Why I love being in a modular club

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by Yard Goat, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. Yard Goat

    Yard Goat New Member

    So I've been noticing posts from younger Gaugers--student-types--asking for advice on building starter layouts and that sort of thing. I just want to say to anybody who's in that position, if you can find a modular group anywhere near where you live, give serious thought to joining.

    Even though I'm nearly 31, I'm in school full-time at the moment and finding my model railroading time severely constrained. Worse still, I'm living in an apartment I don't expect to be still in by this time next year, and I've lived in four different places in the last three years.

    Despite all that, I got to spend a good chunk of last weekend running trains at my club's most recent setup. My own modules are sitting in the storage locker, but I can reasonably hope that they'll be part of at least a few weekend setups in the coming year (assuming I can find at least a bit of time to work on them in the meantime). When I move, the modules can move with me just fine.

    Best of all, I don't have to worry about trying to accommodate big steam or diesel power and 89' cars on 18" radius curves on a 4x8 sheet of plywood or a shelf layout. I can say with confidence that any model I own now or buy in the future will run on the club's layout, every six weeks or so when we set it up.

    Seriously, if you're a student, or just someone with limited time or resources, or living in an apartment, or you move around a lot, a modular club is really a great way to stay in the hobby. It would have been really hard for me to stay connected with model railroading these past years if it hadn't been for the club, but here I am.

    Can't say all the above without making the obligatory plug:


  2. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    I hear you, brother. :)
    My layout is stripped and propped against a wall right now. But, my module is nearly completed, looks great (the wife is impressed and therefore not as reluctant to discuss more right-of-way purchasing :D ) and we are hosting our first public display TODAY. I've met some really great guys, all of whom have varying modelling talents I can pull ideas from.
    And, it's the only way to run those long trains. :thumb:
  3. Hookups

    Hookups New Member

    Yard Goat-I agree with you all the way. I am getting started again in R/R, and I am limited on space.

    I joined a local club, and I get all the track time I want. This is a pretty huge layout, and days of a run session is a blast. Plus, I also get great tips and tricks from some of the older guys.

  4. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i was at a train show today, i found out about a club near me, they do ho, but there just starting an 0 scale modular im going monday night to my first meeting. i get to be in on the ground floor of the O gauge one.
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hey Andrew,

    Good to see you back at the Gauge!
  6. jesso

    jesso Member

    I love being in a club with a modular layout. I was able to complete a module, whereas my 4x8 has been sitting in various stages of snow storm (styrofoam) for over a year. I also love that things are easily expandable. We are thinking of making our 8 foot yard into a 12 foot year. We are also thinking of making a hexagon module so that we can add a third leg to the layout. It is nice to be able to change the layout size and shape.

    The really nice thing is: I have the largest garage in the club, so the N club modules are at my house! It was nice to have an instant large layout!
  7. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Yeah, I totally agree. I just got back into model railroading a year or two ago, I am a high school student, and I got to do scenery and stuff for the first time on an HO module. It looks great, and I can learn so much from members of my club who are more experienced, although I have become one of the three DCC gurus. :D It is also fun to run trains that are too long to even run coupled to their caboose on my layout at home. Wherever my future brings me, the module can come along (although it is built to a proprietary club spec that would be a bit weird if mated with an NMRA compliant module). Modular railroading is also a great way to meet new people, and share the hobby with the public.
  8. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Even for us guys who are under 31, it's really great belonging to a module railroad club!

    Aside from the fact that I couldn't build a layout that big and have that much fun all by myself, you get the benefit of a lot of guys who have the same interests you do, but, at the same time, have expertise in areas that you may not be good at.

    As an example, I'm good at building the module frames, installing the styfoam, the track power buss and the LocoNet. But when it comes to doing the track planning or the scenery, I'm brain dead and colour blind.

    So, several years ago (I forget exactly when), I called upon the club members to help me design two 6-foot modules. Andrew came up with a really neat track design which met all of my needs. I quickly built the module frames, installed the trackwork, got things running and brought them out. And there things stood for several years - a nice flat-decked module. I experimented with building the hills out of styrofoam but didn't get the scenery added. Lots of comments coming from the guys about that - "Hey Bob, when you going to get the scenery done?"

    Finally, one of our guys did a scenery clinic using my modules - only 3 weekends ago ago. He demonstrated his techniques using latex paint, ground foam, matte medium/white glue, alchohol. In about 2 hours, I had the techniques that I needed to do the scenery. Since then, I've been inspired almost every evening to do a add a bit of scenery. Things are coming along nicely. For the colour blind part, I got my wife to mix up the ground foam for me as she's the artist-type in the family.

    And do they ever look smart! All because I belong to a module railroad club and one of our guys ran a clinic on doing the scenery.

    Yup, belonging to a module railroad club is a lot of fun.

    Bob M.

    PS - Mason Jar, I've got your two modules in my basement with the styrofoam installed, the deck painted underbrush brown, the buss wire installed on one of them. Bring the telco jacks with you tonight.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Cool :cool: Thanks!!

  10. 2slim

    2slim Member

    One of my favorite stories I like to tell about my modular days, (I was the Secretary/Treasurer of a local modular club), is that during one of the shows we attended a young man approached me inquiring about joining the group, normally not much of a topic however this kid was a gang-banger if I ever seen one! I invited him, (somewhat reluctantly) to come to our next club meeting, and bring any models he had done, (if any). Now in our group at the time the youngest member was about 40, we had some people younger but they were just lurkers, the majority of the group members had no desire to model present day railroading. So our next meeting was a couple of weeks later and I figured this kid wouldn't show, but sure enough he did, and brought models of some freight cars that he'd done. At first there was a few raised eyebrows but when he unpacked his models everyone knew this kid had a passion for modelling. His models were of modern graffitti tagged cars, but he modeled them from photographs and did a darn good job! After he was in the group a while we encouraged him to enter a few contests and he even got some achievement points from the NMRA. The last I heard he was not far away from getting his Master Model Railroader certificate, not bad for a 20 something year old "gang-banger", (which he wasn't, that's just how he dressed).

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