Just trying to take care of my hubby

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by MammaGehl, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. MammaGehl

    MammaGehl New Member

    This is yet another -- I am new help me please -- thread. But even after reading other posts I could still use some newbie help. This Christmas I want to start a model train set for my husband. We just had our first kiddo and I know that this is something that he would love to do with him as he gets older. It would most likely be a seasonal set but I would still like to get him a nice set that will last for a very long time. I am looking to spend around $200 this year and $50-100 each year as we build the set. If we have to wait a few year before we have collected enough pieces to have something nice to run that's ok. Jack is only 2 months now so I don't think he will mind much :D

    I was thinking of going with HO scale but am open to O as well. I would like the kids to be able to run the train, but not necessarily help assemble it until they were older (say sevenish). My husband is into traditional things so I would prefer not to get a digital control center.

    I have time, since this is going to be a Christmas gift, but I would like to figure out what to look for so I can start scouting for deals :thumb:

    I appreciate any advice on where to start!
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge. The rule of thumb is "the smaller the hands the bigger the trains." Also ho scale trains will have small peices that could be choking hazards for the very young ones. The two trains that I like to reccomend for little ones are Lionel, and LGB. Both have starter sets at around $150.00-$200.00 I think. Another set that is good for little ones is the Playmobile train set. It is a quality set built on LGB mechanisms, but made to use the Playmobile little people. It has no small detail parts to break off and become a choking hazard. Lionel offers a "Thomas" set that is popular with the kids who are into the Thomas and Friends tv show. Yours may be a little young now, but will probably get into Thomas as he gets older.
  3. MammaGehl

    MammaGehl New Member

    Thanks for the quick response. I was thinking that this train would be on a table, not the floor to keep the kids from getting to it. We could do a second kid train set for them, but I want a nicer set for my husband.
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave: O might me just the ticket if you have room for it .
  5. Welcome, I got a Lionel O gauge set at the age of three, it still runs as if it were brand new. Mine is an O gauge. That might be best because little ones can handle them, and they are great quality and are good for adults(your husband) as well.
    Good Luck!
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Hi and welcome! It sounds like you have already done some research since you are aware of scale differences and issues like DCC. I hope some of the O gauge people will give you more info but I wonder if HO might fit your proposed budget a little better (?)
    I think its great you're planning ahead this early. Any preferences regarding old time steam locomotives vs diesel?
  7. MammaGehl

    MammaGehl New Member

    Nope, no preference.

    I have an old track that my grandfather ran for me when I was a kid -- will any train of the same gauge run on it or is it manufacturer specific? That is an HO track and might influence my gauge choice if is would be compatible with a new train...

    I have one vote for Lionel if i went with O, any one else have a manufacturer suggestion for O or HO?
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    How old is the old track? I'm not sure when nickel-silver track came out in ho, but in the early '60s we were still using brass track, and it tends to tarnish and need a lot of continual cleaning to keep it working well.
  9. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse Member

    O scale is great for christmas trees and your application. I bought a Lionel Polar Express set exclusively for under the tree. It looks and runs great (and smokes and whistles !). I love HO, but bigger trains look better under the tree. Also, most lionel sets come with a version of fast track, which is plastic roadbed built into the track. (they also make that in HO) It will run fine on table and will run well on carpet. Lionel also makes alot of products specifically for christmas. Go to Lionel.com and check out the current catalog.
  10. MammaGehl

    MammaGehl New Member

    I went back to the hobby shop today and decided I definitely want to get a steam loco. I think I am going to end up going with O -- is Lionel the main name in O gauge or do I have choices? Also can I run any train on FastTrack or does it have to be a Lionel one?

  11. I am by no means an expert but...I run three different brands on fastrack.It is rugged and easy to deal with.I have an obnoxious 10 year old and I have no problem letting him use and help with my O but I still get a little queasy when he starts eyeballing the HO!
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Lionel, Mike's Train House (MTH), and K-line are the major brands for O, but Lionel is probably the best for kids. Lionel makes some nice small steam engines in O27 for kids. I think the others are closer to scale with small details to break off and become choking hazards. The MTH or Gargraves track is a lot nicer than Lionel's older stuff, but Lionel might have come out with some newer more scale looking track now.
  13. Lionel, MTH, and K-line are probably the best known and easiest to find o gauge manufacturers. They all have pretty rugged starter sets with track and transformer that would fit you budget. K-line however has just been bought out by lionel so it may only be available through the Christmas 06 lionel catalog. I just know that with my lionel experience lionel holds up and runs great. Hope you find what you want.
  14. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi MamaGehl,:wave:

    I think the best advice for buying someone else's hobby materials is to get them totally involved from the outset. You said this is for your husband, and that you know it's something he would love to do, but you seem to be making the decisions. In many houses, this would be a project destined to cause trouble!!!:eek: :eek:

    Please don't take this personally; I'm sure you know him better than anyone, and I'm not giving marital advice here. :D :D :D . I'm just saying that railroad modeling is a very personal thing, and likes and dislikes can be very pronounced and illogical. There are lots of aspects I wouldn't get within ten feet of which many folks dote on, and vice versa.

    Here are options to consider: scale, era, roadname(s), prototype/freelance/"protolance", loco type/size configuration, DC/DCC, sound/not, area and terrain, freight/passenger/both, coupler type, layout type (table, shelf, floor, continuous running or ops), buildings; the list is endless.

    No one knows what he or she would be happy with until they start investigating the possibilities, and determine how much modelling type labor to put in, and how much floor space to use up.

    Maybe you all have already discussed some of this, but I don't get that indication from your post. I'm just suggesting that he be involved. :thumb: I know that it's virtually impossible for Carole to buy something layout-related for me other than a pack of LPB's :D :D

    Maybe start him out with a magazine subscription or a gift certificate!!

    Your Mileage May Vary:thumb:
  15. MammaGehl

    MammaGehl New Member

    :D Thanks for the honest advice :D I have thought about that and had decided to buy several train sets for him, give them all to him for christmas and then let him choose one, or a totally different one, and return the rest (I already made sure the hobby shop accepts returns...). I want to learn about them so I can explain to him about what the pro/cons are. Knowing my husband he will tell me to keep whichever one I think is best -- but I still want to give him the option in case he surprises me :rolleyes:

    I do keep hoping he accidentally discovers my plans so we can chat about it over a nice aussie
  16. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    It's not a bad plan! The Fast Track seems to be a good quality product and fairly
    realistic (for 3-rail.) hamr I have to agree with you on the steam locomotives, soot and cinders
    beats out that ol' diesel smell any day!! :D :D
  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you go with the O gauge trains, the 3 brands mentioned will all work together, they run on the same track and the couplings match. The only problem is that some of the trains have been "shrunk" to a toy size while others in the same line are full scale and they two look funny togther. Also, some locomotives and rolling stock (the scale ones)need larger curves.
    The parts that don't match always are the tracks. There are a lot of manufacturers with plastic track bases and they don't join together. Lionel makes 3 types of track that are incompatible. If your hobby shop is willing to take them back after Christmas, he will probably also give you good advice on that.

    If you tell us where your husband grew up, we can suggest some railroads that would have run in the area. I think 8 to 16 is the influential time for this.
  18. MammaGehl

    MammaGehl New Member

    He grew up outside of Buffalo, NY and I grew up in Baltimore. I was looking at the Lionel New York Central (is that the right name?) starter set today, but would love suggestions!! I am still open to HO (if that is what he decides he wants) so I would like to hear advice on that too. Thank you all for your help on this :thumb: :D
  19. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse Member

    Hi....The locomotive and caboose are really the only things that have to be the same Railroad , Freight cars were exchanged between RR's so they don't matter. (All of this assumes you care about the prototype, if you just want to have fun have fun ! That is the most important rule of model railroading)

    For Buffalo in the steam era I think it would be New York Central, DL&W (Delaware Lackawanna & Western), Erie RR and Maybe the Pennsylvania Railroad.

    Baltimore Area would probably be Baltimore and Ohio (B&0) , Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) and I think Pennsylvania RR.

    Starter Sets are a great way to get started. They will come with track, power supply, locomotive, cars, and sometimes other accessories. It also pays to get a good one. Lionel is great. HO you would probably want either an Atlas, Athearn, or Kato set (if they make them). These are much better quality and will last longer (stay away from regular bachmann in HO, bachmann spectrum is way better)
  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Where did the Ma & Pa (Maryland & Pennsylvania) run? Would they have been near Baltimore.

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