How Do You Guys Do It?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Cannonball, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I've been looking around this forum and some of you have amazing layouts. How do you find the time, money, space and the patience to do it? I have honestly had to look twice at a few photos to be sure they weren't the real thing. I just couldn't imagine the time it takes to do something like that. I barely have enough patience to lay down a track layout before running my train let alone having the time or the cash flow for some of the details you all go into.

    I feel so out of my league here. :oops:
    You guys are amazing! :thumb:
  2. smullen

    smullen New Member

    I wonder most about the space and the talent... Its not that expensive if you don't buy everything in one shot... But It'll add up I know...

    I'm really wanting to do a layout, but I can't see being able to dedicate more than a 4x8 space and I can't find any layouts that I'd really want in 4x8 (O guage)...

    I see a lot of these guys doing like 16x32"s and just huge things.... None of the rooms in my house are even near that size....
  3. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Well...I'll answer each question one by one. These are my own personal.
    With work, family get togethers, and a "honey-do list" the length of the Northeast Corridor, every spare minaute is dedicated to my modelling. And there ain't to much of that.

    Mortgage, house bills, car repairs....Usually my overtime covers my finances for the trains.

    A premium at my house. Negotiating for "Layout Rights was hard. Thats why my layout's in the attic, and the workshop is in the basement.

    I usually have two or three projects going at the same time. Decaling rolling stock, new scratchbuild, or some scenery. If somethings not working out right, I just stop that and move on to another project. If its really bad....There's always TV.
  4. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    As a single father with two small kids, time is precious. I can usually only dedicate myself to a project in 20 minute bursts, or else the house would burn down. Generally, I dedicate the time after they go to bed at 9:00pm-11:00pm as my railroad time.

    Again...see above. Single dad, two kids. Luckily I don't have much in the way of bills right now, so I'm able to afford a decent budget for my hobby right now. But then again, I pick up small items here and there, and don't usually go out and get a bunch at one time.

    N scale. Space is always an issue, with just about everyone. I figured I'd get the most bang for my buck by staying small. I would've loved to do HO, but I would've sacrificed a lot of operation to do so.


    I, too, have several projects going at once. It's easy to get frustrated when working with detail parts. Not to mention most have to be prepped and painted before you can do anything at all, so it's important to be able to multi-task. I also have the website to maintain, so that helps when I want to work on trains, but not actually do modelling.

    Anyone can do this hobby. It's hard not to look at all the great pictures here and in magazines and want a huge layout...and have it tomorrow. You have to remember is that most of those guys have been working on their layouts for years, even decades. It's not the destination that's important, it's the journey.
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I don't have much space either. Even though I've been into model railroading for fifty years. Fortunately, I belong to a club that has a large building and few members. I have a section of the layout that I'm responsible for. I, and alot of other people, I'm sure have purchased most of their equipment over a period of years. When I was working, I did alot of traveling overseas and usually carried some train stuff with me. I had a Heisler and log cars on the floor of my hotel room in Buenos Aires. A Mantua ten wheeler and cars on the dining room table of my apartment in Stockholm, so you see, you can run trains just about anywhere. I still have my 220 volt power supply for overseas use. I also, like you found little time and money for hobbies when I was young. Stick with it and do what you can, when you can. Oh yeah, as an afterthought. Tell your significant other, if there is one, " I could be spending that money and time at the bar".
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Time?---2-4 hours a week more or less >>> over a 34 year period:)

    Money?---I take castoffs and freebies, junkers and losers, bargain boxes and yard sale gimmes...if I had $1500 into what I have, I'd be genuinely surprised, and we're talking about a fleet of 60+ locos and 150+ cars, not to mention the contents of one N scale layout and a 6' x 30" module. Most of what I buy new is paint, decals, wheelsets, couplers, scratchbuilding supplies and detail parts...oh, and Wally World vehicles:thumb:

    Space? ---my beloved has graciously granted me a 4' x 12' area and wall space for my display cases---more than I could ever have hoped for in a small apartment with 2 kids and a mother-in-law.

    Patience?---The secret is remembering that it's just a hobby, nothing more than the added blessing of some extra bits of the above three mentioned ingredients carefully kept in perspective over the past 30+ years.:thumb:
  7. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    That's definitely quoteworthy!

  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I have to confess that I haven't always kept that usually starts fading to the background 15 minutes into a wandering short in the wiring:curse: :D :thumb:
  9. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thanks for the relies, everyone. :)
    I've gotten the impression that a lot of these layouts have developed over long periods by what I've read so far on the forum. That's where the patience thing comes in for me. I have one of thos epersonalities that says, "I want what I want, when I want it, and I want it now!" :D Unfortunately, I also have champagne tastes on a beer budget. The two together have lead to a lot of bad decisions over the years that involved matters more important than model trains but I'm learning to control the impulses. (Having a wife and a kid to support will do that to a guy. :D ) I've got my eye on a few pieces out there that I really want and the rest I can just sort of mishmash together as time goes on.

