Hi, I'm new

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by masphx, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. masphx

    masphx New Member

    :wave: Hi,
    My name is Mason and I’m going to starting a model railroad and I’m new to this forum.

    I’m not sure when I will put in a permanent model railroad in my house but when I come home from college for the winter break I would like to put a railroad around my parents Christmas tree.
    I have always been into trains and model railroading since I was very young and even had HO trains running around on the table top but never a real model railroad. Now I’m 24 yrs old and feel ready to take on the challenge of creating my own railroad. My skills have increased in art (model airplanes, and painting), automotive repair (2000 Camaro v-6, they don’t make them anymore so I would like to keep around), and just a general feeling that I know at beginners level how to use tools and cut wood. This makes me believe that I could build a model railroad if given the time and the space.
    I would just like some helpful tips on how to start in HO.
  2. Welcome Mason, youve come to the right place for help and ideas. Im fairly new to building a good size layout myself, and these guys here really are a great help. One thing i can suggest is to take your time and develope yourself a track plan. Know what your building before you ever drive the first nail. I learnt this the expensive way. I used to go out and buy anything that looked cool no matter if it fit my era or not. BTW, i didnt know what an era was at first, but after being on here a while, i learned. If your planning on modelling a specefic era, and location, do LOTS of research. It will save you a lot of time and money in the end. Just ask questions and these guys and gals here will guide you in the right direction. Again, welcome and look forward to seeing your progress.
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Hi Mason and welcome. There are as many opinions here as there are people. Just pick the opinion you like and charge on with the layout. Sometimes you'll even find two of us that agree. Seriously, you'll find a lot of good info on The Gauge.
  4. masphx

    masphx New Member

    Ok, I have some questions right from the start(and many more to come )

    Which track is the best? I have heard that atlas 83 is very good and realalistic.
    I will be running the trains on the floor for 2 month up to a year so what kind of track should I get to protect the engines when on the ground? Atlas true track? Will this track pop off from the plastic mold when I'm ready to incorporate it into a new model railroad?
    Radius- What should the min be? I have heard 18" min, 22" is liked more.
    My first engine might be one I had as a kid which my dad put away after I lost interest. Now I hope he still has it. The engine was a HO Pennsylvannia GGI( I have no idea who made it). What turn radius whould I need to support this engine?
  5. gottaBreal

    gottaBreal Member

    Try and use HUGE radius over 26" is best.....heck 40" is great but 30' is dam near perfect.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You need to decide what kind of modeling you want to do first. If you are going to run a bunch or modern 6 axle diesel power or big steam, you'll need a large radius to make it look good. On the other hand, if you want to do a small switching layout with a 4 axle switcher or something like a GE 44 tonner, you can run just about any radius. Galen made a timesaver layout on two 3 foot sections if I remember correctly. He did a fantastic job on scenery, and brought it to the modular club meeting for some of us to play with. He had a GE 44 tonner and about 6 freight cars, and we had a lot of fun switching on it. I think it was about 1 foot wide and 6 feet long when both sections were put together. It could be broken down to the 2 3 foot sections for storage.

    Atlas true track can be removed from the roadbed sections to be used on a model railroad. I just noticed your reference to the GG1. I don't think that is a good choice for the space I'm presuming you will have. I assuming that you live in a college dorm when away from home. A GG1 will work best in a continuous running loop type layout. I'm pretty sure it will handle an 18 inch radius. The problem is that with a small layout, any train at all behind the GG1 will look like it is chasing it's tail unless you have a lot more room than I think you have.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Using your track on the floor pretty much precludes normal flex track because there is no way to hold it in place and it doesn't have any roadbed. Your options are limited to Bachmann Easy Trac, the Atlas product mentioned above or Kato's Unitrak (I believe thats what its called.) Be aware that the trains will pick up a lot of lint, dirt etc. from carpeting.
  8. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    18" radius is fine.... it won't look right but thats ok. its looks ok on 22s.
  9. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    Welcome Mason--

