buying a new model train

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by asaf, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. asaf

    asaf New Member

    looking for HO model.
    Would you advice me to buy a set or each part apart?
    Which is the best web by your experience to purchase eaither a full set or individuals?
    looking for a locomotive,cars,tracks, etc'...
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member


    I think buying the pieces separately is a good way to go, because you can plan for growth.

    To get started:

    - The first item to buy would be a good engine. I would spend good money on a locomotive like an Atlas unit with a dual-mode DCC decoder already installed. Such an engine will let you start out with straight direct-current to run just one train using a simple power pack and just a loop of track, but gives you the ability to easily move on to using Digital Command Control (DCC) in the future if you want to build a permanent layout with a DCC system capable of running multiple trains at the same time. I have an Atlas Master Series HO-scale GE B40-8 diesel locomotive with the dual-mode DCC decoder, and it's the best-running engine I've ever owned.

    - Then buy a few pieces of quality rolling stock with metal wheels and properly-weighted frames. There are a great selection of rolling stock out there by various companies such as Walthers, Kadee, Proto 2000, etc.

    - Then get a loop of good-quality nickel-silver track to get you started, such as Kato Unitrack. Avoid brass-rail or steel-rail track-- They tarnish easily and lose electrical conductivity, which makes them unreliable. Nickel-silver track remains conductive even when tarnished.

    - Then pick up one of the basic DC power packs such as one of the lower-end MRC packs (get the cheapest one-- Save your money for buying a DCC system later), hook it up to the circle of track, and you are ready to go.

    Good luck!
  3. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I don't usually buy from the web. I prefer the local hobby shop. I also would recommend not buying a set. Most sets, not all, are not very good and to try to tell you in the forum which is good and which is not would be difficult. A local hobby shop which sells trains will want your return business so they not stear you wrong, unless they are trying to go out of business. As you have seen in your other question there are some highly recomended manufacturers. Some ideas where you can't go wrong are Athearn power & cars they are inexpensive easy to work with and very reliable. For power look at MRC power packs they are very dependable. For track Atlas is a fail safe one. For switches or as some call them turnouts I recomend Peco. They are a little more $$$ than Atlas but I feel the $$$ is worth it. Most cars & locos now come with knuckle couplers. When they break and they will use Kadee brand they are made of metal the others are plastic. This is about the best advice I can give you as a beginner and I feel most of the guys out here will agree with me.
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    I agree with Les Athearn is the best way to go (best quality for the price) and MRC for power pack, track Atlas is ok for starter.
  5. asaf

    asaf New Member

    Thank You

    I appriciate your brief answer.
    Thank You very much!!

  6. asaf

    asaf New Member

    Thank You

    Hello Les,
    I appriciate your brief answer.
    Thank You very much!!

  7. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Oh yeah one more thing. As far as I know Athearn is still made in the good ol U.S.A.
  8. spookman

    spookman Member

    I went about it all wrong. I bought saeveral model power sets from ebay. The rolling stock is so cheap on model power it is too light to stay on the track at high speeds. They also have cheap plastic wheels on them. I got a couple of Backman sets that are pretty good but still have plastic wheels. The cars are heavier however anmd stay on the track better.

    I just made my first layout 4ft by 8 ft. I would post a vidieo but haven't figured out how. I will paste the link here.

    Hope the links work. My objective is not to go with lots of expencive natural l;ayout scenes but to put as many trains in action as I can on this layout. I now have an O set on the outside with fastrack and two ho sets on steel ez track in the middle. Thinking of adding a couple of N sets in the middle. What do you guys think.

    I know I should have bought fastrack for the Ho set too but got a good deal on the eztrack. What is the very best HO model trains? Atlas or what?

    I wanted a train set all my life and now it is reality. Most awsome thing you can do.
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, Spookman:wave:

    Boy, you're gonna start a brawl in here right off:thumb: Like Ford and Chevy men, everyone's got their pets. Mine are Athearn and Rivarossi. Kato and Atlas are even better.

    BTW, the way you're setup now, a couple loops of N would be a hoot, maybe elevate it a bit over the rest:thumb:
  10. spookman

    spookman Member

    I am new to mosel trains. I learned as much as I could the last couple months from reading this site. One thing I am still trying to figure out. IS Athern made by Lionel or what is the connection. I keep seeing the two names together sa if they were one in the same.

    Please pardon my stupidity. I am just a dumb country boy. HEHEHE

    Thanks for the comments on my setup. Any suggestions on how to elevate the N setups when I get them?

    I tried putting a center loop on the center Ho setup but every time I tried to run the train on the loop the engine would derail half way through the manual tournout. I had the tournout switched to the loop properly but just could not get it to work. I tried it at all speeds.
  11. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Nop connection.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    back around 1957-1960 Lionel tried to crack the HO market. Instead of making their own, they had them made by established firms. One year it was Athearn; another it was Rivarossi. But that was almost half a century ago.
    Athearn is now owned by Horizon (who?), as is Roundhouse/MDC.
  13. spookman

    spookman Member

    Thanks for the info. I figured it must be something like that.
  14. asaf

    asaf New Member

    suscribe to a good model magazine

    Hello friends,
    I still learn all about models.
    can you advice me about any good model magazine - HO?
    the best one!!!
    I want to sobscribe and need it to be sent out sude the usa.
  15. spookman

    spookman Member

    I finally got my turnouts working on my center loop.
  16. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    My personal preference would be Railroad Model Craftsman. Other than that, any Model Railroader magazine published prior to 1980 is a goldmine to me.

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