    Once again, you are all an awesome bunch!
  10. KCS

    KCS Member

    That's me! Now, lucky I don't have any kid's but I do have a signifacant other to whom I'm not maried yet and buddy does she get mad every time I hit Ebay or travel to a show and come back with a few hundred worth of suff. I found that I can either save and buy a bunch at a time and have a resting period or I can buy little here and there more often. I prefer the bunch at one time. That way during the time I have away from buying I can build and super detail what I have bought from the previous buy. Just a way to keep things to do when there is nothing to do and that's most of the time.

    I'm moving into prototype building and after seeing this site this will be my next project. Go threw the pages at the bottom of each page to veiw the build of this model. A recent Ebay listing which I can't post a link to of this locomotive but I wanted to collapse into a coma after it sold for $1,250. I'm working with the guy now to get a full parts list and certain info. This should keep me busy for a while. Enjoy. :thumb:
  11. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    1) no kids :)

    2) this hobby need not be expensive. You can spend endless hours scratchbuilding from materials you get for pennies or for free. You don't need 25 locomotives - you can have loads of fun with just one. I have made buildings from pizza boxes and paper towel tubes. Somewhere on here is a thread about a boxcar I made... boxcar

  12. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I like that.
    I dunno if I'd have enough talent to pull something like that off though.
    Of course, you never know until you try.... *goes looking for a pizza box*
  13. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    It is simple actually. Money, I have very little so I take my time and once every 3 months I buy something on sale and go from there.
    As for the time, I have way too much being disabled and not much to do. I don't have any money to go out soooo. Lots of time for my layout.

    My layout is a small one in the living room.

    As for patience hmmm...
    My dad use to paint realistic faces on one inch high men he used on sailboats he made. I just took it for granted everyone did that and so when I started I basically did the same thing.
    One main difference I have seen between the so called pro's and the newbies is that that pro's have more patience. They KNOW how to take thier time and simply enjoy it. They also know when to stop, take a break, or even just walk away from it for a day or week.
    It is not always 'fun' [like wiring for me sucks because of my knees and back, major pain sometimes] but once done it is rewarding.

    So take your time, it is not a race. It is meant to be a fun and enjoyable past time. :)

    I hope my two cents helps you. :)
  14. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Right now I don't have a layout but I do mini scenes that will be placed on the layout when I do have the room for one. I just take my time and over the period of 3-4 months I have a little mini scene completed. Right now I don't have to spend any money because I got all my dad's stuff after he passed away in 2001. So I just use his stuff he had. But when I do get enough room, watch out because I am real bad with keeping money.sign1
  15. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Let's start with a definition of a hobby: an activity carried on primarily for pleasure or pastime.

    This says it all. Everyone has a different prospective on what a hobby does for them or how they approach the activities of a specific hobby. Some people can get immersed to the point that it is no longer fun but a job. Others take it so lightly that it sometimes can be an annoyance. Time, money and space are all dependent on the individual's circumstances.

    Time, for me, I have the time because I'm retired and we are mainly homebodies, we don't travel a lot and we don't have a very active social life like parties and theaters and such.

    Money, well we're on a fixed income as are most retirees, we just use our heads on how we spend it. We are not looking to make our heirs rich so our focus is spending what we need and want as long as the bank account holds up.

    Space, well I'm intentionally into N scale because here in Arizona we don't have basements or attics. But we don't have kids living with us either so I've had the house constructed to take one bedroom and put it adjoined to my office. As I expand my layout, I'll just have to get innovative, that's all.

    Patience, well as I said, this is a hobby. The idea is that you can get so involved with what you're doing that you forget about the troubles and ills of the world for that moment in time. You realize that quality takes time and not everything happens like the advertisers and TV shows would like you to think. Most people, including myself, have been working on their layouts for years and not having it near completion. That should not be a problem, for me anyway, since I'm from a generation where instant gratification is not the norm. If you don't have patience, you can learn. If you can't learn, then you're not doing the right thing, you're not there "primarily for pleasure or pastime."
  16. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    As for patience: I have a 12 X 20 foot layout that has been gradually developing over ten years. Its looking fairly finished now. I think you can derive a lot of enjoyment building a layout when you consider the process of creating it as much fun as running the actual finished product. If you are too goal oriented and make the finished layout your only source of enjoyment in the hobby you're likley to be frustrated.

