Starting out in model RR. N-Scale a good place and other beginner help

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by pgray007, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. pgray007

    pgray007 New Member

    Hi All,

    I've been avidly reading these boards these past few days. I enjoyed the traditional "Christmas O-Scale" layout as a kid, with one of my favorite memories being my Dad and I setting up the "train board" and his old Lionel steam engine and my diesel, with a couple of Plasticville houses form his childhood.

    Last year my wife and I bought an MTH O-scal for our own Christmas train. All this has got me thinking about building a "real" layout with scenery, etc. that would be more of a perm. fixture.

    We're currently apartment dwellers, so I'd like to build something small and N scale seems like the way to go. We're planning on moving to a house next summer, so perhaps a "door layout" will be in my future, but for now something that takes up a couple of square feet and could be moved around when not in use but still big enough to give me a chance to experiment.

    Any suggestions for books or good websites to start out? I have done some googling and have many pieces of infomration, just not sure they all fit together in my head yet.

  2. DavidB-AU

    DavidB-AU Member

  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge:wave:
  4. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    Welcome. When I first started out, back when I was quite young (5-6) I found the basics to be easily obtained in the basic books by Atlas regarding their track plans. However, in this day and age the internet has the same information. I, personally, much rather read N-scale magazine, N-scale railroading (the magazine) and model railroader for information on the hobby. The atlas books can be found on ebay, in thrift stores, and at many garage sales. Hope this helps!
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Perhaps a N scale club (modular) would be the way for you to get started. Modules can be stored vertically in a corner if the scenery is anchored securely and you have folding or removable legs, which most modules do. If you live in or near an urban area, you should be able to find a club. There you would have the advice of the other club members, camaraderie and during operating sessions, a large layout to run trains on. Additionally , your wife would probably be a welcome member.
  6. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    How bout a coffee table layout?
  7. pgray007

    pgray007 New Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions. The layout websites that were linked were very helpful and I now have some ideas for a winter projects.

    Any good links on building scenery? I've seen people use foam to start mountains but was wondering what you actually use to fill the gaps between layers. Is it plaster?

    Also, are the N-scale engines mostly diesels? I've browsed Atlas' site and a couple of others and don't see much steam.

    What would you use for "benchwork" for a 2x4 or smaller model? Could it be something as simple as a piece of foamcore or would that not be strong enough and would plywood be better? Unfortunately I don't even have basic woodworking equipment in my current living situation (apartment near NYC) so the easier to work with materials are prefered.

    Thanks again for the help and I'll be sure and post what I come up with!
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    There are several times as many different diesel models as steamers in N.
  9. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    If you're new to N-scale, I would suggest the Scenic Ridge layout kit from Woodland Scenics.

    I did a couple layouts prior to mine, including a full room sized one, but I've learned a lot in doing detailing and scenery and more by building this kit. i'm building mine inside the office room (9x10 room)

    It's a 3x6 (I think) kit that includes almost everything you need to get started. You just need some track and buildings really.

    and you don't have to "stick to the manual". I modded mine up. I added an outside loop track so I can run 2 trains at once. 3 Even if I space them out and match speeds on main track. Even re-did the road through the back hillside into a tunnel. Probably will add a bridge to back corner. Added the siding tracks, a little bridge, etc... You can really make this into a never-finished layout if you use your imagination on it.

    Just my 2 cents. :)
  10. pgray007

    pgray007 New Member

    Great suggestion on the Woodland Scenics stuff. I noticed they have a little N scale "diaorama" (haven't made one of thos since grade school :) ) that should fit within our space constraints easily, and give me a chance to build some stuff. Only negative is of course no running trains, but I guess that can come later...

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