Some Ideas Please :)

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by courtneydaqueen, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. courtneydaqueen

    courtneydaqueen New Member

    Hey everybody!
    I am new to the world of model train sets, and wanted to get some opinions from the resident experts at this forum. I want to purchase a model train set for my fiancee for our anniversary. He has always wanted one, but his parents could never afford one when he was a child. Now I want to get him one, but I have no idea where to even begin. So, what is a good model train set to begin with - one that is affordable, but will withstand the test of time? Any information would help me out a lot! Thanks for your help! :)

  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, Courtney :wave:

    The Athearn John Deere sets sold at Walmart are a great start. Stay away from most of the other train sets in a retail setting. is also a great source for starter sets.
  3. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    For HO scale, avoid anything that says Life Like on it, unless it says Proto 1000 or 2000 on it. otherwise its not worth it.

    May I suggest an Athearn trainset? They are a great start. Keep in mind however that some of their sets onlyhave a locomotive and freightcars, but it will be clearly labeled.

    It might even be the best idea to make your own trainset. Go ask you local hobby shop what good quality stuff he has, and seperately buy your own railroad cars, locomoitves, power pack, and track.

    MRC or Spectrum Magnum power packs are best. Only get track that says its Nickel silver. Locomotives from Athearn, Bachmann Spectrum (not normal bachmann, avoid that), and Atlas are good starting points. Keep in mind this is only HO scale.

    Just about everyone is Familiar with Lionel trains, which is the next scale up, O. I can't say much for O scale trains. i received a set when i was 6, and its lasted pretty well, but once again, ask your Local hobby shop. O scale gets expensive, and it seems pretty complicated to me. what kind of train did he want?
  4. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    I'd be very careful about buying a set for someone else, especially if you (or he) hasn't decided on what to model yet... you don't know what scale or era or anything he might like. On the other hand, it's a bit naff buying gift vouchers (that's the sort of thing your Auntie does...)

    Perhaps you could write him a 'manual' gift voucher (i.e. from you, not from the store), valid for one train set as required, and then go with him on his birthday to the store and help him choose -- that would be fun and show support too... And if you make your own gift certificate (rather than buy one from the LHS), you can make the amount non-specific and even choose to buy from somewhere else if you can't make your mind up on the day...

    Just a suggestion from the "other side"... :)

  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    The suggestion from tillsbury is a good idea. Most modellers who are really "into" their trains have a definite focus as to what is or is not appropriate for their layout. While it's nice anytime someone gives you a train-related gift, people outside the hobby often aren't able to distinguish one train from another. For me, the regular old gift certificate from the store works fine: I'm not offended by what some might consider the lack of thought put into the gift because I know that the gift came from someone who cared about what I thought.
  6. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Oh man - I wish you would talk to my in-laws :D They Hate Gift certs & they buy good things for us - but once in a while, I "Need" train stuff :D
  7. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Welcome aboard Courtney :D

    Make sure your fiancee finds his way in here too :) Theres's tons of info and lots of help for him here :)

    As for your question, (note how much help you have received so far), I was working on an N gauge layout when I moved out of my mothers when I got married.. My Wife (for our 5th anniversary asked me what I wanted.. I said "G" gauge trains, she bought me a starter set and I've never looked back in 14 years :)

    The guys suggestions above are accurate, check with him what "gauge" he wants or print out a home made gift certificate on your computer... :)

    It will mean so much to him that you cared enough to give him the chance to chose what he wants......

    and it will be something you will both enjoy. My wife doesnt care for the trains, but whenever someone is making a fuss about what I built last, she looks back and knows she started it :) :) :) :)
  8. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Welcome to the Gauge.
    The first time I took Better-Half to my LHS, I showed her the Rivorossi Big Boy I always wanted, but never got. She surprised me cause while I was looking for scenery supplies, she secretly bought the Big Boy, had it put in a seperate bag and in the car before I got to the counter. She unvieled it when I got home.
    I do have my favorite locos on my layout, but the Big Boy is a specially a favorite of mine.
    Tillsbury's idea is the best.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Do you know if he wants model trains or toy trains? If you go for the gift cert., make sure the hobby shop has both.
  10. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I'll second or third the motion about possibly getting a gift certificate. We modelers have real preferences about the kind of trains we like: scale, railroad, era, type of equipment (passenger vs frieght, etc.). Your fiance might have some nostalgic images from his childhood about trains that may influence his preferences or else some very specific interests in certain kinds of railroading. They may range from rustic logging roads with steam locomotives to highspeed Amtrak service with modern equipment! It'll be fun to see what he's interested in.
    Best wishes!
  11. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well I second most everything stated above. Here's one thing to keep in mind. It's 1:30am and everyone is asleep. Husband can't sleep so decides to go play trains for a bit. Now you could be brave and buy "O" scale but those things make more noise than the spaceshuttle and cost a good bit or go "HO" or "N" scale and it be affordable yet quiet.

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