    I'm with nachoman up above when it comes to saving money by scratchbuilding. My scratchbuilding skills aren't fantastic but have created some adequate structures. As time goes by and my skills improve I've been rebuilding them or replacing them with structures that I'm happier with.

    Lately I've come to realize that I could be satisfied with a much smaller layout. Threads I've read here about operations and clever scenic ideas make me think that I could still have a lot of fun even if I had to reduce the layout's space significantly.

  17. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I agree with Don. You have to enjoy it to want to do it. In my case, I have been 3 years working on my layout.

    Well, we have no kids, but I do own my own business and also am under contract to do computer sales and service at a local shop, that gets me 40-42 hours a week. I usually do my dioramas in the evening while my wife is watching TV. Usually from 9PM-11PM.

    With just starting my business at the same time as my layout, I have little or no money, so I have to be creative. Most of the wood I got when a local store was renovating, they had lots of (to their way of thinking) scrap wood. It worked out great for me. Then I used the old barter system... at our model railroad club, a couple of the guys were having computer problems so I traded my time, for their unused railroad stuff. Got most of the track and switches that way. Then there is always birthdays and christmas. My "Wish List" only has RR stuff on it. :D For scenery, find things around you that work. I use old dryer sheets and white glue to make my bases, no need to buy Woodland Scenics plaster cloth. I keep the coffee grounds from our coffee maker, I also befriended the owner of the local coffee shop, gave her an empty container and she dumped a days worth of grounds in for me, I just had to spread them out and dry them. In winter, the town uses sand on the roads and sidewalks, in spring I helped them by cleaning up in front of our apartment. Ground foam can be made from an old pillow and a 2nd hand blender with some $1 acrylic paint.

    Be creative and you don't need to spend a bundle.

    Can you say "N" scale. We live in an aprtment, so I don't have a huge basement. Our apartment is 1000 square feet, my wife rearranged things so I could have an 11.5' x 6.5' alcove for the layout.
    NOTE: Since I have been modeling in N, I would not go back to HO even if I had a large basement. You can do so much more with an N scale empire. :thumb:

    As stated above, you have to enjoy it to do it. When I start a structure, I don't care how long it takes me. For example, I purchased a couple of small kits from the instructions said they could be assembled in an evening. It took me a week, one day to read and familiarize myself with the kit parts, then painting and drying took 1.5 days, then I slowly assembled it. Letting the glue dry before moving on.
    Take your time, who cares, the end result will be worth it.

    Hope this helps.
    BTW, it is only one man's opinion. :)
  18. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Total agreement here.

    When I first started looking at what buildings I wanted to use, someone suggested doing cardstock mockups to see about size and functionality. About that time my wife ran across some of those Dover "Cut and Assemble" books on sale in the local book store. They were HO, but I scanned them into the computer and resized them for "N".

    I also did a search on the internet for paper structures and was surprised at the number of free structures that were there available for download. Some of this sites I bookmarked...

    I have a pile of cardstock printed now. When I get my track laid and wired, I will be using the card stock to fill in where I do not have a proper structure. Then as I get to scratching, or get a kit for christmas or birthday...
  19. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    My turn :D

    I'm 10 years your senior CB :) When I was 37 I was working on the layout (G gauge) whenever I could... It's a 12 ft wide X 8 ft deep layout.

    3 years ago - I took the track all off and started all over again (see the link in my sig below). I work on it when I feel like it or when there is a Gauge Challenge, which I'm working on now.

    I buy most of my stuff at train shows and flea markets. The strucures i build myself, mostly out of wood, since it's an F scale 1:20.3 logging road now.. :D :D The trains haven't moved since the beginning of November now.....
  20. lionelfan

    lionelfan Member

    As for time, I have almost no free time, I work two jobs totaling about 65 hours a week. I work on my hobbies (trains, model cars) mostly in the winter months when no outside work is calling me. I try to work 2-3 hours a week solid on my hobbies.

    As far as patience, I work on something and if I find myself getting frustrated, I pack it in until the next time and then it will usually go better. I find I lose myself in the detailing of the layout and tend to relax as I forget the days troubles, it takes me back to when I was a kid in the 50's just having fun with my trains.

    As far as money, I limit myself to 50-60 dollars a month, so needless to say in Lionel 0-27 guage I do not get much in the way of new equipment. Fortunately, I am into the Lionel from the mid 70's so equipment is still reasonable and loco's in the 150 dollar range, and I bought much of my rolling stock and locos in the 70's before I was married. I am not into the new locos with all the railsounds etc. too much trouble from what I read on this and other sites.

    As EZ Days said, I try to keep this fun and not obscess on it to the point it becomes like a job. I have fun and run and do what pleases me.

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