Starter Set Question

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by n2trains, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. n2trains

    n2trains Member


    I'm an N-scale modeler myself. However, a friend of mine is going to have a baby. I am an uncle figure, so I figured that if it is a boy (we'll find out in a couple weeks) that I'd buy him a train set. Though I figure an HO set would be more suitable for a younger child (it'll be a couple years before he would use it or anything, but I'd like him to have it because I'm EXTREMELY close to the family, and there was a long series of events that led to me saving her life. I thought what better way to celebrate a new (and old) life than with trains, no?

    So here's my question: what would be a decent set (I would really like to not buy a CHEAPY bachmann set so it will last a little while) for a younger child? I mean, I'm not going to spend more than $100 on it of course, just in case it gets broken somehow.
    now, the requirements are this: E-Z track, life like's locking track or unitrack (do they make it in HO? haven't been in HO for about 10 years+ now...), sturdy, mediumly priced.

    Thank you in advance to all,

  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Personally, I think HO is too fragile for a young child. I have a young nephew who turned 5 this past September, and even at that age he tend to abuse his toys. I bought him a Thomas the Tank Engine HO set from Bachmann for his birthday, and he treats it pretty roughly. Good thing it was 1) cheap and 2) devoid of delicate detail. The Thomas engine has held up remarkably well thus far.. He dropped it like 2 or 3 times so far, and aside from some dings in the shell, it still runs OK.

    I would start with stuff like the Geotrax trains from Fisher Price, and work the kid into HO after he passes 5 years of age.

    Just my experience. :thumb:
  3. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    *edit* sorry, I completely forgot to thank you for your advice/input, it's MUCH appreciated! *end edit*
    I've thought about that. But I've also put some thought into it and had an idea regarding it's an only when "Uncle Traynor" comes over, we can play with trains. That way it's a kind of bonding thing. They're all family to me, so I was sorta looking for something to make it a fun time when I stopped through. And then if he took to it, I could possibly purchase something better when I'm more financially stable and he were older. But this could all be for not, though I'm curious about the set info for future reference. Thomas the Tank Engine... I COMPLETELY forgot about that. That's how I was raised, Thomas videos that me and my railfanning buddy (he's 20 now and I'm 21) watched for hours on end. Shining Time Station brings back some REALLY good memories, good ol' Scheemer!
  4. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Yep I think you got the right idea with the HO set as a bonding thing-- Ever since I bought that Thomas the Tank Engine set for my little nephew, every time I go visit him I would bring along one of my engines and some of my rolling stock to keep him interested.

    He sure was impressed when I brought over my Broadway Limited NYC J1e Hudson with sound! I ran it on his track and let him handle the throttle, but I made sure he didn't come within 5 feet of that $129 locomotive. :D

    I think I'm beginning to impress upon him that these trains need to be treated delicately.. Before now, he was just too young to understand. When my nephew was 3, he went through my collection of meticulously painted and decaled 1:72 scale model airplanes when I wasn't home, and I had some serious talking with his mom (my sister) afterwards. :curse: The carnage on my display shelf was something I'm still struggling to get over. :cry:

    Anyway, when time comes, I recommend Kato HO Unitrack. It's easier to assemble and disassemble than the Bachmann EZ-Track or the Life-Likes. Get him a Thomas the Tank Engine loco from Bachmann (they are surprisingly well-made) and some Thomas rolling stock, and you are ready to start bonding. :thumb:
  5. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    hehe, kids will only be kids for so long, but the frustrations last forever eh? :)
    I've used Unitrack quite extensively in N-scale, but the cost in HO may be something I'm going to have to look at since I am just wanting to get him (if the baby is a he after all of course) something to have some fun with and enable some bonding. Awesome suggestions, I appreciate it a lot. I can't wait! the fun that could be had in a couple years!!! or I could "keep the set safe" till a certain age *hehehe*
  6. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    It's a great sentiment but from a practical point of view, two years is a bit young. Two year olds tend to throw things against the wall and eat the pieces. You would have to listen to the screaming when you told him that he can't touch, just look. Think more like seven or eight years old for a train set under supervision.
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Those all-plastic toy sets are perfect for young kids for exactly that reason yep.. You can throw one of those soft plastic Fisher Price Geotrax trains against the wall and it will simply bounce off, without being any worse off for wear.. :D

    Yep, HO I think is best left until the kids are older.. I think I took a pretty big risk introducing my nephew to HO at age 5 and it seems to be working out, but I agree 7-8 seems a more suitable age.
  8. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    oh, I've realized that. Not a problem. I'm pry gonna invest in some cheaper BRIO type products (gosh darnit I loved that stuff) for whenever I'm not around. Believe me, I know EXACTLY how it is. I loved to touch the trains when I was little too, but I also LOVED going to the train shows when I was 3 years old (Yes, I remember a couple of 'em, once a year the GATS show and another local one), while being held by my dad. Great times, so I wish to share them with others and perhaps pass on the hobby in some way without saying "Here, like trains... now!" heh. I had completely forgotten about BRIO until I started talking to my friend who has all sorts of BRIO stuff. Great times! and it's pretty cheap and EXTREMELY sturdy.
  9. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    Well, you're way ahead of the curve, friend. I would put all thoughts of electric trains out of your mind for at least eight years.

