Hello all! I'm new...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ScottyB, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    Hello all! I just joined this forum and wanted to introduce myself.

    My name is Scott and I live in Wisconsin. When I was a kid and my grandfather passed away, I inherited all his model train stuff. Quite a bit of Lionel stuff from the 60s and a lot of HO scale from the 70s. My brother and I ran the HO scale stuff as kids, but we didn't know much about electricity back then, so it mostly sat around Mom's basement...[​IMG]

    Fast forward to today. I'm 29 years old and just bought my first house. I have a nice sized basement (approx 1800 sq ft) that is wide open and perfect for any size layout. I moved all my grandfather's trains from Mom's house to mine, and now that I can't work outside anymore (too cold), I am preparing to re-enter the world of model railroading!

    My initial plan is this: The Lionel stuff is pretty old, and I'm sure needs a lot of work to get running. So I think I just want to set up a "display table" for this. Maybe just a few straight lines of track with the trains there for display only.

    For the HO stuff, I would like to build a nice layout. Space is not too much a problem, but I don't want it to get TOO big either. Most of the track I have is brass, so I figure I should probably just buy new track. And all the couplers on the trains are the old hook/horn couplers which I guess are out of style. As far as era goes, I don't know yet. Most trains and scenery I have a fairly modern, but I like the idea of steam trains (early 1900s).

    So of course I'll have a lot of questions and I'll post pictures as I get going. I lurked here for about a day and I see everyone is real helpful. I just wanted to introduce myself and I thank everyone in advance for their friendship and advice.

  2. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Welcome aboard Scott! Ah! A basement waiting for the taking! :) Enjoy the layout planning; its part of the fun.
  3. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Welcome Scott. Glad to have you with us. If I can be of any help please let me know. I am also working on an HO layout.
  4. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Welcome to forum Scott!
  5. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Scott, Welcome to the Gauge from one Scott to another. Forget the brass track, nickel sivler is the way to go, not much money, big improvment. As for the hook horn couplers, there definitly not the state of the art but they still work. My locos have the new ones but, lots of my cars still have hook horns. I have a few cars that have one each that stay behind the loco.
  6. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    Thanks all for the warm welcome. I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but where do you all go for the best prices on HO flex track? My local hobby store sells them for $3.39 each, but I've seen them online for as low as $1.99. I'd love to support my local store (and I'm sure I will with other purchases), but I was wondering if there was a place online that you all find reliable. And if I start anew, code 83 or 100?

    Also, if anyone has any advice on how to get a few sheets of 4x8 plywood home in (or on) a '91 240sx, that would be appreciated as well. :)

  7. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Scott, The deal on flex track is about the same as everything else online, it's cheaper but you have the shipping cost to consider. If you need a bunch buy on line, if you need a little get it from the LHS.
    As for 83 vs 100, 83 is more prototipical, however on some old rolling stock the wheel flanges are to tall and will hit the ties on code 83. Not that hard to remidy but something to consider.
    On the plywood, have the home center rip it in to 2' wide pieces and hang it out the hatchback, or tie it to the roof, or borrow your buddy's pickup.
  8. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    On getting plywood home if you drive a 240sx:

    You will need the following things:

    1 friend with a pickup truck
    1 pizza
    2 six-packs beverage of choice

    Offer the friend pizza to give you a lift to the store to pick up plywood, as well as 1x2 and 1x4 lumber for benchwork, and some Styrofoam sheeting (the pink or blue stuff, not the white stuff) to make scenery. Once you get home and you and your friend get it unloaded, proceed to the pizza. Again with the assistance of your friend, consume the pizza and beverages.

    Mission accomplished!

    As to your layout plans: Steam is appropriate up until around 1950-1960, so you can certainly have both steam and diesel on the layout. Definitely replace the brass track with new nickel-silver. Definitely replace the horn-hook couplers with Kadee #5 couplers--they look better and operate better.

    Start out small--there's no need to fill your whole basement at once. One strategy a lot of folks use is to build the layout one section at a time--that way you can see your progress a lot more directly than trying to take on a huge project all at once, you'll be running trains and showing it off a lot more quickly, and you can get your feet wet without breaking the bank.
  9. Welcome, Scotty, to the forum and the hobby! Here's my thoughts on some things you asked:

    That's a pretty huge space. Question: Is it finished, i.e., walls ceiling, floor, etc.? If not, I'd advise doing some finishing work first, since it's much easier to do it now that try to do it around an existing layout (also known as "been there, done that").

    Also, with that much space, I'd advise setting aside a portion of it for a nice sized workbench and shelf storage. Also, a crew lounge area would be nice, even if it's just for you and family to relax and watch the trains run.

    Agreed. Vintage stuff is better displayed on a shelf since the running quality is generally no where near as good as today's models, and for sentimental reasons as well, since you don't want to risk breaking these through handling.

    Wise decision. Unless you have a really, really, thought out plan and have the patience to match it, it generally best to start off with something manageable that can eventually be added on to. This helps with the sense of accomplishment so that you don't get burned out on any one aspect, such as benchwork.

    Brass track has gone the way of the Edsel and is not used by many people anymore due to its nature to oxydize and cause conductivity issues. Nickol silver is the defacto norm now.

    Kadee #5 couplers are the standard for most cars now days. They are much more prototypical looking that the hornhooks, and much more reliable. This is one of those things that will save you many headaches down the line.

    Turn of the century railroad modeling is tough, because from what I read recently in a Model Railroader article there's not a lot of early 1900s rolling stock being made. If you can go a little later, say 1930s to 1950s, you will have a much broader array of stock to choose from.

    As far as getting the lumber home, I'd advise making a list of all the lumber you'll need for the benchwork and buying it all at once if possible, then have the home improvement store deliver it if you don't have access to a friend with a truck. Delivery charge is generally nominal, say $25 or so.

    So, there's my 2 cents worth, and again, welcome to the forum and hobby!
  10. rcline

    rcline Member

    Welllllllll Scoooooott, it's like thiiiiiis, you have just entered the world of truth and knowlage.
    1. Remember what you read here, because these pros won't steer you wrong.
    2. Remember what you read here, and apply what you have learned.
    3. Now!! Go have "FUN"
    Welcome to the gauge.
  11. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I don't know if you have either of these two stores near you but most Lowes or Home Depot's have trucks sitting out front for rent for just that purpose. I think it's something like $20 for half a day.
  12. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Some companies will deliver within a certain distance.
  13. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    Ha ha,

    Thanks guys for all your help. It looks like I'm just better off buying most everything in bulk, plywood and framing, nickel silver track, and rolling stock. I guess the first task will be coming up with a track plan that I like and think I can manage (keeping future expansion in mind as well), and then building the framework for it.

    BUT -- it will have to wait for next weekend. Off to work I go!

    Thanks guys!

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