Getting back into hobby

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Grindar, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Grindar

    Grindar Member

    Hey guys, getting back into the hobby after more than a decade. Think I finally have enough space for a smallish N scale layout. :mrgreen:

    Anyhow, my biggest question is what online hobby shops do you guys use in the USA? My preference for plastic model stuff used to be myatomic, but they've gone under, so no help there. I'm especially looking for good prices on unitrack, as the track plans I've been really looking at all use it.

    I'm an hour south of Memphis, so when I'm up that way I won't mind tossing the hobby shops a bone as far as rolling stock and such, but it's too far for regular supply runs that will cost me more than shopping online.

    For reference:
    First choice on track plan, if I can come up with that much space:
    Second choice, which I'm almost positive I have the space for (it's down to creatively arranging furniture lol)
    And the backup option is the classic:

    All of them emphasize my biggest thing, which is long mainline runs so you can sit back and watch the trains go around :p

    Next week I get to teach myself all about DCC :cool:
  2. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

    Welcome back to the hobby! I only model in Unitrack myself and have been very satisfied with I'm in the Boston area and Fiferhobby is in NM, but the packages get here very quickly. Prices are very competative. shipping very reasonable. Communications excellent.
    Hope that helps.
  3. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I don't do N scale, but have gotten great service from Caboose Hobbies in Denver CO.

    except for some oddball stuff I use Caboose Hobbies, and Terminal Hobies.

    Bill Nelson
  4. roger439

    roger439 Member

    I am glad to get this info.i too am just getting bk into the hobby.I think i will end up with a 4X8 area to work on.I only have rm for n scale anyone have a gd layout idea for a 3 train setup?
  5. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Lots of stuff to think about when you are just starting, and the temptation is to find an existing track plan and build it; but model railroading at it's best is an art form, and you will miss that if you build something first, and then learn more about the hobby.

    so take some time, look all around this site, and others, and see if there is a type of RR that really turns your switch.

    Model railroading at its most basic is a train running in a circle, and this, for some will provide a lifetime of interest, but for others it will become boring.

    Many make it an art form by representing a particular place and time, and railroad, weather is is an actual existing RR, a historical RR, or a piece of fiction, which may or may not incorporate elements of real operations.

    some will focus on moving cars from one location to another in a prototypical fashion, others are happy just to run trains through scenery. Some beginners will want to load their space up with track, aiming at the most action in a certain space; but many old hands want to keep the layout simple, and to make it look good. In most locations you will only see one train at a time running, and one operator running several trains can get complicated.

    If you build something, and later on you find a different area of interest, your old equipment might not fit your newer interest. (I was lucky, I started off with 1880's equipment, and later developed an interest in logging Railroads, which in the early days used a lot of obsolete equipment purchased form the mainline railroads); but not everyone is that lucky, some start off with modern equipment and develop an interest in steam. or visa versa. It will be a lot cheaper if you have a good idea of what you want to do before you get too deep into it.

    Looking at a track plan don't just focus on N scale plans, They tend to pack stuff in but I have seen N scale layouts on a 4x8 that used a plan made for HO. they altered the track center spacing, and made some alterations, but ended up with something that looked really good, and much more realistic looking than many 4x8 layouts.

    also don't fall into the trap of wanting to get a bunch of locomotives fast and buying cheap ones. while "You get what you pay for" is not always true, you almost never get what you don't pay for.The enjoyment of this hobby is much greater when you have excellent running locomotives and equipment. You are much better of with one excellent running good performing train, than with any number of poor running models.

    Good luck, do your research, find something that appeals to you, and go for it! please share your efforts, we would love to see your work, and help you with any learning curves you run into. It will be a lot more fun, If you have a vision of what you would like to do before you start. It will look better, be more satisfying, and hold you attention longer.

    Good luck

    Bill Nelson

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