Gift Giving

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Serdp, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Serdp

    Serdp New Member

    I need some help.

    I am trying to give a gift to a model railroader and I am not sure where to start. The idea is to give a locomotive with our company logo. The problem is I am not sure about brands or anything else that I am sure a true hobbyists would be concerned about. I have managed to learn that he uses HO gauge and that is about it. I would really appreciate if someone can give me some suggestions. Thanx in advance!

    FYI I am in the metro DC area
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hi and welcome to The Gauge!

    Model railroaders are an appreciative group but we especially like gifts that fit with our own particular way of enjoying the hobby. Knowing that you need HO scale is very important of course! A good first step. It would also be good to know if your modeler prefers old fashioned steam locomotives or more modern diesels (you'll even learn that there are diesels approrpriate to each of the last few decades!) or if they have a particular era that they prefer. For example, they might be modeling a steam powered railroad set in the 1930's and be unsure what to do wtih a diesel more suitable for a current day railroad. As for brands you'll find several with quite a range of prices and quality. I guess your budget will determine that decision but I'd recommend asking the local hobby shop dealer for some information regarding approrpiate era and product quality issues. I'll hazzard a general statement that a diesel locomotive of reasonable quality might be in the $40 to $100 range while steam locomotives will be $100 and up. I'll let other members comment on that as well since most of my engines were $40 or so (Athearn brand)

    You'll notice references on some locomotive packaging to "DCC ready" which refers to a method of controlling the engine individually with a special chip inside that is programmed to a controller. This is all about being able to run more than one locomotive independently of others. Layouts set up for DCC are wired differently than those that are not. Not all modelers use this method but it is very popular and becoming more common. Such locomotives can be run on layouts that aren't set up for DCC, however, and the modeler can convert a nonDCC engine to DCC if they wish.

    Hopefully I'm not overwhelming you with information but these are some of the things that first popped into my head. I think your gift idea is an excellent one, by the way. Can you find out more about your modeler's preferences without spilling the beans? One last comment...were I to receive a steam locomotive appropriate for a time decades before my own Penn Central 1960-70s era layout as a gift, I'd graciously accept it and run it as a refurbished relic in front of a fan trip train! Like I said, w're an appreciative lot! :)

    Best wishes and good luck!
  3. Serdp

    Serdp New Member

    I have no idea where to find a hobby shop in this area? Is there anybody in Northern Va/Metro DC with any ideas of where to call?
  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Whats your company?

    In general, Athearn Ready to Roll ( RTR) is great for diesels. Its the middle ground. Most stuff below it aren't that great. meanwhile, its not entirely to expensive. Proto 2000 is alittle higher, but you can still get it for some of the lower prices. Atlas is makeing some cheaper but still nice stuff lately as well. I really can't help with steam. the only lowere priced steam i see are ones made by IHC. i have one of their GG-1s ( a very good locomotive choice, ran from 1933 to 1985, if you want a locomotive thats sure to fit any north east setting, from DC to boston) and it seems fine, but i have no expierence with their steam engines.

    NEVER BUY MODEL POWER, BACHMANN STANDARD, OR LIFE LIKE. these are horrible quality. they will go in the junk box faster than anything else. these are more toys. However, these same manufacturers do make better quality trains. Bachmann's Spectrum line, and the befor mentioned Life Like Proto 2000 line are very nice, Proto 200 being the way to go.

    here is one hobby shop i was able to find on the internet.

    202-371-2881 - Great Train Store, 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE #109, Washington, DC 20002

    check your phonebook in the hobby section as well.
  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    hi and welcome to the gauge:wave: go to and type in your request as hobby shop in dc.
    just did a search for model railraod got thitry some hits (then stop looking)in a 15 mi.radius of dc:)
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Granddad's Hobby Shop in Springfield, VA is by far the best HO shop I have come across in the DC area. Just off the Beltway on the Braddock Rd exit (5260-A Port Royal Rd), they are very friendly and helpful. I don't live in the DC area but when I come on business, I always stop at Granddad's.

    Good luck
  7. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Hi and welcome to the Gauge!
    Why not give him a couple of boxcars with the company logo on it? To see a boxcar rolling around his layout with the company logo on it might make him smile, plus when fellow workers come in to see the layout, he'll get that "Hey...Where'd you get that?". Plus, Lots of MRers have plenty of is loco's...Just not a lot of rolling stock(Oops...Here come the PM's)
    Some people here could do the work for ya, at a reasonable price.
  8. Serdp

    Serdp New Member

    I would jus like to say thank you in advance, this is all very helpful.
  9. Serdp

    Serdp New Member

    Can someone please give me a link to a conversion chart for beginnners?
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    What do you need to convert?

    HO scale is 1:87 or 3.5mm to the foot.

    The Canadian dollar is currently worth almost US$0.90 :eek:

    ;) :D

  11. Serdp

    Serdp New Member

    Ha Ha I am converting a logo to HO scale. I haven't actually gotten the logo yet so I can't be more specific about size. I know it is a JPEG file.
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Actually, if you are converting a logo, it might be better just to "eye-ball" it. If you are putting it on a loco, then it is probably more important that it look right, as opposed to be exactly scale, especially if there are very small or intricate elements.

    I assume here that you will keep all proportions the same (e.g. if it is round in real life, it will still be round in miniature, etc).

  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    For the logo, scale isn't important as long as it fits where you want it. I model Santa Fe in the 50's. Over the years they used the small circle around a cross logo on their equipment. In the late 50s or early 60s they started using a large circle around a cross logo that covered 1/2 of the side of a boxcar.
  14. webmaster

    webmaster Member

    'If it looks right, it is right!'

    Modelers artistic licence. :thumb:
  15. Serdp

    Serdp New Member

    Our graphic designer here suggested that it be the size of a postage stamp. The logo is going on the side of a covered hopper.
  16. Serdp

    Serdp New Member

    I just wanted to say thank you for all the help and advice. Grandad's was great the staff (Noll) was very helpful even when I was ranting. They did great work and our retiree really enjoyed it, as did his grandchildren. Here is a picture of the finished product that he has already incorporated into his layout at home. :)

    Attached Files:

  17. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Looks Great.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Glad it worked out for you, and that the gift was well received! :thumb:

  19. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Try the yellow pages.

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