    When he hits three or four, he's ready for something from Brio or Fisher Price. Something that's important to emphasise is that for a developing mind, imagination is central. You want to engage that, have him doing the vroom-vroom and pushing the trains along.

    When he's old enugh to start building models, he's old enough to start playing with them. That will come somewhere between six and eight. You can bond with him there, by building something alongside him, and being ready to help him by answering questions. Important — don't build them for him, just answer questions and show him tricks when he asks. It has to be his model.

    Thomas the Tank Engine is a great suggestion, but not before he's ready. Until he gets there, don't spend you time with him driving trains. Spend your time driving him. Once a month go out for an afternoon, have a nice lunch, spend your time looking at trains, going to hobby shops, visiting layouts. He'll be happy just to spend time with you, and an interest in trains may well be the result. Take him to the zoo, too, and to the library. You can't force him, you can't even lead him, the best you can hope is to point him in the direction of (your) hobby, and hope he picks up. He may end up building model airplanes or cars, but the most important thing is that he finds a hobby that he likes. It doesen't have to be trains (and I may get flak for saying that). The point is, spending time with him — the journey — is more important than the destination. It's a Zen thing.

    And if it's a girl? So what! Same applies. Spend time doing things with her, and you will both be richer for the experience.

    Scott Fraser

    Old fart, two adult kids, looking forward to grandkids. Been there, done that. LOL!
  10. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I reccomend buying an O-27 train. they are alittlbe bigger, durable, and easier to set up. I got my first trainset when i was 6, and it was a lionel O-27. Sure, building off the O scale might not be the best thing, but if the kid really wants to model trains, he can switch over to HO like i did.
  11. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    If it's a girl I'm not sure yet. And I'm not THAT close that I'll take 'em out to lunch and stuff. It's more of a once every couple months stop in for a day or two kinda thing. I know I'm ahead of the curve, but I figure if I get a train set that could be set up, I could finally have something to play with until he's ready :)
    But either way, the sex of the child doesn't really matter much to me, I just would like to be "Uncle Traynor" I know I loved seeing my dad's friend who was not related, but we called him "Uncle Dave" His tacos were the best... but it's just something I've been pondering and figured before I made a decision I'd get some suggestions as to which set I'd buy.

    In regards to the 027, I have one as well, got it when I was about 8. Got my first HO train set when I was 5-6. That was a blast. Maybe I was ahead of the game or something, but when I was that age I LOVED Brio trains as well, which is what I'm leaning a lot further towards at the moment, just because I wouldn't love trains if it weren't for those...
    Thank you both for the advice, lots of decisions to make. Only another 10 days till we find out heh
  12. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    My 2 year old and 3 year old grandsons love the cheap wooden train sets that use wooden track, couple with magnets and have lots of track side stuff that they can play with. Wally world sells a small set for around 10 bucks. They are tuff, durable and the 3 year old can make his own layouts and use his imagination. They also have the geotrax stuff but don't play with it often, they like the wood stuff better and the 3 yo plays with it almost every day.

    The 3yo also helps papa (me) with my HO layout that is being built. He can be trusted to run the throttle but gets excited enough about it he forgets that he is not supposed to touch the train.

    The Thomas the Train vids have been great for him and he understands that going too fast isn't good.

    have fun!

  13. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    As a father of 3, I'd highly recommend saving the electric train set for later (like age 8 or later, depending on the child) and going for a wooden Brio or Brio-type set for now. You can spend a lot of money on these if you need to, and build it up year after year. We have a fairly extensive wooden set now, and my kids still play with it at age 9. It's a classic!
  14. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I would think about this a while.

    A baby doesn't need a train and a toddler will put every piece that brakes off in his mouth, horns, couplers, ect.

    Go with a brio.
  15. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    yeah thats the other thing i have. Loads of diecast metal thomas trains from like, before 1995. i would make the longest trains, streteching from one end of my house to the others, and i'd always remember having trouble because with teh lack of tracks, the train dragged to the side rather than curved. I usually used a doulbe ended diesl and pu the face side away fromt he front so that it looked more realistic you should see that stuff, its outragous. I'm not sure they sell stuff like that anymore though....
  16. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    I've made up my mind regarding the train set. I will give it to them now (only a couple days left before we find out whether a boy or a girl!), and let it sit in the closet as a curiousity for a while. But I'm going to purchase a BRIO style train. I just keep thinking about how much darned fun they were (and probably still are if I weren't 21 and have nobody around that has 'em or is of the age to play with with them! heh)

    thank you all for your advice.
  17. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    Brio is a great idea and please don't count out a girl! I'm the only one of my dad's kids to get into the hobby with him.

  18. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Christina, thats great, 2 of my daughters would build a layout is thier kids were older....
  19. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    My dad and I built an n-scale layout together when I was in my 20's and now we're getting ready to build an HO layout together 20 years later!
  20. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Christina, that is cool, I lost my dad many years ago and still miss him. I have many good memories of us doing stuff together. I think had he not been in the Army he would have had trains, he really loved steam (I got 3 train sets when I was a kid, 2 Ho and an N)! By the time he retired and got settled I was 18 and in love, had I been interested in the hobby I think we would have done something then.


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