I'm new here so I need advice.

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by bryandjen107, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. bryandjen107

    bryandjen107 New Member

    Hello all,

    I am new here and to the hobby. I have a renewed interset in model railroading. I have an old Lionel steam engine 2018 from about 1952 or 1954. It was my fathers. He passed it on to me when I was little. 34 years later I have a little one of my own (almost 3) and she loves trains, or choo choo's in her language. Since she had shown a major intrest in trains I pulled my old set out and had a local shop perform a good "once over" on the trains. I was shocked to find out that after about 20 years of not running the train, it was in perfect running condition and only need to be oiled and some brushed replaced. I took it home and with my old 1033 transformer, bam worked like it was 1954. What craftsmanship. I am an engineer and to think that something that old still runs like a new engine is amazing to me.

    This brings me to my first question ever posted here. Now that I am very interested in modeling, what is the best way to get started. Are there any good refernce books that you all could recommed? Is O guage the way to go or is HO the way to go? I know this is a question that will come with biased answers, but I guess I am looking for information to help me decide. What are the pros and cons of the above gauges besides the spacial issues?

    Thanks for allof you help and I am looking forward to getting on in my renewed hobby.


  2. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I'm not real knowledgible on all of this, but I can stick in an opinion. I wouldn't consider HO until your young'un is considerable older. Space-wise, HO will not save you, as O gauge will fit in equal area. Scenery is what will eat you up on that. That is where HO would rule, but tiny hands ............ well.

  3. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    Oh, yeah, Bryan, welcome to The Gauge.

  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    If you have the space and money, O and O27 are the thing to have. (At least in my not so humble opinion) I've got a 35 year old Lionel engine that's still going as well. Nothing fancy but it has a lot of love. :) I also have a 3 year old daughter who is into trains. I just got her an HO gauge for X-mas.

    If you're limited for space like I am, N gauge would be the thing. Not recommended for little hands however. It's either that or become a master of the doorway layouts with O and HO.

    Check out http://www.thortrains.com for neat layout ideas in all gauges as well as a few tips on running your trains.
  5. bryandjen107

    bryandjen107 New Member

    I should have said that the modeling now willbe mostly by me. She got me hooked with her wanting to play with my older set. I guess what I am trying to say is that the older train set is for our enjoyment, but it sparked an intrest in getting more involved in my own modeling.


  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Glad you could join us Bryan! One of the advantages of HO is that its currently the most popular scale and has an amazing range of products available. I'd also venture to say it is less expensive generally than O. I admire O for its heft and size (I love the local O scale club layout here in St. Paul at Bandana Square) and I imagine detailing would be a little easier because if it.

    I'd recommend a tour of the local hobby shops so you can see first hand what's availavble. There are some good how-to books out there for new modelers that will be helpful.

    Neat story about the old Lionel set working so well!

  7. tracman165

    tracman165 New Member

    I'm brand new to the site also, but I would say if you have the space, and don't
    mind taking your time purchaseing "O", that would be the way to go, but all
    and all its a fun hobby no matter what the gauge!
  8. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    i say look at HO if you want to buy structures N if you want to make them
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Welcome Bryan: I'll have to go along with most of the others as far as telling you that HO is more of a "mature" persons' plaything as are most of the smaller scales. Even scale O gauge equipment is not for three year olds. Too expensive and fragile to be dropped on the floor. The Lionel stuff is probably better for your daughter but will still require supervision.
    As for your own future layout, cost,and available space are the two primary considerations.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi Bryan! All the scales have their merits (and some may have a few demerits).
    HO seems to be a scale where you can do anything you want -- whether you want to build everything or buy everything.
    O comes in 2 flavours, scale and tinplate (Lionel), and there are partisans on both sides. Scale is sometimes harder to find, and you'll do a lot more of your own constructing. Tinplate has all the operating toys and gizmos.
    G is bigger; originally designed for outdoor use.
    N is more delicate to work in than HO. Lots of ready-to-run, a little low on kits.
    Z is smaller in all respects; more European stock than American available.
    S, TT, OO are really minority scales in America. S probably has the most commercial support.
    There are also narrow gauge combinations e.g. O scale cars on HO track. You are allowed to say they're cute.
    There are a number of threads on here where people have made arguments for different scales.

    One word about what you have now: check the power cord on the 1033. After 50 years the rubber is usually cracked and will be dangerous. Even if you have to pay to have it replaced, it's worth it.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The bigger the scale, the less layout you can get in a specific space. On the other hand the smaller the scale, the harder it is to build stuff for it. I find ho to be a good compromise for me. Nscale has the advantage of allowing a very high scenery to model ratio. I guess the first thing to ask is what sort of railroad do you want to model.
  12. bryandjen107

    bryandjen107 New Member

    I am looking into either N or HO scale. What I plan on doinf is my fathers home town from pictures he has and the local library has. It is a combination of a local line, trolley and a about two frieght lines. It should be loads of fun. thanks for all of your help on this. Send more ideas and opinions please.


  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Bryan,
    You're doing the right thing to get plenty of info before jumping!:D My best advice is
    to keep reading all you can! Do you have a local hobby shop (LHS)? There are a few
    magazines which should give you some ideas: Model Railroader, Railroad Model
    Craftsman, Mainline Modeler, etc. I would take a loook at some layout photos to get
    a better idea of what's involved in creating an HO display vs N scale, and look at some
    equipment at the hobby shop. Best of Luck!!:thumb: :)
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Bryan,


    You asked about resources - take a look around here...! We have covered almost every topic imaginable at one time or another. Spend a bit of time with the search tool, and look through The Academy section for some ideas of really outstanding work that can be done.

    My advice is to read, read, read! And to recognize that this is not an "instant gratification" hobby (unless you have big $$$), so taking your time is not the end of the world. This hobby can last you a lifetime - there are so many components - model building, carpentry, electrical, computers, photography, geography, history, painting - all of which can be enjoyed to the degree you want.

    Good luck, and nice to have you with us!


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