Where do i start

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by rasman24, Dec 23, 2007.

  1. rasman24

    rasman24 New Member

    I am very new to the hobby and was wondering where to start on the layout. I want to go with the N scale just because of the room that i have, any suggestions where to start with the layout would be very very greatfull.:mrgreen:
  2. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    First hi and welcome. The first thing you need to do is plan, then when your done with that, plan plan plan some more. I was ready to just jump into things and thanks to alot of good people here I took two steps back and after a year I think I have what I will be happy with.
    Here is a good link to get started
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    My advice:

    Step 1: Visit the local hobby shop and look around. Pay special attention to the magazine and book rack. There is plenty of info in those publications for beginners.

    Step 2: If you have never, ever had model trains before, you may want to find a locomotive and a few cars you like (ask what's good at the hobby shop), a power pack, and some some track. I would recommend something like kato unitrack so that you can make temporary setups on a table.

    Step 3: play around, maybe try building a building or two, and add to your rolling stock fleet.

    My advice is that a layout is a big step. Be sure you know what is involved before getting that far. Having a temporary setup allows you tao have fun while exploring differnt aspects of the hobby.

  4. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    for my 2cents worth. I agree with nachoman.also get quality stuff. I am not familiar with n scale but there are plenty of people here that are. I also will say stay away from department store stuff it is usually overpriced junk. take your time this is a hobby for people with patience. find a good local hobby shop. try to find a model railroader in your area to get to know. they will have a wealth of knowledge. also I would suggest starting with dcc control there will be those who disagree. But if you get serious with the hobby it will be to your advantage in the long run. That is enough to get you started. dont be afraid to ask questions.
  5. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    If you'd like steam, get a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 (or 4-8-2 or 2-6-6-2), Life Like P2K 2-8-4, or a Kato 2-8-2.

    How familiar are you with railroads? Are you an avid historian with a library full of every book ever published, or a normal person whom has always found them interesting. I say this because the first type of person probably has a precise idea of what they like the best...but doesn't know how to recreate it in N-scale...while the second type probably doesn't know quite what they'll prefer since they don't have as much exposure...but will find exactly what they want in time (but might not want to spend oodles of $$$ on trains immediately).
  6. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    What got me started was where I wanted to build my layout. I knew what scale and that I wanted to run deisels, but I had to decide where I was going to put all of it. From that point on it was all downhill in terms of what type of layout, era, and "style".

    Also, once you finally settle on a direction or idea stick with it. I mean you can tweak it along the way, but big changes will cost you time and money.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I often suggest that you pick the place and time where you first became interested in trains. This could take you back to age 10, or it might be last month. If you're just starting, you have a chance to avoid the mistake that (most of) the rest of us have made -- buying something simply because it looked good.
    On the other hand, I think you should consider your first couple of layouts as being disposable, practise units. You'll get skills and knowledge on them and probably find that the last parts done are much better than the first.
    I saw a book in the hobby shop last week called "N scale Layout that Grows". This might give you ideas for a start -- 50 years ago there was a beginner's book called "HO scale Layout that Grows" that spawned countless copies.
    Read through Nazgul's thread "Don't Laugh..." for a couple of years in the life of a beginner.
    Don't ignore the other scales threads. Lots of non-specific ideas in them.
  8. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    There are 2 good approaches to entering the hobby.

    The first is a train set on a table approach. The good part about this is that you start running trains right away. Instant gratification. You add bits and pieces as you feel led. The bad part about this approach is that it probably won't satisfy in the long run (could be short run, depending on you). The reason - the train chasing its tail around a table top wasn't what you had in the back of your mind when you started the hobby. And no matter how much you add to the table, it still doesn't resemble the picture you had in your mind. So the first table and train set often become throw aways, perhaps after a few months, sometimes after a couple of years. But in the meantime you had a lot of fun, and learned a lot about what you like and don't like. Building a layout out of a beginners book or magazine is an excellent way to move beyond the train set for this approach.

    There is a second approach - but it significantly delays gratification. The 2nd approach is to explore your vision of what you want your layout to be more thoroughly before starting or buying stuff. This may be very difficult for a beginner - often the planning effort is given up in frustration. The advantage of the 2nd approach is that you won't waste time and money on a layout that won't satisfy.

    But in the end you have to choose which approach works best for you. A quick 5 minute read on the subject that is biased to the 2nd approach is here: Space Mouse Rail Systems

    yours in having fun with trains
  9. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    First, from one N scale modeler to another N scale modeler: Welcome.
    You are at the right place here at Zealot ( formerly The Gauge ) Model Trains forum.
    You'll find here a bunch of very friendly and helpful modelers.

    First, you didn't mention the size of the space available for your layout.
    What size is it ?
    The folowing link will give you some track plans from 24" X 48" to a 78" X 30" layout on a hollow core door.
    Those layouts use the N scale Atlas sectional tracks available at almost any hobby store.
    Mike's Small Trackplans Page

    Atlas have some track plans on their website too:
    Atlas N Code 80 Layout Gallery

    A very popular N scale layout is the "Carolina Central" on a hollow core door:

    another link:

    Small N Scale Layouts Under 4X8 Feet (ALL NEW)

    I would stay away of the starter sets, go for good quality equipment:
    Most important, a good power pack will save you a lot of trouble. No need to buy one with plenty of options such as momentum , pressure sensitiv bracking, etc..
    I highly recommend their Tech 4 200 model.

    Engine : Go with a small Diesel engine, such as a GP7 or GP9 from Atlas ( Life-Like , purchased by Walthers make good engines too ), unless of course you want to model a more modern era.

    I never used Kato sectional unitrack, but I've heard good things about it.

  10. scubadude

    scubadude Member

    My humble advice from one beginner to another is....1) It took me a year of research and changes to come up with all the Givens and Druthers, I suggest you spend a lot of time at this phase. 2) Start simple and small, don't overwhelm yourself with advanced techniques and mega-layouts, no matter how easy Dr. Wayne, Nazgul, CNNutbar, TomPM, Brakie, Deano and all the other pros on this forum make things look, it takes time, practice and patience to achieve what they do. 3) Don't be bashful about asking for help, these guys can't wait to help. 4) Most importantly, don't forget to have fun :thumb:......

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