New to trains...running out of steam

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by leejax01, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. leejax01

    leejax01 New Member

    I have been watching this forum for a few months and I am becoming more knowledgeable due to the helpful info I have picked up here. I have been into trains since January, so I still consider myself relatively new to trains, but not to the hobby. I was in RC for 20+ years and still fly helis, but decided to try trains. I bought these so far:

    Proto 2000 GP-38 UP DCC/SND
    Athearn Genesis SF SD45-2 DCC/SND
    Athearn Genesis SF F3 A&B unit DCC/SND
    Athearn BB CSX 9-44W Dash DCC
    Athearn Genesis UP SD70 DCC
    Kato AC4400W UP DCC/SND
    Bachmann Spectrum UP DCC
    Atlas SF Warbonnet Dash DCC/SND
    Atlas CSX 9-44W Dash DCC/SND
    Atlas FEC GP40 DCC
    Proto 2000 SF GP38 high-nose DCC/SND
    Atheran Genesis 2-8-8-2 Big Boy DCC/SND

    I use Bachmann EZ track at this point as I like to change lay-outs every so often and it allows me to do so. I bought the crossovers,turn-outs and bridges to help give the lay-outs some pep. I stopped counting at 50 rolling stock, so hopefully I have that covered.

    My question and the reason for this thread is this, how do you guys keep the hobby fresh to you? I was trying to get out to the local clubs, but they meet at times that are hard for me to get there. That is why I try and change my lay-out every few weeks or so. I started off with DCC for the multiple trains and sound. I try and swing by the hobby shop once a week and atleast buy a car or something new. Are there any ideas/suggestions? I really want to do a permanent layout, but that is a few months off after we move. Thanks for the replies and any advise that you can provide.
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    What keeps me going is my goal of having a fully operational layout with detailed structures, scenery, rolling stock, and a car card system for running the railroad. Now, achieving that goal will require a huge amount of different activities... track planning and design, researching prototype railroads in both rolling stock and locomotives, structure building/kitbashing, rolling stock kits, detail items, laying track, ballasting, scenery, turn-out controllers, DCC and wiring, painting and weathering structures, installing and programming decoders, building bridges, weathering rolling stock, researching prototype operations, reading the periodicals and books on model railroading, hanging out at the Gauge, uncoupling magnet installation, making car cards and waybills on the computer, hours of thinking about what needs to be done and how to do it, hanging out shooting the breeze at the local hobby shop, experimenting with new techniques, making trees....

    I simply do whatever seems interesting at the time. It all needs to get accomplished, so I just do whatever I feel like doing. There is always something new and fresh. Now, if you get "burned out" then just retreat from the hobby for awhile and it'll come back soon enough.

    Even though you may not know what size and shape your new layout will be, you could still start researching railroads and their operation, you could read the magazines and books for ideas, and you could come up with different layout elements that you like and could be fitted into your layout space once you get it started. I have enjoyed learning about the hobby just as much as actually doing stuff.
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    leejax: I don't know if its possible to keep the hobby "fresh" one hundred percent of the time. Others may have a better answer. If you get into serious layout construction, you'll find that there are a lot more challanges than you are experiencing now. Just buying stuff isn't the complete answer. Researching railroads and their history, learning operating methods, deciding on a prototype or freelance railroad all become part of model railroading and will keep things from getting stale.
  4. leejax01

    leejax01 New Member

    I went to a train show and got alot of info and have been reading quite a bit. I bought a magazine and am reading it daily. At this point, I am developing my modeling skills as I nevr put small kits together before. Weathering and custom work seems like a bit more than I can chew at this time. I do like trains and want to keep advancing in it. My next purchase is the Digitraxx Super Cheif so that I can grow to the full automated layout in the future. Thanks for the replies.
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge by the way. Hope to see more of you and hear about your progress.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Even the renowned John Allen admitted that there were times he lost interest in modelling or thought maybe the whole idea was silly.He would drop the intense modelling for a while and then he could go back to it with renewed purpose.
    There is always something different you can do with model railroading. Find an aspect that you haven't tried and see what it's like -- add details to a car or locomotive, make a station from a cornflakes box, build a turnout or research a railroad that you know very little about.
    Or if that fails, buy an accounting textbook. That'll get you back modelling in a hurry!
  7. leejax01

    leejax01 New Member

    I took the heli out for a flight today and had a good time. Came back home and had a ball with the trains. Too much of anything may cause a burn out and that could happen to anyone. I am not too interested in the modeling/kit building as it takes quite a bit of patience and skill that I don't have the skill level for at this time. I bought a few used buildings off Ebay though. Eyeing a used layout locally too. It is only a 4x8 while mine right now is a 5x12. Thanks for the replies.
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I would guess that most people in this hobby spend about 90% of their hobby time building and detailing their layout and trains. The other 10% is spent running. For real, the hobby consists way more of producing a layout than actually running trains. If you have an aversion to building kits and such, perhaps this hobby is not for you. I'm not being a smart-aleck, just being honest.

    Any thoughts on this from everyone else? Is that how yall see the hobby? I would say that over 90% of the threads on the Gauge have to do with building the layout and 10% on operating the trains.

