    Boxcars: carry anything
    Hopper: generally carry coal
    Covered hopper: Carrys Grains
    Flatcars: also everything

    Then there is a whole heap of subtypes but they are for later

    Now, Locomotives

    you can divide them to 3 types


    i'll cover Diesel

    a Diesel Electric uses Diesel to power an engine, which is used to generate power

    this power is used to power motors

    then the train goes

    thats it, in a nutshell
  16. alexander

    alexander Member

    another thing:

    Pick an Era, and try to stick to it. it can be loose (even over many years), but, try to keep to it

    in 1950 a GP7/9 was brand new power. today, they are old.

    see what i mean?
  17. Midnight

    Midnight Member

    Ah, yes! My grandmother had a train thing that went around in circles. It was huge, though!
  18. Midnight

    Midnight Member

    Hmm... ear. LOL, I mean era, I'll probably do either modern or super old trains. Then I could have indians that rob trains, like, hanging off the side of a car or something. BTW, do they have, like, futuristic train sets?

    G'night, going to bed,
  19. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Might I also suggest checking Walthers out and picking up a 2007 HO scale catalouge for $10.00. It has thousands of products and over 1000 pages. a GREAT deal.
  20. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    That sounds like O scale

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