    I have been on other forums related to other hobby interests and can say that without a doubt, this group is the most knowlegable and the most helpful and supportive I've seen. These guys really know what they are talking about. I started out with a 4-6-4 steam engine, and an oval of 18" radius turns and it worked out well for me.Listen to the advice of the others and they will help you set up something that you will enjoy--good luck and welcome aboard-----John R
  10. masphx

    masphx New Member

    Thank you all for your suggestions!!!
    I have a good feeling this is going to be the best forum for model railroading. Last night I finished reading every post and page of Steves Twin River Railroad and it is quite the thread. I leared alot so thankyou Steve and all the people who helped him for the great example of what someone could pull off who is new.
    As for my start here it is,
    Bought the six piece atlas 100 code track and the three Bachmann boxcars a week ago at a hobby store. I also have a stack of MR magazines which have giving me much needed information. I bought the track when I had no idea about the code 83 which I'm planning on buying. As for the Boxcars I know that people kind of dont like Bachmann but had to start some place. Because I will not have a permanent model railroad for some time I would like to concentrate on modeling and weathering the trains. These three boxcars will be good practice for this.
    So far I'm planning on modeling the 40-55 era with both steam and diesel.
    If anyone has suggestions on weathering trains I would love to hear. Also I think its time to invest in a airbrush set, If anyone has suggestions on airbrush sets I would also like to hear.
  11. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    The track you would use for a temporary layout on the floor will be different from the track that you want to use on a layout. The stuff with the roadbed built in would be good for the floor. As for the layout, that will depend somewhat on your budget. Now that I am a mid-career professional, for example, I can afford the fancy stuff, so the layout that I am building will use Walthers Shinohara code 83 Ni-Ag track. It looks fantastic, but is a bit pricey.

    However, if you want to build just a simple layout, like just track nailed down to a board, the track you had on the floor should be OK. It is probably worthwhile to use this sectional track to experiment with and decide what sort of operation you like.

    When you get to a board, I'd highly recommend getting a piece of 4x8 foamboard to start with. It's easy to pin the track down, and it is light and portable.
  12. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Mason, good to hear of others around my age in the hobby (i'm a 23yr old grad student)! Pick up some (pastel) chalk...orange, grey, white, black, brown...and a can of aerosol dullcote (such as testors). Remove the couplers and trucks from the car. Scrape some of the chalk off with a knife, and then brush it on with a paintbrush/q-tip. Rust near the roof...dust near the ground...just look at trains...steam era box cars look nice when their roofs have plenty of black soot. Once you have a result you like, spray it with the dullcote/flat finish from about 12" away. It serves two purposes: seals the chalk and removes the glossy surfaces on the cars. In time, you'll want to paint the wheels and trucks some combination of rust and grimy black.

    I HIGHLY recommend 22" radius curves as a minimum...almost everything in HO scale is designed to operate on 18" radius...but not necessarily operate well. Also, if that GG1 is an old rivarossi engine...it might not like code 83 rail (specifically turnout frogs). I'd still highly recommend code 83 with atlas custom line (not snap track) switches. For a permanent layout, code 70 would be appropriate for most railroads within your time period (code 83 isn't quite as good, but easier to come by). Code 100 rail is accurate for the Pennsy, but the ties still look pretty bad.

    EDIT: would you like any advice about railroads to check out?
  13. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    And you still want to do a layout?sign1 You are a glutton for punishment aren't you!

    Thank you for your kind words...I'm glad you got some things you can use from the thread:thumb: You are doing the two most important things: reading and asking questions. The members here are always willing to share their knowledge and expertise...heck I may even be able to answer a question or two;)
    Just remember...it's a hobby (if it ain't fun...you're doing it wrong!):D Also keep in mind, if I can do it, YOU can do it. Right now I'm starting a curved steel bridge project on my layout and I'm completely in over my head...as usual:D :D :D
    keep posting!
  14. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    How do Mason! Welcome. Sounds like you're gettng some good replies here. Glad ytou could join us.
  15. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    What you can do for starters is make a model of your model. John Allen and other greats did this. [I am not suggesting I am great however] I did it and it helped my layout a lot. I was able to visualize where things went and except for one thing, it all fits exactly.

    Anyhow, I have a tutorial on this if you are interested.

    I also suggest you read a lot and make a list of absolutes and also what you can live without.
    Then build your plans from there.

    Hope that helps. :)
  16. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Oops, by the way, welcome Mason :D
  17. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Yes! Welcome to the gauge! :thumb: Can't wait to see some progress! :)
  18. hobokid

    hobokid thebull

    welcome to the best thing online.
  19. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    becareful with the lettering on those cars. they can rub off easily.

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