    For me, I am hoping to spend alot of my time operating the railroad in a prototypical manner once I get the layout substantially complete.
  9. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    I like MANY facets of this hobby:thumb:. there are times i am uninspired to model, at those times i usually watch one of the MANY train vids i have, read back issues of Model Railroader, look at OTHER peoples layouts online, do research on the Union Pacific;), search for pics of engines or freight cars, head to the LHS or a show, go rail fanning(me close to the UP yard...ahh, shear heaven:D),OR, just flat out run trains:thumb:.

    Over the last 6yrs i have lost interest in fishing & other things, and have pretty much been FULL into SOME aspect of this GREAT hobby:D. i guess the older i get(I'm 41)the more i seem to get into this hobby:thumb:. Thats the point I AM at right now, will it stay this way?,...only time will tell;). :D-Deano
  10. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    Buying 12 locomotives before you even know if you will like the hobby sounds very ambitious,can hardly wait to see what your 1st track plan is going to look like.You also must have a very understanding wife.:thumb:
  11. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    Right now, my layout is in the planning stages, waiting for the contractor to finish the buildout on the train room. So, at Christmas, I put up a temporary layout around the tree and had some fun with that. I do some arm chair modeling and I have done a lot of work with RTS 7.0. The hobby is one of continous change for me. From building a layout, to operating it, to sceniking it, to demolition and starting over.
  12. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

    Ljack : You didn't sign a name so your Ljack. As to keeping things fresh so you don't lose intrest. Like with anything you do if you have a intrest and like what your doing it will stay interesting. Check your friends first you may have a closet modeler their to join in your railroading. Go to local train shows you might see a neighbor, get to talkin and have a buddy. If you want join a club. Their you"ll meet other modelers just like you. Their will be group 1 the prototype people, People who look to see if you have all the right stuff for you spicific model as to what you got on it at this moment, and if it is correct. Next you have group 2 the inspectors. They check you locos and cars for proper weight, If they are clean enough, And what ever eles they can to to **** you off. Next group 3 the tecks. These guys realy know it all. They will tell you what size resistor you need for a particular transister to alow the that track occupieing circuit to work properly. Then their is group 4. The regular guys that just do all the work and constantly get annoyed by groups 1,2,&3. OK You are all set up for western railroading. Don't worry about that CSX. Everbody leased for each other. See'in A CSX behind a UP od BNSF is a common thing. Even some Conrail makes it to the western states. Ljack have fun ! Do what you like, and what you want and this hobby will always be their.
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I am with Dean on this...

    THe hobby is so varied that I don't get bored, because there's always something else to do. Besides the outright model building and running trains, there's photography, research (history, geography, geology, science, specific railroads, specific practices, etc, etc), art, electronics, carpentry, and much more.

    Everything the railroad influenced or was influenced by is a potential hobby in and of itself.

    I also like the social aspect of it, and was involved with 4 or five different operating or modelling groups at one point. That is now scaled down to two, with others still periodically (couple times a year).

    Although you want to leave the hobby wide open, one approach that seems to work for many people is to get more specific. For me, I want to model a fictional (but believable) small town served by a real railroad (Canadian National) in a real location (southern Ontario) in the 1920s and 30s. So I need to know about the topography and vegetation, I need to know about architecture and buildings, I need to know carpentry and electronics to build my base and wire the track. I need to know about life in the 1930s (for believable scenes, signage, cars, etc, etc).

    Then - for many - there is the associated hobby of real trains - museum volunteering, historical societies, memorabilia collecting, railfanning, etc.

    So much to do, so little time... ;) :) :D

    Welcome to the hobby, and to The Gauge!

  14. Old_Bob

    Old_Bob Member

    I have thought about this some myself, and I'm sure my wife is going to ask about it sooner or later. Haven't started my layout yet - it is still in my head - but I thought there might be a lot of young kids in the area that would enjoy seeing the layout, once you have it up and running. In our new location there are many young kids in the neighborhood, and a relatively large elementary school nearby. Plus I am developing church connections. By and large they would not be able to run the trains safely, but for those who enjoy watching, it could be a fun way to share. In the process you might also find closet model train adults that could become a club of sorts.
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I would not write off the idea of building kits. Athearn blue box, Model Die Casting ( if you can find them), and Accurail kits are very easy to build. I think the trick to not loosing interest is to do a little of everything needed to build your layout, and when you lose interest in one area, try something different. As far as weathering and painting goes, get some cheap toy boxcars to practice on. You don't car if they operate or not, because you will just be using them for practice. Once you are comfortable with your abilities to paint junk, then you can try weathering your good rolling stock. You may lose interest from time to time, but then you go fly your helo, and when you come back to the railroad, you are ready to go again.
  16. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Keeping my interst in Model trains, I guess there are two things. One, I'm a builder so as I continue to build scenery, buildings and rolling stock my interest keeps going. The other is that i don't pursue it 100% of the time. In the summer you'll find me under the hood of my sportscar or working on my house on one project or the other, besides working on the train layout.
  17. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Ljax..I too was into R/C for the longest time...(17+ yeras...) and flew everything from trainers, scale, gliders, pattern and lastly helos. But I always had my trains close at hand...As flying turned more to be like work than just plain fun, I drifted out of R/C and took to my trains "full time". I guess most everyone has their ups & downs, but model RR'ing is for the long run...

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