Model Train Newbie seeks advice

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Ravensfan, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

    GO EAGLES OK THATS OUT OF THE WAY :D :D :cool: I would stay with the bigger scales for round the tree I have g scale I the new brite set that as more lights on it then the tree , sounds and is animated too , everything is in the box ,the kids love it and you too:D :D rich
  2. petersd

    petersd New Member


    Welcome to the guage. If your 3 year old is going to be handling the trains then I would not spend a lot of money on the locomotive and rolling stock. I got into Model Railroading for my son who is going to be turning 4 next week. He handles the trains all the time and is really good at pulling off the couplers. What we did was buy a Life-Like train set which cost about $45 with snap track included. At this point I don't care if he mangles the trains which he hasn't yet but they have taken a lot of abuse and I wouldn't let him play with a $100 locomotive. With the track you can set-up in minutes around a Xmas tree and as you get more knowledge start planning a permenant layout.

    That is exactly what I did since the layout does take quite a bit of time to do and at least he has trains to play with and run on the track. We can set it up in the family room and tear down really quick.

    Let me warn you that the more you look into this hobby you will get hooked. In the meantime ask tons of questions and read everything that you can get your hands on before doing the layout. This is what I did and it is helping me out tremendously.

    Good luck,

  3. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi Ravensfan:
    Dug up a couple of photos from our last couple of shows.

    I think the kids like 'em.

    Attached Files:

  4. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Let's try a smaller format for this one.

    Attached Files:

  5. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Oops, maybe too small!

    Last one. Love the button pushers! (except those folks at work that like to push mine)

    Attached Files:

  6. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member

    Thanks for all your input, folks. The consensus appears to be that the better scale for letting the young kids get their hands on it is O, but the less expensive starter sets are HO. And, the overwhelming response is that I will get hooked once I start.

    Oh, and

    Ravens 17, Jags 10
    Eagles 20, Bucs 10 (I'm not an eagles fan, I just want to see Tampa lose)

    Too bad, 'Skins fans.
  7. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    I miss Joe Gibbs...........sigh.
  8. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The Bachmann On30 Christmas set would work very well under the tree. It comes with an oval, made up of track with roadbed attached, and can be set up as a circle( leave out the straight sections), with 18'radius. This is O scale narrow gauge, that runs on HO scale track.
  9. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member

    Thanks for your help. The decision is to go with HO, mostly motivated by cost - can't seem to find an O scale for less than $135 and I can't justify spending more than $75 with the wife if it turns out that the only time we bring it out is at Christmas time.

    Hopefully, the fun will take off and I will be getting more involved in the hobby.

    Another question I have is related to track. Looking at Bachmann, I see this exclamation about their EZ track, then I see Life-Like and their exposition on the Power Loc track. Is there a better easy-to-put-together track system for beginners, or are they all pretty much the same? And, once you get one of these track systems, can they be interconnected with other tracks?
  10. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    If you laying the track under the tree on the floor or carpeting the Bachmann EZ-Track or the Life Like Power Loc track are good choices. They both will get the track up off the floor which is very important. Also they assemble pretty easily.

    One point with the Bachmann go with the gray roadbed. I have had trouble keeping the black roadbed track clean. Apparently the track on the gray roadbed is a different material from the track on the black. When I started my layout money was a real issue and the only track we had available at the time was the EZ-track and that is what we have used with great success.
  11. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member

    Thanks, Tom. Not sure if I'm gonna lay down a board to put the track on, but it's good to know that the EZ track can go down on a carpet.
  12. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Love to see a pic of you and your son playing with the train on Christmas morning. I think your decision to get into railroading is one you will never regret. Even if it is only set up for Christmas it could grow to be one of your family's most beloved traditions.

    Watch the after Christmas clearance sales. My wife picked up a $60 Bachman e-z track figure eight freight train starter set at Target for $12. My son and i set it up on a 3x 5 board in the "attic" and that's now his train and layout to do with as he sees fit. You might be able to double your layout if you keep an eye out!

    Have fun, ask as many questions as you need to while you're getting started. The folks here are great.

    Happy motoring, er,,, i mean choo choo-ing,
  13. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member


    Even if you do not put a board down you should put something under the track. I use an old bed sheet to spread under the tree to keep dust and rug lint from clogging the gears of the locomotive and rolling stock of my Bachmann G-scale trains. Just a suggestion.

    Like Tom, I look forward to seeing the little guy's smile as he runs the train around the tree - or will we be seeing your smile also?

    Have fun.
  14. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member

    Just so happens that a new Target opened up near me about a week ago. I will have to check it out on Dec 26.

    Will do. I'm sure my wife will have me put something down so her nice carpet doesn't get "ruined."

    As long as one of our cameras is working properly and I can get to the scanner.
  15. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Tr...I miss Joe Gibbs too(What!!!!! Someone from Connecticut a 'Skins fan?)The better half likes Bobby Labonte, so the "Coach" isn't totally gone from my house.
    Ravensfn, I have the Bachman E-Z track that I use around the better halfs Xmas village she puts up every year. Its easy to put up, and take down, and also easy to store(I keep it with the Xmas village stuff)
    Good luck on your endeavor. And I hope you(and your son) enjoy this hobby.
  16. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member

    Man, I bet you redskins' fans are upset over Schottenheimer's success in San Diego!!!

    What brand is the village? Does it scale out ok with HO? My wife is collecting some Department 56 stuff and is thinking about combining the train and her stuff in a Christmas layout.
  17. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Just when you thoguht that you have it figured out.:eek: On3 (I think that is the right spelling:confused: ) is the scale for Department 56 items. Bachmann makes sets. They run on the HO EZ-track but are scaled to match the village pieces. If you look at it be prepared for some sticker shock. :eek:
  18. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I don't know the brand. She's been collecting it for years. Some of it is a little big, but some of it is pretty close, but after all, for some reason Xmas and trains go together. I will post pictures as soon as its up and running. I know its early but like the stores......
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Look very carefully at the tracks with roadbeds. I don't think the bachman and the lifelike will join together.
    Three rules:
    Make sure that the set you buy is expandible (If you go HO or On3, no problem.)
    The smaller the boy, the bigger the toy.
    Check that the stuff you buy is repairable. For years the cheapest sets were rivetted together and spare parts weren't available so when the gears stripped, the loco was thrown away.
  20. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member


    I've been upset with the 'Skins ever since they brought in a COWBOY as a coach. How could Cook do that to us?!?!?!?
    It's been downhill since then......sigh. Where's Sonny and the Diesel when we need them?

    Department 56 is the perfect size for S-Gauge. Not to rain on the consipracy's parade BUT, if you check back at my pics you'll see the clock tower from one of the 56 buildings in the second photo. The buildings work well but the people and cars are too large. There's also a line of buildings sold at Michaels craft stores that works well with the trains. I've seen a number of Christmas layouts use these buildings to good effect in both HO and O. Think of the difference in size as "forced perspective". .

    I don't get overly concerned about scale in my Christmas layouts, I feel Christmas layouts are about creating an image pleasing to your and your family's memories and dreams about the season. If the train just goes up at christmas then the unique-ness of that alone will gloss over any scale "flaws". Of course, i run a "toy" train layout whenever is run my trains so "scale" is not generally the point of my fun.

    Oh, and for all you skeptics out there, (60103, not to single out anyone in particular) S-Guage is alive and well thank you very much. Please see www.american and for a taste.

    Ravensfan, i'd still stick with HO or O as your first train. You can get everything you need in one box from one place. You can always "upgrade" to S-gauge later.

    Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to train i go.......
    'tis the season to go training, fa la la la la, la.. la, la!

Share This Page