Railyard Rookie--help wanted

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by bgibsy, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Atlas N scale flex track is easy to work with (easiest from what I hear), and the turnouts in N are pretty reliable. Atlas HO turnouts are loved by some, hated by others, but you don't hear a lot of bad about the N (ducking under the desk to avoid any flames :D). I use Atlas N scale code 75 for my HOn30 (HO running on N track). I tried code 55 and some of my stuff wouldn't run on it. Newer stuff is said to be OK. I'm not as picky as some folks (we sometimes lovingly refer to the picky ones as "rivet counters" :D), but to me code 75 looks fine. My preference is flex track, especially for logging or industrial settings, where the prototype doesn't always follow the "rules", and neither should we :D. If I were to start in N today, here's what I would do:

    1 Try to decide what area(s) of model RR interest me the most, and what amount of space I have to work with.

    2 Download free RTS software from http://www.atlasrr.com/ and begin playing with it and learning it, and get some track plans brainstormed and drawn up. Post them and look at other folks plans. You might check Shamus's at: http://www.badger-creek.co.uk/

    3 Identify a hobby shop or three (local or internet). Study the prototype (just a little!) and order the appropriate loco(s) and rollin' stock, enough track for a test loop with a couple of turnouts. Also order a transformer, good one or cheap one. If you are using internet hobby shops, it's best to ask around if they are reputable, and make sure everything is in stock and determine the backorder policy.

    4. Build the test loop on some flat surface. This can be a piece of plywood, shelving, a door, etc. Do not permanantly mount it at this time, just use small nails that fit the holes in the ties (if they are too big, they ruin the ties). Play with it until you get bored :D

    5. Begin to plan the real layout and begin acquiring stuff for scenicking, buildin's, LPB's, track, more loco's and rollin' stock as desired (afforded), etc.

    6. Acquire some material similar to what the real layout will be made of (blue foam, hollow door, etc.) and beging a mini layout using the test loop. The test loop will become an experimnetal learning mini layout, and will always be valuable as a test loop for testing and breaking in loco's. Try to keep it very simple, and small, and portable. Play with it until you get bored :D

    7. Start the real layout, based on what was learned on the test loop, unless the test loop became the real layout and you are happy with it :D

    Insert "build some kits" and "scratchbuild" or "kitbash" anywhere above :D

    The idea is to take it a little at a time and learn along the way. All eforts are either a learning experiance, or something that will be used onthe real layout.

    You will have a great time in the hobby, just remember it is just that, fun.
  2. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    But what will I do during the second half hour?

    Thanks for the info on N scale track and turnouts. I have recently decided that my new layout will be in N as I only have 11.5'x5' and want to have something more than a loop or two :D

    You can do so much more in N Scale.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    A few more:
    Buy some magazines; buy some books or borrow them from the library. Don't be discouraged by the fancy layouts 'cause most of them started with a train set.
    Don't restrict yourself to reading about N-scale Santa Fe (or whatever). Techniques usually work across scales and you'll need a couple of New York Cetral boxcars. :)
    Remember that all the techniques worked for someone, but some work better than others for an individual. You can build your scenery out of welded steel plate if you like, but some of us find foam or plaster easier. :D
  4. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Bill, and others...
    I looked quite a bit around the internet and have been most pleased with The Gauge, so have made it my home. It is a fine resource, and the folks here are tremendously helpful and supportive. I just returned to the hobby after 15-20 years and have decided on N scale as well. I've been impressed with the quality of stuff today vs what I remember. I think you'll be pleased.
    My addition to the comments is KISS=Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don't get sucked into making some massive layout with multiple tracks right off. You'll become frustrated in a hurry. Start small, and design your first layout with expansion in mind so you can simply add on to the end vs tearing it down and replacing it later. Give yourself a continuous loop (or 2), but also plan enough sidings or yard areas to give you something to do as running in circles gets dull fast. Don't sacrifice scenery for track space, or vice versa. Plotting layouts on software can be fun, but I've found it really helps to lay it out on the benchwork to see if you like what you've come up with. I must have changed mine 8 times after 'deciding' what my trackplan was. :rolleyes: But most important tip of all, keep it fun. Don't obsess over prototypes or minutiae...it only has to please you, not this board or anyone else. Too easy to get sucked in to that thinking.
    Ultimately, it is a lot of fun, if you allow it to be. :thumb:
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Fortunately at the The Gauge, if you are pleased, we are pleased for you! The support and advice here is never inflammatory or derogatory, and is sometimes quite helpful! ;)

    For some unknown reason we seem to be free of flamewars and ither problems so common at other boards. Makes it a great place to be... :D

  6. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    That is because "The Gauge" caters to only the finest caliber of modelers. :thumb:

    We let the others hang out in the Yahoo groups and on the Usenet Newsgroups. The later is about 50% off topic garbage right now and it is easy for others to get dragged down into it as well. I have given up on Yahoo and rec.models.railroad
  7. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    :wave: Welcome to the Gauge Bill.

    I am going to throw in a couple that I haven't seen here and that is to check around your area for a local club that might have an operating layout. It doesn't matter what gauge right now. This would be to get thoughts and ideas from other modelers and to see what and how they have set up for their layout.

    Another is to watch for the periodic train shows, such as the "Great American Train Show" or "Greenburgs Train Show" and other Shows and swap meets where modelers and distributors gather to display and share their products. In our area, local clubs set up their "module" layouts of all gauges, from z - to G at these meets. There are good ideas to be found there and you can possibly find a good deal on a selectionof motive power, rolling stock, structures and various "things you need". In fact, in August, in conjunction with a regional NMRA convention, I believe, the "N-scale" groups plan to have a display of working modules that will cover almost the size of a football field at the Greenburgs Show.

    It is a great hobby. As they said earlier - have fun. :) :) :)
  8. bgibsy

    bgibsy New Member

    David (in Virginia), Thanks for mentioning Train Shows. I ran a search and there just happens to be a Great American Train Show in a couple weeks about an hour from my dads house in So. Cal. I'll definately try and make it. Are these shows typically a "show and sale"?

    Jon-monon, Thanks for the step-by-step "If I had to do it all again..." That is just what I needed. I d-loaded the RTS software and will work on it till I figure it out. I'll go to my LHS just to have a look. I'll TRY and wait until the Pomona, Ca. show before I purchase anything. (yeah right!) That gives me two weeks+ to have a better idea of where I want to go with this. Are you a logging fan?

    Bill G
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Train shows run the gamut from flea markets to club open houses. I don't know about GATS. Around here, if it's called a "show" there is usually both vendors and displays and maybe demonstrations. After a while, you get to know which shows do what. There are some specialized shows. I went to one in London, England, that turned out to be dealers in European prototype. There was one in Detroit area last year that was 95% toy trains.
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    You're welcome, Bill! Glad to help. If you have any questions about hte software, feel free to post them and we will try to help! Also, you can post your trackplan in the Track Planning forum for review, if you like.

    And yes, I am into logging, and you can see some of my antics in the Logging forum, most recently, stumps :D :D :D

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